A few years ago in 2013, Blancpain even came out with an interesting and, in my opinion, highly collectible watch known as the Blancpain Tourbillon Carrousel (hands-on here) that actually contained both a tourbillon as well as a carrousel. It was as though Blancpain was saying "OK, here is a watch with both of these mechanisms, so that you can see how they are (slightly) different. More recently, it seems that Blancpain is learning to love the tourbillon again, since the "tourbillon" term simply has gained too much cache among luxury lifestyle aficionados, and the carrousel - for all its merits - is simply something standing on the sidelines. The irony, of course, is that both of these mechanisms are arguably mostly aesthetic and decorative, offering more value in their craftsmanship and complexity, versus actual horological utility. So with the Blancpain Villeret Tourbillon Volant Une Minute 12 Jours watch, we once again have Blancpain serenading the tourbillon.
Having compared it to two in-house alternatives, let's now see what else is out there that you may want to consider before pulling the trigger on the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Staying for a moment longer within the realms of Rolex, we bring you the Tudor Style (of which a full review is coming up the day after this has been published). Available in 38mm and 41mm sizes, the Tudor Style watches on the leather straps as seen here have a retail price of ,200 or ,325, while the same watches on steel bracelets are ,300 and ,425, respectively. That is about ,400 less than the Rolex Oyster Perpetual. What you lose out on here – beyond the Rolex name, of course – is a manufacture Rolex movement, as the Tudor comes with a 2824 caliber. The 2824 runs at a modern 4Hz frequency, offers a date indication at 3, as well as a less contemporary 38 hours of power reserve – almost half a day less than that of the Rolex. Also, on some Tudor Style models, the particular materials and finishes have some serious legibility issues, meaning that they end up being much harder to read that the Rolex Oyster Perpetual.
They say you should never meet your heroes, and in regards to the often eccentric characters of horology, the adage may be wiser still. But when it comes to the man behind the Ludovic Ballouard Upside Down watch, it's worth throwing caution to the wind. We met Ludovic a few weeks ago and went hands-on with the top-of-the-range model that sports a mother of pearl dial, making it a stylish watch that grabs your attention - only to later reveal that its beauty is more than skin deep.
An electronic companion is only as useful as the device's battery life. Smartwatches until now have been marred by the need for wearers to charge the device on a very frequent basis - something that really inhibits the device from being personal and reliable. Urwerk has developed a unique self-charging system that incorporates a number of techniques which allow for the Urwerk HIS to generate power. More so, the Urwerk HIS has a self-preservation instinct designed to motivate the wearer to keep its battery charged.
Given that this is a Swiss Tissot product, chances are that it is going to be of a much higher quality than most timekeeping electronic sensor dongles or other similar gear meant to hang on your backpack or in your bag – but then, it has a price to match. The T-Touch combines traditional analog hands and a digital screen for a successful formula which has been very good for Tissot since the T-Touch's original debut in 1999.
To explain the reasoning behind that unusual name, we have to briefly discuss the interesting way Porsche Design used to operate. For the past four decades, the company had 15 to 20 year-long contracts with watch manufacturers – notably (after working for a few years with Orfina), with IWC between 1977 and 1997, and with Eterna between 1997 and 2012. When that collaboration with Eterna ended, Porsche Design decided to follow its own route and not go into another 15-20 year long licensing agreement with an external manufacturer.
The luxury smartwatch experience is about something which is actually smart, as well as luxurious. No smartwatch will ever be able to truly compete with the artistic majesty and visual fascination that a mechanical watch can deliver. With that said, the Urwerk UR-105 HIS timepiece is able to deliver a different type of luxurious experience, not one of art, but of opportunity. Time is the ultimate luxury, or in other words, freedom from having to worry about time. The ultimate goal of the HIS watch might be seen as giving its owners the ability to totally forget about time and what time it is. The Uwerk HIS takes care of time from a numerical standpoint, so that you don't have to. If you have no idea what time it is and are only aware of what you are doing now, doing next, and doing a bit later, then you're living the smartwatch dream.
Actually, the dial of the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Perpetual Calendar watch has one more hand, which is a small arrow-style indicator in the center of the dial with the hour and minute hands. This is the month indicator and simply uses the hour marker track to indicate the month. 1 o'clock is January, 2 o'clock is February, and so forth. It amazes me how often people simply did not understand this, as the concept of the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Perpetual Calendar feels so simple to me. No, the HMC 341 movement doesn't offer things like the day of the week, but in terms of offering an ultra-minimalist perpetual calendar display, the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Perpetual Calendar is a serious winner. There are other impressive elements about the watch movement as well, including the ability to change the date both backwards and forwards! And if you are familiar with setting perpetual calendar watches, that is sort of a big deal. I loved this feature and also appreciated H. Moser & Cie's "flash calendar" which instantly jumps the date disc at midnight.
Price and availability for IWC Connect are yet to be announced, but IWC promises more information in the coming months. Devices such as this are not particular unexpected at this point, as the traditional watch industry realizes that it must offer some answer to smartwatches such as the Apple Watch. Though, in some instances, it begs the question if the correct approach would simply be to make a strap where the module is actually an Apple Watch. I say this because my feeling is that traditional watch wearers will want to wear both a mechanical watch and something like an Apple Watch; and Swiss mechanical watchmakers are the first to admit they are not electronics or software makers. We might be pleasantly surprised with IWC Connect, and I look forward to sharing more as this story develops in the coming months. iwc.com
Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon 5-Day Power Reserve Indicator Watch Hands-On
25 Commentsby Ariel Adams
Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon 5-Day Power Reserve Indicator Watch Hands-On
The Swatch Touch Zero One will be battery-powered but, unlike most all other smartwatches on the market, it will not require charging every night after a day of extensive use: Swatch says that the battery will, in fact, last "for months and months." Although there is no confirmed information on this yet, the watch will likely use NFC, i.e. Near-Field Communication to send and receive data between the watch and the app running on the phone. This connection type generally uses even less energy than Bluetooth does, allowing for the extended battery life over other smartphones.
From a personal perspective, this is very exciting news. As a watchmaker aware of the worrying dearth of skilled operatives in the industry, I believe that encouraging young people to consider horology as a career is of the utmost importance. I was already twenty years old when I decided to spend my time studying time. I began my journey as an academic, consuming books, magazines and blog articles as often as I could. There was no obvious way for me to gain hands-on experience. By studying the history of horology, I came to appreciate the skill, craftsmanship, and level of commitment that the discipline required, I became hooked and resolved to train professionally; what has followed is a rewarding and endlessly challenging career.
Lastly I come to the leather strap. This is a really nicely made thing, with a real sense of craftsmanship in the design. I don't know if I would wear it myself on aesthetics alone, but as a fan of trade skills, I think I could see something like this on my wrist.
Speaking of some of the design elements, it is worth noting that the Ball Engineer Master II Slide Chronograph was designed by Magali Metrailler, who is all but exclusively designing for Ball now. Previously, she created the "Ball for BMW" collection, and she also did a lot of the Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX watches. That is an interesting portfolio already, and we are definitely looking forward to what else she creates.
While the Swarovski Octea Sport (by definition) is the brand's more sporty offering, most of the brand's watches for women are somewhere between "evening elegant" and casual dressy. There is a distinct youthful personality to the watches - which is typified by Swarovski's penchant for modern design, as well as a lots of sparkle. While some women may prefer more conservatively designed watches, I think the loudness of the Swarovski designs work in their favor. As opposed to real diamonds, these are sparkly watches which are "safer" to wear. In a sense, that is why I mentioned earlier that Swarovski watches are like their crystals - these are a very non-controversial (and fun) means of showing off a bit of bling - and at the same time, are still tasteful about it.
The modern Datejust watches don't look too much like the original model from 1945, but they still have an extremely classic look. What I have always appreciated about the Rolex Datejust is that it doesn't neatly fall into any of the major categories of watches, such as sport watch or dress watch. With an Oyster case (read here to learn what a Rolex Oyster case really is), the Rolex Datejust is as durable as a sport watch, yet it is more formal in its appearance. At the same time, the Datejust isn't as elegant as most dress watches and for that, Rolex has the Cellini. So, the Rolex Datejust isn't a sport watch and it isn't a strict business watch – but it is a timepiece that means business.
The IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Worldtimer case back provides an interesting conversation point. Rather than a glass back exposing the movement, IWC have chosen to decorate the glass with a 'map' of the world time zones (it's as if you're looking down on the Earth from directly above the North Pole. Given the modular and therefore somewhat unremarkable appearance of the calibre 35370, IWC may have hidden it deliberately. I don't mind this so much, because as attractive as I find the IWC 35370, this case back is at least something different. It's a bit cutesy, perhaps, but then, I like novelty as long as it's well executed. From the looks of things, it is at least a sharp and striking image. I also like the scalloped grooves, cut into the edge of the case back so that the case back opener can engage.
For the Rodania, it was very different. I wasn’t really even into vintage watches when I first stumbled across one on the MWR Forum back around 2007… There was just something in the way it looked; it really grabbed me. As I learnt more about the variations, and came to appreciate things like patina, I determined that I wanted the Rodania variant, preferably non-surplus, with a nice cream coloured dial. And that is exactly what I got!