OMEGA's Speedmaster Mark 4.5

For years I saw the crown on this watch and had no idea how it worked. Plus, the crown on the 1200M Ploprof is very different than that of the original models. It is meant to protect the large crown, and acts as a sort of plus and minus. On the one hand you can ensure a lot of water resistance and crown protection, but it does make it less comfortable to use. The way it works is that the large guard releases as you unscrew the crown. That is simple enough, though sometimes it can be tough to get enough leverage on the crown if it is screwed in too tight. When the crown is released it then functions normally. However, there isn't a lot of play room to release the crown in the winding, date correcting, or time setting positions. This is just a quirk of the design, and again is a simple balance of features the Ploprof is intended to have.

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Hidden within the futuristic skeletonized case is the LW03 Concepto, an automatic chronograph movement which provides a power reserve of 48 hours and even incorporates the use of a ceramic bearing for the oscillating weight which winds the movement. This fully-decorated caliber can be viewed through the SpidoSpeed's sapphire display case back.

Sapphire crystal with interior anti-reflective treatment

De Bethune DB25 IX Maya Watch Hands-On

De Bethune DB25 IX Maya Watch Hands-On

3. Wait until the giveaway is over on August 31, 2012 for the winner to be chosen at random.

Polished stainless steel case,
Cover glass acrylic
down back
screwed crown
Water-resistant to DIN 8310
Pressure resistant to 20 bar (= 200 m water depth)
To low pressure

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To be honest, the Royal Oak collection is no stranger to skeletonization. It has been done before, but Audemars Piguet doesn't do it the same way twice as far as I can tell. The first model is the Audemars Piguet Openworked Extra-Thin Royal Oak 40th Anniversary Limited Edition. They use the term "openworked" versus skeletonized - they mean the same thing. As far as I can tell these watches aren't any more thin than the standard Royal Oak watch - so I am assuming the "Extra Thin" part of the name is there for marketing purposes because thin watches are in right now.

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Another area where titanium is excellent at is corrosion resistance (e.g. its resistance to rusting). It is so good that it is almost impossible to rust titanium. It is impervious to all acids but nitric acid. And nitric acid is something you do not come nearby in your daily life. It’s corrosion resistance is similar to that of platinum, and in terms of engineering metals only zirconium can beat titanium for corrosion resistance. This corrosion resistance is the key to the hypoallergenic properties of titanium. It is so inert due to the oxide layer that forms on its surface, that it does not react with human body - thus being the material of choice for many medical applications.

The design of the watch is said to be based on Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I can totally see Captain Nemo wearing this watch, but aside from that I don't see too many nautical elements in much of the design. There are the submarine instrument style hands sure, as well as the chadburn style function selector on the dial. This latter element is something that Louis Moinet developed for the watch. It tells you what the chronograph is doing. Which is sort of cool given that it is a monopusher. There is also the date on the dial.

Earlier in 2012, I traveled to Bassano del Grappa in Italy to visit the headquarters of high-end writing instrument maker Montegrappa. The brand has an interesting history both in product and business. Partially because it was acquired by the Richemont Group, and then re-acquired by the family which owned it. I did an interview with their esteemed CEO Giuseppe Aquila here on Centurion if you care to learn more about the brand.

Live (when recorded that is) from Philadelphia John and I talk business and politics (watch politics). We cover the new MB&F MoonMachine, Buben & Zorweg, as well our new friend Tim.

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Dial and Hands

Most watches with the 775x tend to run large, but the 160 is as svelte as I've seen, an amazing 38.5mm by 15.0mm to the top of the domed crystal. 20mm by 4.0mm non-tapering, five-link solid bracelet with butterfly deployant clasp, 6.7mm crown, a solid 192 grams with all of the links.

Tech Specs from Zegna:

An immediate benefit is the elimination of a clutch, while separating the watch from the chronograph eliminates the risks of either effecting the other in any negative manner. Energy loss is also reduced. This topology ensured all “Mikro” timepieces are ISO 3159-compliant; the Mikrotimer and the Mikrograph are COSC-certified with the chronograph function running, which TAG Heuer says is “a feat virtually impossible to achieve by conventional mono-frequency chronographs.”

The color scheme of grey titanium and matte black dial works very well. With it's lack of reflective surfaces, the watch looks, in a word, bad. Very much a functional design. The minutes (instead of hours) numerals on the dial catch the eye and pique the interest. I also like how the end of the minute hand flies over the angled chapter ring, as does the blacked-out second hand. It's important to have proportional hands on a watch this large.

Looking at the Oktopus II you see the first use of ceramic for the brand. Here the bezel is ceramic, as well as the case side on some models. This version of the Oktopus II is equipped with a specially produced movement module from Dubois-Depraz. On top of the base ETA is a really cool big-date indicator. This watch also represents the first time Linde Werdelin has worked with the well-known module maker Dubios-Depraz. If you have been following LW, you know that over the years they have offered watches with movements sourced or specially made from all sorts of suppliers. I understand that they will likely work more with DD in the future.

The subdials on the face are for the subsidiary seconds (also shown on a scale of 30 versus 60 seconds), and two dials for the second time zone. By the way, the hands that move around the dial each 30 seconds move quite quick. The large lower subdial has the hours of a second time zone. You read the minutes with the normal minute hand. Then there is a 24 hour indicator (AM/PM) indicator for the second time zone (reference time). The date is placed above 6 o 'clock. Overall the dial is beautiful, and while still quite quirky, feels much more legible than the first time around.

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