Weekly Roundup: March 7
* Quill & Pad has the honor of introducing Grieb & Benzinger’s latest bespoke creation: the Black Tulip Red Midnight. This masterfully skeletonized watch is the direct result of a customer’s desire: a watch connoisseur looking for a “stealth” watch that nonetheless portrays its value and rare handcrafts in a lower-key way, creating an eye-catching black-and-red look using unusual gemstones.
The case is crafted in solid 18-karat rose gold yet transformed with an all-black coating topped off by an inimitable pavé-set bezel featuring red diamonds in the rare and exclusive princess-style cut. www.grieb-benzinger.com
* Surely the big news everywhere in the media this week was the live telecast of the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, better known as the Oscars. While this has more to do with style than real horology, having a handsome movie star wear a great watch during a show seen by perhaps a billion people is an effective tool to bring fine watchmaking to a broader public.
You can read all my thoughts on this year’s (fairly sparse) watch spottings in the Dolby Theater in my Forbes story. I will say that I perhaps enjoyed the combination of styles that singer/songwriter Pharrell Williams brought to the stage in his performance of nominated song “Happy”: a wickedly weird hat combined with a leather Adidas sweat jacket and the Richard Mille RM 016. www.richardmille.com
* The 84th Geneva Motor Show opened its doors this week, and as usual a few Swiss watch brands were on hand. Carl F. Bucherer, for example, introduced what it calls “possibly the world’s most exclusive watch winder.” Supporting the new driverless concept car XchangE from Rinspeed, Carl F. Bucherer’s automatic Patravi TravelTec with a blue dial (to match the car) is embedded within a luxurious, engraved globe. When the car is idling, the sphere turns, guaranteeing that the watch is always fully wound and effectively making the entire car a watch winder. www.carl-f-bucherer.com
* A. Lange & Söhne introduced the spectacular Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst during Watches and Wonders in Hong Kong in 2013 as a limited edition of only 15 pieces crafted in solid white gold and decorated with a rare combination of tremblage and relief engraving techniques. This unique timepiece is currently on exhibition in the flagship A. Lange & Söhne boutique in Dresden, but only until March 7. Perhaps the Glashütte-based brand will bring it to the inauguration of its newest boutique in Munich in April. But that’s not official. http://www.alange-soehne.com/retailers-and-boutiques/a-lange-and-soehne-dresden-en-us/
* In 2009, Hublot inaugurated its brand-new factory in Nyon. Today, to meet its need for growth and continue the verticalization, the brand breaks ground on a second large building located right next to the first, which will more than double the surface area of its manufacture. It will be largely dedicated to the production of components and the production of cases. Hublot estimates that it will be ready for use in August of 2015. www.hublot.com
* Seiko announces a three-year sponsorship of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), one of six continental confederations associated with FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association). The partnership begins already in 2014 and includes the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup.
* Graham has been a supporter of professional hockey for a while, and has notably partnered the Los Angeles Kings for several years. Now the Swiss brand with the English roots announces a new ambassador in hockey hall of famer and Los Angeles Kings president Luc Robitaille. He wears the Chronofighter Oversize LA Kings limited edition, which bears the team colors silver, black and white, while its case is crafted in the same plain carbon material as carbon fiber NHL hockey sticks. http://www.graham1695.com/en-gb/home.aspx
*Zenith also introduces a professional sports player as a new ambassador: three-time NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook. For those not familiar with pro basketball, Westbrook is a point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder. www.zenith-watches.com/