Thanks to the slew of popular sports watches based on Audemars Piguet’s evergreen Royal Oak that appear on the market every year, it should come as no surprise that the Audemars Piguet Millenary line often gets overlooked. While on an intellectual level, the reasoning is understandable, on an emotional level it remains a bit of a riddle.
Most of Stepan Sarpaneva’s timepieces involve the moon in some way. And of one thing I am certain: it is surely Sarpaneva’s stylized rendition of the earth’s satellite that has drawn me to his work in such a powerfully magnetic way.
The moon seems to draw Sarpaneva himself in, but this trademark element came about in a bit of a surprising way, with much less advance planning as one might think. And, surely this is how the best things come about.
Van Cleef & Arpels is known today in the haute horlogerie realm as the “maison” producing Poetic Complications, little love stories on the wrist. It has always produced beautiful items of the highest quality, but in recent years the Richemont-owned brand has sincerely added high watchmaking to its goals as a luxury house.
Which is where Agenhor enters the picture since the lion’s share of the Poetic Complications line is developed in collaboration with Jean-Marc Wiederrecht and his specialist company, Agenhor, which develops complications and – now – movements for an exclusive clientele.
The wonderful relationship between Van Cleef & Arpels and Agenhor – a bit of a love story itself – has resulted in many amazing timepieces and accolades from the industry. Wiederrecht was asked to work on an extension for the Pierre Arpels line, which has largely remain unchanged since its eponymous inception in 1949.
The result, as you will see, is one of the most poetic and functional dual time watches that I have ever seen: the Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici Heure d’ailleurs.
“This is, of course, the most important watch museum in the world,” Ludwig Oechslin says unapologetically as I sit across from him with my steaming cup of espresso during a jovial chat in the museum’s conference room. If there is one thing Oechslin does, he tells it like he sees it.
Angular Momentum may be known to the watch enthusiast as the boutique brand having produced such colorful and unique timepiece lines as the Axis, Time Explosion, Tec & Art, Color-Tec (which featured an innovative and colorful “mosaic” steel), and Eglomisé (“reverse painting” in French).
Toys! For almost every person in the world, toys are a staple of childhood. Depending on your place of birth and socioeconomic background they may have been the newest video game, hottest action figure, or a hand carved figurine passed down from a grandparent.
Whatever they were, the toys of your childhood helped you develop your imagination, motor skills, and understanding of complex concepts only discoverable through play.
My first rule when it comes to collecting is to avoid setting too many exclusionary rules.
I am sure that there are many theme-centered watch collectors who put emphasis on things such as owning one of each Omega vintage chronograph from a certain year or Elgin railroad watches of a particular decade. These people might consider what I do far too haphazard to be labeled “collecting,” for instance.
If, however, I force myself to set criteria for what constitutes collecting to me, I keep coming back to two rules for myself: passion and enjoyment.
And this is perhaps best defined by asking yourself, “Are you emotionally engaged with the items you collect, be they watches, cars, or bottle caps, and do you take advantage of all of the enjoyable aspects of owning them?”
With watches, I believe, the former criterion – passion – is what separates collectors from investors and accumulators. Which brings me to the second criterion: deriving the full enjoyment from the things you own.
For those living in the Northern hemisphere, which I guess is the majority of you, here are a few photos that will hopefully help chase away the winter chill and damp, at least for a few minutes anyway.
Konstantin Chaykin, the Wonderboy Russian Watchmaker – my name for him, hopefully he doesn’t mind – is a serious contender for being crowned one of the most progressive and talented watchmakers alive right now.
Previous models like the Levitas, Lunokhod, and his incredible clock creations that feature Jewish and Islamic calendars show that he is both creative and a top-notch complication specialist.
With his most recent creation, the aptly named Cinema watch, he stumped and astounded me with a creative direction that did not leave me wanting. The Cinema features an animation, or more correctly, stop motion recording of a horse at full gallop.
The mechanism used to create said animation? Why that would be his own miniaturized version of Eadweard Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope. (One of the most awesome names for any machine ever; it even rivals one of my own wordinations!)
Here is something a little different that was sparked by disaster and created a legacy, especially in Russia, with regard to the design of clocks and watches in telegraph and radio rooms ever since.
The year is 1912 and it’s a cold April night as the Titanic speeds its way through iceberg-infested waters in the north Atlantic. I’m sure you all see where this is going so I will spare you further James Cameron-esque imagery and simply remind you that tragedy struck the luxury liner in the form of an iceberg, dooming what was thought to be an “unsinkable” ship.
Thousands of lives were lost needlessly and not simply because the ship sank; many factors aided in making that night a true tragedy instead of simply a failed voyage. One of those factors was communication and the complete lack of regulation over an international system.
That night there were huge amounts of chatter over the radio waves, and as the Titanic sent out its distress signal she found it hard to get through to other ships. The ones that it did get through to were either too far or too late.
Because of the ice, a few ships simply couldn’t come without risking their own hulls. In the aftermath of investigations that followed, it was found that poor (or nonexistent) regulation over the use of radio signals, especially those at sea, were partially to blame.