Michael Friedberg is the moderator of IWC’s Collectors’ Forum at www.iwc.com and is also an unofficial goodwill ambassador for IWC, talking to journalists, other collectors, and SIHH visitors.
Greece. It’s the birthplace of western civilization, democracy, and science. This country lays claim to some of the most brilliant minds in philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and politics that the world has ever seen. All of these wonderful thinkers developed the most advanced ideas of their day, some of which are as true today as they were 2,600 years ago when they first began pondering the big questions.
The Greeks are even credited with inventing the first analog computer in the first century B.C., which they used for predicting astronomical positions and eclipses. Fast forward through 2,000 years and a descendent has been born, one with Greek heritage of astronomical proportions. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
So I would like to continue by nominating the Rotonde de Cartier Astrocalendaire Perpetual Calendar as the Greekiest thing to ever be built by a quintessential French house such as Cartier. Some of you might already be agreeing, but for the more stubborn of you I would like to elucidate my thinking and hopefully by the end you will be saying, “opa!”
Since turning his creative energies to making and maintaining a brand that bears his own name, Christophe Claret has introduced one playful and creative complication after another. Baccarat, Blackjack, dice…you name it.
Christophe Claret has now launched the next playful creation, an intricate complication that allows the owner to play Texas Hold ‘Em poker right on his or her mechanical watch with two other live players.
There are two things that you should be aware of if skiing, trekking, hiking, or climbing in the mountains: position and altitude. And if you have a decent topographical map, knowing your altitude helps determine where you are.There are two things that you should be aware of if skiing, trekking, hiking, or climbing in the mountains: position and altitude.
De Bethune has two main styles of timepieces in their collection: one which is more contemporary with models like the DB28 and Dream Watches, the other more classical. And the beautiful DB16 is as classical as they come, both in looks and in complications.
The extremely legible dial design belies an incredible number of indications and complications: central hours and minutes; small seconds; perpetual calendar with day, date, and month; spherical moon-phase; leap-year indication; age of the moon; power reserve indicator; and 30-second tourbillon.
* GREAT Britain, a new campaign staged by the British prime minister David Cameron, includes a unique timepiece by Roger Smith. The products featured in the campaign will tour key global markets over the next two years and showcase the very best of what Britain has to offer. The platinum case of the GREAT Britain watch has been handmade in the best George Daniels tradition and hallmarked with “London.”
The manually wound movement is a true treat: the gold-plated, frosted-finish three-quarter plate is topped by a raised barrel bridge that has been hand-engraved with a floral pattern. A hand-engraved balance cock holds the free-sprung co-axial escapement in place.
If you have been following my writing all these years, there are a few things you probably know about me. One, I am extremely enamored of the rare handcrafts that almost died out of the mechanical watch industry when it was declared dead during the quartz crisis of the 1970s and early 1980s. I am talking about unique crafts demanding high amounts of skill and concentration like guilloché (a particular favorite of mine), engraving, skeletonization and enamel. Two, I really, really like German watches.
There are truly so few watch brands that take creating timepieces for the female watch connoisseur seriously. Jaeger-LeCoultre, naturally, takes enthusiasts seriously, ably demonstrated by the fill of amazingly complicated and innovative masterpieces introduced over the last 180 years.
But how many of these have been expressly created with the feminine wrist in mind? Very few. Even Jaeger-LeCoultre has “only” generally created lines for women that focus on the decorative rather than the complex …
Though it may seem that using rare and even unusual artistic crafts is a major trend running through high horology at the moment, it is important to remember how very difficult both the execution of and inspiration for these crafts can be. Guilloché, enamel, engraving, and even gem-setting are skills that almost died out in the pre-mechanical renaissance watch industry along with the art of mechanical watchmaking itself. Therefore, there are truly very few artists today able to perform them.
Hopefully that loud bang didn’t startle you too much! If it did, take a moment to go watch a video of a cute kitten and come back when you have calmed down a bit. Better? Ok! Here at the beginning of the new year, I am reminded there is a lot of advice out there saying you should always start with a bang.