In 1985, Svend Andersen and Vincent Calabrese founded the AHCI: Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants. The aim was to help independent watchmakers survive at a time when large brands and quartz watches were dominating the horological world. In 1985 very few people even knew that there was such a thing as independent watchmaking, as advertising and exhibitions (of which there were very few) were far too expensive for them to participate in. Today, 30 years later, the AHCI boasts 35 members and four candidates. Not bad for an organization I once described as “like herding cats.”
Extraordinary engraver Kees Engelbarts loves his skeletonized watches as they do very much showcase his art form. “I wanted to make another kind of skeleton watch,” he says about his latest creation called Tourbillon Organic Skeleton. “Most skeleton watches are, as you know, very symmetric. My plan was to make a skeleton watch without a drawing or plan before starting, by just taking away material from the base plate and bridges that is not needed.”
Seiko’s story is much more complicated than most people might think. This is a manufacturer that doesn’t follow trends, but has created a few of its own, capitalizing on various types of expertise and knowledge that were the mother of necessity for a manufacturer located so far away from the established centers of watchmaking in Europe. Grand Seiko is the most appealing line to connoisseurs of fine watchmaking, and we look at it in some depth here.
Emmanuel Bouchet first came to our attention with the incredibly animated Opus 12 for Harry Winston. He has now launched his own brand with Complication 1, which pays homage to the ubiquitous Swiss lever escapement with his own extremely slow-beating, giant Swiss lever escapement placed dial-side. And that’s just the beginning!
The Arnold & Son Constant Force Tourbillon features a constant force mechanism that feeds a tourbillon escapement with energy, plus dead beat seconds powered by twin serially operating mainsprings. With a couple patents and loads of style, the Constant Force Tourbillon makes for an impressive addition to the Arnold & Son collection.
Today’s watch components are produced with relatively high levels of finishing straight from the machine, so having company artisans, watchmakers, and technicians spend hours, days, weeks, and even months beveling and polishing might seem like a waste of time (and money).
In this video by The Watches TV, Stephen Forsey explains why superlative hand-finishing is such an important element in the timepieces of Greubel Forsey.
The Girard-Perregaux Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges includes an extraordinary new version of the brand’s typical tourbillon and a chiming function – which is the star of the show here. The mechanical beauty of the watch’s skeletonized dial is dominated by three elements: the smaller bridge supporting the tourbillon, the larger bridge extending across the dial between 3 and 9 o’clock, and the repeater hammers at 12 o’clock. The shape of the hammers, which rest on jewels acting as ball bearings to reduce friction, was inspired by the first golden bridges registered in 1884.
A few weeks ago, I had the very enjoyable experience of attending a day hosted by Audemars Piguet and the Watch Enthusiasts of New York (WENY) filled with watches, watchmaking, and lively conversation. In the evening, we were treated to something that for me was quite unusual but that in the world of luxury goods marketing is commonplace: an interaction with one of the brand’s ambassadors, in this case Sir Nick Faldo. Read on to learn what is it that leads watch brands to engage celebrities.
On a recent visit to MB&F’s very interesting M.A.D. Gallery in Geneva, I found myself fascinated by the sight of some unusual critters. Even though they are not animated and don’t breathe, they seemed like nothing less than real creatures. Meet the insectile sculptures made by Paul Swan Topen, Gaby Wormann, and Christopher Conte. And, don’t worry, there’s no need to be scared of them. They’re not alive. But I’d leave the covers on . . . just in case.
By any definition of the word, the film ‘Braveheart’ is epic. There are a few other things in the world that are so awesome they deserve to be seen, no matter what your interests or passions are like the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canyon. Another awesome thing that deserves to be seen, something that coincidentally shares its name with that 1995 Mel Gibson flick, is the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier BraveHeart. This incredible timepiece packs a wallop of engineering excellence and some pretty intense architecture.