Roger Smith holds a special place in the pantheon of independent watchmaking, both on his own merits and as the man who worked most closely with the legendary George Daniels. While any Smith watch is rare, the particular Series 2 that you see photographed in this article is in fact unique: it’s the only such watch in stainless steel that Smith has yet produced.
When I first saw photos of the Angelus U10 Tourbillon Lumière I liked the technical aspects and thought it an audacious design likely to ignite heated debate in the passionate Angelus collectors’ community, but I wasn’t won over by the watch itself. I liked the fact that it existed, but it wasn’t really to my taste. But after I had seen and handled the U10 Tourbillon Lumière “in the metal,” I got it.
For this edition of Behind the Lens, I’m sharing a series of photographs of one of the great watches of our time, the Philippe Dufour Duality. The Duality, with its linked twin escapements, was originally planned for production in a series of 25 watches. In a turn of events that seems almost unbelievable today, a lack of initial demand eventually led Dufour to limit production to just nine pieces, one of which is owned by a good friend of mine.
If you like watches at all, you have certainly seen wristshots, and perhaps you have even posted a few of your own. Like the selfie, wristshots seem to be ubiquitous these days. But where did wristshots come from, why do they exist, and what are the pitfalls to look out for?
A photo of soldiers hoisting the Soviet flag over the Reichstag at the end of WWII, became one of the most iconic images of the century. One of the subjects in the image was wearing two watches, one of which was removed in official reproductions of the photo. The camera used to take that iconic image, a Leica III, is to be auctioned by Bonhams, and it’s expected to fetch more than £300,000 ($500,000).
Last week I visited the Leica factory and spent some time admiring an exhibition placed in the spacious foyer of this massive new factory building called “36 aus 100” (“36 from 100”). This image of the soldier wearing two watches – perhaps very, very briefly reminding me of the late Nicolas G. Hayek’s penchant for wearing two timepieces – caught my attention.
Wetzlar, Germany is to optics like La Chaux-de-Fonds is to Swiss watchmaking. In fact, with Leica’s focus on handcrafting and precision, it could almost be part of the watch industry itself.
Small format photography as we know it today – also known as 35 mm – was born a century ago in Wetzlar, when Oskar Barnack made the very first Leitz camera.
Côme de Valbray, co-founder of Valbray watches, is the perfect example of the typical Leica customer. An avid amateur photographer for many years, the trained engineer perfectly understands and appreciates the luxury camera brand. Leica celebrated its centennial in May 2014 with a number of amazing new elements: inauguration of a brand-new factory building housed within a complex called the Leitz Park, a number of special new products and, of course, the Valbray EL 1 Chrono.
As part of my “enthusiast collector” role here at Quill & Pad I will be taking a look at watches that strike my fancy, and sharing the visual results with you along with a few observations on photography, the watches themselves, and the collectors who own them.
Let’s get started, shall we? Our subject for this episode: the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain with remontoir d’égalité.