In this article I look at why high end watches cost so much by examining one of the most important factors. To answer this question, there are quite a few reasons, including low production numbers (mass manufacture brings prices down) and high complexity, but the one I will focus on here is hand-finishing, because unlike low production numbers and high complexity, ultra-high-level hand-finishing is not usually easy to appreciate.
It occurred to me one day, while explaining to a visitor to my “office” how the machine “knows” where the part is, that many people have very little exposure to the machinery that literally builds so many wristwatch components today. So for your reading pleasure, I break down the basics of milling machines and turning centers, the multi-axis machines that have become a cornerstone of modern fabrication in the watch industry.
When you think of fantasy and science fiction, what do you think of? I sometimes allow my imagination to drift into the paranormal and early twentieth-century years of discovery. This is the world that inspired the creation of Frank Buchwald’s latest creation for the M.A.D. Gallery, which is, of course, the Nixie Machine, a fantabulous clock featuring rare and giant Nixie tubes produced in the 1960s by the state-owned RFT in East Germany. I can imagine this clock in a variety of fictional settings from the worlds of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and even Isaac Asimov.
Security breaches of company databases have been in the news recently, but what if there was a spy who knew everything you were doing, including when you slept, ate, had sex, exercised, and worked – at what and for how long. A spy that monitored not just what you were doing, but how you were doing it, for how long, and how well. Have you really thought about what your fitness bracelet knows?
On a recent visit to the Valbray manufacture, I surreptitiously looked at the electrics in back of a CNC machine (as one does). Seeing my interest, Côme de Valbray, who co-founded the brand with his wife Olga, casually mentioned that the racks of electronics contained the processing power of 350 powerful computers and that the machine drew up to 90,000 watts of power in operation: that’s equivalent to the power used by around ten homes.
Ulysse Nardin founded his company on the precision required for marine chronometers. So supporting a challenger for the 35th America’s Cup as its official partner more than makes sense, and supporting Artemis Racing makes the most sense of all.
The first timepiece Donzé Cadrans and Ulysse Nardin worked on together was in the early 1980s: the complicated jacquemart-outfitted Hourstriker San Marco with its vibrant blue, which was the first enamel dial of the modern incarnation of Ulysse Nardin and perhaps of the Mechanical Renaissance. Follow us on a visit to Donzé Cadrans and learn about the unique 300-year-old process this one-of-a-kind dial maker utilizes to make its aesthetic elements.
It’s a story that could have come out of a thriller novel, and it’s about the oldest known watch in the world, which was made in 1505 by Peter Henlein. The Pomander Watch (‘Bisamapfeluhr’), as it is known, was confirmed by committee of experts as having been the work of Peter Henlein in 1505.
The jump hour has a long history, but first things first, it can’t technically be called a complication since the accepted definition of complication is a mechanism that provides information other than the time. However, anyone who gives a hoot will say in the same breath that there are many complications that don’t fit that definition. And I couldn’t agree more.
The Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach in California sees the world’s finest classic (and modern) cars assemble each August for a week of sheer automotive heaven. One of the most anticipated releases of 2014 was re-edition of the Jaguar Lightweight E-Type, the very first re-creation project that Jaguar has ever engaged in.