As most folks who follow Patek Philippe are aware, the brand has long been in the habit of making unique watches for special customers, including in recent times entertainment luminaries such as Eric Clapton and Michael Ovitz. It was not until 2015, however, that Patek Philippe publicly issued a number of small editions of previously discontinued references, each in previously unmade metal/dial combinations. This Patek Philippe Reference 5070J-013 is one of those ultra-rare birds. And GaryG wonders if it might bring yellow gold back into fashion single-handedly, as for him the combination of the yellow gold case and sunburst-brushed brown dial is as gorgeous as it is unexpected.
For a watch fanatic, and especially for lovers of independent watch brands, meeting the makers of the watches that we admire is a dream come true. With the Grönefeld brothers, it’s that pleasure multiplied by two. And then there’s the sensational One Hertz.
With no travel for GaryG over the last COVID-19-restricted months, he has been grateful for opportunities to add variety by handling some of this year’s new watches. And recently Breitling lent Gary three of its new re-edition watches. He shares his thoughts and stunning photos of these new Breitling models here.
In this installment of Behind the Lens, GaryG shares 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 Gary’s.
As these things go, Parmigiani Fleurier and GaryG go back a pretty long way. So it was with significant interest that he took up the opportunity to handle, photograph, and evaluate Parmigiani’s latest introduction, the Tondagraph GT. It’s a relatively rare combination of two useful complications in what the brand calls “all-occasion” packaging, and it is offered at a quite reasonable price relative to other pieces of its kind.
In GaryG’s view, every successful independent watchmaker has elements of a “house style” that may attract some buyers and put off others, but nonetheless set him or her apart. And, at the highest level, this style goes beyond “branding” to become an expression of the personality and artistic vision of the creator. In the picturesque Swiss town of Thun, Beat Haldimann and his small team distinguish themselves by focusing on technical virtuosity of the highest order as typified by the Haldimann H1 Flying Central Tourbillon.
One of the inconveniences associated with the current restrictions on gatherings is that GaryG’s local watch gang hasn’t met in person so he hasn’t been able to borrow interesting watches to shoot. However, just prior to the lockdown in California, he did pick up an intriguing piece from a pal: the Anniversary by Vianney Halter. Check it out in every great photographic variation here.
From the torrent of really well done watch photos appearing on Instagram and other media these days, it appears as though lots of watch enthusiasts have been spending at least some of their time in COVID-19-induced shutdowns polishing their macro photography and wrist shooting. And GaryG is among them. Here he shares a few of the thousands of photos he has taken recently using a new-to-him flash style.
One of the great advantages of belonging to the relatively close-knit community of watch collectors is having the opportunity to see and photograph a lot of great watches. Here GaryG takes on the formidable F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain with his mighty camera and collecting knowledge.
In the Behind the Lens series, GaryG presents great watches as seen from a variety of visual perspectives while at the same time passing along a few thoughts on what it’s like to shoot these great watches. And they don’t come much greater than the Philippe Dufour Simplicity.