It’s SIHH 2016 week! And already, our California collector group was off to a splendid start with our traditional Saturday evening dinner with friend and genius watchmaker Kari Voutilainen. Kari brought along several of the watches that he will be presenting this week at SIHH, and was kind enough to grant permission for us to show them here before the official start of the show.
One of the big introductions of 2015 in the collector’s world was A. Lange & Söhne’s Zeitwerk Minute Repeater: a watch that both shows and chimes off the time using a “decimal” format of hours, tens of minutes, and minutes rather than the more traditional hours, quarters (15 minutes), and minutes. But the first decimal repeating wristwatch to reach the market wasn’t the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater. It was by independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen.
In the early 1960s, engineer Kelly Johnson of Lockheed Martin came up with “keep it simple, stupid”, which became better known by its acronym, KISS. Watches that employ clever levers and clearly adhere to the KISS principle are always something that can turn me into a giddy fan boy, and one such piece is the Konstantin Chaykin Genius Temporis. Heck, even the name implies some genius.
It’s pretty interesting to us to find out what you like to read most, and we hope that it’s interesting for you to read, too – particularly at the end of the old year. For this reason, we bring you the top ten most-clicked posts of 2015 on Quill & Pad. Without further ado, here they are in no particular order.
Welcome to the 2015 edition of Quill & Pad’s early Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) predictions in which we pick our favorites and explain why. The six pre-selected finalists in the Men’s category are: MB&F’s anniversary HMX, the Laurent Ferrier Galet Square, Kari Voutilainen’s beautifully finished Voutilainen GMR, the Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone, and Piaget’s Altiplano 900P, currently the thinnest mechanical watch in the world.
At Grieb & Benzinger, blue is something of a corporate color when it comes to decorating the unique and exceedingly rare watches that the boutique brand based in a historic castle near Stuttgart produces. Hermann Grieb once told me how he and Jochen Benzinger came upon the idea for it. “The idea for this color came to us after an exhausting day of work in a local vineyard while enjoying a cool drink,” Grieb explained in his mischievous deadpan heavily inflected with local dialect. “The setting sun and the colors it created in the northern Black Forest sky simply inspired us.” The new Blue Chip collection prominently features this luxurious blue color.
In the early 1990s, I was facing the same dilemma as today: should I buy modern or vintage? The problem was that the modern watches actually all looked vintage, right down to the sizes. There was something lacking, and watch shopping at times almost felt like perusing the yogurt section in a Soviet supermarket.
I’m obviously exaggerating here, but in general it seemed to me that creativity was more or less an afterthought.
Enter Vianney Halter in 1998 with the Antiqua Perpetual. And then what happened next: the birth of ICH (“independent creative horology”).
Giuliano Mazzuoli comes from a line of Tuscan designers. First making a name for himself with agendas and pens, he turned to creating wristwatches ten years ago.
This run of cult hits began with the Manometro, a timepiece of unique design that looks like a pressure gauge. Its obvious, large dimensions, unusual and insistent design, and incredible legibility have made it popular among watch and design enthusiasts alike.
Now, ten years and four watches later, Mazzuoli celebrates a decade of watch design with a limited edition Manometro.
Sometimes persistence pays off. After a few well-placed questions, the shopkeeper brought out a relatively innocent looking skeletonized pocket watch. With a wry smile, he suggested that the buyer take a look at the tiny lug, leaving my friend flabbergasted. “G.N. Papi No.1” is a clear reference to Giulio Papi. The legendary watch industry figure who leads Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi and now my friend has stumbled across what could be his very first timepiece from 1984.
Romain Gauthier’s Logical One is a masterpiece of complicated mechanics, boasting − as with all of the models in his collection − a level of finishing rivaled only by the likes of Philippe Dufour, Greubel Forsey, and Kari Voutlainen. That’s high praise, indeed. With its four patents, Logical One delivers what it promises: a re-imagined complication laid out very logically. And the most recent edition of the timepiece taking home the 2013 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève prize for best men’s complication is a surprising all-black version.