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July 2016

Jason Pitsch

The Charming Bird Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

Originally announced is 2013, the Charming Bird is a half million dollar Jaquet Droz timepiece that features the world’s first singing bird automaton in a wristwatch. Basically, there are two mechanical movements that control the time and automaton functions, respectively. First, is the movement which controls the time, caliber JD 615, beats a 3Hz (21,600 vph) and features automatic winding via a platinum oscillating weight. It powers the hours and minutes display located at 12 o’clock and is controlled by the crown just above that. The movement is in-house made and features 29 jewels and a 38-hour power reserve via a single barrel. Second, is the singing bird automation movement is controlled by a hand-winding mechanical movement, with a crown and push-button at 2 o’clock. You have to manually wind the crown, which in turn compresses the air to activate

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Jason Pitsch

EDITORIAL: Swiss watch industry exports 2016 first half results

Jason Pitsch

As of June, according to the FHS, all the principal watch markets are in decline. In January through June, the exports of Swiss watches dropped 11.9 percent in terms of units and 10.7 percent in terms of value compared to the same period last year. Precious metal watches performed the worst with a 31.4 percent decline in the first half of 2016. Watches priced between 500 - 3,000 francs (export price) represent the only segment to have avoided a double-digit decline during the same period (which is consistent with the previous 12-months). Source: Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry If you want to see more comprehensive Swiss watch industry half-year statistics, I recommend this well-written Bloomberg article. I will instead highlight just two key segments: precious metal watches and 500 - 3,000 Swiss franc watches. These two areas are the

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Jason Pitsch

Reverso à Eclipse tribute to Vincent van Gogh

Jason Pitsch

This year is the 85th anniversary of the Reverso, and to celebrate Jaeger-LeCoultre partnered with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to present a second series of the Reverso à Eclipse watch in tribute to Vincent van Gogh (the first series was offered in 2015 featuring his famous “Sunflowers”). The second series Reverso à Eclipse tribute to Vincent van Gogh features an enameled dial painting of one of Van Gogh’s most iconic paintings, a self-portrait from 1887-1888, which is a permanent part of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Crafted in platinum, the classic reversible case has the unique ability to transform the dial via a wheel on the case flank at 2 o’clock, which opens and closes shutters on the dial, revealing three different versions of the dial – giving it the à Eclipse designation. It is fitting that

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Jason Pitsch

Tempus Machina Ref. 809H Submariner

Jason Pitsch

Tempus Machina, the company that created a customized Rolex Submariner Ref. 114060 as an homage to the highly collectible Ref. 6538 Big Crown, in 2015, is at it again. This time, they have customized another modern Submariner Ref. 114060 to look like a collectible 1960s vintage Ref. 5512 with pointed crown guards. In addition to the 5512-inspired pointed crown guards, the so-called Ref. 809H Submariner by Tempus Machina also has a gilt-printed 3, 6, 9 “Explorer” dial. “The lugs of the modern ceramic sub has been slightly thinned to create a more appropriate profile. Lugholes are drilled and sharp bevels are applied to the mid-case,” according to Tempus Machina. Limited to 30 pieces, the watch goes on sale today for $25,000. The price is steep, but if you want that vintage look, that many of us crave in a Rolex,

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Jason Pitsch

Chopard Grand Prix Monaco Historique Chrono

Jason Pitsch

Seen here on the wrist of the President of Chopard USA, is the Grand Prix Monaco Historique Chrono. The watch features a 44.50 mm x 14.10 mm case, constructed out of titanium for the case middle, pushers, and crown. With a stainless steel bezel and caseback. This timepiece was introduced in 2014 and pays homage to Chopard’s status as the official timekeeper on the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, dating back to 2002. Said to be inspired by the classic single-seaters sports cars from the 1970s, the Grand Prix Monaco Historique Chrono has a snailed gray dial and a yellow flange with graduations for the chronograph. Matching the ring are yellow chronograph hands for seconds (central hand), 30-minutes (12 o’clock), and 12-hours (6 o’clock). A small seconds subdial sits at 9 o’clock, and there is a date aperture at 3

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Jason Pitsch

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Hyperstellar

Jason Pitsch

Earlier this year Bell & Ross launched a limited edition version of their BR-X1 timepiece called the Hyperstellar. The BR-X1 line is inspired by aviation, and the “X1” designation is in reference to famous test pilot Chuck Yeager, who was the first to break the speed of sound, reaching Mach 1 in a Bell X-1 experimental rocket plane. The Hyperstellar takes the aviation theme of the BR-X1 collection a step further, by marketing it as “An Innovative Chronograph Designed to Conquer Space.” However, the watch has not been in space and is not designed for real astronauts. Although, features such as the large “rocket pushers” would allow for an astronaut to activate the chronograph, even with gloves on. And the large 45 mm diameter square case, with a highly legible circular dial consisting of prominent luminescent hour, minute, and second

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Jason Pitsch

Armin Strom Tourbillon Skeleton Air Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

One of my favorite timepieces from Swiss-based watchmaker, Armin Strom, is their Tourbillon Skeleton Air which comes in a matte gray titanium case, and normally includes a gray (shown below) or white alligator horn-back strap as well as an additional gray or white rubber strap. However, this particular piece is (shown above) with a brown horn-back alligator strap, which is a stunning combo. And which emphasizes how a simple strap change can significantly alter the appearance of the watch. The Tourbillon Skeleton Air case measures a very wearable 43.4 mm x 13 mm, which is a good size for a wide variety of wrists. It is not a 38 mm dress watch for sure but it is also not a 48 mm Panerai. With a non-locking crown and 50 meter water resistance, it is not really a sports watch, nor

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Jason Pitsch

Introducing the Girard-Perregaux Heritage 1957

Jason Pitsch

Girard-Perregaux’s Gyromatic timepiece came out in 1957 and offered improved automatic winding by way of a two Gyroton wheels, with 7 jewels each to reduce friction. The result, at the time, was faster and more reliable winding. By the 1960s, GP introduced the Gyromatic in a high frequency version (5hz/ 36,000 mph), up from the earlier (2.5Hz/18,000 vph and 3Hz/21,600 vph) models. This year, Girard-Perregaux introduced the Heritage 1957, that has neither the Gyromatic winding system nor the high-frequency movement. What is does share with the Gyromatic, however, is a similar aesthetic. Vintage 1960s Girard-Perregaux Gyromatic At 40 mm x 9.45 mm, and in a steel case no less, the Heritage 1957 pays homage to the company’s rich past and will surely please purists. The dial has a beautiful champagne color with a sunburst effect, punctuated with polished and applied

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Jason Pitsch

Breitling Chronoworks Performance Labs

Jason Pitsch

Chronoworks Performance Labs refers to the advanced research and development department at Breitling’s headquarters in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Simply put, the team develops and tests new technologies that can be utilized to enhance series-production watches. The Superocean Heritage Chronoworks is the first timepiece to utilize the chronometric enhancements developed by Chronoworks. These enhancements represent five key areas that start with the existing caliber B01 – Breitling’s first in-house mechanical movement – and result in a reworked caliber that outperforms the existing movement in many ways. Breitling caliber B01 Chronoworks Silicon wheels A watch movement is at halt 95% of the time, and each time it restarts there is a loss of energy. To offset this, the movement’s center wheel, third wheel, and fourth wheel have been manufactured with silicon which reduces weight by about half – making the restarting, and

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Jason Pitsch

Introducing the Piaget Polo S

Jason Pitsch

Sharing the iconic cushion-shape inspired design of the Emperador collection blended with the round look of the existing Polo collection, Piaget has unveiled an all-new model called the Piaget Polo S. The Swiss-based watchmaker refers to the design as a round case and bezel, “juxtaposed with a cushion-shaped face.” Designed and manufactured exclusively by Piaget, the new Polo S is offered in either an automatic, utilizing the new Piaget 1110P movement, or a chronograph equipped with the new Piaget 1160P movement. The new collection consists of five total references. The Polo S Automatic with a blue, gray, or white dial for $9350. And the Polo S Chronograph with a white or blue dial that retails for $12,400. Water-resistance is 100 meters. The Automatic version measures a sleek 9.4 mm, with the Chronograph measuring 11.2 mm in thickness. The dials all

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