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Baselworld

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

Manero Flyback Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

The Manero Chronograph Flyback is one of the first new watches to receive the designation “Lucerne 1888” added below the logo on the dial, along with the new Manero Peripheral, which we wrote earlier this year. However, while that watch has an in-house made mechanical movement inside – with the company’s patented peripheral rotor technology – the Manero Flyback does not. Instead, it has a basic modular 4Hz chronograph movement, with a complicated flyback function that allows you to instantly stop-start and restart the chronograph with just one push. The mainplate and bridges have a circular graining decorating and the rotor has the company logo engraved on it. No chamfered edges or higher level finishing like the aforementioned, patented peripheral rotor model, though. The Manero comes in a 43 mm x 14.45 mm case that alternating polished and satin-brushed case,

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Jason Pitsch

TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300M with steel bezel Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

The TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300M comes in 41 mm and 43 mm diameter automatic models (in steel or titanium) – with either a ceramic or steel bezel. New for 2016, are two 43 mm diameter stainless steel Aquaracers (black or blue dial), with stainless steel bezels. We checked out the blue dial version, close-up, back in March, at Baselworld. The dial features what TAG Heuer calls a “horizontal streak effect.” It has prominent hand-applied polished and facetted indexes that mark the hours, including a luminescent treatment for low-light visibility. Big baton-shaped, polished and facetted, luminescent hands indicate the hours and minutes. A polished seconds hand, with a yellow tip with lume, continuously sweeps the dial. The outer chapter ring has white printed graduations that indicate seconds/minutes in conjunction with the seconds and minutes hands, respectively. An angled date aperture with

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Jason Pitsch

Chopard L.U.C. Perpetual Chrono Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

This year at Baselworld, Chopard introduced one of their most complicated timepieces ever. Produced in-house by their higher-end manufacture (L.U.C.), the L.U.C. Perpetual Chrono boasts a vertical coupling-clutch column-wheel flyback chronograph with a perpetual calendar, along with an impeccably finished haute horology dial, movement, and case. Intricate details of the dial include a gray ruthenium-toned sunburst satin-brushed and hand-guilloché gold dial, with beams radiating from the prominent twin-aperture date window at 12. White or rose gold rhodium plated Roman numerals (depending on the case material) are applied by hand to the dial, surrounded by a snailed silver-toned inner bezel ring – with red and black transfers. Rhodium plated Dauphine-shaped hands, in white or rose gold, are used to indicate hours, minutes, small seconds, day, month, chronograph (seconds, minutes, hours - designed with red tips), and phases of the moon. There

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Jason Pitsch

H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

Back in January, H. Moser & Cie received announced their Swiss mechanical watch that was inspired by the Apple Watch, which not surprisingly, received a lot of press. At the time, our Contributing Editor, Josh Shanks, wrote about it from the perspective of a tech guy and watch collector. In March, at Baselworld, Moser had a working prototype (pictured), which I got to see up close. The first thing I thought was that it does have the exact dimensions of an Apple Watch. However, after looking up the dimensions, the Moser watch is actually taller and wider than both the 38 mm and 42 mm Apple Watch. Interestingly, the Moser Swiss Alp watch is 2/10ths of a millimeter thinner, for those of you counting. So, it is not exactly the same dimensions, but overall, the look and proportions are very

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Jason Pitsch

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ceramic Bezel 116500LN Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

This year at Baselworld, by far, the most talked about watch release has been the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref 116500LN (which replaces Ref. 116520 that was first introduced in 2000). Over the 16 year period, a number of incremental changes have been made to the Daytona Chronograph. The caliber 4130 automatic movement was enhanced with a blue Parachrom hairspring, which improves rate accuracy thanks to its anti-magnetic properties. The previously green Superluminova material was changed to Rolex’s proprietary Chromalight material, which notably lights up blue. A modern spring loaded clasp was added along the way. While the original flange had no writing, the word “ROLEX” is repeated, as seen in all current Rolex timepieces. Also, the new outer chapter ring (for minutes and seconds), is now marked with 5 graduations in between each hour index as opposed to twenty-five. And

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Jason Pitsch

Frederique Constant Slimline Manufacture Perpetual Calendar

Jason Pitsch

Earlier this year, at Baselworld 2016, Frederique Constant unveiled a new in-house manufactured perpetual calendar timepiece, created by Manuel Da Silva Matos (R&D director) and Pim Koeslag (Technical director). Coming from a brand known for accessibility, it should be no surprise that this is one of the most affordable mechanical perpetual calendar timepieces on the market. The Slimline Manufacture Perpetual Calendar is powered by the new 4Hz (28,800 kph) automatic movement (caliber FC-775), which drives hours, minutes, moonphase, and perpetual calendar functions. The movement measures just 6.7 mm thick, and the components are rhodium plated, with chamfered edges. The main bridge features circular Geneva stripes, and the mainplate has a perlage decoration. Furthermore, the rotor is gold plated, with a straight grained finish, and a relief engraving. In total, the movement consists of 191 components, 78 of which are for

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Jason Pitsch

Omega Speedmaster CK2998 Limited Edition

Jason Pitsch

One of the most interesting debuts from Omega in 2016 was the Speedmaster CK2998 Limited Edition, a throwback to their original reference 2998-1 from 1959. Omega designers borrowed some key design cues from the past, mixed with modern elements, to create a contemporary version of the 2998. The Lance-shaped hands (Omega calls them “Alpha-shaped”) for the hours, minutes, and all three subdials, are from the original. Straight-lugs (versus twisted-lugs) also pay homage to the past model. Just as seen on the re-edition Speedmaster from 2013. Not to mention, there are no crown guards – another nod to the past models. A few more noteworthy retro features are the “lollipop” seconds hand, and the “BASE 1000” writing on the bezel. Having said that, the bezel is made of ceramic, unlike previous models that featured a black insert. Surely appealing to collector

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Jason Pitsch

Ludwig Neomatik Champagner Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

After launching the Neomatik line last year, in 2016, NOMOS Glashutte introduced a series of twelve watches with the new DUW 3001 movement, which is now equipped with the new in-house regulation system. The models included are the Minimatik, Tangente, Metro, Orion, and Ludwig, which continue to be available with white silver-plated or champagne-colored dials. Also, the Tetra line is now available with an automatic movement. The Neomatik series (which is the brand’s automatic collection of watches) is powered by the 3.2 mm thick DUW 3001, which allows for slim, elegant timepieces. Despite the thinness, each movement is capable of achieving chronometer accuracy. According to the manufacture, “This high rate accuracy can now be achieved more simply and quickly in DUW 3001, as this caliber is equipped with NOMOS’ own DUW regulatory system. It replaces the Triovis system and allows

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Jason Pitsch

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

Like the Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback Ocean Commitment that debuted in 2014, this year Blancpain launched a plasma grey ceramic version of the three-hand Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe, with the same deep blue dial and bezel. Distinguished by the matte grey plasma ceramic case – that measures 43.60 mm x 13.83 mm – the new Bathyscaphe is a truly contemporary dive watch, despite its rich diving heritage dating back to the 1950s. Like the case, the unidirectional rotating dive bezel is crafted in matte grey ceramic, that has been satin-brushed, along with a polished blue ceramic insert, dive scale, and a single lume-filled Liquidmetal marker at 12 o’clock. Matching the bezel is a stunning, deep blue sunburst pattern dial, punctuated by polished Liquidmetal hour makers, and rectangular-shaped grey hour and minute hands, along with a baton-shaped central seconds sweep hand with a

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