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Horology

Jason Pitsch

Prospex Marinemaster GPS Solar Dual-Time Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

The Prospex Marinemaster GPS Solar Dual-Time, unveiled at Baselworld 2016, is the first Seiko, other than the Astron, to utilize Seiko’s unique GPS Solar timekeeping technology. Crafted in corrosion resistant titanium, the Marinemaster case and bracelet feature a super-hard coating to protect against impacts. The case measures 48.5 mm x 14.7 mm and is topped by a highly durable fixed ceramic bezel. The two-tone bezel is bright white on the top (with the numeric UTC codes in blue), and bright blue on the flange (with the 40 world time cities engraved in white). The bracelet has a three-fold clasp with push button release, with a secure lock and slide adjuster. A screw-down crown and caseback ensure a water-resistance of 200 meters. The crown features white ceramic crown guards. The sapphire crystal has been coated inside and out with a super-clear

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Jason Pitsch

Patek Philippe introduces 'Flamme' Diamond Set Calatrava

Jason Pitsch

Introduced this year at Baselworld, the Calatrava Ref. 7200/200R ladies watch features a new gem-setting technique that utilizes staggered rows of diamonds to amplify their sparkle and brilliance. The technique called “Flamme,” has been officially registered as a trademark by Patek Philippe for the horological industry. The unique gem-setting technique is complex and requires the skilled hand of a master jeweler. Furthermore, as with all jewelry pieces, only superb, flawless Top Wessleton brilliant-cut diamonds are used, in accordance with Patek Philippe’s rigorous standards as stipulated by the Patek Philippe Seal. The 18K rose gold Calatrava bezel is set with 142 diamonds, in two staggered rows. Each stone is placed inside a drilled slot. The gem-setter then manually sculpts a small prong for each setting and then bends it over the diamond to secure it on one side from above. Then,

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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

Is the Breguet No. 5 Pocket Watch worth its asking price?

Jason Pitsch

You may have already read about the famous Breguet Marie-Antoinette pocket watch No. 160 (which was ordered in 1783 and completed in 1827). Or the Grand Complication pocket watch No. 1160 (essentially an exact replica of the original pocket watch, commissioned by the late Nicolas G. Hayek in 2005 and completed in 2009). However, around the same period (1794), another important Breguet pocket watch was also produced: Breguet No. 5. And so, like the Marie-Antoinette, Breguet recreated this pocket watch as well. Although, instead of a one-off replica, like the Marie-Antoinette, Breguet produced six pieces. And while the original No. 5 is part of Breguet’s museum collection (as is should be), and the first five replicas have already been purchased, there is still one No. 5 Pocket watch available for sale. Interestingly, I first saw the No. 5 replica in

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Jason Pitsch

REVIEW: Alpina Alpiner 4 Chronoflyback

Jason Pitsch

Overview After three years of development, last year, Alpina unveiled an in-house chronograph based on their base caliber AL-710. A serious feat for any watch manufacture. Parmigiani Fleurier, for example, who has been in business for roughly two decades, just like the Frederique Constant group (which owns Alpina), introduced their first in-house chronograph this year. Notably, the Alpina chronograph has been added to an existing movement as a module, as opposed to being integrated directly caliber design from the start, however, it does have one proprietary feature that sets it apart from other chronographs: patented direct flyback technology. This allows for Alpina to produce a fairly complicated chronograph, for a relatively low price. The dial Legibility is the key to a good watch dial. I mean who says, “I want a watch with a busy dial that is difficult to

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Josh Shanks

A step inside of Audemars Piguet's US Service Center to see my Royal Oak receive a factory service (Part II)

Josh Shanks

Movement servicing The main watchmaking floor at AP Clearwater is a sight to be seen. Before entering, guests and employees are required to don shoe booties (to protect from dust and dirt). The watchmaking room resembles more of a clean room than a facility for repairing and servicing luxury timepieces. Each watchmaker has a state of the art workbench and all of the tools they need to do their jobs. The watchmakers are assigned their daily work by their manager and the workload is prioritized by challenge and complications to ensure the watchmaker has a wide variety of different pieces to work on throughout the week. The movement is disassembled to the main plate and parts are put into a carriage for cleaning My watchmaker, Billy Janshon, was assigned my piece earlier in the week. He has been with AP

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Josh Shanks

A step inside of Audemars Piguet's US Service Center to see my Royal Oak receive a factory service (Part I)

Josh Shanks

Intro Audemars Piguet’s legendary manufacture has been based at Le Brassus in the heart of the Vallée de Joux since 1875. They are one of the very few brands that have retained their independence from the larger conglomerates. An Audemars (Jasmine Audemars) and a Piguet (Olivier Audemars, great-grandson of co-founder Edward Auguste Piguet) still serve on the board of directors. The storied brand has a rich history of craftsmanship, ingenuity, and innovation. While AP’s main manufacture is based at Le Brassus, the brand has service centers throughout the world. These service centers provide after-sales service, accessories, and a place for owners to connect with the brand. The US service center is based in Clearwater, FL. For years, the concept of watch servicing has been a mysterious affair. Many choose to send their watches to a friend that “knows watches” or

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Le Garde Temps prototype timepiece sells for $1.46 million

On Monday, at Christie’s in Hong Kong, the prototype piece from “Le Garde Temps – Naissance D’Une Montre” sold for just over $1.46 million. This is an important step in the initiative that started ten years ago, called “Naissance d’une Montre - Le Garde Temps project” and validates the combined efforts of Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey, Philippe Dufour, Vianney Halter and others to safeguard and transmit traditional watchmaking knowledge and skills. Back in 2006, the group selected Michel Boulanger, a young watchmaker, who was already a teacher at a watchmaking school in Paris, to transmit their knowledge to him, which in turn would help teach crucial watchmaking know-how to future generations. Michel Boulanger then began working with Phillippe Dufour, who showed him ancestral watchmaking techniques, including using and even producing traditional watchmaking tools. Over the next six years, Michel worked

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Jason Pitsch

Montblanc TimeWalker Pythagore Ultra-Light Concept

Jason Pitsch

The TimeWalker Pythagore Ultra-Light Concept is one of the lightest mechanical timepieces in the world – at a mere weight of 14.88 grams. Creating a timepiece this light required the use of a special composite material called “Innovative Technical Revolutionary Resin” (or ITR) combined with Kevlar/carbon to create the case middle, bezel, back, and crown. The material is extremely difficult to manufacture, although the advantages of using this high-tech resin results in a case that it is eight times lighter than steel and four times lighter than titanium, according to Montblanc. The case measures 40 mm x 9.7 mm. Notably, the horns of the watch are made of titanium, which have been skeletonized for further weight reduction, as well as satin-finished and treated with a black DLC coating that provides a contrast to the smooth matte finish on the bezel.

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Jason Pitsch

Big Ben scheduled to be renovated in 2017

Jason Pitsch

Big Ben, the nickname for the world’s most famous clock, is scheduled to begin a much-needed renovation in 2017. The clock hands, mechanism, and pendulum all require repair. There are also leaks, erosion, rusting and cracked masonry in the tower, which according to a story in the New York Times, do not meet fire safety guidelines. Completed in 1858, the tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower. Technically the tower is referred to as Queen Elizabeth Tower, and the mechanism inside is called the Great Clock, while Big Ben is the huge chiming bell inside. However, Big Ben is the most commonly used nickname for clock and tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. With repairs scheduled to begin early in 2017, tours of the

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