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January 2018

Jason Pitsch

Bucherer Acquires Tourneau

Jason Pitsch

As recently as last week, I was hearing rumors that suggested Bucherer would soon acquire Tourneau. Today, those rumors came true, and Bucherer, Europe’s largest watch retailer, with 33 stores (16 in Switzerland, 10 in Germany, 1 in Vienna, 1 in Paris, and 4 in London), adds Tourneau’s 28 stores (all in the US) to their portfolio. Tourneau has been around since 1900 and similar to Bucherer was the largest watch retailer in their respective market, the United States. However, in recent years, as the business model has shifted, Tourneau has declined and so they had been looking for a suitor, presumably, for a long time. The acquisition makes sense, depending on the price of the deal, as the watch business is going through a serious period of changes right now (namely the adaptation of Ecommerce, the threat of smartwatches,

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Jason Pitsch

Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix

Jason Pitsch

This year Vacheron Constantin debuted an all-new, aggressively priced entry-level watch collection called the Fiftysix. Consisting of three different versions, the Self-Winding, Complete Calendar, and Day-Date – each variation is available in stainless steel or 18K pink gold. According to Vacheron Constantin, this is a “Modern interpretation of the iconic reference 6073, launched in 1956 and inspired by the Maltese cross.” The name of the collection references 1956, which is the year the original 6073 reference that the new watch has been loosely based on was first produced. The most notable inspiration from the 1950s model comes from the lugs. Each lug represents a branch of the company’s emblem: the Maltese cross. Notably, the case of the 6073 also had a unique multi-sided caseback. All of the references in the new Fiftysix collection come in a 40 mm diameter case

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Jason Pitsch

F.P. Journe Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante

Jason Pitsch

Genevan watchmaker F.P. Journe recently announced a new sports watch within their Linesport collection called the Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante which consists of a 44 mm x 12 mm case with a fixed bezel, metal bracelet, and black protective rubber inserts. Inspired by the chronograph made for Only Watch, caliber 1518 features a direct chronograph gearing with a rocking pinion avoiding the jump of the hand at the start. There are three different case options: 18K red gold, grade 5 titanium, and platinum (not shown). To improve comfort and fit, the links attached to the case have been designed to articulate and adapt to the different wrist sizes along with an adjustable folding clasp (approximately 5 mm of adjustment). The new 3Hz manually wound movement has 285 total components, 29 jewels, and requires 38 turns of the crown to achieve the

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De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels

De Bethune is an independent Swiss manufacture that recently relaunched their brand after the company recently went through a complete restructuring – marked by the launch of a new iteration of the DB28 collection earlier this month in Geneva, and thus beginning a new era. The new DB28 Steel Wheels comes in a grade 5 polished titanium case (42.6 mm x 9.30 mm) with the company’s patented floating-lug system that adjusts to wrist size and movements. A circular grained titanium notched chapter ring that’s inspired by gear-wheel toothing with 12 titanium polished spheres set in it mark the hours and add depth to the dial. A blued titanium inner ring provides contrast to the hour markers and outer ring. The dial is enhanced by the large signature spherical moonphase indication at 6 o’clock (patented 2004). Just above the moonphase is

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Introducing the BR-V2 Steel Heritage

Introducing the Bell & Ross BR-V2 Steel Heritage collection. Four new models that are part of the third generation of Bell & Ross’ Vintage collection will officially debut at Baselworld 2018 in March. Inspired by instrument panels from 1960s aircrafts, the BR V2-92 and BR V2-94 Steel Heritage offer a retro vintage look. The cases are 41 mm in diameter which is slightly smaller than previous versions. The surfaces are polished and satin finished. Each version has crown guards with a relatively flat crown that screws-down to reinforce water-resistance (100 meters). The chronograph also adds screw-down pushers which operate the chronograph functions. The black dial has steel large hands, and large indices, with Arabic numerals at 12, 3, 6, and 9, all of which are coated with a beige faux patina luminescent material. The minute/second track is printed in white

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Ulysse Nardin's first automatic Freak

Ulysse Nardin’s Freak Vision is the first – from the collection that debuted in 2001 – to incorporate an automatic winding movement within the design that consists of a distinctive baguette-shaped movement and features a flying carrousel rotating around its own access. The Freak Vision has an ultra-light silicium balance wheel with nickel variable inertia blocks (patented) and silicium micro-blades that stabilize the amplitude and significantly increase accuracy. There is a new 3D carved upper bridge, a new box type domed sapphire crystal which allows for a thinner middle and bezel, and the case has new horns, bezel, and rubber elements. A new “Grinder” automatic winding system, which Ulysse Nardin claims “revolutionizes energy transmission, surpassing existing systems for efficiency by a factor of two,” generates energy with even the slightest movement of the wrist. “The oscillating rotor is linked to

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Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Skeleton

In a freshly restyled Aikon case, Maurice Lacroix has fitted a new manufacture, openworked, automatic caliber of unique design. True to its vocation of manufacturing high quality timepieces at an affordable price, deeply rooted in urban and contemporary culture, Maurice Lacroix introduces Aikon Automatic Skeleton. Openwork timepieces are an integral part of Maurice Lacroix’s history and watchmaking culture. Several successive generations of its watches have featured this graphic and horological principle. It consists in the hollowing of a movement’s parts, in order to retain only its bearing and functional structures. It is inseparable from a graphic frame of mind, one that sets the hollow apart from the void according to a designer’s will, and the zeitgeist. Maurice Lacroix is an early explorer of that style as the Calypso Skeleton, its first such creation, goes as far back as 1993. Maurice

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Jason Pitsch

Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI (SPB071J1)

Jason Pitsch

Following the launch of a new collection of 62MAS inspired dive timepieces last year, this year Seiko has announced another watch based on the company’s original dive watch from 1965: the Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI SPB071J1. Like the Ref. SPB053 and SPB051, this new dive watch is more loosely based on the original 62MAS (whereas the Ref. SLA017 is more of a literal re-issue). The dimensions (42.6 mm x 13.8 mm) and movement (caliber 6R15 which beats at 3Hz and has a 50-hour power reserve) are the same as the aforementioned models, excluding the SLA017. What’s new is the PADI designation printed on the dial, which is an acronym for Professional Association of Diving Instructors, the world’s leading scuba diver training organization. The bezel edge that has been plated in a special blue color, blue silicon accordion-style strap, and

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Jason Pitsch

REVIEW: Greubel Forsey Balancier

Jason Pitsch

Overview In 1999, Robert Greubel (CompliTime Greubel, la Neuveville) and Stephen Forsey (Stephen Forsey, Bureau d’Etude et Prototypy, Le Locle) began working as independents. In 2001, the two partnered together and formed CompliTime SA. They launched Greubel Forsey in 2004 and moved to Ancien Manège in Chau-de-Fonds. In 2011, Richemont SA bought a 20% stake in Greubel Forsey SA. Today, collectors who truly know watches, know Greubel Forsey is one of the most respected and expensive, watch manufactures on the planet. The dial A dial makes a watch, and the Balancier is no exception, in fact, this is one of the most intricately detailed dials I’ve ever seen. When you consider the construction, which I will explain in detail, I think you’ll agree. Notice how the center of the dial and the hour chapter ring are different shades or silver/gray.

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SIHH 2018: Ulysse Nardin Deep Dive Hammerhead Shark

Presented in an imposing 46 mm titanium case, the Deep Dive Hammerhead Shark comes with a unique removable crown guard (reminiscent of the oversized guard seen on Panerais). This 300 piece limited edition has Hammerhead Sharks all over the watch, 15 in total, including one engraved and then red lacquered on the titanium crown, another embossed on the caseback, and then 13 more in a pattern that makes it look like they are swimming on the dial. With professional dive specs such as a 1000 meter water-resistance rating, a screw-down crown with removable guard, a screw-in caseback, and a screw-down helium escape valve (at 9 o’clock) – this dive watch can go virtually anywhere. The large rotating bezel has 12-notched teeth for easy manipulation, even with diving gloves. And the strap automatically expands using a spring based on water depth.

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