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Black Friday: 10 Affordable Gift Ideas

Stefano Bemer Handmade Italian Watch Straps (pictured above), are available HERE starting at $290. The quality of the straps is on par with the shoes of the same name that can cost upwards of $2500. No machine stitching, everything is made by hand in Italy. Only the best leathers are used – exotic materials such as sharkskin, kudu, elephant, and horse leather are available as an option. If you prefer contrast stitching, quick release spring bars, special sizes, just ask – everything is possible. These are truly bespoke watch straps of the highest quality. We hope you enjoy this curated selection of affordable gift items even if not all are discounted or watch related! Valextra Pebble-Grain Leather Watch Roll $595 Stefano Bemer Brogue Hole Pattern Card Wallets $168 Topo Designs Daypack $169 Frederique Constant Analytics Clip $99 The Wristwatch Handbook

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Jason Pitsch

Stefano Bemer Bespoke Italian Shoes, Belts, and Watch Straps

Jason Pitsch

Florentine shoemaker, Stefano Bemer, started his company in 1983 “with a goal no less ambitious than creating the perfect Italian shoe.” Starting by repairing shoes, he eventually taught himself – along with workshops and shoemaking courses – the many techniques required to make fine handmade shoes, and ultimately mastered his own signature technique. After his unfortunate passing in 2012, Tommaso Melani, whose family has owned a leather handbag business, in Florence, Italy (Firenze), based in a Monastery of Santa Croce since 1950, purchased Stefano Bemer, with a goal of maintaining what the founder had built, and further expanding the business around the world. Over the summer, I had a chance to meet with Melani, at his company’s New York City flagship, located in a penthouse showroom in one of the most prestigious sections of the Upper East Side. During our

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Jason Pitsch

Video: Aurel Bacs explains the provenance of Patek Philippe's mythical stainless steel Ref. 1518

Jason Pitsch

In this video, Phillips Watches auctioneer, Aurel Bacs discusses the highlights of the upcoming Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR, which takes place November 12th and 13th. Specifically, Bacs discusses the trilogy of Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 wristwatches that will be auctioned, including what the company refers to as the ne plus ultra watch of the 20th century – the stainless steel Patek Philippe Ref. 1518. According to Bacs, in 1941, when reference 1518 was launched, it was the most complicated wristwatch in the world – made in series – in the midst of a war. The steel watch was made in 1943, and sold in Hungary in February 1944. Watch the video to learn the full story behind this amazing piece of horological history, as well as some additional Patek Philippe highlights, including a rare Ref. 565 black dial steel watch

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Jason Pitsch

Wempe expands 5th Avenue flagship boutique

Jason Pitsch

Following a two-year, eight-million-dollar renovation Wempe recently reopened their New York City Flagship boutique, located at the corner of 55th Street and Fifth Avenue. Expanding from 2,500 to 5,500 square feet provides more space for and comfort for customers, a larger service area, and room for additional watches. Wempe Jewelers has been located on Fifth Avenue since 1980 when the German-based watch and jewelry retailer decided to expand to the US. It has been located in the famous Penisula building, across the street from the original location, since 1990. Interestingly, the store has load bearing pillars from the Penisula hotel, that are part of its architecture. According to Wempe, “The new interior concept was motivated by the desire to provide more open space for Wempe customers. Fine materials such as granite from the quarries around Verona have been used for

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Jason Pitsch

Cartier's newly renovated 653 Fifth Avenue Mansion

Jason Pitsch

Cartier’s three premiere worldwide flagships boutiques are in Paris, London, and New York, respectively. Following a massive storewide renovation that required closing the New York flagship 653 Fifth Avenue location, which began in 2014 – as of September 7th, 2016 – the Cartier Mansion is now open for business again. To put it in further perspective, during the renovation, Cartier built-out a temporary store at 767 5th Avenue (just behind the 5th Avenue Apple Store) to sustain sales and service their elite clientele during the renovation. Interestingly, that store did so well, that they are keeping it open, along with the flagship Mansion, even though the locations are only 7 blocks apart. After almost a century at 653 Fifth Avenue, Cartier will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2017. Below are interior shots, provided by Cartier, of each of the unique

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Jason Pitsch

The story behind the historic Cartier Fifth Avenue mansion

Jason Pitsch

Cartier was founded in Paris, France in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier. In over a century of operation, the company has acquired a long list of famous clients, from celebrities to royal families, many with interesting back stories. However, the sale of a pearl necklace to a businessman named Morton F. Plant in 1917 is one of the most important in the company’s history. Pierre Cartier 1910 In 1912, Pierre Cartier, the grandson of the Cartier founder, began searching for a location in New York City on par with Cartier’s rue de la Paix flagship in Paris and New Bond Street in London. He spent five years searching, and finally, in 1917 he found a neo-Renaissance style mansion situated in a prime Manhattan location that was exactly what he had envisioned. At the time, according to Cartier, “Pierre proposed the legendary

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Jason Pitsch

Zenith El Primero Range Rover Hands-On

Jason Pitsch

Last Thursday, Zenith announced a special edition co-branded timepiece with Range Rover, available in two versions, one with a beige strap and the other with a dark blue strap, which we reported on here. And this past Monday, Jean-Claude Biver, (who is the Head of LVMH’s watch division, the interim-CEO of TAG Heuer, and an LVMH board member), travelled from Switzerland, along with Land Rover head of design, Gerry McGovern, to officially launch the new timepiece to New York press. As part of the event, which took place at the New York Edition Hotel, artist, Carlito Dalceggio, painted a number of Range Rover body parts that had been flown in from the London. Gerry McGovern and Jean-Claude Biver unveiling the new El Primero Range Rover Special Edition During the unveiling, Biver and McGovern, made it clear that this is a

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Jason Pitsch

PHOTO REPORT: Seiko opens Miami Design District boutique

Jason Pitsch

Last week, Seiko Corporation of America held the grand opening of its second United States boutique – which is also Seiko’s 71st boutique worldwide – in Miami’s Design District. The opening event was held at Michael’s Genuine in Miami, hosted by Seiko Corporation of America Chairman Akio Naito, and attended by over 100 guests. The Design District is known for its destination shopping that includes the world’s most prestigious brands and fittingly the new store primarily focuses on Seiko’s prestigious collections, including Grand Seiko, Astron, and Credor. It will also showcase collections never before sold in the US, including Presage, and various boutique exclusives within the US, including the Prospex collection. “The opening of our Miami Seiko Boutique truly signifies the beginnings of Seiko’s position as a permanent global leader in the timepiece industry. This boutique is a showcase of

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Jason Pitsch

Ten facts about Patek Philippe Minute Repeaters

Jason Pitsch

The name “Patek Philippe” is synonymous with minute repeaters. And while the company does not provide yearly production numbers, it is safe to say the number is very low. The demand for Patek Philippe minute repeaters far exceeds the supply. And so naturally, they are highly coveted amongst the world’s elite collectors, resulting in high prices at auction, in the rare instance that someone actually decides to sell one. 1- In Sept 1839, Patek Philippe made their first quarter repeater, which sold for 450 CHF. 2- The world’s first self-winding minute repeater wristwatch (Ref. 3979) was produced by Patek Philippe in 1989. 3- Patek Philippe minute repeaters are produced in both the Vallée de Joux and Geneva factories. 4- Patek Philippe gongs are entirely hand made. There are 21 classes which are necessary to better distinguish between high and low

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Jason Pitsch

Interview with Ralph Simons, CEO of Chopard USA

Jason Pitsch

Since your move from the President of Frederique Constant/Alpina USA to CEO of Chopard USA Ltd. in 2015 what have you done to improve the business at your new company? Well, we’ve done a lot. It has been a very interesting period since then. The main point of focus has been to simplify the assortment of products along with its communication to the market. When I arrived at Chopard we utilized a large selection of different advertising visuals, and one level up from that, in terms of product, at the time we also offered a broad range of references. This made it harder for our final clients and our authorized retailers to capture a consistent and recognizable brand message. The Chopard Core Collection for North America launched at Baselworld 2015 now serves as a foundation. This assortment, which is based

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