THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL WATCH MAGAZINE
SPECIAL EDITION: Reflections on time
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EUROPE N° 311 1 / 2012 FEB. / MARCH
SPECIAL EDITION: Reflections on time
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N° 311 1 /2012 Feb. / March 02
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ART, SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY, DESIGN 1
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4 EDITORIAL europa star
The ambiguities of luxury R Pierre M. Maillard Editor-in-Chief In a recent article entitled “In Japan, a desire for luxury to counteract the tsunami,” the newspaper Le Monde explained that, after a few months of “self denial,” the Japanese are again rushing to purchase luxury goods. “In the Louis Vuitton store in Sendai,” writes the journalist, “the usual clients —having just received their insurance payouts—quickly returned ‘to treat themselves’ after the earthquake, to console themselves.” Interestingly, while a strong decline in purchasing habits would have been expected, the Japanese luxury market (valued at €18 billion, making it the second largest luxury market after the United States) should see a slight rise of 2 per cent in the year of the tsunami and the nuclear disaster. If we look only at watch sales, Japan registered in 2011 an increase of 11.2 per cent in its imports of Swiss timepieces (based on statistics from January to November 2011). While these figures might surprise us, this type of behaviour is in line with the notion of “luxury”. The justifications touting luxury as an investment are not really valid, since the nature of luxury is primarily that of excessive squandering and gratuitous “celebration”, which “immoderately consume the resources accumulated during the hours of work,” as explained by the French author Georges Bataille. In his opinion, this excess is a “sacred” part of us, a part intrinsically linked to the other “excesses” of eroticism or war. The custom of potlatch—a ritual celebration during which the Indians of the North American Pacific coast destroyed their essential wealth, such as canoes,
blankets, and precious objects, which had just been offered to them by a rival tribe—is often reported and commented upon, with more than a little astonishment. This deliberate destruction of material goods is not done quietly but rather in a flagrant and ostentatious manner, right before the eyes of the gift-givers. More interestingly, what follows this ritual is a sort of one-upmanship, where the rival tribe —a question of prestige—shows that they are “on the same level” by destroying even more things. When we look at this “gratuitous” expenditure, this deliberate destruction of value, this pure loss, which in exchange receives, a “currency of renown and reputation”, can we compare it to our modern extravagant spending? Considering that the Japanese people have been moulded by millennia of a culture of frugality, this burning desire for luxury, kindled by the recent collective hardships, stands out all the more. While conventional wisdom deals only with the productive and accumulative parts of the economy, it ignores another part, which is the “luxurious destruction” side of the economy. It is easy for us to look scornfully at the strange potlatch custom, but isn’t today’s luxury spending merely a contemporary reflection of this tribal ritual? It is what Georges Bataille calls the “generalised economy,” in opposition to the work economy—a generalised economy that integrates destruction and gratuitous spending as “sources of value.” Luxury is, in its own way, the peaceful and ritualistic continuation of war, its mad expenditure of energy, and its enthusiastic abundance of wealth.
"On 26.08.06, I am going to gather every branded possession of mine into a warehouse, douse them with petrol and burn the lot. Jacobson chairs, Christian Dior shirts, a Louis Vuitton bag; I’m too frightened to calculate the financial cost of this action, but I know it’s a lot. Far more unsettling than the money is the emotional cost I’m going to suffer." William Bowles
(According to the estimates of Joseph Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, the war in Iraq cost the government of the United States some $3 trillion, a price that has no relation to the hoped-for “benefits” and does not even take into consideration the incalculable price paid in human terms.) To ward off the perils and uncertainties of the future by permitting spending at a “pure loss” is definitely one of the “sacred” functions of luxury.
When classic meets eternity.
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6 CONTENTS europa star
THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL WATCH MAGAZINE EUROPE
N° 311 1/2012 FEB./MARCH
EDITORIAL The ambiguities of luxury
COVER STORY Ralph Lauren: Putting the art into Art Deco
12 14 20 24 28 30 34 36 40 43 45 49
REFLECTIONS ON TIME Introduction: Suspended time The mastery of time Hartmut Rosa: The acceleration of time The yurt and the equation Aphorisms on time The Clock: watch of the year Carte blanche: Eric Giroud Chronometry at the speed of light A meeting with Ottavio Di Blasi Carte blanche: The White Group Starry skies on the wrist Carte blanche: Alexis Guillier
53 54 55 56
SIHH GALLERIES Gents’ watches Tourbillons Ladies’ watches Highlights
57 60 62 63 64 65
BASELWORLD PREVIEWS Antonio Calce, new shareholder in Corum Blancpain presents the extreme X Fathoms Louis Vuitton rides the America’s Cup waves Gallery: GMT watches Gallery: ladies’ watches Gallery: classic automatics
CONNECTING ICONIC BRANDS TO THEIR CLIENTELE ONLINE
WORLDWATCHWEB® Haute Horlogerie under the watchful eye of the WorldWatchReport 2012
EDITORIAL AND ADVERTISERS’ INDEX
LAKIN@LARGE If the universe is expanding, why can I never find a parking place? SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT Jaeger-LeCoultre Duomètre à Sphérotourbillon
DIGITAL-LUXURY.COM media partner
Do not miss our next issue: EUROPA STAR BASELWORLD 2012 ISSUE For more information visit www.europastar.biz
THE 867 WATCH by Ralph Lauren The Slim Classique line from Ralph Lauren has been renamed the 867 Watch in tribute to the address of the brand’s flagship store in New York. The latest models celebrate the very best in Art Deco design with their pronounced geometric shapes. Watch in white gold with a debonair bezel featuring a glossy black frame and a fine line of diamonds. Silver opaline dial, Breguet-style hands and Arabic and Roman numerals. Equipped with the RL430 manual-winding movement created by Piaget for Ralph Lauren. Black alligator leather strap with matching gold pin buckle. Ralph Lauren 8 Chemin de Blandonnet 1214 Vernier Switzerland Tel: +41 (0) 22 595 59 00 www.ralphlaurenwatches.com
Europa Star HBM SA 25 Route des Acacias P.O. Box 1355 CH-1211 Geneva 26 Switzerland Tel +41 (0)22 307 78 37 Fax +41 (0)22 300 37 48 www.europastar.com firstname.lastname@example.org © 2012 EUROPA STAR Audited REMP 2011 The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily Europa Star.
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8 COVER STORY europa star
PUTTING THE ART INTO ART DECO RKeith W. Strandberg
Ralph Lauren is a design icon in luxury products, and the brand offers everything from clothing to home furnishings and more, including watches and jewellery. Infused with the Ralph Lauren design aesthetic, the brandâ€™s timepieces are classic, elegant and timeless. The story of the relationship between Ralph Lauren and the Richemont Groupâ€™s Johann Rupert is legendary, how these two titans of industry struck up a friendship and decided to work together, both committed to fine watchmaking. The result is a company that has access to the movement makers of the Richemont Group and has created a team of watch professionals who certainly are experts in the field, and they are working directly with Ralph Lauren to translate his creations into watches for the market. This year, Ralph Lauren watches are continuing to focus on the Art Deco period, with clean lines, strong geometric forms and simple, traditional designs. The feature piece for 2012 is the Ralph Lauren 867 Watch.
The Ralph Lauren 867 Watch The Slim Classique Square was launched in 2011, and this year is being renamed the Ralph Lauren 867 Watch, with many different
variations offered. The 867 in the name of this watch is in honour of 867 Madison Avenue – the location of Ralph Lauren’s historic flagship in New York. The flagship store first opened in 1986, revolutionising the traditional shopping experience by creating a retail space in an authentic residential environment – the Rhinelander Mansion. The Mansion was originally designed in the 1890s and is an architectural treasure and among the few remaining turn-of-the-century great homes in Manhattan. Several new models of the 867 Watch are being introduced this year, including a new, very elegant 32mm size, as well as various diamond versions, with one or two rows of beautiful gems. “We are expanding the three existing collections with a very strong push on Art Deco, while ensuring a consistent and coherent offering,” says Guy Chatillon, CEO, Ralph Lauren Watches and Jewellery. “The 867 Watch highlights the essence of Ralph Lauren and the DNA of the brand. In this timepiece we have
everything we want to convey: authenticity, unique design, craftsmanship and timelessness, a watch that could have been worn decades before and will be worn decades from now. This year, we are adding references with diamonds, to broaden our offer in Asia and to women.We want to keep the spirit and the aesthetic, while offering different models to different customers. “When we started the development of this watch, inspired by the round Slim Classique, we wanted to keep the thinness of this watch,”
COVER STORY 9
he continues. “Also, you will notice that the dial of the original Slim Classique has Roman numerals, but we decided to do a combination of Arabic and Roman numerals to highlight the eclectic design. We got the inspiration from different elements of Ralph Lauren Art Deco products – the result is a mixture of modernity and classicism.” Art Deco is a very important period and aesthetic as a style influence across the board in Ralph Lauren’s product range, but nowhere is it more evident than in the watches. The time-
10 COVER STORY europa star
pieces feature geometric shapes, bold lines and the timelessness and purity of white and black. “Art Deco has always influenced Ralph Lauren in his designs,” Chatillon explains. “The geometry and simplicity of the lines and the colours are very important for him. Art Deco evokes beauty and sophisticated glamour. ‘The Great Gatsby’ is from the period of the 20s and 30s, and Ralph Lauren actually designed all the suits for this classic movie starring Robert Redford.” The Ralph Lauren design ethos carries throughout all the collections, along with a near-fanatical focus on the smallest design elements, to make sure that everything is as close to perfect as possible.
Attention to detail One of the most important aspects of the Ralph Lauren watch collection is in the attention to detail. The design has been gone over with a fine toothed comb, by Ralph Lauren himself and every member of the team, so no detail is left out. “This attention to detail is part of the DNA of Ralph Lauren and the Richemont Group,” Chatillon details. “Both value authenticity and craftsmanship and they are non-negotiable values. If you want to be credible in fine watchmaking, you need to have substance, and the substance for us is the craftsmanship. It’s so important to have manufacture movements and we want to focus on the attention to detail – we have to communicate and share this with everyone. It’s part of the educational process and giving substance to the end customer.” Take for example the guilloche work on the original Slim Classique watches. The high quality of the work was clearly evident, but still understated.
Ralph Lauren designs The hand of Ralph Lauren is clearly apparent in every watch the company brings to market.
“Ralph Lauren himself is a watch collector, so he knows a lot about watches,” Chatillon emphasises. “He knows exactly what he wants. He has a clear vision for our brand, which is very important. You can see behind every single product, his soul and his passion. He pays attention to every detail.” “Ralph Lauren wears all the watches in our collection, but I noticed that the 867 has become a particular favourite, which is why he wanted to honour it with a special name,” Chatillon says.
The world according to Ralph Lauren Unlike many other brands, Ralph Lauren started its distribution of watches slowly, carefully, without pressure to grow too quickly. For Ralph Lauren, it’s all about the partnerships making sense. “We want our retail partners to be proud to offer and sell our watches, and our watches need to be coherent with the values of our retailers, in terms of quality, unique style and aesthetic, over the long term,” Chatillon says.
COVER STORY 11
“We want a partnership with a retailer based on true values, sharing the same values. The comments we get on the products is that we have qualitative product with great attention to detail, and we are reinforcing our identity.” Recently, business has really been taking off. Once the foundation was laid, working with the best retailers all around the world was the goal. “We want to keep the distribution exclusive with Ralph Lauren stores and the very best independent retailers,” Chatillon details. “We are focusing on the Ralph Lauren customer and the watch connoisseur, and we are having real success. Our partners need to share the same values as we do, and we are looking for the best partners, to keep the best distribution. We want everyone to be happy, and we truly need the strengths of our partners.” At the same time that Ralph Lauren is expanding its distribution, its clientele is also growing. “Our customers today are definitely existing Ralph Lauren customers, which is quite a large pool to draw from,” Chatillon points out. “We also notice that people who appreciate design aesthetics are buying our watches, as well as some watch collectors,” he continues. “They like the attention to detail. Also, watch aficionados are buying, because they are looking for something different. We also had a number of car collectors who bought the Automotive watch with the wood dial.” Ralph Lauren is staying true to its original ideal, focusing on a unique design aesthetic that is timeless and enduring, while at the same time insisting on the highest quality possible, from movements to finishing and everything in between. And, it’s working. O For more information about Ralph Lauren, please click on Brand index at www.europastar.com
Photo: Robert Van der Steeg
12 REFLECTIONS ON TIME / INTRODUCTION europa star
Suspended ed time RPierre Maillard
Part art and part industrial, watchmaking is particular in that it deals with a “raw material” that is as fascinating as it is mysterious and elusive—Time. Along with space, this continuous flow that we call Time is the fundamental—and inexorable, we are tempted to say—dimension of our own existence. Horology is merely concerned with quantifying Time. In doing so, however, beyond the simple counting of the days, hours, minutes, and seconds, it opens up some fascinating perspectives. Bound to the incessant march of Time—which speeds like an arrow or spirals in infinite circles—horology also measures our lives and constantly reminds us of our mortality. Curled around our wrists, it gives rhythm to our lives and shares in our most routine events and activities. Yet, it also connects us directly to the cosmos, to the most profound enigmas of the universe, and to the dizziness of infinity. For once, then, let’s step back a little from the industrial and commercial aspects of watchmaking, and spend a few minutes observing its powers of suggestion and its creative forces. Let’s forget life’s urgencies and immediacies for a moment and look at the notion of Time through a different lens. Let’s just take the time!
Let's take the time to delve into the extraordinary history of the long and fascinating conquest of the measurement of Time that has accompanied human history by leafing through a book dedicated to the subject by the historian Dominique Fléchon. Let’s take the time to reflect, along with the philosopher Hartmut Rosa, on the perhaps dramatic consequences of the incredible acceleration of Time that our societies are now experiencing. Let’s sit for a moment inside the yurt belonging to Denis Flageollet who takes his time to ponder new mechanical solutions in watchmaking. Let’s try to understand, along with the physicists at CERN, how it could be possible to go faster than the speed of light. Let's admire for an instant, along with Timm Delfs, the most beautiful and ingenious of the recent mechanical timepieces dedicated to the firmament. Let’s sit for 24 hours watching Christian Marclay’s The Clock, an enthralling montage of images that tell the stories of our loves and dramas taken under the ever-present and merciless gaze of the clock. Let’s linger a minute or so over the cartes blanches that we have offered an artist such as Alexis Guillier, or a designer such as Eric Giroud, or the two mischievous friends at the White agency. Finally, let’s listen to the architect Ottavio Di Blasi, as he relates how the space-time theories of Einstein can serve as inspiration for a booth at a watch fair. Between the end of the SIHH and the beginning of BaselWorld, let’s take a breather and take the time to think about Time. O
Treasure the past, embrace the future
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14 REFLECTIONS ON TIME / HISTORY europa star
The Mastery of Time RPaul O’Neil
Dominique Fléchon’s book “The Mastery of Time” is a weighty tome that shows just how complex the development of what we now understand as “time” has been and, by analogy, how the instruments that mankind has used to measure its interpretations of time have evolved. Its 500 lavishly-illustrated pages cover the entire history of our measurement of time, from its very beginnings to the mechanical masterpieces produced by the famous Swiss brands of today. Among our most distant forefathers are the hunter-gatherers of the Paleolithic period, who probably had little notion of the time of day and were content to mark the passing of each day, as carved bone fragments dating back over 20,000 years attest. After the Neolithic revolution gave birth to agriculture, however, the mastery of time took on much greater significance. Early farmers needed to be able to predict the seasonal cycle in order to plant and harvest crops at the most appropriate time. One only needs to look at monuments that seem so tremendously out of proportion to any other remnants of their age, such as Stonehenge in England and Newgrange in Ireland, to see the importance that was given to determining the solstices.
Calendars and early time measurement As pre-history passed to history with the invention of writing, allowing civilisations to record events for future generations, the first calendars emerged. In the third millennium BC, the Mesopotamians were already using a calendar based on the movement of the sun, the cycle of the seasons and the phases of the moon. Over two thousand years later the Babylonians
An astrolabe, used to determine the position of the sun, moon planets and stars and thus to determine latitude or time.
devised a calendar that brought the lunar months into closer synchronicity with the solar year and resulted in a 365.2469 day year that was later adopted by Judeans, Arabs and Christians. With the sun used as a reference for the beginning and end of a day, the sundial (or shadow clock) was one of the first devices used to determine the time of day based on the shadow cast by the sun, which could be read along a scale. As an alternative for use at night-time or in cloudy conditions, the Egyptians developed clepsydras, or water clocks, from the 16th century BC.Water poured into these clocks (essentially a bucket carved with an interior scale) would empty through a hole in the bottom, allowing the elapsed time to be read off the internal scale.
The foundation of Athens in 800 BC brought with it an age of education and discovery that even today continues to bring new surprises.The Ancient Greeks even produced a gear-wheel device that did not reveal its true secrets until the year 2000 after passing through a special scanner. So the mechanical theory behind the workings of a clock was already in place, but it would take another two thousand years before man could produce a driving force to power it. The Romans experimented with several unsuccessful calendars (with the length of successive years varying by up to 30 days) before Julius Caesar effectively put out a call to tender from the leading brains in his empire. The resulting Julian calendar took a step closer to the one we are familiar with today, starting on 1 January and counting 365 days, with an extra day inserted every four years. We also have the Romans to thank for the instigation of a sevenday week with Sunday as the day of rest. In reading “The Mastery of Time” it is at this point that we notice an immense gap between the accomplishments of the Ancient Greeks and Romans and the medieval age. The next significant invention for the measurement of time—the astrolabe—does not appear until
The clock in Salisbury Cathedral, England, which dates back to 1386 and is thought to be the earliest surviving clock.
the twelfth century and was developed primarily in the Islamic world, which only serves to highlight that civilisation (in Europe at least) descended into the Dark Ages. The astrolabe could be manipulated to obtain a “real time” depiction of the sky and, using the position of stars, could be used to measure the angle of height of a star from the horizon and thus determine latitude.
The first mechanical timepieces
Magnetic dial for latitude mounted on a compass. Used before the introduction of marine chronometers, 18th century.
Both the birthplace and the inventor or inventors of the first mechanical clock remain a mystery. But the first manifestations of the escapement—the “missing link” that was required to regulate a turning wheel powered by weights and driving gear trains—appeared in the 1300s, with the oldest surviving mechanical clock probably being that in Salisbury Cathedral in England, which is thought to date from 1386. This first escapement was known as a verge escapement with the verge being a Chatelaine watch, 18th century, designed to be worn on a belt.
REFLECTIONS ON TIME / HISTORY 15
rod with two pallets which, when actioned by the crown wheel, give an impulse to the balance wheel (and later the pendulum) and cause it to oscillate. By the turn of the fifteenth century, the first use of springs is recorded and an historically significant document, the Almanus Manuscript, describes a collection of “horometers” with detailed descriptions and illustrations that show the existence of spring-driven pendulum clocks, moon phase displays, alarms and—for the first time—a minutes dial. The use of springs brought an obvious advantage over cumbersome weights and paved the way for the miniaturisation of the technology used, leading to the first portable clocks. As developments once again gathered pace, the first watches started to appear at the end of the fifteenth century and were worn around a chain hung from the neck. But it was the arrival of Galileo and his pendulum escapement, which was refined and simplified by Christiaan Huygens of the Netherlands in 1656, that signalled the real birth of mechanical timekeeping. The use of the pendulum improved the accuracy of timepieces from around 15 minutes per day down to ten or fifteen seconds.
Dominique Cohas (Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, Geneva, Switzerland)
Longines pocket-watch, delivered to the Romanian railways, late 19th century.
16 REFLECTIONS ON TIME / HISTORY europa star
Dunhill pocket chronograph, c. 1910, with indications for measuring speeds of between 15 and 200 km/h.
Double-faced artillery pocket-watch with curvimeter and compass, 1914 (anonymous).
The longitude problem The mastery of time was crucial in man’s relationship with the oceans, when it became clear that whoever could solve the “longitude problem” would have the upper hand at sea. Latitude could be used to determine a ship’s position visually when navigating inshore, but the “dead reckoning” system used to determine longitude was far from adequate and its errors often resulted in shipwrecks.A means of keeping accurate time at sea seemed to be the answer, since this could then be compared with the local noon to determine longitude. With this in mind, king Louis XIV of France recruited Christiaan Huygens in attempt to solve the problem. Huygens had already produced clocks that were used as navigational aids on ships but his pendulum clocks could not be used to determine longitude accurately, since their operation was affected by the pitching and swaying of a ship. To avoid this he invented the sprung balance, which has ever since been used at the heart of mechanical clocks and watches.
England’s Longitude Act of 1714 established a prize fund that allocated up to £20,000 for a method to determine longitude to an accuracy of half a degree. Jeremy Thacker’s admirable attempt, a clock housed in a vacuum chamber, which he called a “chronometer”, provided the term that would henceforth be used to refer to such precision instruments, but was not accurate enough to secure the prize. Resistance to temperature was what Thacker’s clocks lacked and it was the unassuming John Harrison who overcame this final hurdle with his series of marine chronometers, the last of which—a large pocket-watch sized H4— recorded an average daily rate of 0.834 seconds on a test voyage from Plymouth to Barbados. This was far better than the three seconds in twenty-four hours required for accuracy within half a degree of longitude stipulated by the Longitude Act.
The birth of the watch industry Once the problem of longitude had been solved, the great minds in the mechanical watchmaking world turned their focus to miniaturisation, simplification and further improvements to the mechanical watch movement. By the turn of the 19th century Abraham Louis Breguet
had secured his place in history as one of the most prolific innovators in mechanical watchmaking after inventing (amongst others) the “perpetual” self-winding watch (1780), the perpetual calendar (1795) and the tourbillon (1801), preparing watchmaking for the industrial revolution. The industrial era moved the watchmaking industry from the small “cabinets” of the Geneva watchmakers to larger factories with more automated production. Frédéric Japy was instrumental in bringing about this change. After serving an apprenticeship under Jean Jacques Perrelet in Le Locle, Switzerland, Japy set up his own business just across the border in Beaucourt, France, mass-producing movement-blanks at an unbeatable price. With Japy flooding the market with as many as a hundred thousand movement-blanks by 1801, the Swiss watchmakers reacted by setting up a factory of their own in Fontainemelon, in the canton of Neuchâtel. With the advent of industrialisation, progress came much more quickly and the next major invention—the chronograph—came in 1821. France’s watchmaker to the king, Nicolas Rieussec, invented a device to time a horse race in Paris using two rotating dials. The
Dominique Cohas (Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, Geneva, Switzerland)
18 REFLECTIONS ON TIME / HISTORY europa star
Pocket-watch with universal hours (diurnal and nocturnal) by Cartier, 1940.
The first watch developed by IWC specifically for pilots. 1936.
The Omega Speedmaster Professional, the only watch ever to be worn on the moon.
pocket chronograph later opened up numerous advances in medicine (for taking the pulse), warfare (range finding) and engineering (measuring velocity). In 1884 man took another step forward in his mastery of time when the delegates at the International Meridian Conference in Washington D.C. voted for the Greenwich meridian as the world’s prime meridian, confirming a reference that had been used by sailors the world over ever since Nevyl Maskelyne, England’s fifth royal astronomer, published his first Nautical Almanac, using the Greenwich meridian as a reference, in 1767. The conference also divided the world into 24 separate time zones that we use today.
and would bring about the biggest crisis that the Swiss watchmaking industry has had to face. After only twenty more years, the first atomic clock—the most precise timekeeping instrument available—was presented.
and IT-dependent world, never caught on. This shows just how much we are attached to the hours, minutes and seconds that mankind has worked so hard to measure.
From crisis to a blossoming future At the turn of the twentieth century the wristwatch itself was born, opening up new challenges for the miniaturisation of the mechanical movement and heralding new uses by divers, pilots, polo players and even astronauts, as the models produced still today by some of the biggest Swiss brands attest. Within thirty years, however, the first electromechanical and quartz clocks had appeared
As the electronic age gripped the watch industry in the 1970s and 1980s watches could be used as alarm clocks, calculators, databases and even as a TV remote control. The traditional mechanical watch seemed to be on the verge of extinction.With high-frequency quartz watches even obtaining certification as a marine chronometer, what chance did the mechanical watch have of survival? History has since taught us that Nicolas G. Hayek was largely responsible for saving the Swiss watch industry by tackling the fierce competition from Japan head-on with the Swatch, whose simplicity, affordability and constantly-changing designs were an instant hit and provided the financial footing from which a group of major traditional brands could resurrect themselves and ultimately become the world’s biggest watchmaking group. Interestingly, though, Swatch’s Internet time, the “Beat”, designed for our globalised
As the sumptuous models from Switzerland’s iconic watch brands presented in the closing chapter of Dominique Fléchon’s book show, mechanical watchmaking is going from strength to strength. Although we have largely mastered time, there is still plenty of unexploited potential in terms of the developments that can be fitted into the few square centimetres of a watch case. The revolutionary “résonique” escapement recently presented by De Bethune (see Pierre Maillard’s article “The yurt and the equation” in this issue) and the intriguing hydraulic-mechanical timepiece that will be unveiled by HYT at BaselWorld this year are just two examples of our continuous quest to make every second count on this extraordinary planet. O
The Mastery of Time is the English translation of La Conquête du Temps by Dominique Fléchon and is published by Flammarion. (www.editions.flammarion.com). Price: €75.
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20 REFLECTIONS ON TIME / PHILOSOPHY europa star
Hartmut Rosa: The acceleration of time RPierre Maillard
“Run, run always faster, not to reach an objective, but to maintain the status quo, to simply remain in the same place.” The work of German philosopher and social theorist, Hartmut Rosa, entitled Beschleunigung – Die Veränderung der Zeitstrukturen in der Moderne [to be published in English by Columbia University Press in 2012], discusses this paradox. As the pace of material, economic, and cultural life becomes ever faster, as we have conquered the instantaneity of information exchange and acquired the possibility of travelling at speeds hitherto unimaginable, we have the impression that nothing is moving, that we are simply walking on a treadmill. Rosa explains that for the first time in 250 years, people in the Occident today do not expect a better life for their children, but fear just the opposite, that their life will be more difficult. If we want to avoid things getting worse, we must, every year, run ever faster, increase our efforts, innovate even more. The current crisis in the euro zone is a fitting demonstration. Political actions no longer tend to create a better society—no one promises that to anyone—but focus rather on staving off crises, adapting as fast as possible in order to avoid the worst. While we do not cease to gain time, to accelerate the flow of money, the rhythm of production, the exchange of information, the movement of goods and people—while everyday we gain time over time— we still have the impression that there is less and less time, whether on a personal, social, economic, or political level. It is this ambivalent logic created by the acceleration of time that Hartmut Rosa seeks to describe.
1500 -1840 Best average speed of horse drawn coaches and sailing ships was 10 mph
1850 -1930 Steam locomotives averaged 65 mph and steam ships averaged 36 mph
1950s Propeller aircraft 300-400 mph
Rupture of the horizon Hartmut Rosa does not discuss the nature of time itself, leaving this question to others who, since the dawn of history, have arrived at very different answers. [In passing, we cite the most famous response of them all, coming from Saint Augustine: “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.”] Rosa tries to understand the effects—the political, ethical, cultural, and social consequences—of the rupture that is produced between “classic” modernity, the modernity of “progress,” happening in a linear manner and directed towards a better time (whether it be capitalist or Marxist), and the “postmodernity”, in which time is no longer seen as a course moving towards a pre-determined objective, but as an instantaneous flux flowing towards a direction that remains uncertain. The idea of acceleration was born with modernity, but we can discern two great periods or
1960s Jet passenger aircraft 500-700 mph
two distinct sequences. As the above projection shows (Harvey, 1990), beginning in 1850 with the invention of the steam engine, the acceleration in transportation singularly reduced space, even gradually “annihilating” it. In this progressive conquest of space-time, the universal coordination of clocks played a central regulating role. [It was not by chance that Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT, was adopted for the first time in 1847 by the Railway Clearing House, before it spread out to the entire world.] For examples of this radical transformation of space, we can simply look at our observations when we walk through a space that we can touch or feel, or travel in a car on a motorway where the passing space becomes no more than an abstraction, tracing out a line that we pass over as quickly as possible. For the pas-
22 REFLECTIONS ON TIME / PHILOSOPHY europa star
senger in an aeroplane, this abstraction of space becomes complete, since the trajectory is no longer calculated in miles but rather in hours. The person in the car or in the plane is, however, heading towards a horizon, towards a goal. In both cases, they are following a linear path of time.
clocks has been replaced by “timeless time”, an incessant deluge of de-territorialised flows (of capital, goods, people, ideas, as well as diseases and risks), which are springing up everywhere. Events no longer happen in sequence but simultaneously, “placing society in an eternally ephemeral state”.
At the end of the 1980s, we began to see a new acceleration, one that, according to Rosa, reached a critical point in terms of a reversal in our Western societies, both for the individual and for society as a whole. This second acceleration, which led us into postmodernism, took on great importance in 1989 with three major historic revolutions: the political revolution that brought down the Soviet Union; the digital revolution with the development of the Internet; and the economic revolution with its flexibility and its “just in time” approach. Today, if we were to complete Harvey’s projection, our planet would merely become a tiny dot, at least for all that concerns the transmission of information and financial exchange, which are conducted in real time. We call this second acceleration “globalisation”. The social and cultural repercussions of this suppression of space—or of this compression of space-time—are countless since, again according to Rosa, the virtualisation and digitalisation of previously material processes have simultaneously resulted in an acceleration of production, distribution and consumption. The machine cannot help but race out of control. The linear social time regulated by our
As we might very well imagine, the consequences of this fundamental transformation in our relationship with space-time are quite important, whether for the individual or for our social, economic, political, and cultural organisation. Like a racing car that creates air currents as it speeds by, this acceleration of everything— temporal instantaneity and spatial contraction—whose other name is globalisation, results in a number of desynchronisations. Or, as some sociologists explain, acceleration results in a rupture, “an existential rupture” of time. “A few years ago, people were already talking of a two-speed society. Since then, one part of society feels that it is no longer just marching on the spot, but that it is actually moving backwards, because the other part is moving forwards,” explains Alain Mergier, co-author with Philippe Guibert of a book entitled Le Descenseur Social (“Downward Social Mobility”). This impression of a rupture in time, resulting in multiple desynchronisations, is felt even more strongly because these accelerating forces seem to be moving so rapidly that they have become autonomous and totally liberated
from linear time. The acceleration that these forces impose on economic and technological development thus creates a growing desynchronisation with democratic politics because, in the post-modern mindset, “the procedures necessary for this form of politics require too much time”. Rendered incapable of braking or regulating, or even accompanying or modifying this acceleration, democratic politics sees itself more and more discredited, powerless. This feeling of political impotence, coupled with the acceleration of change, affecting individual rhythms and lifestyles as well as the family structure, work environment, education, and culture, is aggravated even more by the acceleration in the destruction of the natural environment. Modernity has advanced towards the horizon of increasing progress; postmodernity, where everything is accelerating, seems to have passed to the other side of the horizon. “Movement is not going towards an objective; it has become the objective in and of itself,” explains Hartmut Rosa, who believes that another symptom of this situation is that, today, it is much easier to imagine the end of the world—from a nuclear, viral, or ecological disaster—than to imagine an alternative to the dominant system of acceleration.
Racing stagnancy In the mind of Hartmut Rosa, the ultimate paradox of this acceleration is that it ends in what he calls, according to French sociologist Paul Virilio, “the situation of racing stagnancy”. To describe this situation, he borrows the image of the planet “Texlahoma” from science fiction writer Douglas Copland, where time became suspended in 1974, and the planet was transformed into a single giant shopping centre. To illustrate this same idea, we also could evoke another parable, the one developed by the popular 3D animated film, Wall-E, in which the humans, while waiting for their planet to be cleaned up by robots, had become fat and moved around only in flying chairs, doing nothing, existing in a state of “racing stagnancy”. Another name for death…
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stop”, or an attempt to impose organisational controls on the forces of acceleration that are moving towards autonomy. This possibility, which seeks to regain a measure of humanity as in classic modernity, requires determined political intervention to force a resynchronisation of the fast-moving functional systems. Rosa judges this vision as being deeply unrealistic in light of the unpredictable economic and social costs that such a resynchronisation would entail, plus the fact that it is not clear what would be the political and institutional vehicles of such a radical and revolutionary departure, of such a revolution against progress.
Four scenarios to end acceleration At the end of his book, Rosa envisions various hypotheses for ending acceleration. Contrary to the happy ending in Wall-E, he is pessimistic. He wonders how acceleration can continue, and how it will end. Does it have a sort of quasi-natural “gravitational point” towards which it is irresistibly drawn? Can we imagine alternate forms of equilibrium between movement and immobility? Rosa proposes four scenarios that might end acceleration. His first hypothesis involves the elaboration of a new form of institutional control and stabilisation of the acceleration process, which would result in a new equilibrium at a higher speed. To accomplish this, it would be necessary to replace the social, political, and legal institutions—both individual and national that have become too slow—with more dynamic arrangements capable of reconciling modernity (finding the horizon) on an individual and political level with the speed of postmodernity. But Rosa himself hardly believes in this
reform scenario, as he does not see how it could be put into place politically. He doubts that, even if such a “second modernity” were to be accomplished, it would be able to resist for long the new forces of acceleration that most assuredly would arise. The second hypothesis is the definitive abandoning of modernity. This would give birth to a new form of (sub)politics having renounced all ideas of autonomy and governance, accompanied by new notions of the perception and assimilation of speed. It would also entail new relationships between the individual and the society, which, by definition, are impossible to predict with any kind of precision. Even so, the problems of desynchronisations discussed above would not go away, and the end of acceleration would still not be in sight. The third hypothesis, contrary to the preceding one on all points, involves an “emergency
The most reasonable hypothesis, in Rosa’s mind, is one that is extremely pessimistic. It involves a furious race to the abyss, ending in the “racing stagnancy” mentioned above. He assumes that modern society will ultimately pay for its loss of ability to balance the forces of movement and immobility by provoking nuclear or climatic disasters [as a reminder, his book was written before the Fukushima catastrophe] or by developing new diseases that will spread at lightning speed. Modern society will thus see new types of political collapse and the eruption of uncontrollable violence, particularly where the masses excluded from the processes of growth and acceleration rise up against the accelerating society. Final disaster or radical revolution, Rosa admits that in both cases, there will be an extremely disturbing end. Yet, it is this disturbing thought that might incite creative contemporary social theory to imagine a fifth hypothesis to end acceleration. We do not yet understand the details and it will certainly be a very difficult task, but one that Rosa hopes will arrive in time. To recall the words of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu: “We needed to understand the laws of gravity in order to construct aircraft that can overcome them effectively.” Similarly, in trying to understand the law of acceleration, Hartmut Rosa’s book is an indispensable tool to better confront it. O
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The yurt and the equation RPierre Maillard
Denis Flageollet, watchmaker and co-founder of De Bethune, along with David Zanetta, likes solitude. He set up his ateliers and his manufacture in the Jura mountains, near SainteCroix, on a high plateau, home to a few scattered villages. But, for him, this remoteness is not enough. Thus, he regularly takes refuge at an even more secluded spot—a Mongolian yurt that he puts up each winter at the edge of a small forest. Here, there is no electricity or heating. When he arrives at the yurt, even before lighting a fire under a pot to melt some snow for water, Flageollet turns off his mobile phone. As for telling the time, he reads it in the stars and in the trajectory of the moon. Perhaps this voluntary isolation at the heart of nature is what Flageollet needs in order to “return to the essential” and to contemplate, in peace and quiet, the best way to open new avenues in the ancestral art of mechanical timekeeping. And to do so, he needs to traverse a thick layer of time, since the quasiintangible principles of mechanical watchmaking were born with the discovery by Galileo of the laws of the pendulum, before later being put into motion by Huygens in 1675 (see the article “The mastery of time” by Paul O'Neil in this issue). Since then, the balance spring coupled to a pendulum balance invented by Huygens has invariably governed the ways of mechanical watchmaking. During its history of more than 300 years, this escapement, which has the advantage over all the others of being perfectly isochronous, has continuously been improved, miniaturised, protected from temperature variations, the negative effects of gravity and then accelerated. Yet, the principle
of its operation has never changed. The balance spring driven by the pallets remains, still today, the design foundation of the mechanical watch. At the back of his yurt, Denis Flageollet set about thinking of the best way to improve the balance spring—to make it smaller, lighter, faster, more precise… In 2006, at BaselWorld, he presented an experimental, self-compensating balance spring made of silicon with a silicon escapement oscillating at 72,000 vibrations per hour, or 10 Hz. He remains convinced that the limit of 10 Hz cannot be exceeded by a classic escapement, mainly for reasons of reliability and mechanical wear and tear over time (even though, since then, Zenith presented a 50-Hz calibre and TAG Heuer produced a 500-Hz, which allows the mechanical indication of 1,000th of a second for 150 seconds of power reserve). With this in mind, Flageollet went about exploring another system, the magnetic escapement.
Birth of the “Résonique” Between the yurt, the manufacture, the ateliers, and the small laboratory that he set up there, “a new watchmaking discipline in classic mechanical timekeeping” was born. Flageollet has coined a word for this new discipline—
“Résonique”. A contraction of “resonance,” resonant frequency, and mechanical energy, the fundamental principle of Résonique is the synchronisation between a moving gear train and a vibrating mechanical oscillator. On paper, the principle is very simple and goes straight to the essential: a driving organ, for example, the barrel, transmits energy to a reducing gear. At the end of the gear is a magnetised rotor that transmits, in turn, energy to the oscillator to which magnets are attached. By resonance, the speed of the magnetic rotor synchronises with the frequency of the oscillator. Its movement, stabilised at the correct frequency, is maintained by the rotation of the magnetic blades. The system is a trio of elements—composed of a rotor, oscillator, and magnets, that together act as the escapement, with the mechanical energy maintaining the vibration. The fact that the rotor operates continuously and not by jumps allows it to transmit the energy in a sinusoidal pattern rather than by brief impulses, which improves efficiency.
Mathematical simulations At the beginning of his research, Flageollet brought in the services of a young physicist, Siddharta Berns, who, most importantly, con-
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verted the watchmaking “Résonique” principles into differential equations. These equations allowed them to carry out a whole series of simulations, which revealed that the synchronisation among the various elements of this new form of magnetic escapement passed through various stages. During these different steps, it was observed that the speed of the rotor and the amplitude of the oscillator stabilised. The simulations allowed the various steps to be isolated “with physically realisable parameters,” including the addition of random perturbations so that the constancy of the synchronisation could be observed. This first step allowed De Bethune to create functional prototypes. We were able to see some of them in the ateliers, before leaving by moonlight for the snow-covered yurt with its wood fire burning.
Up to 10 kHz... The Résonique invention opens avenues of exploration that could very well end with a mechanical equivalent of a quartz movement in terms of precision and small size. Along with Berns, Denis Flageollet and the rest of the small team have already cleared a large part of the research. The oscillator that they designed is made in one single piece, as is the escapement. The
ments, the speeds and precisions obtained do not consume any more mechanical energy than a traditional escapement, thus allowing very large power reserves within a very wide frequency range—between 10 Hz and 10 kHz. One of the prototypes is already operating at 1,000 Hz, or one 2,000th of a second, while waiting to achieve the 10,000th (over several hours).
ensemble is completely silent and shockresistant, with the escapement not requiring any lubrication. Wear and tear is thus minimal, and even theoretically non-existent, thus the lifespan is consequently longer. The previous research conducted by the team on “classic” 10-Hz escapements has been quite useful in determining the “quality factor”. This factor defines the portion of energy to be transmitted to the oscillator to maintain its constant amplitude. The precision of the oscillator’s frequency is thus proportional to this factor. With a low amplitude, it follows that the quality factor can be very high, in fact, ten times the norm for balance springs. The greater the power in the oscillating system, the greater the regulating power of the resonator and the lower its sensitivity to shocks. The chosen arrangement therefore was a high-frequency oscillator with low amplitude. According to the equations and the experi-
This revolutionary invention—for once, the word does not seem exaggerated—opens many fields of exploration that exceed the resources of De Bethune alone. Moreover, Denis Flageollet says he is “convinced that, like achievements in the past, the evolution of timekeeping and its creativity will advance by the wide sharing of knowledge”. Contrary to all of the common jealousy-based practices in the watch industry, Flageollet decided to make his results and his research public. The “Résonique”, this new mechanical system that “aspires to perfect chronometry issued from the domain of natural vibrations”, is therefore open to any researchers, constructors and watchmakers who want to study it. This is one of the best and also one of the most uncommon gestures of transparency, one that can only help but move watchmaking forward, towards more of the “essential”. To arrive at this, it was, perhaps, necessary to retreat to the mountains for contemplation in a snow-covered yurt. O For more information about De Bethune click on Brand Index at www.europastar.com
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A p h o r i s m s
t i m e
“Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time. We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will can oust us from possession. What fools these mortals be (...) that they never regard themselves as in debt when they have received some of that precious commodity—time! And yet time is the one loan, which even a grateful recipient cannot repay. - Seneca, Letters to Lucilius
(...) The line it is drawn, The curse it is cast. A scandal, a scandal, to let so much time slip The slow one now, and I leaning on the bridge watching it go. Will later be fast, - Virginia Woolf, A Writer’s Diary As the present now, Will later be past. The order is Time: It is absolute subjectivity and Rapidly fadin'. has the absolute properties of someAnd the first one now, thing to be designated metaphoriWill later be last. cally as “flow", of something that For the times they are a-changin'. originates in a point of actuality, in a primal source-point, the now, and so - Bob Dylan on. In the actuality-experience we have the primal source-point and a Time goes by, my lady: time goes by, continuity of moments of reverberaAh! It’s not time but we ourselves who pass, tion. For all of this, we lack names. And soon beneath the silent tomb we lie:
And after death there’ll be no news, alas, Of these desires of which we are so full: So love me now, while you are beautiful. - Pierre de Ronsard, Second Book of Love
- Edmund Husserl, On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time
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The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once. - Albert Einstein Time is not a line, but a series of now points. – Taisen Deshimaru
I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, THE FIRST AND THE LAST, THE BEGINNING AND THE END. -REVELATION 22:13
You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you. - Heraclitus, Fragments
"This second envisioned from a mathematical point of view is not the same for this ant and for this diamond. If, for this one, a minute becomes a year and for this one a century is only minute, then both of them, by relativity, are correct. - Abel Gance, Prisme
We do not think real time. But we live it, because life transcends intellect. - Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
Time is Money – How to compute present value: The amount you would need today to be indifferent between the lump sum and the future lump sum payment. PMT PV = -----------(1+ k) n
To compute the present value of a future sum (PMT), just divide by the quantity one plus the interest (or discount) rate and raise the rate to the nth power where n is the number of periods. (...) So we have seen why money has a time value, how to compute what that value is, and have touched on how it might impact an everyday situation. Clearly, the time value of money is a powerful concept for those who understand it.
- Dan Parlagreco, Time Value of Money, Financial Management I and II University of Phoenix Online
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The Clock: watch of the year RPierre Maillard
The watch of the year is neither a marvel of mechanical horology, nor an ultra-slim bejewelled timepiece. It is not made of gold or steel, or some sort of avant-garde alloy. The watch of the year is not a solid object, has no real weight, and is not worn on the wrist or a fob. It does, however, show the exact time to those who look at it. The watch of the year was not awarded the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix (which it perhaps deserved). Rather, it won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennial. In fact, the watch of the year is not a watch at all, but a 24-hour long film called, The Clock. The Clock is the work of Christian Marclay, a visual artist, film-maker, and musician. Born in California in 1955, he studied at the Ecole SupĂŠrieure dâ€™Arts Visuels in Geneva (where he might have acquired a taste for measuring time) before returning to live between New York and London.
Clips of time in real time The Clock is a stunning work of art. It is a fully-functioning clock that runs for exactly 24 hours and unfolds synchronous with real time. In other words, the time shown on screen is the same time as in the cinema itself. Consisting of an uninterrupted montage of thousands of film clips from every possible source that all have something to do with telling time, it features all sorts of timepieces: wristwatches, chronograph watches, gadget watches, pocket watches, clock towers (including several glimpses of Big Ben), wall clocks in train stations, offices and factories, mantle clocks,
desk clocks, alarm clocks, Black Forest cuckoo clocks, a clock on a space ship instrument panel, bomb timers, atomic clocks, even hourglasses and sundials. These timepieces are portrayed in every state: people check them anxiously and look at them lovingly; they are smashed, they explode, or they change into a weapon (James Bond appears often). They are synchronised by gangsters right before a bank robbery. They are found broken on the wrists of victims, given as a gift of love, handed down from father to son, excavated, pawned, shaken, and checked to see if they are still working.
Whirlwind of life Time, what time it is, the passing time – these seem to be the central obsession of humans who, under the imperious reign of all these clocks, live, kiss, love, speak, fight, run, work, and are caught up in the implacable flow of time punctuated by the seconds, minutes and hours that tick by on the clock. As Marclay himself says, “The Clock is a giant memento mori.” This multi-faceted clock exudes tension. We watch in real time as everyone races toward death—and life—because the time that appears on screen is the same time for
He is looking at his watch, waiting to pull down a lever. The camera moves in for a close up of the dial (a Hamilton), which reads 12:04. We then see two dubious-looking men in what appears to be a bank, where a clock on the wall also reads 12:04. It is just past 12:04 on another clock bathed in red light. In front of it, a man is talking into a microphone, announcing a drop in the Financial Times Share Index.Then, we see a close-up of the clock, where the red second hand is just hitting 12:05 and we hear “BBC radio news”. Off-mic, the relieved journalist says, “That was close, whew!” Next, we
“ The Clock is a giant memento mori.” both actor and audience, making it all the more dizzying. A whirlwind of life, cries, joy, pain, fear and ecstasy combine and mingle in a steady stream of sound, music, and voice cleverly woven together under the inexorable tick-tock of time.
Here is an example It is 12:04 by your watch and on the screen. In a black and white clip, a ticket inspector from the 1950s is facing a large industrial meter.
see a close-up of the hands of Big Ben showing 12:05. A clock radio from the 1970s playing light rock shows 12:05 on the digital display. A finger swipes up the traces of cocaine left on a small mirror lying next to the clock and we see a bare-chested Richard Gere walking over to his closet to pick out a shirt while singing along with the radio. Next is a close-up of a pendulum swinging back and forth in a dark wood case. Max von Sydow is leaning toward us, busy with some obscure
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task, when he hears voices, turns and sees the clock face with Hebraic numbers showing that it is just past 12:05. At this exact moment, John Steed in The Avengers steps out of an English villa, nonchalantly leans against his Jaguar, pulls a watch out of his waistcoat pocket and looks at it closely. The camera zooms in on the watch (a Mido?); nearly 12:06. He turns when he hears the bark of a small dog next to a rubbish bin. He walks over to the dead body on the ground and turns it over. Suddenly something grabs his attention and he turns towards us... Next shot: a train station clock in colour showing 12:06. At the same time, Stéphane Audran walks over to a window, opens it and leans out, gazing off in the distance and looking magnificent. Zoom out. We are in the 19th century English countryside. A man asks a frail aristocratic woman if she has the time. She turns to her younger sister and asks “Your pretty little diamond watch?” She replies, “Don’t wear it anymore." The seconds hand of an industrial clock ticks past noon: it is 12:06 and 3 seconds already. The country scene continues: “Can’t stand the ticking above my heart,” the sister says. "And you?” The man looks embarrassed. The scene flashes to a deserted, dusty Western town in broad daylight. You can see the tension in
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A watch, or a lesson in philosophy? Henry Fonda's intensely blue eyes. He moves slowly toward a wooden porch; we see a clock whose hands have fallen off. What time is it? Flash to a metro station platform. A young lady sets down her suitcase, waiting, and then a man walks up to her and says, “Hello mon chérie,” in an English accent. It is 12:07.
Tension mounts And so it goes on for a full 24 hours. As one watchmaker said, it’s a “power reserve” of film. The editing is spectacular. It constantly toggles between thousands of films and manages to weave together a temporal flow that is both visual and musical, and that quickly takes on a hypnotic power. The obsession with time captivates us and pulls us into the torrent of life. The same actresses reappear in different clips and we see them age as time passes. At the top of the hour, something always happens—a particularly tense moment that frenetically culminates at noon and reaches a paroxysm at midnight, when everything is thrown into a panic. There are moments filled with every imaginable danger, which are inevitably followed by more peaceful instants. And always, everywhere, there is this sense of
time pounding away, striking at us, constantly reminding us of its passing, never once loosening its grip. The Clock: a watch, or a lesson in philosophy? Behind the aimless actions that mark the hours, minutes, and seconds in The Clock, there is an all-pervasive background sense of anxiety. Where are we going? What are we doing? What time is it anyway? How much time do we have? The time on the screen and our time
eral years, Christian Marclay and his assistants watched thousands of films, narrowing the selection down to the 3,000 that account for every minute in a 24-hour period. With all these components sorted and categorised, Marclay did the editing alone. One might say The Clock is a highly complicated movement. Its editing is as much visual as acoustic (sound is a constant theme in Marclay’s work), which adds to the richness and flow of the piece. More than a clock, this film is an epic ballad spanning every cinematographic genre.
... a highly complicated movement. become one and the same. We are in the film. We are captives of time. The Clock is a magnificent film that, like a watch, always tells us the exact time. But beyond this precision timekeeping, The Clock touches upon something more basic, upon the very essence of time that takes us up, builds us and destroys us.
The true work of a clockmaker The Clock is a work of art made with extraordinary craftsmanship. Over the course of sev-
The Clock, which received the Golden Lion award for the Best Artist at the Venice Biennial, has been purchased by several major international museums. Christian Marclay’s concept of synchronising the film with the real time in the cinema is part of the genius behind this work, and is the only real way of fully appreciating it. O The Clock will be shown at the Kunsthaus Zurich from 25 April until 6 May. www.kunsthaus.ch
CH A N GE . YO U CA N .
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Actual life was chaos, but there was something terribly logical in the imagination. Oscar Wilde
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With these personal photos, Eric Giroud, one of the foremost watch designers of the moment (he is the man behind Harry Winstonâ€™s Opus 9 and MB&Fâ€™s Horological Machines, among others), shows us a small part of his creative imagination and the sources of his inspiration.
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Chronometry at the speed of light RPaul O’Neil
The 27-kilometre ring beneath Geneva that is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), based at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), made the headlines at its launch in 2008 because of the potential of the experiments conducted within it to change our understanding of the laws of physics. The ATLAS experiment is just one of six that use the LHC but it is arguably the one that elicits the most interest, since its objective is to find the Higgs boson. The so-called Standard Model of particles and forces (see chart) defines twelve fundamental particles and four fundamental forces. It is a well-tested theory that has successfully predicted the outcomes of numerous experiments. However, it only works if we assume that the particles have no mass, which is plainly not the case. Without mass, there would be no atoms, no chemistry or physics and, therefore, no human beings. Peter Higgs was one of the physicists who discovered a mechanism that, when added to the
Standard Model, could explain how particles have mass. But the Higgs mechanism requires the existence of the Higgs boson, which is the only boson (as force-carrier particles are known) that has yet to be observed in experiments. Looking for the Higgs boson means using the LHC to collide two beams of particles at close to the speed of light. In a separate experiment, beams of neutrinos (the particles with no electric charge and very little mass) have been fired underneath the Alps to the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS) some 730 kilometres away in
Italy. The OPERA project (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) recorded the first occurrence of “neutrino oscillation” in this beam on 31st May 2010, detecting a single tau neutrino from a beam comprising billions of billions of muon neutrinos. In September 2011, the project then recorded a beam of neutrinos apparently arriving 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light. But since a nanosecond is a billionth of a second, how do the researchers measure such an infinitesimal period of time so accurately? Giovanni De Lellis, Scanning Coordinator for
The existence of the neutrino was first postulated in 1930 by Austrian theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli, but the elusive particle was not actually discovered until 1956. Three different “flavours” of neutrino were later discovered: electron, muon and tau. Neutrinos are a member of the lepton family of particles included in the Standard Model. Fundamental particles Quarks
Fundamental forces Leptons
In the OPERA experiment, a beam of neutrinos is fired towards the LNGS from CERN in Geneva. This is achieved by making a proton beam collide with a graphite target, which generates—among many other particles—kaons and pions, which decay into muons and muon neutrinos as they continue their journey in a vacuum tube.This beam of particles then collides into an iron graphite target.The final target stops any remaining protons, pions and kaons, leaving the neutrinos to continue their journey through 732 kilometres of the Earth’s crust. Once the beam arrives at Gran Sasso, the OPERA and ICARUS experiments detect the neutrinos.
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The path of travel of the neutrino beam between Geneva and Gran Sasso in the earth’s crust (© CERN)
Giovanni De Lellis
the OPERA experiment and Associate Professor at the University Federico II of Naples, kindly took the time to explain to Europa Star in layman’s terms this experiment, its results and their implications. Europa Star: What kind of equipment do you use to measure these tiniest of deviations in time and how confident can you be in its accuracy? Giovanni De Lellis: In order to achieve such a precision for time measurements, it is essential to use atomic clocks. In 1967, the 13th General Conference of Weights and Measures redefined the second as “9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom.” 9,192,631,770 cycles per second is the frequency of the radiation emitted or absorbed
How the neutrino beam is generated and fired from CERN to Gran Sasso (© CERN)
by a caesium-133 atom as it shifts from one to the other level of its hyperfine structure. Atomic clocks are based on caesium-133 atoms. Therefore, they are the most accurate time standards known and are used as primary standards for international time distribution services and in global navigation satellite systems such as GPS. National standards agencies maintain with atomic clocks an accuracy of 10−9 seconds per day. ES: But as we know from our mechanical watches, the smallest speck of dust can affect the precision, so could any factors affect the readings being taken in the OPERA project?
GD:We define the start when neutrinos are produced. The production of neutrinos is induced by protons.The measurement of the proton beam is done by time stamping the signal from a beam current transformer measuring the protons (neutrino grandparents) along their path. The accuracy of this measurement has been crosschecked to be at the few nanoseconds level. ES: The ICARUS project at the same laboratory recently came to the conclusion (based on mass) that the neutrinos were adhering to Einstein's theory of relativity. What future experiments need to be done to prove either hypothesis conclusively?
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The huge detectors at the Laboratorio Nazionale Gran Sasso in Italy
GD: It is necessary to repeat the measurement also with different experimental techniques. OPERA itself will try and do that in the next year while other experiments in Italy and also in the USA will repeat the measurement in similar conditions. A conclusive statement could eventually come from the measurement of the relative speed between neutrinos and light that would eliminate all the systematic uncertainties. ES: The OPERA project was initially set up to prove the existence of neutrino oscillation, which it did last year. How significant a discovery was this and what does it mean for the future of the OPERA project? GD: If neutrinos are massive they may undergo the so-called oscillation, implying that neutri-
nos produced as one type (muonic in Geneva) can be detected as a different type far away from the source (tau neutrinos in Gran Sasso). Our observation of one tau neutrino has shown last year that this process really happens and it was the first direct observation of tau neutrinos in a muon neutrino beam. The aim of the OPERA project for the future is the observation of a few more tau neutrino events to consolidate the observation done last year. ES: If the findings of the OPERA project are ultimately confirmed, does this mean that the neutrinos were either travelling faster than the speed of light or possibly travelling through a hitherto unknown dimension? And what would be the significance of this for science in general and your research in particular?
GD: In the landscape of sub-nuclear elementary particles, neutrinos are very special in many respects, for example for the extremely small mass, less than one millionth of the electron mass, the lightest charged particle. The possible confirmation of the result would put neutrinos in an even more special condition. Nevertheless, science always proceeds by extending its view in order to incorporate past and newly coming results in a coherent way, but never discarding consolidated experimental facts. Whether or not the faster-than-light neutrinos are confirmed, there are undoubtedly still plenty more surprises to come out of the experiments in particle acceleration at CERN. And the conclusions of the LHC experiments will fundamentally change our understanding of science either way—whether or not the Higgs boson is found. Over twenty years after CERN scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the “worldwide web”, CERN might well be on the way to helping bring about another epochmaking discovery. O
BASELWORLD THE WATCH AND JEWELLERY SHOW MARCH 8–15, 2012
Available on the
App Store BASELWORLD.COM
Photo: Fabrice Piraud
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“A stand is a memorable machine for selling, it’s not marketing” A meeting with Ottavio Di Blasi. RPierre Maillard
“A stand is not a window display, rather it is a machine for selling.” Right from the start, Ottavio Di Blasi wants to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. And, he is in a position to do so, since he has been responsible for a number of the most remarkable watch stands at BaselWorld, among them the spectacular stands created for TAG Heuer, first in 1994 then again in 2007. Affable, modest, and pleasant, Ottavio Di Blasi is not a “designer” who specialises in stands and brand images. He is an architect—
as well known as he is versatile—who, at the head of the Milan-based ODB Architects studio and Ottavio Di Blasi & Partners, has realised and collaborated on many major architectural projects. Among them is the famous Stadio S. Nicola de Bari, created in collaboration with Renzo Piano, as well as many churches in the southern part of Italy. “My success with watchmakers comes directly from my architectural practice,” he says, “because, as in architecture, to design a stand for any given brand involves finding the positive and constructive synthesis that can respond to the concerns and needs on very different levels. But, a synthesis does not happen by magic. It is the result of a common and in-depth reflection. Thinking about a stand and its form, while never forgetting about its functionalities, opens
a phase of really examining the most profound identity of the brand. We could almost compare it to psychoanalysis. The approach to avoid, at all costs, is that of following the path of marketing. By definition, marketing is the best possible way to respond to the demands of the market and the competition at any given moment. A stand, however, is quite a different thing. It must be something memorable that lasts. I offer the example of the first TAG Heuer stand that had a fifteen-year lifespan.
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Photo: Fabrice Piraud
that are at the core of the TAG Heuer brand. Another essential point in this architectural approach is that the beauty in the details and finishing is justified by their functionality. In other words, nothing is gratuitous; nothing is there just “for the sake of decoration”.
Photo: Fabrice Piraud
Representing time in space
Making a break
At the time of the construction of TAG Heuer’s first stand in 1994, we wrote in the pages of Europa Star that “the new and remarkable TAG space has made a radical break with the traditional notion of exhibition stand design.” And we explained that, contrary to conventional wisdom, this stand “did not have any decorative elements since it was the structure itself, by means of the exterior arches that supported the choice of materials used (steel,
maple wood, and carbon fibre, which was used for the first time in a building), that strongly expressed the philosophy of the brand.” We find in this brief description the essence of Ottavio Di Blasi’s architectural approach. It is not just the décor nor a single aspect, but rather the architectural innovation of the structure, the integral modularity of the elements, and the choice of materials that directly expresses the values of “strength, vigour, and balance allied with a form of nobility and prestige”
This great success, which allows Ottavio Di Blasi to affirm that “this construction has strongly contributed to strengthening the identity of the brand,” was followed by a second TAG Heuer stand, which was inaugurated in 2007. In the meantime, the brand changed ownership and passed into the fold of LVMH. But, again it was Ottavio Di Blasi who won the international competition to design the stand at BaselWorld. “In a certain way,” explains Di Blasi,“the design approach of this second stand has been more philosophical. Since Einstein, we can no longer represent time by an arrow on a linear path. Time has also become space and representing it thus involves a spatial approach.” This representation of time and the brand’s spirit, considered along with the practical necessities of the “selling machine”, led Di Blasi and his team to design a form with strong lines, but in a helical movement that culminates in a high point, above the visitors who approach it. The façade is composed of triangular solid steel modules, all the same size and measuring 10 mm in thickness, which are arranged in prisms. As if cut in half by a broken fault line, the façade opens onto a staircase giving access to the upper floors of this
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three-storey building. Inside is a large lobby serving as a bar and display area, plus four conference rooms, two kitchens, a photo studio, and thirty sales offices. “We have studied this carefully and in great detail so that the sales offices meet, as best as possible, their function—comfort, lighting, ventilation, and division and distribution of the collections. Everything is important,” he insists. “The salespeople have a small control panel where they can adjust the lighting, varying the intensity depending on the moment, for example, for the welcome, discussion, or presentation of the collections. The control panel also gives access to multimedia tools. The salespeople can modify the air conditioning, which functions according to the ‘air lake’ system with a low flow rate. Everything is there for the optimal comfort of the client.”
A research laboratory “Baselworld is, to my knowledge, the only fair in the world to allow this type of thing. It is like a research laboratory where one is able to
experiment with techniques that can be used elsewhere. For example, the project for the University of Novarra that I am working on now is, in many ways, directly inspired by the TAG Heuer stand. Building a stand is like building an entire house. The rules are the same, without the problems of watertightness, of course, but with the need to use only noninflammable materials. Above all, it involves having the right technology for the assembly, dismantling, and storage. This type of project is very interesting for an architect because he must find solutions that can perhaps be used elsewhere. More and more, construction involves the so-called ‘dry’ techniques that do not involve concrete or cement. Also, you need to take into consideration the high degree of traffic in these spaces—140 people work there and they receive 10,000 visitors in one week. The density is enormous.” In terms of time and manpower, the TAG Heuer stand requires a team of eighty people working six weeks to build, and three weeks to dismantle and store it.
Constructed in cubes In light of the high costs of building a stand— not just because of the location but also in terms of construction, handling, and utilisation—most of the stands at BaselWorld are constructed in large cubes, which is unfortunate in the mind of Otttavio Di Blasi. “In this cube, you need to find the right form,” he explains. The fact that he refuses all specialisation, but rather looks for solutions as he moves between urban architecture and stand construction, Di Blasi can play an important role as an architect. In his opinion, the designer of a stand must be someone who, between the brand, the economy, politics, message, communication, functions, and construction, is best able to find a spatial synthesis that is as strong as it is long lasting. BaselWorld 2012 will probably not see very many changes, but when it opens its new halls in 2013, we will undoubtedly see a flourish of new architecture. And, it is a safe bet that Ottavio Di Blasi will be behind some of the fair’s most remarkable stands. O
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Trends and other effects of fashion Barth Nussbaumer and Manuel Romero, white – brand design Classic is trendy, or the sheep effect What generates trends, who creates them, where do they come from? For the past two years the world of watchmaking, whether or not at the top of the range, has confirmed the great return of the classic watch, through both its production and the first trade shows of the year. What triggered this great return to a form of watch design that many brands had forgotten or abandoned, or, for the more recent, had never even known? The economic crisis? Improbable economic forecasts or poor vision of the future, even in the short term? A simple cyclical effect after a decade of unbridled creativity? Or, more prosaically, is it a type of response, a revolt against all these watches from the first decade of the millennium brimming with testosterone, sandwiched between a thousand new materials and built with screws and other visible components that are sometimes as unaesthetic as they are useless? It was the era of “more is more”.
constructed by choice, by fortunate coincidences, by the street, in times past by the audacity of some dandies or more simply for economic reasons*. Today’s fashion trends come from the growing influence of the big brands and their marketing bulldozers. But their origin can always be found in the spirit of the times (which depends on the era), in urban tribes or even in a TV series. Because all artistic directors read the same influential blogs, read the same magazines, visit the same exhibitions by the same contemporary artists or photographers. Trends can also come from next door. Briefs from fashion brands very often refer to objects, colours, jewellery or clothes seen at competitors (this also applies to the car and watchmaking industries). And here, everything can move very fast. Because the embryo of a trend that has been spotted will immediately be “moodboarded”, adapted, adopted, produced, presented, marketed and then consumed en masse more or less quickly. This is why today’s fashions converge more than they diverge. Even trends are globalised.
What makes a trend? Perhaps it was a little of all of the above! But let us leave the wonderful microcosm of watchmaking for a moment.
Fashion and trends In the world of fashion, which creates, lives and feeds off trends, there are numerous examples of trends that we have all experienced. Trends are like an item of clothing. They are created and
For a simple effect of fashion to become a lasting trend it must above all be perennial and capable of evolving, to gradually become a new standard until it is replaced. Consider as an example the tightening of trousers, which has seen the cut of all types of trousers – from basic jeans to three-piece suits – slimmed down over the past ten years. Rest assured that you will be able to wear comfortable clothing again some time in the future. The car, another good example.
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Nearly a decade ago, in 2003 to be precise, Audi presented a concept car with an oversized grill: the Audi Nuvolari. One year later the first car of the modern era with a gaping grill rolled off the production line: the Audi A3 Sportback. Since then, how many brands have adopted this code and reinterpreted it on their range? Almost all of them. It has become so well integrated in car design that cars with a large grill have now become the norm. Audi started the trend.
Let’s get back to watch design What is the big trend of the moment? We alluded to it in our introduction: it is definitely the return to sober and classic designs that respect the codes of the past. At least that is what the world of watchmaking is showing us. Why this return? In this world of watchmaking that is so dear to us and which seeks to renew itself by any means, to reinvent itself incessantly, everyone seems to have forgotten that you cannot wipe the slate clean of your past with a magic wand. Too many brands have forgotten this. With a worrying abandon they have sold part of their soul by giving in to the sirens, or perhaps we should say to the bleating of the first sheep. From 2002 to 2007 everything was going so well that all you had to do was produce watches similar to your daring competitors and the money would come in by supertanker. Which brand did not want to mix materials in its collection, or add some screws (let us spare a thought here for Gérald Genta, who designed the Royal Oak, which was launched in 1972), add carbon fibre plates or other exotic metals? In short, every brand wanted their Richard Mille (2001), or a Big Bang (2004). It was a time of mixing materials and complicated watches and movements—in all
senses of the word. It was the hallowed era of “more is more” in a herd. Because watch brands are made by people much more than by their products and their marketing campaigns and these people are in every sense identical to the artistic directors mentioned above. Some of them are simply more visionary, more coherent or more daring. A dark day in September 2008 was all it took to bring this beautiful machine, which had become almost crazy, to an abrupt halt. From one day to the next and without any kind of discretion, practically all investment, and with it all innovation and creation, was frozen. And now what are we going to do? This unexpected knockout and the long period of convalescence that followed were not used to the same effect by everyone. There were a number of lost sheep.They had to take a step back, refocus and be introspective. Was it this renewed lucidity and humility that led to the return of classic watches? Or is it the new customers from China, who are the driving force behind the growth of the entire industry and who prefer these classic watches? Or is it simply the fact that trends follow cycles? It’s a little of all three! In summary, the watchmaking industry was undoubtedly at the end of a cycle and was thus ripe for this return to classicism. It was just given a little extra push to return it to its past. And once again, the best will know how to adopt these classic codes, reinterpret them in the spirit of the times and transcend them. So we can look forward to beautiful watches for a long time to come. Because doesn’t the very strength of a Classic (with a capital “c”) lie in the fact that it never goes out of fashion?
*Read Icons of Men’s Style by Josh Sims.
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Starry skies on the wrist
IWC emerged from last year’s summer break with a very complicated watch called the Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia. It was launched successively in the southern hemisphere at the Paranal Observatory in Chile and at Schaffhausen in Switzerland, the birthplace of this unusual watch. This model represents a milestone in the journey of this brand, for it
joins the small number of astronomical wristwatches that display a map of the heavens. Although the watch features such exotic complications as sidereal time, the hours of sunrise and sunset as well as a constant-force tourbillion, the real eye-catcher is the starry sky. The universe might be expanding at a tremendous rate ever since the Big Bang, but from our point of view on Earth, the familiar constellations haven’t changed in generations. The stars might be a few light years away or a few thousand, but to us they appear dotted on a giant dome rotating above the Earth. Although we now know that it is the Earth
that rotates, the illusion serves as a convenient model. Since the axis of the Earth’s rotation goes through the poles, a patient observer at the North Pole will see the stars orbiting anticlockwise around a point directly above his head, where the North Star appears immobile. The orbits of the stars increase with their distance from the Pole Star. This phenomenon can be observed at all latitudes, except that the Pole Star is no longer directly overhead. Its angle above the horizon decreases the further south you go, but it can be seen from any point in the northern hemisphere and always in the same place every night.
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James Ward Packard paid 12,815 Swiss francs for this 1927 Patek Philippe pocket-watch with star chart.
Flattening the sky It is possible to lay out a somewhat distorted version of the heavenly dome on a flat disc, thereby contriving a rotating map of the firmament, which is a great help in identifying the stars when you don’t have an iPhone at hand. The projection of a hemisphere on a flat surface, called a planisphere, is an old skill. In the 16th century, Arab scientists were famous for their brass astrolabes, which were nothing more than rotatable star charts that determined the time at night from the position of the stars. When you go out to observe the night sky, you stand in the middle of a circle formed by the horizon where the stars rise and set. On a planisphere, the horizon is represented as an ellipse inscribed on a transparent disc above the rotating disc of stars. As the star chart rotates, the stars rise across the horizon in the east and disappear in the west.
Time from an infinite point in space Sidereal time is the time scale that navigators use when they take the altitude of a star. It’s a much more constant scale of time than solar time because it is based on the actual time of the Earth’s 360° rotation against an infinite point in space—the vernal equinox. The side-
real day is about four minutes shorter than the mean solar day. Sidereal time, like solar time, is local; the sidereal noon is when the vernal equinox is directly above the meridian of the locality. The introduction of the astrolabe to Europe inspired efforts to drive the mechanism by clockwork to get the positions of the heavenly bodies in real time. The best-known machine of this kind was the 14th-century astrarium by Giovanni Dondi. The clock was lost but replicas—one of them in the International Horology Museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds—have been made from the original notes and drawings. In addition to the astrolabe, the clock has five other dials showing the planetary orbits from the geocentric point of view of the time. Astrolabes also featured in tower and church clocks: the one on Prague’s town hall, the Zytglogge in Bern and the Strasbourg cathedral clock are notable examples.
Stars for rival collectors Watches with celestial charts appeared in the 20th century to gratify wealthy Americans vying to own the most complicated Swiss watches. The industrialist James Ward Packard had Patek Philippe provide a pocket-watch with a chart of the sky as it appeared over his home in Ohio. The best-known example of
this rivalry is the 1933 Graves watch with 24 complications, delivered to the New York financier Henry Graves Jr. It was superseded in 1989 when Patek Philippe built the Calibre 89 to mark its 150th anniversary. Among its 33 complications is a realistic depiction of the night sky in the northern hemisphere. The Geneva company went on in 2000 to produce the 21-complication Star Calibre pocket-watch, which has a revolving planisphere that also shows the position and phases of the moon. These indications appeared in Patek Philippe’s most complicated wristwatch, the Sky Moon Tourbillon, and lately in the Celestial model, which is devoted entirely to representing the night sky. This brings us to today’s watches that bring sky to wrist, starting with the earliest astrolabe-inspired models:
1. ULYSSE NARDIN ASTROLABE GALILEO GALILEI This remarkable wristwatch, part of a trilogy produced in 1985, was the first to reduce the indications of a large tower-clock like the Zytglogge to the space of a watch dial. The mechanism designed by Ludwig Oechslin gives you more than a pretty sky and is said to be
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most accurate. Both sidereal and mean time are indicated, but only the high-magnitude stars appear. Oechslin chose the traditional astrolabe format with the firmament and the sun hand going around clockwise. The sun hand shows the time of day as well as the apparent position of the sun on the ecliptic. The moon hand shows the position and phase of the moon. Finally the dragon hand, which shows the lunar nodes and crosses the ecliptic every 18.6 years, foretells the eclipses of the sun and the moon.
3. VACHERON CONSTANTIN TOUR DE Lâ€™ILE In this intricate watch, which ranks among the most complicated wristwatches, the sky above Geneva is shown through an elliptical aperture in the dial. Although it does not show sidereal time, it does show the equation of timeâ€”the difference between solar time and mean time. Its other complications include a second timezone, age and phase of the moon, minute-repeater, perpetual calendar, tourbillon, the times of sunrise and sunset and a powerreserve indicator.
5. VAN CLEEF & ARPELS MIDNIGHT IN PARIS This urbane watch, which has the same name as a fragrance marketed by the brand, displays a glittering firmament in aventurine that takes up the whole face. An elliptical frame reveals the position of the stars above Paris. The star disc goes round in one year so the stars are in their true position only once every 24 hours at midnight.
4. PATEK PHILIPPE REF. 5102PR CELESTIAL 2.
2. CHRISTIAAN VAN DER KLAAUW CK ASTROLABIUM CKAL7766 Van der Klaauw, a member of the AHCI academy of independent watch and clock creators who lives in the Netherlands, makes astronomical indications his speciality. His astrolabe shows the position of the brightest stars, the sun and the moon, and the lunar nodes with a dragon hand. The visible part of the sky is presented on the dial in the manner of an antique astrolabe, behind the hands and the stars.
The indications derived from the Star Calibre and the Sky Moon Tourbillon show the night sky of the northern hemisphere on the face of this elegant self-winding watch. The fine celestial dome turns anti-clockwise. The ellipse representing the horizon frames the visible portion of the sky above Geneva and elsewhere on the same latitude. Although the moon crosses the sky at a different rate than the stars, its position on the dial always accurately reflects its place in the sky. A hidden mechanism makes the moon wax and wane. Two arrows mark the position of Sirius and the moon and can be adjusted separately to set the lunar and stellar indications.
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6. 6. OFFICINE PANERAI L’ASTRONOMO LUMINOR 1950 Panerai launched its most complicated wristwatch in 2009, the International Year of Astronomy. The celestial vault on the back turns anti-clockwise. The clear elliptical patch in the frosted glass reveals the sky visible at a given latitude, which can be set to the owner’s choice.
7. JAEGER-LECOULTRE MASTER GRANDE TRADITION This complex masterpiece from Le Sentier is in the same vein as the Sky Moon Tourbillon: the astronomical indications are exactly calculated but the appearance comes first, with a dial-side tourbillon taking up some of the sky. It is placed on the vernal equinox, turns with the stars and shows sidereal time anti-clockwise on a 24-hour scale. The sun is integrated in an
ingenious way. It goes around on a transparent disc and shares the 24-hour scale with the sidereal time. It moves anti-clockwise in relation to the Pole Star just as it appears to do so in the sky, but slower than the stars by one degree a day. It is thus caught up by the scale of the zodiacal calendar on which it shows the date. The sun is presumably driven by a circumference wheel, otherwise it would clash with the tourbillon. The other complications are the flying tourbillon with a silicon escapement and a minuterepeater.
8. IWC PORTUGUESE SIDÉRALE SCAFUSIA As its name suggests, this major complication with a tourbillon is dedicated to sidereal time, which is shown in hours and minutes on a small 24-hour dial on the front of the watch. The focus of attention however is on the back: a planisphere of some 500 stars with lines joining them into constellations rotates once a sidereal day around the polar axis. The special feature is that polarising filters change the colour of the sky from day to night through dawn and dusk. IWC takes into account its customer’s location by providing a planisphere for the southern hemisphere. The astrophysicist,
Ben Moore, has written a program enabling planispheres to be calculated to individual requirements so that even customers living near the equator get the best possible representation of their night sky at home. As in the Master Grande Tradition model, sidereal time is shown by a pointer on the planisphere against a 24-hour scale turning in the opposite direction. It’s hard to understand why the sun hand turns clockwise, thereby requiring its own hours scale. If it went in the same direction as the stars, like in the Jaeger-LeCoultre watch, it could indicate the date, and the ecliptic that Moore specified for the star chart would at least make sense. Despite this, the IWC engineers have incorporated another useful astronomical complication—the times of sunrise and sunset—that also exists in different guises in watches by Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet. These two times are shown by two small red arrows against the outside scale. The cams for the indications have to be cut and fitted individually for each client. The other complications: constant-force tourbillon, sunrise and sunset, and a perpetual calendar that shows the number of days since the start of the year rather than the dates. O
This article was originally published in issue n°12 of the magazine Watch Around
Against the clock
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Quotations and images taken from Contre la montre [Against the clock, 45 min., 2011], an illustrated conference by Alexis Guillier presented at the School of Visual Arts in Bern and Bienne on 15 September 2011 at the 15th edition of the Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography.
Wherever we are, whatever we do, Time flies in spite of us, Then disappears, leaving us only ashes, Serious or crazy, sad or tender, To know the time, my friend, is to forget that it passes. OMEGA advertisement The Ancient of Days, William Blake, 1824.
Tempus rerum imperator. Motto of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.
‘ I regulate my watch? Never! ’ ‘ Well, then, it will not agree with the sun.’ ‘ So much the worse for the sun, monsieur. The sun will be wrong, then! ’ Around the World in Eighty Days, Jules Verne, 1873.
La montre OMEGA règle le soleil. OMEGA advertisement. (OMEGA watches regulate the sun)
OMEGA sign, 1910.
Impassive clock! Terrifying, sinister god, Whose finger threatens us and says : “Remember!” The Clock, in Flowers of Evil, Charles Baudelaire, 1857
Alice in Wonderland, (Walt Disney Productions), 1951.
The Clock of the Long Now.
‘Well, I'd hardly finished the first verse,‘ said the Hatter, ’ when the Queen jumped up and bawled out, "He's murdering the time! Off with his head! "’ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, 1865.
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Maria Belville, 1892.
Louis Pion advertisement.
It goes without saying that many are still waiting with interest for this signal and that each of them, after taking their watch out of their pocket, will check its operation against this precise signal that will be put so obligingly at their disposal. Revue Internationale de l’horlogerie et des branches annexes, 15 July 1914. Around the World in 80 Days, Michael Anderson, 1956.
That’s the trouble with the world: time. There’s too much of it. Greenwich time, mean time, mountain standard time, double British summer time. There’s too much of it. Down with it all. Man against time. Tonight we fight behind the barricades. The Big Clock, John Farrow (Paramount Pictures), 1948 Two Indian natives shoot at Globo’s clock, Brazil, 2000.
On the first evening of fighting it turned out that the clocks in towers were being fired on simultaneously and independently from several places in Paris. Theses on the Philosophy of History,Walter Benjamin, 1940.
The Natural, Barry Levinson (TriStar Pictures), 1984.
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I am a connoisseur of the time piece. Iâ€™ve got 40 watches. But - man, youâ€™ll really love this - not one of them has the right time. Time out with Usher, Daily Mail, 14 June 2008.
Flavor Flav, American rapper and TV personality
Arceau le Temps Suspendu, Hermes, 2011.
The Super Hero Time Machine (advertisement), 1977.
The People That Time Forgot, Kevin Connor (AIP), 1977.
Rolex advertisement, 23 November 1981.
OMEGA advertisement, 1895.
The Omega Man, 1971, Boris Sagal (Warner Bros. Pictures), 1971.
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That day, reflecting on the grown-up world and my own future, I decided to call a halt to stop growing then and there and remain a three-year old, a gnome, once and for all. The Tin Drum, Volker Schlöndroff (Argos Films), 1979. Hook, Steven Spielberg (TriStar Pictures), 1991. Rolex advertisement, July 1954.
In freediving, the objective time measured by watches conflicts with the subjective notion of time that is ingrained in our being (…) As if the second you experience is no longer the second that is timed. Jacques Mayol, French freediver.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Richard Fleischer (Walt Disney Productions), 1954.
The Adventures of Tintin, The Shooting Star, 1942. (“Judgement is upon us! Repent! The end of the world is at hand!”)
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. The Bible, Revelation 22:13.
TIME Magazine cover, 14 January 1972.
SIHH GALLERY – GENTS’ WATCHES 53
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm Audema celebrat of the 40th anniversary of the company’s legendary Royal Oak model, In celebration Audemars Piguet introduces a new 41 mm case size for the chronograph for 2012. 18 Case in 18-carat red gold, self-winding mechanical chronograph calibre 2385, 40pow reserve and monobloc oscillating weight in 18-carat gold, black dial hour power “gra tapisserie” pattern, hand-sewn black crocodile leather strap with 18with “grande redcarat red-gold folding clasp. Water resistant to 50 metres.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso 1931 A red dial was available on the original Reverso models launched in 1931 but was rarely seen, since it was considered avant-garde even for that exuberant period. Modern-day dandies can now relive the past with this bold new dial on the Grande Reverso. Stainless-steel reversible case, 46 mm long and 27.5 mm wide, hand-wound Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 822 mechanical movement, 45-hour power reserve, red lacquered dial with silver-toned hour markers, black leather strap. Water resistant to 30 metres.
Jean Richard Highlands Big Life This limited-edition of 100 pieces has been produced in support of the Big Life Foundation created in 2010 by wildlife photographer Nick Brandt. The foundation aims to combat poaching in the most at-risk areas of Africa. Steel case with PVD coating, 44.5 mm diameter, with rotating bezel indicating a second time zone, self-winding JR1000 mechanical movement, 48-hour power reserve, black dial with “Big Life” signature and elephant transfer on sapphire crystal case back, black fabric strap with folding buckle. Water resistant to 100 metres.
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Edition The impressive seven-day power reserve in IWC’s flagship model for 2012 comes from the highly-efficient Pellaton winding system that the brand uses. Ceramic case, 48mm diamater self-winding mechanical calibre 51614 with perpetual calendar function, 168-hour power reserve, sapphire crystal front and back, black dial, black fabric strap with shot-blasted steel folding clasp. Water resistant to 60 metres.
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Rotonde de Cartier Minute Repeater with Flying Tourbillon Five years of research into watch acoustics preceded the launch of this limited-edition piece. The conclusions can be resumed thus: the lower the weight of the case and the wider its diameter, the better its capacity to produce a loud sound. Polished titanium case, 45 mm diameter, hand-wound calibre 9402MC movement certified with the Geneva Hallmark, 50hour power reserve, complex open-worked and guilloche dial, sapphire crystal front and back, black alligator leather strap with double adjustable folding clasp in 18-carat white gold.
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar The unmistakable clarity of the Lange 1 design remains perfectly intact (and the tourbillon perfectly hidden) in this new model that combines two of watchmaking’s great complications. A unique circumferential month ring rotates around the dial to display the month at 6 o’clock. Pink-gold case, 41.9 mm diameter, Lange calibre L082.1 self-winding movement with 21-carat gold winding rotor with platinum centrifugal mass, 50hour power reserve, solid silver dial, sapphire crystal, hand-stitched red-brown crocodile leather strap with pink-gold deployant buckle.
Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain The main challenge for Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey in producing this limited edition of 33 pieces was to find the right tone of royal blue treatment that is applied directly to the main plates, the upper surfaces of which serve as the dial. Platinum 950 case, 43.5 mm diameter, GF01C calibre handwound movement with patented tourbillon mechanism, 72-hour power reserve, sapphire crystal front and back, hand-stitched dark blue alligator leather strap with platinum 950 folding clasp.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Tourbillon Only 10 pieces of this modern interpretation of a 1970s design will be produced with the brand’s signature three bridges in translucent spinel, revealing the full splendour of the tourbillon movement beneath. Brushed titanium case, 42.6 mm diameter, Girard-Perregaux 96000004 self-winding movement, 48-hour power reserve, sapphire crystal front and back, titanium bracelet with contrasting horizontally and vertically brushed links, titanium folding clasp.
SIHH GALLERY – LADIES’ WATCHES 55
Ralph Lauren Stirrup Gold Link The uniquely-shaped Stirrup collection by Ralph Lauren recalls the brand’s equestrian heritage. One of the latest incarnations in the collection features a sumptuous gold chain bracelet for which each link has been individually crafted to ensure a perfect fit on the wrist. 18-carat rose gold case, bracelet, clasp and crown, sapphire crystal, hand-wound mechanical RL430 calibre by Piaget for Ralph Lauren, 40hour power reserve, lacquered and polished offwhite dial with black Roman numerals and black minute track. Water resistant to 30 metres.
Baume & Mercier Linea For 2012, the Linea collection is refreshed with fashionable colour choices for the model’s signature interchangeable strap as well as new automatic and gem-set models with an original trapezoidal stone setting. Two-tone red-gold and stainless-steel case, 32 mm diameter, with contrasting brushed and polished surfaces, ETA 2892-A2 / Sellita SW300 self-winding mechanical movement, 42-hour power reserve, satin-finished and snailed silver-coloured dial with gilt hands and hour markers, two interchangeable bracelets: polished and satin-finished two-tone red-gold and steel with triple-folding security clasp or brown satin with pin buckle. Water resistant to 50 metres.
Roger Dubuis Velvet Amethysts and Spinels The Geneva-based manufacture that produces all its timepieces in accordance with the requirements of the Geneva Hallmark has produced a darkly seductive watch that glistens with the unusual combination of amethysts and spinels. Black DLC-coated titanium case, 36 mm diameter, bezel set with 46 amethysts (approx. 0.74 carats), lugs and décor set with 40 spinels (approx. 0.50 carats), RD821 self-winding mechanical movement with 48-hour power reserve, black dial with black Roman numeral transfer and applied black Roman numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock, black satin strap with black DLC/steel folding buckle.
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Poetic Wish The Lady Arpels Poetic Wish continues the tradition, started by Van Cleef & Arpels with the Poetic Wish collection in 2006, of using a watch to tell a story as well as the time. This model is one half of a pair for 2012 that feature the story of two young lovers in Paris. The patented mechanical movement has a 60hour power reserve and operates a 5-minute repeater function that strikes the time using centrally mounted hammers, while at the same time an animation takes place on the dial.
Piaget Limelight Dancing Light A rotating pink-gold Piaget rose dominates the dial of the Limelight Dancing Light, set with 155 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx 0.6 ct) against a white mother-of-pearl dial. 18-carat pink gold case set with 52 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 1.6 ct), Piaget 56P quartz movement, white satin strap with 18-carat pink gold buckle set with 15 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 0.1 ct).
56 SIHH GALLERY – HIGHLIGHTS europa star
Richard Mille RM 037 The new RM 037 features a brand-new self-winding calibre developed in-house at Richard Mille with a patented crown mechanism that does not use a winding stem and thus removes a potential source of shocks to the movement. Titanium case measuring 52.2 x 34.4 mm, CRMA1 self-winding movement with titanium base plate and bridges, 50-hour power reserve, sapphire crystal dial with red indications for the big date display and crown function indicator, sapphire crystal front and back, rubber strap. Water resistant to 50 metres.
Parmigiani Tonda Retrograde Annual Calendar Despite having produced 16 in-house movements, an annual calendar was missing from the Parmigiani Fleurier collection until now. The PF331 calibre has been used as the base for a new annual calendar complication to enhance the brand’s Tonda line. 18-carat white-gold case, 40 mm diameter, PF 339 selfwinding movement with retrograde annual calendar and precision moon phase indication, black dial with “barley grain” pattern, sapphire crystal front and back, Hermès alligator leather strap with 18-carat white-gold buckle. Water resistant to 30 metres.
Panerai “Tuttonero” Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Automatic Panerai presents its first bracelet in matt black ceramic, which has been designed to fit perfectly with the matching matt black case of the Luminor. The movement has also been treated to give it a black appearance and complete the all-black look from which the watch gets its name in Italian. Matt black ceramic case, 44 mm diameter, Panerai P.9001/B calibre, 72hour power reserve (with indication on the back of the movement), black dial with luminous Arabic numerals and hour markers, patented black ceramic crown protector, sapphire crystal front and back, matt black ceramic bracelet with DLC-coated steel buckle. Water resistant to 100 metres.
Montblanc TimeWriter II Chronographe Bi-Fréquence 1000 Montblanc’s new MB TW 02 calibre displays elapsed time to an accuracy of 1000th of a second using a new patented design with a “thousandths wheel” that can operate using much lower frequencies (50 Hz) and therefore offers a higher power reserve (45 minutes). 18-carat white-gold case, 47 mm diameter, hand-wound monopusher chronograph with separate balance wheels for time indication and the chronograph, 100-hour power reserve for the movement, anthracite dial, sapphire crystal front and back, hand-stitched black alligator leather strap with 18-carat white gold pin buckle. Water resistant to 30 metres. Limited edition of 36 pieces.
Vacheron Constantin Perspectives d’Art “Fish” One of a trio of limited editions of 20 pieces each, the “Fish” model showcases the intricate hand-guilloché and cloisonné enamel decoration techniques that bring to life the fish motifs on the dial. 18-carat white gold case, 40 mm diameter, calibre 2460 SC self-winding mechanical movement stamped with the Geneva Hallmark, 40-hour power reserve, sapphire crystal front and back, black alligator leather strap and 18-carat white-gold buckle. Water resistant to 30 metres.
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Antonio Calce, new shareholder in Corum RPierre Maillard
ing, but that I am fully committed to the future of the company, that I am working for the long term.
Antonio Calce, CEO of Corum, hired by Séverin Wunderman shortly before his death, is a person who “believes in what he does”. This was amply demonstrated last autumn when he became a shareholder in the enterprise where he works. “I put all my money into this,” says the man who was “born in Neuchâtel, grew up in Neuchâtel, and passionately loves the watch industry”. Corum belongs to the Séverin Wunderman Foundation, of SPAG (Séverin Participation AG). But Antonio Calce is now also a small minority shareholder—the only one aside from the Foundation itself. (In passing, we might add that the Foundation does not get involved directly in Corum’s operations.) Quite likely, this is a way to prepare the brand for the future since the Foundation, whose president is the direct “boss” of Antonio Calce, ostensibly has no desire to hang on to Corum for the long term. (The Foundation is mainly involved in humanitarian efforts, primarily medical research and aid to underprivileged children.) While Antonio Calce may be making prepara-
ES: How then do you see the future for watchmaking, in general, and for Corum, in particular?
tions for the future, his personal investment in Corum is a way to affirm, loud and clear, his faith in the recovery and repositioning of the brand, a task he has been working on intensively for several years. Europa Star pays a visit to this busy but profound man. Europa Star: Does the fact that you are now both a CEO and a shareholder change anything in how the company is managed? Antonio Calce: Managing a brand with an entrepreneurial spirit and being ready to take risks drives me forward. It is much better and more intense than simply being a “manager”. This is also a question of confidence. I am demonstrating that I am not just here in pass-
AC: Oh, things in the watch industry move very quickly. The short term does not worry me, but it is in the medium term where the most is at stake. We must reach a critical mass, not only in terms of turnover but also in terms of maturity, each within its own niche: maturity in terms of the appropriate industrial capacity, and maturity in terms of distribution. These are the real issues. We must learn new skills that we would not have considered necessary awhile back. Only one year ago, no one talked about the problem of the regulating organ.Today, we need to address this.Without this mastery over production, without this critical mass, the independents like us will be faced with serious difficulties in a few years. And to succeed in this endeavour requires large investments, both direct and indirect in the form of alliances. It is thus necessary, starting now, to not miss out on the essential opportunities that appear before us. Corum has every intention of being a key player in the watch industry.
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GOLDEN BRIDGE AUTOMATIC
MISS GOLDEN BRIDGE
ES: In listening to you, we get the impression that watchmaking is at a turning point... AC: Yes, certainly. Yet, the probable shortage of component parts and the difficulties in obtaining supplies by the independent brands also have a positive side to them. This forces us to build a brand for the long term and to deepen our authenticity. Building up industrial capacity is, however, a long, arduous and expensive venture, whose results are inextricably linked to the question of volume. But, in addition to overcoming the supply question, there is the essential notion of the legitimacy of the content. Everything has to do with content, with the product. The DNA of a brand must be felt throughout all of its models. We therefore must avoid, like the plague, projects that are opportunistic and that only target the short-term. We must instead concentrate on the creation of values specific to the brand, by
TI-BRIDGE POWER RESERVE
integrating yet more content into the product. From this point of view, Corum is an extraordinary brand, with a wealth of really exceptional and creative history behind it. In the middle of the 1980s, it reached a high level of maturity and considerable strength in its niche market. As you know, Corum is, and has always been, a niche brand. ES: Are you saying indirectly that this creative strength has been somewhat diluted after this era? AC: I don’t want to rewrite history. My answer to this is concrete and is clearly reflected in our offer. It is based essentially on two major historic pillars: the Bridge and the Admiral’s Cup. From the unique Golden Bridge model, dating back to 1980, we have developed a whole family of timepieces that are enjoying considerable success. We are even more delighted
about this success since it is at the core of the brand’s essence. It is a product that is totally exclusive and very creative, a product that transmits our values. The Bridge now exists in a variety of forms—an automatic watch, a tourbillon, a Ti-Bridge, high jewellery versions, and in ultra-contemporary models for both men and women. It is well on the way to becoming our icon, in other words, a watch that is immediately recognisable with a strong identity and yet is adaptable to meet all sorts of requirements. And it is uses five different inhouse movements. We can say the same about the other pillar of the brand, the Admiral’s Cup. It is now available in three different versions—an extreme watch or what we might call a prestigious professional tool, a very classy sports timepiece, and a timeless, elegant, and pure example of the art of watchmaking. But whatever its form and its functions, it remains above all
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ADMIRAL’S CUP CHALLENGER 44 CHRONO RUBBER
ADMIRAL’S CUP CHALLENGER 40 CHRONO DIAMONDS
ADMIRAL’S CUP 45 MINUTE REPEATER TOURBILLON
an identifiable member of the Admiral’s Cup family. To this end, it no longer even needs to display its flames of colour—its design says it all. This family now addresses a larger audience, and paradoxically, today’s entry-level price—around CHF 3,900 for a sports classic—has allowed us to increase awareness of the model. Because awareness is about volume as well as just high quality and exclusivity. ES: Is there a basic in-house calibre in the pipeline? AC: That is coming. All that I can say is that this is a principal goal. ES: The other great challenge to independents, you have said, is distribution? AC: Yes, and I can say it quite brutally. If you account for only five to eight per cent of a
ADMIRAL’S CUP SEAFENDER 47 TOURBILLON GMT
retailer’s sales today, you are dead. There is a critical threshold that a brand must reach. The big question, of course, is how to reach it. Having weight with a retailer implies setting up a whole chain of services and having a major presence, including in the market in question. This requires a lot of work and very well defined medium-term goals. The battle on the distribution front is tough, even savage in places. But at the same time, many windows of opportunity are opening up all over the place. This is obviously true in the emerging markets, but elsewhere as well. The large groups, when opening their own stores, are leaving other retailers, so space is then freed up. Today, I am completely confident because we are perfectly prepared for what awaits us. The space available to us at retailers depends not only on having a good mix of products but also on the ability to supply products and services on a continuous basis, with no interruptions.We are ready for this, too.
ES: You seem to be happy in your new suit as shareholder… AC: When you become “boss” (in a rather small measure), independent, and entrepreneur, you are at the heart of the torment on all levels. The spectrum broadens, the approach becomes more panoramic, and you look further ahead. It is fascinating. And, you are also playing with your own money, and your own teams. Since my arrival, I have always opted for transparency, even during the crisis period. I am also quite aware of our social responsibility. It’s something I believe in. For me, the word “ethics” has real meaning. I admit to you that it is even a question of personal balance. I am very proud that my entire team is following this path with me. It is the best compliment of all. O For more information about Corum click on Brand Index at www.europastar.com
ADMIRAL’S CUP SEAFENDER 48 DEEP DIVE
60 BASEL PREVIEW europa star
Blancpain presents the extreme X Fathoms RPaul O’Neil
It was Blancpain CEO Marc Hayek himself who donned the scuba gear to descend to the bottom of the giant aquarium in the Dubai Mall for the launch of the company’s new extreme watch in October last year. But record-breaking Italian freediver Gianluca Genoni did not need any breathing apparatus to dive with the new watch down to a watchmaker’s desk that had been set up at the bottom of the aquarium among the diverse marine life, including sharks and manta rays. As the world record-holder for static apnea, having held his breath under water for a stag-
gering 18 minutes and three seconds, it was easy for Genoni to wait with bated breath as Mr Hayek presented the watch to the underwater camera crew. “This kind of launch is something I could otherwise only have done for other divers,” Mr Hayek said after resurfacing. “When I first
saw this aquarium I thought I was standing in front of a window on a reef.” The X Fathoms is a descendant of Blancpain’s legendary Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch, which was first produced in 1953 for French combat diving forces. Over half a century ago this model set the benchmark for the clarity and readability required of a functional diver’s watch, with an uncluttered dial and luminescent hands and hour markers. After four years of development, Blancpain once again sets the standards in this field, since the X Fathoms offers a mechanical depth gauge that can measure depths down to 90 metres—more than any other watch— and is accurate to within 30 centimetres for depths between 0 and 15 metres. Amorphous metal is used to make the membrane for the depth gauge, since it has a disordered, rather than crystalline, atomic struc-
ture. This metal is more elastic, which allows greater deformation and therefore greater precision in the measurements. Despite this, however, the metal is nevertheless extremely resistant to permanent deformation. The gauge works when water comes into contact with the membrane through a special honeycomb opening in the case-back (the rubber strap has also been designed to allow water to penetrate through to the case-back), which deforms the membrane and moves a feeler-spindle fixed at is centre. A transmission lever and a rack convert the linear movement into the angular movement required to move the hands around the depth scales on the dial. With each 0.01 mm of membrane deformation corresponding to a depth of one metre, not even lasers could offer the precision required for cutting the rack and pinion mechanism. The required precision was instead achieved using deep X-ray lithography. The mechanism drives the 0-90 metre hand, which in turn drives the 0-15 metre hand and the maximum depth hand. When the diver reaches a depth of 15 metres, the 0-15 metre hand stops, while the two other hands continue to turn. Just short of 90 metres in depth,
the membrane reaches its point of maximum deformation and is blocked by a steel shield. The diver may continue to descend, since the X Fathoms is water resistant to 30 bar (300 metres). As the diver returns to the surface, the two depth hands are returned to zero by a spring, while the maximum depth hand records the maximum depth reached until it is reset by pressing the pusher at 8 o’clock, which is covered by a special protector to prevent accidental operation. The depth is displayed on two separate scales on the dial, with a more finely graduated scale for 0-15 metres, including separate colour codes for the all important 3–6 metre
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depths on the way back up, when divers need to decompress before resurfacing. A separate five-minute countdown timer has also been incorporated into the watch to allow divers to time their decompression accurately. Located in the 10 o’clock position, this is the only counter on the dial to use an off-centre hand, with all other functions – hours, minutes, seconds and three separate hands for the depth gauge, being indicated centrally and read off against highly legible coloured scales. The Blancpain 9918B calibre that powers the X Fathoms is derived from the manufacture calibre that has been fitted in several Fifty Fathoms models. In this particular configuration, it has been modified to incorporate a new silicon balance spring and its three barrels offer an impressive five-day power reserve. The models presented at the launch were prototypes, with the final production models set to be launched at BaselWorld 2012. Blancpain expects to sell 40-50 of these extreme models per year, at a retail price in excess of CHF 30,000. O For more information about Blancpain click on Brand Index at www.europastar.com
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LouisVuitton rides the America’s Cup waves
Louis Vuitton has been a partner of the America’s Cup, the oldest sporting competition in the world, since 1983, when the brand first lent its name to the Louis Vuitton Cup, the series to determine the America’s Cup challenger. After a dispute with the winning Alinghi team from Switzerland in 2007 (the winner is responsible for organising the next competition), Louis Vuitton withdrew its support. Between 2007 and 2010 there were therefore no qualification series and it was only in 2010, after the victory of BMW Oracle Racing, that Louis Vuitton returned to the competition. The brand is now an official partner of the America’s Cup World Series to prepare challengers for the Louis Vuitton Cup in San Francisco in 2013, thirty years after the first edition in Newport, Rhode Island. The winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup will then challenge the defender in the 2013 America’s Cup. It was at the final race of the America’s Cup World Series in 2011, in San Diego, that Louis Vuitton unveiled its new limited-edition Tambour models dedicated to the America’s Cup, the Tambour Regatta Automatic America’s
Tambour Regatta Automatic America’s Cup Limited edition of 720 numbered pieces. Extra-large 44 mm Tambour case. Rubber-coated steel case with matching black rubber strap. Anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Self-winding LV 171 movement with Dubois Dépraz complication exclusive to Louis Vuitton. 5-minute flyback regatta countdown function. Water resistant to 100 metres.
Cup and the Tambour Regatta Quartz America’s Cup. Both models are equipped with the countdown functions that are essential for a skipper to time his start in a regatta, where timing is crucial given that a yacht must pass the starting line as soon as possible after the cannon is fired, but not before, which incurs a penalty. Although a quartz version of this model is available, such calibres could soon become a thing of the past at the brand, as Hamdi Chatti, Vice-President of Louis Vuitton Watches and Jewellery, admitted to Europa Star, “Our strategy is to move towards mechanical watches and mechanical functionality. Having said that, we have a lot of customers who ask for
Tambour Regatta Quartz America’s Cup Limited edition of 1851 numbered pieces. Extra-large 44 mm Tambour case. Rubber-coated steel case with matching black rubber strap.Anti-reflective sapphire crystal. ISA 8270 quartz movement. Programmable 1-10 minute regatta countdown timer with alarm. Water resistant to 100 metres.
quartz but this number is decreasing so in a couple of years from now I think we will move to 100 per cent mechanical.” Like all Louis Vuitton timepieces, the new models will be sold exclusively through the Louis Vuitton worldwide distribution network. “We have 460 stores worldwide,” says Chatti, “and we have watches present in 220 of these, which is just under 50 per cent of the network.” The models will be available from early this year and the America’s Cup will be taking place in San Francisco in 2013. In the meantime, Hamdi Chatti promises further innovations in terms of function and spirit in Louis Vuitton timepieces for BaselWorld 2012 while maintaining the iconic Tambour case. O For more information about Louis Vuitton click on Brand Index at www.europastar.com
he GMT complication is an invaluable tool for today’s globetrotter. It can come in many guises, from the military style adapted to the synchronisation with the time zones of international airbases, to scales featuring the cities in the world’s major time zones. Or quite simply as a classic 24-hour hand. And should the intrepid globetrotter ever get lost (in the northern hemisphere at least), he or she can set the GMT hand to the same time as the main time indication, point the hour hand to the sun and the GMT hand will point north.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra GMT The latest model in the Aqua Terra line heralds a brand-new co-axial movement from the Biel/Bienne-based brand. The exclusive calibre 8605/8615 with a silicon balance spring is the first of the co-axial movements (which were introduced in 2007) to feature a GMT complication. Omega claims almost no need for lubrication of the co-axial movement thanks to reduced friction and backs this up with a four-year warranty. Stainless-steel case, 43mm diameter, teak pattern dial, black leather strap with folding buckle. Water resistant to 150 metres.
PRE-BASEL GALLERY – GMT WATCHES 63
Hublot King Power Unico GMT Hublot strengthens its line of products featuring the company’s own in-house movement with this new model, which is capable of displaying the time in four separate time zones in addition to the central time indication. Case in micro-blasted black ceramic, 48mm diameter, HUB1220 self-winding GMT calibre with black PVD-coated tungsten openworked rotor, 72-hour power reserve, multi-layered black dial with luminescent black hands and hour markers, black rubber strap with microblasted black ceramic and titanium black PVD deployant buckle. Water resistant to 100 metres.
Bremont ALT1-WT Bremont’s first World Timer watch is the civilian version of a military watch the brand developed in 2010 for the crews of the C-17 Globemaster aeroplane. The stainless-steel case has been hardened to a scratch resistance of 2000 Vickers (compared with around 300 Vickers for untreated 316L stainless steel). Case diameter 43mm, COSC-certified BE-54AE self-winding mechanical movement with 42-hour power reserve, internally rotating bidrectional bezel with global time zones, operated by a crown at 8 o’clock, domed anti-reflective sapphire crystal, embossed calfskin leather strap with folding buckle and engraved security clasp. Water resistant to 100 metres.
Century Elegance Chronograph GMT Century is famous for its use of faceted sapphire crystal, which is used in this gent’s model on the bezel, which consists of 48 hand-cut and polished facets in a shade of palladium that marries well with the mirror-polished finish of the black dial. Stainless-steel case, 44mm diameter, COSC-certified self-winding chronograph movement, black dial, black alligator leather strap with deployment clasp.
64 PRE-BASEL GALLERY – LADIES’ WATCHES europa star
Corum Admiral’s Cup Legend 38 Mystery Moon The Admiral’s Cup Legend introduces a new, more feminine design for the brand’s 50 year-old Admiral’s Cup design. This Mystery Moon model features an exclusive complication developed by Corum, which maintains the mother-of-pearl dial in continuous rotation (one full rotation is completed every 31 days), with the sunburst date window constantly chasing the opposing moon-phase display. Stainless-steel case, 38 mm diameter, bezel set with 72 diamonds (0.58ct), Corum calibre CO384 self-winding mechanical movement with 42-hour power reserve, black mother-of-pearl dial with jumping date and jumping moon phase display, twelve-sided sapphire crystal, black satin strap with triple folding clasp.
here is guaranteed to be a watch at BaselWorld 2012 to suit the taste of every lady, at least if the early releases pictured here are anything to go by. Designs range from the classic purity of white with a clean and understated design to the richness of gold combined with darker tones. And for ladies looking for something less feminine, Mido have just launched one of the most masculine-looking ladies’ chronometers on the market.
Blancpain St. Valentine 2012 Presenting a watch for the festival of love is becoming a tradition at Blancpain. Their offering this year is limited to 14 pieces to match the date of this worldwide celebration. Rubies naturally feature among the 2.95 carats of precious stones adorning the piece and the heart-shaped chronograph counters on the motherof-pearl dial, as well as a red heart as the counterbalance on the central chronograph seconds hand, are unmistakable signs of the watch’s purpose. White-gold case, 36 mm diameter, Blancpain calibre F185 self-winding mechanical chronograph movement with 40-hour power reserve, mother-of-pearl dial with marquetry work set with eight diamonds, white alligator leather strap. Water resistant to 30 metres. Available exclusively from Blancpain boutiques.
Mido Baroncelli III Lady Chronometer It may look out of place in present company, but Mido’s new chronometer model is genuinely aimed at ladies. In fact, it is the brand’s first chronometer collection for ladies and, as the name suggests, its design has an Italian inspiration and follows on from the brand’s gents’ watches with the same name. Stainless-steel case, 33 mm diameter, ETA 2836-2 COSC certified chronometer movement with 40-hour power reserve, black dial with guilloche centre, sapphire crystal, imitation crocodile leather strap with steel folding buckle. Water resistant to 50 metres.
Oris TT1 Day Date Although born of the brand’s association with motorsport, there is little of this testosterone-fuelled world to be discerned in the new TT1 Day Date models, which have a pure and understated design.To complement the white design of the watch, a white silicon ring has been added beneath the ceramic bezel which also acts as a shock absorber. Stainless-steel case, 43 mm diameter, white ceramic bezel, Selitta SW220 self-winding mechanical movement with red Oris oscillating mass, 38-hour power reserve, white rubber strap with easy-adjustment mechanism and folding clasp. Water resistant to 100 metres.
t’s the universal image that springs to mind when we think of a watch and it remains a perennial classic. The simple three-hand watch is the epitome of understatement. Here we bring you the latest interpretations on this theme.
PRE-BASEL GALLERY – CLASSIC AUTOMATICS 65
Harry Winston Ocean Sport Automatic The watches in the new Harry Winston Ocean Sport collection are fashioned out of Zalium – an alloy that is exclusive to the brand. Zalium is light, non-allergenic, extremely corrosion resistant and harder than titanium. The Ocean Sport collection includes automatic models for gents, quartz models for ladies and a chronograph in both ladies and gents versions. Zalium case, 44mm diameter, self-winding mechanical movement with 42-hour power reserve, silver dial, sapphire crystal, black rubber strap with foldover clasp. Water resistant to 200 metres.
Emile Chouriet Les Ailes du Temps The distinctive lugs on every Emile Chouriet timepiece represent the wings of time, the French for which lends its name to this new model. The Emile Chouriet name dates back to 1685 and its current boss is a direct descendant of one of Emile Chouriet’s original component suppliers. Its models may be a rarity outside China, where the brand sells a staggering 98 per cent of its production. Stainless-steel case, ETA 2824 self-winding mechanical movement with central seconds and date, white sun-burst guilloche dial, sapphire crystal, steel bracelet with folding clasp. Water resistant to 30 metres.
Roamer Mercury For over 120 years, Roamer has been producing a broad range of watches adding functional quartz models to the elegant classic designs in the brand’s more recent history. The new Mercury models build on the success of the company’s flagship line, combining precision and craftsmanship in an affordable watch. Stainless-steel case, 41mm diameter, ETA 2824 selfwinding mechanical movement with central seconds and day-date display, white dial, sapphire crystal, black leather strap. Water resistant to 100 metres.
Certina DS1 Certina’s trademark Double Security concept dates back over 50 years and the new DS1 model brings a retro touch to the collection with this classic three-hand design. A Certina logo from the early years of the company on the tip of the crown pays a discreet tribute to the model’s history. Stainless-steel case, 39mm diameter, ETA 2824-2 self-winding mechanical movement with central seconds and date, anthracite dial, sapphire crystal, brown leather strap with doublepushbutton folding buckle.
Reconvilier Hercules Classic The Reconvilier Hercules Classic is available in a variety of materials, colours and with a choice of straps – all of which the customer can choose according to his personal taste, creating a made-to-measure watch. Case in polished or satin-finished stainless steel, 18-carat pink or white gold, 42 mm diameter, ETA 2824-2 self-winding mechanical movement with central seconds and date, dials available in black, white, beige or titanium-tone with silvered, golden, blued or black Arabic numerals and black, white, brown or blue leather straps. Water resistant to 50 metres.
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Haute Horlogerie under the watchful eye of the WorldWatchReport 2012 RMarc-Olivier Peyer, Digital Luxury Group
As each year during the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), the Digital Luxury Group publishes the principal results of the Haute Horlogerie category in its WorldWatchReport™, a reference study for the watch industry. With its analyses of millions of anonymous and spontaneous searches by people looking for watch products on the main international search engines (Google, Bing, Yandex, Baidu), the WorldWatchReport™ provides an original look at the preferences and interests of watch consumers. For the first time since its creation in 2004, the report covers 20 key markets of the industry as compared to 10 last year. The main trends this year for the Haute Horlogerie category, which includes 15 brands (A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Breguet, Franck Muller, Girard-Perregaux, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jaquet Droz, Patek Philippe, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin, and Zenith), are the following:
China is now the world’s number one market for watch-related searches. For the first time since the launch of the WorldWatchReport™ in 2004, China has surpassed the United States as the market with the highest number of searches for Haute Horlogerie products, with nearly a 25 per cent share of the global market. A sign of the times, the demand from the USA (21 per cent) decreased five percentage points compared to 2011. The other countries in the top five are the United Kingdom with 8 per cent, ahead of Germany with 7.3 per cent and France with 6.8 per cent.
IWC, Patek Philippe and Zenith confirm their positions as brand leaders.
Like last year, IWC (23 per cent), Patek Philippe (16 per cent) and Zenith (11 per cent) capture 50 per cent of the searches for Haute Horlogerie on a global scale. At the heart of the Chinese market, Patek Philippe—along with Vacheron Constantin—are the favourites of internet surfers in the capital, Beijing, while the young and urban consumers show a definite preference for IWC.
The title of most searched-for watch goes to the Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet.
indicator than only the number of fans to measure the real performance of a brand on a social network. We should also mention the excellent performance by JaegerLeCoultre on social networks. The brand’s recent efforts—for example, its treasure hunt on Facebook or its positioning on niche platforms such as Instagram—are paying off since they have allowed it to surpass Audemars Piguet and Zenith, both in terms of the number of fans and the level of engagement. Among the 15 brands analysed, Patek Philippe is the only one to still not officially have a presence on social networks.
The explosion of searches from mobile devices
Jaeger-LeCoultre loses its previous first place position that it held for the most searched timepiece. Its Reverso model has now been outsearched by the Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet and the Portuguese by IWC, which occupied the second and third positions last year. The Schaffhausen-based brand is the best known among Haute Horlogerie clientele. Five of its models are in the top 10 for international searches. On the other hand, most of the popularity of Patek Philippe is due to its brand name since only its Nautilus model made it into the top 10. We should also mention that the first place held by Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak is supported by a large increase in searches in western markets, particularly the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy.
IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre shine in their social networks Present on Facebook, Twitter and Sina Weibo, IWC is the most advanced Haute Horlogerie brand in terms of social media. On Facebook, IWC has a community—nearly 230,000 strong—that is more than twice the size as that of its nearest competitor, Jaeger-LeCoultre (85,000), while maintaining a high level of engagement, which measures the interest and the reactions caused by the brand’s publications. This turns out to be a better
On a global level, 17 per cent of searches for Haute Horlogerie products are carried out on mobile devices. The proportion of mobile searches is particularly high in Japan, where it represents nearly one search in two, compared to an average of between10 and 15 per cent in the majority of western searches. When they search for information about a point of sale, consumers are twice as likely to do it on a mobile device rather than on a computer. This trend is going to force brands to optimise their presence on search engines in order to redirect their customers to the stores closest to where they are. The results of the complete edition of the WorldWatchReport™, covering 40 brands and 20 markets, will be published in partnership with Europa Star and the wonderful support of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie during BaselWorld next March. We will cover it again in a future edition of Europa Star. O
Editorial & Advertisers’ index A Académie des Horlogers Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI) 47 A. Lange & Söhne 54, 66 Armin Strom 7 Audemars Piguet 48, 53, 66, 67
Louis Vuitton 4, 62 LVMH 41
Roger Dubuis 55, 66 Rolex COVER II-1 (Eur.), 51, 52
M Mido 31, 64 Montblanc 56
S SIHH 53-56 Swatch 18
B BaselWorld 39, 40, 42 Baume & Mercier 55 Blancpain 60-61, 64, 66 Breguet 66 Bremont 63
O Omega 18, 49, 51, 63 Orient Watch Company 25 Oris 64 P Panerai 48, 56 Parmigiani 56 Patek Philippe 46, 47, 48, 66, 67, 72 Piaget 55
T TAG Heuer 24, 40, 41, 42 Titoni 13 Tudor COVER IV
C Carl F. Bucherer 5 Cartier 18, 54 Century 63 Certina 65 Chanel COVER II-1 (Int.), 2-3 (Eur.) China Watch & Clock Fair 69 Christiaan van der Klaauw 47 Citizen 21 Corum 57-59, 64 Cousins 69
R Ralph Lauren COVER I, 8-11, 55 Reconvillier 65 Richard Mille 44, 56, 66 Richemont Group 10 Roamer 65
U Ulysse Nardin 46, 66 V, W Vacheron Constantin 47, 48, 56, 66 Van Cleef & Arpels 47, 55 White – brand design 43 Y, Z Yonger & Bresson 19 Zenith 24, 66, 67
D Davosa 70 De Bethune 18, 24, 26 Digital Luxury Group 6, 66-67 Dunhill 16 E, F Emile Chouriet 17, 65 Franck Muller 66 G Girard-Perregaux 54, 66 Greubel Forsey 54 Guess Watches 27 H Hamilton 31 Harry Winston 65 Hermès 51 Hublot 63 HYT 18 I Ice Watch 33 IWC 18, 45, 48, 53, 66, 67 J Jaquet Droz 66 Jaeger-LeCoultre 48, 53, 66, 67 Jean Richard 53 L Lansa 68 Longines 15
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Reflections on Time or: If the universe is expanding, why can I never find a parking place? You remember the joke about how we all live by time don’t you? It’s time to get up, time for breakfast, time to go to work, time for lunch, time for a meeting, time to leave work, time to have dinner, time to go to bed, time to go on holiday, and after forty years of work it’s time to retire. And what do they give you? A bloody clock! Well our lives are a little like that aren’t they? We, that’s all of you brilliantly creative people out there designing and building those unbelievably intricate machines that show the passing of time on what we call wristwatches, along with a few of us who write about them (and a few who worry about that all-important profit factor like generating sales of some 7.143 billion Swiss francs), are so occupied in our daily involvement with indicating time that we don’t think about the philosophical side of time. Do you ever actually think about the passing of time? I don’t mean looking in the mirror at the wrinkles that are becoming more perceptible around your eyes, I mean do you get up in the morning and ask yourself is time a perpetual and continuous motion like a Patek Philippe mechanical watch or does it pass in small invisible hops like a Swatch quartz watch? Are you concerned whether time flows in one direction or is bi-directional? Are you troubled about how small a femtosecond is (one thousandth of one trillionth of a second in case you’re interested) or whether or not your twin brother who’s an astronaut returns from a space station after a year and is now 0.0085 seconds younger than you are because you misguidedly stayed on Earth? No, I thought not. Most of us are relatively happy living by the constraints of time established by our forefathers and foremothers, but there are some people out there who want to mess about with the status quo where time is concerned. If you are a regular reader of this page, you may recall that in the last issue of Europa Star I went on a bit about the problems and repercussions of the leap second, but all that pales by comparison to the recent happening in Samoa. Samoans lived for more than a century on the international dateline five hours behind New York, ten hours behind London and a day behind Sydney and, one assumes, managed to live their life without losing any sleep. Then some time last year Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, whom we all know is the prime minister of Samoa, decided he wanted his country to be in the same time zone as Australia and New Zealand and theoretically moved the international dateline west of the Samoan
archipelago. And how did he do that? He simply eliminated a Friday so that on Thursday, December 29th Samoans went to bed and woke up the next morning at their usual time and lo and behold it was Saturday the 31st of December, one night’s sleep, two days older. Not quite Brigadoon, where the population went to bed at night and woke one hundred years later without having aged more than a day, but as much fun and just as absurd. I digress, but can you imagine the chaos at say Apia Airport as holidaymakers who had booked to go home on Friday the 30th of December were told on their arrival at the airport that they were a day late since it was Saturday the 31st and that day’s flight was fully booked? What do you do when you’re stuck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean somewhere twixt the Solomon and Cook islands without a paddle? And what was the effect on those Samoans whose birthday it was on December 30th, are they the same age for another year thus outdoing your astronaut brother or are they a day older? The good news for employees is that they were paid for a day’s work that they didn’t do. Employers on the other hand … In Europe we can’t even see the light at the end of the tunnel concerning an agreement on the standardisation of daylight saving time because the societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals feel it would be too traumatic for the cows to be milked an hour later or earlier depending on the country. Like cows wear Jordi’s wristwatches with bovine portraits around the bezel, right? But there’s no society to protect us taxpayers from the governments as they continue to milk us dry! Don’t worry though, due to budgetary constraints and the poor local economies, the light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off until further notice. Well, you’ve got to laugh haven’t you!
D. Malcolm Lakin Roving Editor
The World's Most Influential Watch Magazine