Away from the Fairways | TEE TIME
Stylish Seconds The Rotonde de Cartier Double Mystery Tourbillon from Cartier HKGOLFER.COM
Evan Rast reports on the timepieces that caught hIS eye at last month’s Salon de la Haute Horlogerie CONTINUED OVERLEAF HK Golfer・FEB 2013
new year, a new set of watches to moon over. It seems that the exhausted Mayan calendar didn’t actually signal the end of time, but instead the beginning of a refreshing year for watchmaking, with a lot of engaging pieces from the Richemont stable. The 2013 SIHH, which was held at the end of January, was a stellar showing of new technologies, timekeeping innovations and very saleable, handsome aesthetics. There was a noticeable focus on women as well, with usually male-centric Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet and Piaget dedicating entire new collections to the ladies, and more brands presenting high jewellery models. For this report I organise the men’s novelties in four top categories: mechanical achievements and innovations, traditional complications with a modern twist, stylish chronographs and tech materials. Let’s start with new and innovative movements first.
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Timekeeping accuracy has always been a point of improvement for fine mechanical watches, and the sprung balance is the key element in this because it regulates the speed at which the hands and other timekeeping parts turn. Having particular fun with the sprung balance is Roger Dubuis with its Excalibur Quatuor Silicium. It’s a watch with four of them, matched with five differentials, practically telling gravity to take a hike. What’s more, it’s the first watch to have a case entirely made in silicon. We’re not talking Bakelite here, but the element’s natural crystalline form, known for its low weight and hardness. According to Roger Dubuis, silicon is half the weight of titanium but is four times harder. The watch’s unique movement, the RD101, with four sprung balances that work in pairs to compensate for changes in position of the watch, was created inhouse and carries the distinguished Geneva seal. Mystery watches are quite intriguing to look at – two hands just floating in the middle of a transparent dial, seemingly suspended in air, with no visible connections to gears. You almost believe it’s magic, but it is in fact an illusion. The hands are attached to sapphire discs that are rotated by the movement on the periphery of the dial. Knowing the magician’s secret doesn’t make the watch easier to make though. And this year Cartier is pushing it up a notch with its Rotonde de Cartier Double Mystery Tourbillon. Instead of hands floating in a transparent area of the dial, a tourbillon seems to be suspended in space. The double mystery is how the flying tourbillon rotates on its own axis every 60 seconds, and the carriage once SIHH every five minutes without was a stellar a visible connection to the movement, and with a pretty showing of slim case to boot. Equipped innovation with the handwound inand house calibre 9454MC, the watch offers a 52-hour power handsome reserve and comes in a 45mm aesthetics platinum case. While the watch itself isn’t new, I think it’s worth mentioning Parmigiani’s Bugatti Super Sport, which now comes in rose gold. It’s one of those timepieces with a unique movement and aesthetic that will always look cool. The watch’s sleek curves really echo those of a Bugatti’s, with the train wheels cut in the form of car’s wheels, the profile meant to resemble the fuselage, and the case reminiscent of the Bugatti Veyron’s wings. The Parmigiani Calibre 372 with a power reserve of 10 days is a movement designed on two planes, which allows the wearer HKGOLFER.COM
to read the time when driving without having to move the wrist; a function that proves extremely useful – and discreet – at business meetings too.
TRADITIONAL WATCHMAKING WITH A TWIST
Clockwise from top: the Bugatti Super Sport from Parmigiani; A. Lange & Sohne's Grand Complication; Audemars Piguet showed the Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication; the Excalibur Quatuor Silicium from Roger Dubuis HKGOLFER.COM
In the quest to be recognised as a true ‘manufacture,’ there are certain horological creations that must be part of your in-house repertoire. You must have the base movements first, then the chronographs and dual time zones. Then come the calendars (astronomical complications) then the striking complications (minute repeaters, alarms) and finally, a combination of at least three of these, the grand complications. This year, brands like A. Lange & Söhne celebrate the release of their first grand complication, and others like Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget and Audemars Piguet show off their traditional watchmaking knowhow with models that aren’t quite so traditional. The ever-perfectionist watchmakers at A. Lange & Söhne present the new L1902 movement for their first ever Grand Complication. The watch features a chiming mechanism with grand and small strike, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph with minute counter and jumping seconds, as well as a perpetual calendar with moonphase display. Limited to six pieces, the watch comes in a 50mm pink gold case and enamel dial. Audemars Piguet offers an unusual take on the traditional grand complication this year as it takes CONTINUED ON PAGE 70 HK Golfer・FEB 2013
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Chronograph Racer. With its ability to record the form of the very sporty Royal Oak Offshore. periods of time up to 12 hours, time pit stops The Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication and calculate average speeds (over a reference features a minute repeater, split-second distance of 1,000 metres), this watch is a great chronograph and perpetual calendar, with stylish companion for the racetrack. I was quite taken counters on the sapphire dial. The watch comes with this collection, and I think IWC are going to in titanium, featuring a black ceramic bezel, or in be one of those brands with an extensive waiting list this year. pink gold. Montblanc’s latest chronograph from its Continuing on its ultra-thin path, Piaget releases the Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin TimeWalker collection features a time- zone Minute Repeater, the slimmest minute repeater function and a unique configuration where on record at 9.4mm and 4.8mm for the calibre. instead of the usual placements for the chronograph’s subdials, the This is the watchmaker’s first minute minutes and seconds are repeater, and fourth major in-house at the centre, overlapping complication. The Emperador Piaget's with a 24-hour scale for the Coussin rose gold case and a Emperador second time zone. This dial sapphire glass dial and caseback that design, which was popular Coussin show the movement and rotor make about 40 years ago, isn’t this timepiece a good combination of Ultra-Thin common now, but upon contrasts; a traditional complication Minute Repeater seeing the watch, you in a modern-looking watch. The notice that it does provide is the slimmest Manufacture Piaget 1290P automatic increased legibility, plus it movement offers a power reserve of on record at looks really smart on the 40 hours. 9.44mm wrist. The TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph is CRAZY FOR equipped with the MB LL CHRONOGRAPHS This is a year for chronographs. Most of the brands 100 automatic movement with 72-hour power had one to present, and I’m quite certain you will reserve with flyback chrono function and comes in a 43mm stainless steel case. find a model that will suit your style and budget. Officine Panerai has been the sponsor of the IWC announced its par tnership with Formula 1 Mercedes AMG Petronas team, a Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, an international collaboration that has resulted in a new line of circuit for vintage and classic yachts, since 2005. Ingenieur models, starting with the Ingenieur It has always produced a special edition for each 70
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race, but this year the watch has a function that is made specifically for the event, a Regatta countdown. An orange push-piece at 4 o’clock moves the orange chronograph minute hand back one minute at a time, until it is at the correct position to measure the length of the countdown – the standard is five minutes, as marked in orange on the flange, but you can set it as far back as 15 minutes. The chronograph stop/start button is at 10 o’clock, and the push-piece at 8 o’clock activates the flyback function. The Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta is fitted with the P.9001/R calibre with a 3-day power reserve. It comes in a 47mm titanium case.
Now we come to watches that make use of special alloys and materials. IWC releases, for the first time, a carbon fibre watch, the Ingeniuer Automatic Carbon Performance, featuring a case made of epoxy-resin soaked carbon fibre matting, the same material used in the safety shell of a Formula One car. The dial too is covered with carbon fibre webbing, providing an extremely durable and scratch-resistant watch that looks great. The timepiece is fitted with the automatic 80110 calibre, with an integrated shockabsorption system, that can be viewed through the transparent caseback. A nice touch is the rotor design, which is inspired by the pistons in the engine of F1 cars. A very popular piece inspired from JaegerLeCoultre’s archives, the Deep Sea Chronograph now comes in a special alloy called Cermet, a material used in race car engines and aeronautics, which is made of an aluminium matrix – hence its
light weight – reinforced by a ceramic coating of about 40 microns thick, for scratch resistance and durability. The material is also resistant to extreme pressure and temperatures, making it very useful in diving. The 44mm case of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Chronograph Cermet weighs 66 per cent less than one in titanium, making this a large yet extremely wearable watch. One of the watches I’ll always remember from the show is Richard Mille’s RM59-01, which comes in very bright yellow and green. The second special edition for Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, the watch features a manual winding tourbillon movement with hours and minutes, with a skeletonised titanium baseplate and anticorroding aluminium bridges for extremely low weight. But the movement is not the only thing that makes it stand out. The case is made from a translucent composite compose of injected carbon nanotubes that offer the perfect form of shock protection for the movement and the tourbillon. The carbon nanotubes are supposedly 200 times more durable than steel and very light. These are more resistant to impacts than carbon fibre, too. The nanotubes are injected into a mould containing a yellow-green polymer to give the case its unique colour. If you’ve seen Blake in action, you’ll notice that he runs with his hands spread, fingers wide, resembling bridge detail on the dial of the watch. And so starts another virtuous cycle of discoveries and acquisitions. Happy hunting, and may you find yet another perfect addition to your growing collection. Until BaselWorld!
Clockwise from top: the Deep Sea Chronograph Cermet from JaegerLeCoultre; Richard Mille's memorable RM59-01; the Emperador Coussin UltraThin Minute Repeater from Piaget; IWC's Ingenieur Chronograph Racer; the Luminor 1950 Regatta from Panerai HK Golfer・FEB 2013