New Reviews on the way!!

So with summer comes much time doing things with family, so I’ve taken a break from the site. That said it’s also given me time to purchase a few new pieces that I’ll do short reviews on soon.

Those include:

  • Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe
  • Jaeger LeCoultre Master Compressor Navy Seals Chrono GMT
  • Sinn 140a Limited Edition
  • A few other odds and ends

I’ll try to get some pics and my thoughts on these pieces up over the next week weeks.

Here is a teaser…

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Carl F Bucherer Travel Tec 10 Years…Oh My

So I stumbled across this article on watch time and reminded me of how much I have always wanted this watch since first trying one on a few years back. The brand and the model are very rare in that you simply don’t run into the Bucherer brand every day…or ever for that matter.

It’s certainly not as well known in the US, but these guys pack a lot of punch into their offerings. The Travel Tec offers a chrono, GMT and allows for East, West adjustment of time by a simple twist of a crown and a press of a button. All this, and a cool observation window cut into the side of the case…yes unnecessary but way cool.

Carl F. Bucherer Patravi TravelTec II Marks 10 Years of the TravelTec Family

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Eric Feuerstein- Horological Enthusiast

Q&DR (Quick and Dirty Review) Jaeger LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme World Alarm

Wow, that is a mouthful no doubt. As a collector of watches, I always appreciate when a piece has a truly innovative feature(s). I have owned GMT’s, World Timers, Chonographs, 3 Handers, and most other complications that can be found in a luxury wristwatch. The one that I have never owned (until now) was a true mechanical alarm where literally a striking mechanism strikes a curved gong in rapid succession to create an actual ringing alarm from within the case of the watch. There frankly are not many of these around to begin with due to the cost and complexity to build such a piece. Jaeger LeCoultre is one of those manufacturers that has such expertise and hundreds of years of watchmaking to make this a reality.

This week I am happy to have acquired the Jaeger LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme World Alarm watch as part of my collection.

The JLC MCEWA (For Short) is truly the pinnacle of masterful watchmaking. The watch has the usual hours, minutes, seconds and date features as would be expected. Beyond that, there is a world of complex tech built in to this amazing watch. For starters the case (or cases i should say) measures approx 46.3mm.  That said, it wears very much like my 44mm Panerai’s with the 1950’s case. It is comprised of a Steel case with an inner titanium case built in. I presume using these 2 case materials is to cut down on weight and to add structural strength to the watch case itself. You can actually see the transition from high polished steel to brushed titanium on each side of the case itself. It gives an amazing level of finish and interest to the case of the watch.

Next are the trademark Compressor Keys that are on the right side of the case. These are used to ensure the crowns are locked and watertight. The Compressor keys turn in order to allow access to the crown functions and then tighten to ensure the crowns are locked into place. This is a very cool method of ensuring integrity and keeping out things such as water, dust etc. The crowns on this side allow setting of the time, the date, winding the time functions and also winding the other barrel that powers the alarm feature which must be seen to be believed. On the left case side you will notice a red anodized crown surrounded by what appears to be a pretty aggressive crown guard. The red crown is used to adjust the world time chapter ring in order to view time around the world at a simple glance. You set the world time to show your home city at the 6 o’clock position and thus will allow the wearer to view the time in any of the cities around the globe via the world time rings.

Remember those “aggressive” crown guards I mentioned around the red crown? Well they serve double duty as they are also a bidirectional rocker switch that when pressed/depressed activates and deactivates the mechanical alarm function on the watch. Effectively this is how to turn on and off the alarm function. Now to set the actual alarm time, you use the top compressor key crown to dial in the dual discs you see on the dial side left in order to set a “Digital” view of the time that you would like the alarm to chime. You can literally set the time to as precisely as on the hour, or 15,30,45 minutes before or after the hour. It is mind blowing to see those discs in action while dialing in the alarm time.

Another feature that i simply adore is the quick release strap system that the EWA has built in. This is pure genius. You will notice 2 buttons on the case back that when retracted, actually shift the inner lug toward the watch allowing the strap to slip in or out of the outer lug. It is literally like a lug inside of a lug. I have never experienced this in any watch ever.

Swapping back and forth between the alligator strap and the rubber strap is an enjoyable experience due to this function. Generally with proprietary quick change features like this, many brands won’t allow owners to use any strap they would like. Rather they tend to only work with an OEM strap made for that particular watch whereas this watch allows for pretty much any strap that isn’t too thick in the lug area.

There is simply so much to talk about on this watch that it could take 3 reviews. Rather than doing that, I will simply post some photos to give you a sense of all that it built in to this tremendous piece. This is certainly not for the faint hearted or a new collector, but for someone who feels like they are looking for something truly unique this is the perfect piece.

Technical details:

Reference:
1778470
Case material:
Titanium/Steel
Strap/bracelet:
Alligator Leather
Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre
912
Movement
Automatic
Number of pieces : 315
Vibrations per hour : 28800
Power-reserve : 45 Hours
Jewels : 23
Barrel : 2
Height : 7.78 mm
Functions
Hour – Minute
Seconds
Date
World time indication simultaneously indicating the time in all 24 times zones
Alarm with double hour and minute display
Alarm function on/off selector
24 time-zones
Case
Titanium/Steel
Water resistance : 10 bar
Diameter : 46.3mm
Thickness : 16.5mm
Dial
Black, luminescent numerals and hour-markers
Hands
Trapèze
Strap/bracelet
Alligator Leather
Rubber
Buckle
Double Folding Buckle 20.0 mm
Pin Buckle 20.0 mm

US$ 17,700

Bremont Chronometers and Baselworld 2015

1 ALT1-C Entering the Palace at Baselworld 2015 (if only in my imagination), I am struck by the bright expanse of space; the translucent ceilings may recall Kew Gardens for some, but this conservatory burgeons with horology not horticulture. I’m tempted to stall in the entryway to marvel at Frères Rochat’s complications, then slip to the right and admire the extravagantly decorated dials and movements at Arnold & Son; but for this watch enthusiast the destination is stand 5C – to the left and almost in the rear of the hall: Bremont Chronometers. The romantic story of this brand’s inception is well documented so I won’t recapitulate it here. Suffice it to say that, in addition to the storied tenets of Bremont lore, the marque’s three distinctives capture my imagination: British Heritage, Aviation and Engineering. HOT100 WATCHPRO PORTRAITS Bremont founders, Nicholas and Giles English, embrace and regularly expound their mission to bring fine watchmaking back to Britain. Once upon a time the moniker “British Made” had the cachet that “Swiss Made” has today. Consider Thomas Tompion (1713) George Graham (1751), the great John Harrison (1776), Thomas Mudge (1794) and John Arnold (1799); more recently, Hans Wilsdorf emigrated to London in 1905 and started what would become Rolex, and George Daniels in 1974 invented the co-axial escapement. Peter Speake-Marin in our own day produces stunningly precise and elegant works of haute horlogerie. But Bremont stand alone as the preeminent British company producing robust, functional and elegant watches for “the rest of us,” and they continue to take strides to bring their design and production processes to England.

3 Churchill Now, one might ask “why aviation? What’s British about that?” Ever since the Wright brothers “slipped the surly bonds of Earth” at Kitty Hawk in 1903, the world has thought of aviation as an American innovation; and this is partially true. However, nearly fifty years earlier the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain was established; this group held the world’s first aeronautical exhibition, and members constructed the first wind tunnel and developed the cambered wing. Further, Winston Churchill – the embodiment of “John Bull Britishness” – was an early adopter of this turn of the (last) century “high-tech;” less than a decade after Kitty Hawk Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty (British navy,) learned to fly. Now, this may sound mundane to us today, but consider that at that time one out of five-thousand flights ended in death; and Churchill  was involved in more than one serious crash himself. He went on to establish the Royal Air Force, which fought the Battle of Britain as the last bastion against Hitler’s onslaught on the island nation. One can argue that World War II would have had a quite different outcome were it not for RAF aviators; in my view the free world owes a debt of gratitude to British aviation. 4 TBE This brings us to engineering; from their inception in 2002 Bremont have been devoted to robust design, construction and accuracy. Integral to the marque, and embodied in every one of their offerings, is rigorous field testing and chronometer rating. The Trip-Tick® case design, with aggressive anti-shock technology, unique hardened metal construction and water resistance to ten atmospheres, is the result of this commitment to structural excellence. Bremont’s 2009 partnership with Martin Baker, however, thrust them to a higher altitude. The ejector seat company required a watch for pilots who had ejected in their seats, but they didn’t just want a nice watch with a bespoke dial; they wanted an over engineered timepiece that could withstand the tremendous shocks and forces of ejection from a high performance aircraft. The English brothers were keen to comply and the result was the MBI, offered to the public as the MBII. The original three-sectioned case received a proprietary anti-shock movement mount and a faraday cage, and the MB technology now finds its way into much of the line, including the brand’s dive watches. True to the brand’s motto “Tested Beyond Endurance,” Bremont watches are designed and built to take whatever abuse their wearers mete out, while remaining beautiful and functional through it all. 5 Bremont Baselworld 15 This brings us to Bremont at Baselworld 2015. The brand announced six watches; two of which are newcomers to the line, and the remainder enhancements to existing timepieces. One of Bremont’s several geniuses is their penchant for partnering with elite companies, initially with Martin Baker as already noted. Bremont next partnered with Jaguar in 2010, providing the digital and mechanical automatic dashboard clocks for the C-X75 concept car, clocks for the XJ-75 concept car, timepieces for the Queen’s Jaguars, as well as clocks for production models. This partnership continued in 2014 when the watchmaker developed six “limited edition” timepieces to accompany the special release of Jaguar’s six Lightweight E-types; the public versions, also released in 2014, were the MKI and MKII – highlighted now in the Palace. 6 Mk-I-Mk-II Bremont’s connection with auto racing started in 2009 when they became the official timekeeper of the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, and they enjoyed the aforementioned partnership with Jaguar in 2010; however, the MKI and MKII are their first auto-racing inspired wristwatches. The MKI features small seconds, while the MKII is a chronograph; both have design elements that reprise the E-Type’s Smiths tachymetre.  Through the crystal case-back one can see an exceptional rotor concept which ingeminates the E-Type’s steering wheel; outstanding rotor design is yet another distinctive that sets Bremont apart from other watchmakers. 7 Jag Rotor Next up in Switzerland is the expansion of the Boeing line. Bremont’s relationship with Boeing began, it seems, in 2013 when they purchased a computer numerical control (CNC) machine from the American aviation giant. The following year saw the release of the Boeing Model 1 and Model 247. These popular pieces are made from a special stainless steel called Custom 465, an alloy developed for the aerospace industry which has superior strength and durability. 8 Boeing 1 247 This year Bremont have taken the Boeing line to the next stratum by producing the Model 1 and Model 247 Ti-GMTs. The cases of these watches are made of Boeing Ti-64 titanium, an aviation grade element which is exceptionally light and strong. The Ti-GMTs also feature (as you might expect) a GMT hand for world-timekeeping, and Bermont’s very first ceramic bezel. 9 Ti-GMT Bremont released their first line of watches in 2007; it was composed of the BC-S1 and F1 (three handers) and the chronographs: ALT1-C, ALT1-P, and ALT1-Z. The three handers have been succeeded by the Solo series, but the chronographs remain. Bremont improves the original line this year with the ALT1-ZT. This is an elegant variation on the more workmanlike dial of the original offering.  10 ALT1-Z 11 ALT1-ZT The simplified dial design, black subdials, and applied indices “dress up” the original; but all of the chronograph and GMT functionality loved by devotees of the original Z remain. Finally, another Bremont distinctive is their support of, and popularity with, military and paramilitary units all over the world. At my last count (and I’m confident I’ve missed some) the watchmaker has produced over seventy bespoke, limited edition, military watches; these timepieces’ dials, and sometimes rotors, are designed in collaboration with unit members, and only unit members may purchase them from Bremont. Some notable partners include the US B-52 Squadron, the Israeli Air Force Demo Team, the US Navy Test Pilot School, the Afghan Air Force Special Mission Wing, the Royal Navy Submarine Service, and Scotland Yard. The very first of these limited edition watches was produced in 2010 with and for the U-2 9th Recon Wing (150 pieces); that same year Bremont offered a “civilian” version U-2 to the rest of us; my favorite variant is the U-2 Blue. This year at Basel Bremont released the U-22; this version includes compass points on the dial and degrees at the indices, a copper barrel, and of particular interest to aviation enthusiasts, a date window that intimates an analog altimeter (similar to the date on some Bell and Ross and IWC watches.) 12 U22 — One of Bremont’s particularities is producing limited editions, often in support of charitable causes; these deserve their own blog post but, suffice it to say, they include the EP120 Supermarine MKLF “Spitfire” (120 Pieces), the Norton Motorcycle (200 Pieces), the P-51 Mustang (251 Pieces), the HMS Victory in support of the National Museum of the Royal Navy (250 Stainless and 40 Rose Gold Pieces), the Codebreaker in support of the Bletchley Park Trust (240 Stainless and 50 Rose Gold Pieces), and the Wright Flyer, supporting The Wright Family Foundation (300 Stainless, 100 Rose Gold and 50 White Gold pieces.) — 0 Logo Bremont have ascended to impressive heights since the English brothers launched the company in 2002. They’ve been supported by the likes of chairman John Ayton, designers Peter Roberts and La Joux-Perret, ambassadors such as Bear Grylls and Charlie Boorman, and owners including HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, Orlando Bloom, Ewan McGregor, Sylvester Stallone and Tom Cruise. Dedicated employees such as Mike Pearson and Antonia Southwell have established the brand’s customer service as second to none. They’ve won multiple awards along the way, have sponsored a host of expeditions and charitable efforts, and have produced special project “non- wristwatch” timepieces, including a pocket watch and marine chronometers. But the distinctives of this brand – English Engineered Aviation – find their genesis in Nick’s and Gile’s regard and love for their father Euan. An RAF display team pilot, Cambridge educated aeronautical engineer, and entrepreneur, the senior English bequeathed gifts and values to his sons, and they instill the same in each watch they produce. 13 Euan And for that I am grateful.

Tony Dawson comes by his love of English engineered aviation honestly; born at Purdue University where his father studied engineering, and the scion of grandparents with the supremely British surnames Dawson, Palmer, Boswell and Hayes, Dawson learned to pilot light aircraft before he could (legally) drive a car. Bremont embody many of the values he holds most dear.

Baselworld 2015 News, Tudor moving into Rolex territory but lower price point?

So there is a lot of news coming out of Basel this year, but this is one of the more interesting bits that I have seen. Tudor has always been the lower priced side of Rolex generally sporting more unique design cues and the like while keeping the same Rolex materials, quality and build. The real difference was that the engine within Tudor watches have always been an ETA based/ 3rd party movement versus the in house Rolex engine that powers most of the Rolex line. This has been the big difference between the two brands, and in turn the price of Tudor pieces have always been lower than their Rolex big brothers models.

This year at Basel though we are seeing the new line of Tudor watches that will house a Tudor in house movement and no longer an ETA movement. This is very interesting as now that both Tudor and Rolex have in house movements, could Tudor begin to cannibalize the Rolex market as their key differences begin to diminish? This could be interesting, brand new Tudor pieces with in house movement for less than perhaps $4,000? Check the article below.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-18/tudor-north-flag-hands-on-upping-the-ante-with-its-first-in-house-movement

WOTW for Wednesday Mar 18

Today I’m going back to a watch that i owned, sold, regretted and after a few years finally found and bought again (albeit in a different color). Ball Hydrocarbon Trieste Limited Edition. Its a beast of a watch yet amazingly wearable due to the mix of titanium and steel in the watch and bracelet….Not to mention Tritium gas tubes!!

Inside The Manufacture: Going Where Few Have Gone Before – Inside All Four Rolex Manufacturing Facilities — HODINKEE

I own a few Rolexes as well as a Tudor which is part of the Rolex family. I love them perhaps the most of the watches in my collection. They are timeless, not trendy, get better with age and hold their value as compared to my purchase price on the preowned market. Thx to Matt Wu from thedivewatchconnection.com for posting a link to the amazing article below from Hodinkee that really goes much farther into Rolex than I was ever aware. This article makes me realize even more why owning Rolex is even more special than I had imagined.

http://www.hodinkee.com/blog/inside-rolex

Eric Feuerstein- Horological Enthusiast