Horologio Blog

Horologio Blog
2018-04-18

An exciting exhibit about telling time in Medieval days is on display until April 29 at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, and if you are in town, you won't want to miss it. Entitled Now and Forever: The Art of Medieval Time, the exhibit portrays how difficult it was to tell time — and the myths about time — in the Middle Ages.

The exhibit is a comprehensive look at pieces and manuscripts owned by the Morgan that date back from the 11th century and through the 16th century. Most pieces hail from major countries in Europe. Highlights include paintings of farming fields (done according to the projected season), or of sacred feasts (of time and of religion) to celebrate certain anticipated dates. Other items include a long scroll work that explores the mysteries of Golden Numbers, a medieval calendar and a study of how Julius Caesar's Roman Calendar finally came into being. A particularly unusual aspect of the exhibit revolves around how people of the time were obsessed with whether or not time beyond the grave existed.

Wall hangings include ancient wooden astrolabes and an entire 60-foot-long scroll manuscript depicting history as they knew it. In all, it is a fascinating walk through five centuries when time was viewed as seasons and as moons rather than as days, hours or even minutes. If you are in New York any time in the next 10 days, we recommend stopping in to the exhibit.

All images courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum. August: Reaping Wheat, “Da Costa Hours,” Belgium, Ghent, ca. 1515, illuminated by Simon Bening, The Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.399, fol. 9v, purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910. Image courtesy of Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, Graz/Austria.

2018-04-11

Last week we discussed some of the biggest watch trends emerging from Baselworld. One of those trends revolves around diving watches, as more and more people get involved in active sports. Understanding what constitutes a great diver's watch is important, as most high-precision diver's watches offer a series of functions that could prove useful. With summer approaching, one may want to consider a new purchase to accompany that deep dive.

To be a true dive watch, a timepiece needs to adhere to certain ISO standards. These standards vary depending on whether one is snorkeling, scuba diving or deep sea diving. For diving, the absolute minimum should be 300 meters of water resistance. Some people may choose 200-meter water-resistant watches, but those will really only let you dive to within 100 meters of the surface. Currently, some of the ISO standards are being reevaluated, and new standards will be issued later this year. Depending on the anticipated depth, having a watch that is equipped with a helium escape valve can also be useful.

Additionally, a good diver's watch should be equipped with a ratcheted, one-way rotating bezel. That bezel helps measure elapsed dive times and can help to indicate when one must begin to resurface. Having a one-way rotating bezel instead of a bi-directional bezel ensures that the bezel will not be accidentally pushed in the wrong direction — leading divers to believe they have more time left underwater than they actually have.

Underwater reading of time is also an important factor, and so most dive watches should have anti-glare crystals and Super-LumiNova hands and markers. These will ensure that even when very little light is reaching the watch, the time indications are still visible.

While case materials for dive watches have come a long way, the preferred case is typically titanium. The metal is light weight, highly scratch resistant and extremely corrosion resistant. Following titanium, dive watches crafted in steel or carbon are the best alternatives. Most dive watches are equipped with metal bracelets or rubber straps, but it is best if you can find a strap with an expansion bracelet to fit over wetsuits. Double-locking bracelet clasps are also a great idea for underwater adventure.

Depending on the brand, some of today's dive watches also offer other important features. These can include double- or triple-locked winding crowns and/or additional gaskets for added water resistance. Just a handful of brands also offer dive watches with an alarm function, wherein the alarm can be sounded under water.

Most dive watches are also COSC-certified chronometers. Chronometers are watches that have undergone rigorous testing by the Controle Official Suisse des Chronometres (COSC) observatory — or by a similar observatory in France, Germany or Japan — over a period of time. The watches are monitored in various positions and under different conditions of pressure, temperature, depth and gravity.

If diving is on your bucket list and you are planning a spring or summer excursion, we invite you to swim on in to our store anytime to check out our seaworthy timepieces.

2018-04-09

We are pleased to partner with ATimelyPerspective.com, the most authoritative source for watch reviews and news, to bring even more in-depth content to our blog. This article first appeared there.

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Black Ceramic

It was just last fall when Zenith wowed the world with its incredible, revolutionary Defy Lab watch, with two world premieres, including a single-piece oscillator. Later in the year, the brand fortified its strength in the world of Defy El Primero watches with a huge New York City event with Swiss Beatz (honoring a partnership with the musician), Alicia Keys and Fabolous in the house. This was the launch of the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 – an incredibly accurate timepiece based on the brand’s rich watchmaking history. Now, for 2018, the brand unveils all-new Zenith Defy El Primero 21 timepieces with boldly daring black, blue and brushed renditions.

The newest watches — as their name implies — house El Primero movements. This legendary caliber was first launched in 1969 as the world’s first fully integrated automatic column-wheel chronograph movement. It was the first to offer 1/10th of a second precision. For nearly half a century it has been the benchmark in the industry — until now. With the new Zenith El Primero 21, the brand pushes the timing to 1/100th-of-a-second accuracy in an automatic movement.

Zenith Defy El Primero 21

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Blue with blue main plate and matching rubber strap.

The new movement, El Primero 9004, developed in house by the brand, beats at an incredible frequency of 360,000 A/H — or 50 Hz — making it 10 times its predecessor. To show off the 1/100th of a second precision, Zenith offers an inner bezel with a graduated scale from 1 to 100 — with a second hand sweeping around it in lightning speed of one turn per second. Visually impactful, it almost has a surreal effect — somehow driving home how fast time flies. Additionally, the watch is a TIME-LAB certified chronometer. The 293-part movement houses two escapements, one for the timepiece (5 Hz) and one for the chronograph functions (50 HZ).

As for the looks: big, bold and innovative is the only solution for this powerful timepiece. Each chronograph timepiece offers the 50-hour power reserve indication at 12:00. The 44mm watch is built in several versions. Each version, however, features an open-worked dial that offers a look at the movement parts and also serves as a platform for some of the key design characteristics, including the star-tipped sweep seconds hand, faced hour markers and bold color.

Zenith Defy El Primero 21 in brushed titanium.

Easily our favorite model is the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Blue. Crafted in titanium, the 44mm watch features rhodium-plated hour markers and hands, and blue accents. In fact, the watch features a striking blue main plate. The watch is offered with a matching blue rubber strap, giving the timepiece a decidedly different look. It features a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides, and a transparent sapphire caseback for viewing the movement. It is water resistant to 10 ATM. This blue version is a statement of ethereal looks and style. It retails for $11,200.

Our other favorite is the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Black — crafted in a 44mm black ceramic case. A stealth statement, the black version is offered with a sleek black ceramic bracelet ($15,100), or with a black rubber strap ($12,200). This model has a very different look than the blue one, almost a bit more avant grade and mysterious at the same time.

Zenith Defy Black Ceramic with black ceramic bracelet.

The Zenith Defy EL Primero 21 Brushed Titanium version features a single signature blue ring and a totally brushed titanium bracelet ($12,200). There are also some other versions, including one with a closed dial and color-coded chronograph subdials, and a spectacular diamond version. We will bring you more about those watches when we get the chance to go hands-on with them.

2018-04-04

It is the biggest luxury jewelry and watch show of the year: Baselworld. The show recently closed its doors after a six-day event that proved highly successful. Retailers, consumer and journalists from around the world converged on Baselworld to see the newest, latest and greatest timepieces make their debuts. In most cases, these watches were years in the design, development and research stages. While they are hot off the presses, so to speak, the newest watches won't make their way to stores for at least another month or so, but that doesn't stop us from doing some trend spotting. Here are three key takeaways from Baselworld 2018.

Vintage, Vintage, Vintage

We can't say it enough. The biggest trend this year revolves around recalling our past. Many watch brands dug into their archives and developed watches based on an earlier, mid-20th-century watch that held some special meaning or appeal. While some brands re-interpreted designs of yesteryear by updating materials, colors, or dials, others unveiled almost literal reproductions of an early iconic watch. Some brands are even celebrating key anniversaries (50th, 60th, 75th) and releasing models in celebration.

Key vintage trends revolve around dial colors, with parchment, silver and lacquered white dials for many classic timepieces. However, also rearing their retro heads are blue and black dials — especially when combined with taupe numerals — as well as salmon or pink-hued dials. Another vintage trend has to do with numerals, markers and hands, with many brands adding Super-LumiNova and returning to classic fonts and hand styles. Lastly, elongated lugs are reappearing on the market — demonstrating a retro look and an ergonomic fit.

GMT Timing

While some key luxury brands continue to unveil high complications and complex novelties, many of the big-name brands favored more useful complexities this year. Such functions include dive watches, calendar watches and even chronographs. However, the most important function, it seems, is the GMT watch. Simply put, a GMT watch features  a 24-hour format hand that indicates a second time zone in very easy terms.  This year's favorite GMT watches are in chocolate brown, forest green, slate gray and ivory dial colors, in addition to the beloved blue.

Sports Watches 

As always, sport watches are an important category this year from both an aesthetic and function perspective. Classic sport watches and rugged sport watches dominate the scene, always with an eye toward design. On the classic sport side, many brands are inspired by the automobile racing world, with elements of the watch reminiscent of steering wheels, engines and grills. Even straps recall the sport, thanks to perforated holes that resemble leather driving gloves.

On the rugged and durable sport watch side, the sky  — or the sea — is the limit. Most popular this year are the dive watches, with many brands unveiling timepieces ready to weather the saltwater and harsh temperatures and depths inherent in diving. Some pilot watches emerge, as well, but these are taking a slight backseat to the more active sports, such as diving and mountain climbing. Key features in the newest sport watches include the use of a wide variety of materials for the case, ranging from high-tech ceramic and carbon fiber to the much-coveted alternative metals, such as bronze and even tantalum.

As mentioned, each of these trends is important in today's active lifestyles, where form and function come together to deliver a timepiece that does much more than just tell the time. We will have the newest watches of 2018 arriving in stores beginning next month, and invite you to stop in any time to see them.

2018-03-28

Easily one of the biggest watch trends spotted at Baselworld this year was the influence of car design and technology. Many brands unveiled watches that had some auto inspiration, whether it be a design detail or an outright auto partnership.

The love affair between cars and watches has been going on almost since the dawn of wristwatches and of automobiles back in the early 20th century. The synergies of precision timing, excellence and even high-tech materials and design make this a perfect match. While some watch brands offer designs that incorporate carbon fiber dials, rubber straps and bold racing colors, other brands form alliances with drivers, particular races and even racing teams — and then create watches in their honor.

One brand that has taken the car and watch relationship to new heights is Breitling. For more than a decade now, this brand has worked side-by-side with Bentley, creating Bentley by Breitling watches with auto-inspired dial colors, straps and more. These high-precision watches underscore the brand's commitment to not just aviation, but also land sports.

Similarly, Swiss watch brand Zenith teamed with luxury sport utility vehicle company Range Rover. The newest watch just unveiled this year, the Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition, celebrates the new Velar SUV. The watch features an all-new brushed gray dial with copper-colored details, making it a real beauty in terms of looks, and also in terms of demonstrating both brands' design aptitude. We have a host of auto-inspired watches in our store that just may rev your engines. Make a pit stop here any time.

2018-03-26

We are pleased to partner with ATimelyPerspective.com, the most authoritative source for watch reviews and news, to bring even more in-depth content to our blog. This article first appeared there.

Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Capital Edition watch in platinum with “Dry Silver” dial.

We love the German watch brands. There is just no getting around that. These brands have so much gusto and fortitude and style. So, it comes as no surprise that Glashütte Original is right up there in the ranks, and today, we have another example of just how good the brand is. Meet the Senator Chronograph Capital Edition. Unveiled in Berlin just prior to the 68th Berlinale film festival, the Senator Chronograph Capital Edition watch is presented only in extremely limited editions. Here, we bring you a close-up look at this striking bold watch with urban attitude and top-notch watchmaking and design.

Super stylish and right on trend, the new timepieces are offered in stainless steel (100 pieces), 18-karat rose gold (25 pieces) and in platinum (just 5 pieces). Interestingly enough, the most alluring part of the watch is not the generous 42mm case size, or even the iconic Senator Chronograph Panorama Date. What grabs the attention on these new timepieces are the dials. The steel and rose gold versions feature smoky slate gray dials – crafted in a hue the brand calls Bourbon Grey.

The stainless steel Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Capital Edition watch with Bourbon Grey dial and blue and white accents is being made in a limited edition of just 100 pieces.

Divine Dials on the Glashutte Original Senator Chronograph Capital Edition Watches

On the steel models and the rose gold model, the dials are Bourbon Gray galvanized with a sunray pattern, and the chronograph subdials are also bourbon gray. However those totalizers are outlined in rich royal blue. The combination of colors is almost dramatic, and offers a totally different attitude when in rose gold than against the steel case. The platinum version boasts a “Dry Silver” dial with sky blue outer rings separating the subdials from the main dial. This is a winning color combination.

Each watch boasts beige and blue color accents. Roman numerals reside at 12:00 and 6:00 on the dial, and Super-LumiNova beige markers indicate the other hours. The hands are also Super-LumiNova beige by day and glow green in the dark.

The Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Capital Edition watches feature Super-LumiNova hands and marker that glow green in the dark.

The platinum and rose gold versions of the Senator Chronograph Capital Edition are offered with blue calfskin leather strap or blue Louisiana alligator strap to continue the striking color combinations. The steel model is offered with either a dark brown calfskin strap or with a stainless steel bracelet with patented 8-step fine adjustment system.

Caliber 37 Powers the Senator Chronograph Capital Edition

The magic doesn’t stop with the dial design, however. Each of the made-in-Germany timepieces is equipped with the Caliber 37 flyback chronograph movement. Made in house at the brand’s Manufacture in Saxony, the automatic caliber is a 4-Hertz automatic movement with column wheel mechanism. The movement, with three-quarter plate, screw balance and swan-neck fine adjustment, and skeletonized gold rotor, is viewable via the transparent sapphire case back.

The Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Capital Edition watch in 18-karat rose gold.

Each watch is water resistant to five bars, although I don’t think I would jump in a lake with one of these alluring watches on my wrist. Intrigued? Hurry. As mentioned, they are being offered in very limited numbers. To reiterate: steel, 100 pieces, retailing at a super cool price of $14,900. The 18-karat rose gold is offered in a limited edition of just 25 pieces, each selling for $31,500. Those five platinum pieces, retailing for $55,00 each, may well be already sold out.

The stainless steel bracelet version of the Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Capital Edition watch.

2018-03-22

The Baselworld Fair opened today, and already we are seeing key trends emerge, including an emphasize on interchangeable watch straps, the introduction of new materials and a general downsizing of case sizes for men and women.

Interchangeability and versatility. As witnessed already at SIHH, watch brands are recognizing that consumers today like choice. As such, we expect to see a lot more brands offering interchangeable watch straps — with new methods for easy-click changeability and with grand diversity of leathers, metal bracelets, finishes and colors.

Continued use of new materials. While gold, steel and titanium remain the staple of watchmaking, we continue to see an evolution of new materials. Our favorite is the use of bronze because it develops its own patina over time, making the watchcase unique to its owners. On the flip side is the innovative use of sapphire, with more sapphire box cases being unveiled at the high-end of the spectrum, allowing for ultimate visibility of the movement, and with some brands unveiling new colors of sapphire. Additionally, certain cutting-edge brands are unveiling new alloys and new colors of alloys that bring an edginess to the timepiece.

Smaller case sizes. While the much-loved 44mm size for men and 36mm size for women will never go away, this year we are seeing a reduction in case sizes. For women, these reductions mean a emergence of "mini" cases (24mm) from couture brands, as well as from fashion-forward brands, and of 32mm and 34mm sizes that sit nicely on a thinner wrist. For men, 38mm sizes in a classic watch are beginning to populate the offerings. For comparison's sake, a US quarter measures about 24mm.

2018-03-19

We are pleased to partner with ATimelyPerspective.com, the most authoritative source for watch reviews and news, to bring even more in-depth content to our blog. This article first appeared there.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic™ COSC-certified chronometer.

The Richemont Group and Baume & Mercier recently unveiled what is the result of more than four years of research and development by the Richemont Group’s Research and Innovation Team: The Baumatic™ caliber. One of the factors making this high-technology announcement so unusual is that the Richemont Group has given its use – first and foremost – to Baume & Mercier.

It is a highly unusual move to showcase new technological innovations in a brand that is typically more mainstream than high-tech haute horology. Indeed, the Richemont Group – which owns Cartier, Panerai, Jaeger-LeCoultre, A. Lange & Sohne, IWC, Montblanc, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels, among other brands — could have selected any brand for the launch of its newest inventions. By selecting the relatively affordable Baume & Mercier brand for the unveiling, however, the Richemont Group R&D team may have hit the nail on the head. After all, what better way to get the word out that the company has basically reinvented the proverbial wheel than by using an accessible brand.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic™ COSC-certified chronometer with silicon escapement and balance wheel.

The quest for new technology was begun by the Research and Innovation Team as they endeavored to create the Richemont Group’s first silicon balance spring and silicon escapement. Along with those efforts, the Team also further developed new alloys and methods of binding silicon to offer a watch that is highly improved in autonomy (power reserve), accuracy, durability and resistance to shock and magnetism. It then gave the proprietary technology, trademarked and patented, to Baume & Mercier for use in its Clifton Baumatic watch.

The Baumatic™ BM12-1975A Caliber (the 1975 makes reference to the year that the brand first released a “Baumatic” watch) consists of four key technologies that propel the movement to the forefront of accuracy and precision.

1 – The BM12-1975A Baumatic™ Caliber is equipped with the Richemont Group’s first silicon hairspring with Twinspir™ technology. The Twinspir technology was first unveiled in the Baume & Mercier Clifton 1830 manual wind watch with Caliber MB12-1975M — last year. It is a silicon balance spring with one bridge for the mainspring barrel and winding wheels and another bridge for the going train. The balance spring was made of two layers of silicon – hence the name Twinspir – with a third layer of silicon dioxide between them. The silicon reduces the variation in elasticity that occurs in regular balance springs – making this balance spring much more constant when it comes to restoring force. The center layer of silicon dioxide offers temperature compensation. Additionally, it is a free-spring balance (no regulator) so the rate is controlled via adjusting four masses on the balance rim. That first watch, though, came in at a price just under $15,000.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic™ with silicon escapement and balance wheel is a COSC-certified chronometer.

2 — The Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic watch movement is also fitted with the brand’s first silicon escapement. Use of silicon for the hairspring and escapement makes the watch much more durable, reduces service needs and makes it more anti-magnetic. In fact, this watch is resistant to magnetic fields up to 1,500 Gauss, 25 times more resistant than a “normal” watch without silicon escapement or soft inner iron case.

3 — The movement is endowed with a much more optimized single barrel that gives it consistent release of power and offers five days of power reserve. The spring is made in Nivaflex Plus material to optimize its volume without increasing the number of spins from 15. The new geometry of the barrel offers 30 percent more efficiency. Additionally, the stability of the watch throughout the duration of the power reserve ensures enhanced accuracy, making it accurate to -4/+6 seconds per day.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic™ caliber represents all-new technology from the Richemont Group's Research & Innovation Team.

4 — The caliber is lubricated with top-quality, enhanced lubricants that will reduce friction last longer and reduce the need for frequent servicing. The Richemont Group’s Research and Innovation Team have tested the oils under extreme stress conditions over a period of time and studied them for wear conditions emulating more than 10 years of use in today’s active lifestyles.

These four elements of technology, simply translated, mean that the wearer of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic™ watch gets at least four things in return:

• Stronger anti-magnetism to combat everyday magnetic contact with magnetized handbags, cellphones, and cell phone covers that double as chargers, microwaves and more.
• Better autonomy or longer power reserve
• Accuracy to -4/+6 seconds per day throughout the entire 120 hours of power reserve.
• Attesting to the competency of this new caliber, the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic™ watch is also a COSC-certified chronometer.

As to the design of the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic™ watch, the classic look is a great contrast to the high technology within it. The watch measures 40mm in diameter, is crafted in stainless steel with curved horns and a scratch-resistant anti-reflective domed sapphire crystal. The flat white dial is sandblasted and lacquered, to give it a porcelain-like finish, and the self-winding movement offers date, five days of power reserve (as mentioned) and is water resistant to 50 meters. It comes with a two-year warranty. Best of all, though, may be the price. The Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic™ watch, which packs a powerful punch for consumers, retails for $2,790. Why would anyone not buy this timepiece?

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic™ is crafted in stainless steel with lacquered dial.

2018-03-14

The first few months of every year are filled with so many events in the watch world, starting in January with the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) exhibition in Geneva and then running into the biggest watch show of the year, Baselworld, in Basel, Switzerland. This year, the Baselworld Fair official opens on Thursday, March 22, with pre-show events taking place on the 21st. The show runs through March 27.

This show is important for many reasons. To begin with, this is where the majority of watch brands — from Patek Philippe to Rolex — unveil their newest timepieces, watches destined to set the wrist trends for the coming year. During Baselworld, thousands of new timepieces are shown, many of which will start to make their way to stores later this summer and fall. This is where the trends are set, this is where the new materials in watchmaking are unveiled and this is where brands, retailers and even customers congregate to get the newest info on time and timekeeping.

About 800 brands will exhibit at the show. This list includes big name brands, niche brands, dozens of top independent watch brands and even some top jewelry brands. Additionally, around the city of Basel, another 30 or so brands are showcasing their new timepieces for those adventurous enough to step outside the show's cavernous halls.

We anticipate that this year's Baselworld exhibition will bring us some great new trends and directions for the coming year, and will keep you posted with more news and information very soon.

2018-03-07

This upcoming weekend we are all going lose a bit of sleep. That’s because at 2 o'clock in the morning on Sunday, March 11, we set our clocks ahead by one hour for the start of Daylight Saving Time. The Spring-Ahead concept has roots dating back to the 18th century.

In 1784, Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.” He suggested that people should get out of bed earlier in the morning in spring and summer months to use the light instead of candles. No one knows for sure how many people advocated for Franklin's idea, but we do know that no formal action was put in place to bring the concept to reality for the next 130 years.

Many European countries implemented a Daylight Saving program as early as 1916 when Germany first started, but the USA lagged behind for decades. In fact, here in America, starting just after World War II, the government suggested Daylight Saving Time, but left the implementation of it to the individual states. Each could decide if they wanted to impose it and on which dates.

This caused such confusion about what time it was in different states that in 1966 Congress established the Uniform Time Act – setting the protocol for exact dates and times to start and stop Daylight Saving Time. As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the length of Daylight Saving Time in America was extended by four weeks, starting in 2007. Still, some U.S. states/territories don’t participate, and argue the usefulness of it.

Credits: Top image by BigStockPhoto.com; Old timepieces by The Watch Blog.

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