domingo, 28 de abril de 2013

Chopard LUC Perpetual T - tourbillon with perpetual calendar and 9 days power reserve

One of the most complicated Chopard LUC timepieces, the LUC Perpetual T is perpetual calendar with tourbillon, and more than a week's worth of power reserve.

Made in-house by Chopard like all the rest of the LUC line, the Perpetual T is Chopard's flagship timepiece for Baselworld 2013. Building on the movement of the even more complicated LUC All-in-One, the Perpetual T has a perpetual calendar with large date display, though no moon phase.

The sub-dial at nine o'clock shows the day of the week, and day and night display, while the one across indicates the leap year and month.

At six o'clock is the tourbillon regulator, with Chopard's distinctive shuriken-shaped tourbillon cage. The Perpetual T is a COSC certified chronometer.

The movement has four barrels, and a nine day power reserve. Like the other top-end LUC watches it is beautifully finished, and has the Geneva Seal.

LUC cal. 02.15-L

The dial side of the movement

The rose gold case is 43 mm wide and features a silver-plated solid gold dial.


Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon Watch Hands-On

A simple evolution, the Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of the Moon (debuted here) proves remarkably lovable on the wrist. In a glossy black ceramic case with matching black ceramic dial, the "Moonwatch" naturally borrowed the name "Dark Side Of The Moon" from such things as the actual dark side of earth's moon, and Pink Floyd's famous album. Chronophiles will no doubt be interested to learn that 2013 is the 40th anniversary of the classic rock masterpiece.

I sat with Omega CEO Stephan Urquhart to discuss, among other things, the future of ceramic at Omega. It is certainly a major go. Ceramic stopped being a plaything years ago, and is now slated to sit between steel and precious metals as a mass produced luxury watch material for bezels, dials, and cases. At least at Omega, that is more or less confirmed for the future. Omega actually admitted that the Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon watch was ready a couple of years ago. Omega just wanted to wait until the right moment to release it. It is already selling like mad to eager retailers. If the new upgraded Speedmaster was a fast hit, this is a speed boost. I am going to play some Dark Side Of The Moon Music and write about this puppy.

The 44.25mm wide case is a cherry size on the wrist fitting oh so comfortably. Something about the design further makes it feel flatter than it is - which is a good thing. The rear of the case is one large sapphire crystal which domes over the movement giving you a hell of a nice view into the in-house made caliber. Omega didn't just slap together a ceramic case. Careful detailing went into the precise textures and tone making sure that it was the proper shade of black and shined in just the right way. Areas of the case are brushed, but it certainly grabs your attention with some notable sheen.

Black watches are a mysteriously popular type of timepiece. Why they look so cool much of the time is something to perhaps ponder on another time (see Exploring the science behind black watches in our bi-weekly round-up). Nevertheless, black is both sporty and masculine in a rebellious way that no naked steel or titanium watch can seem to match. Ceramic has the added bragging point of being near impossible to scratch or tarnish. Sure a hefty blow might crack the case, but such a blow would probably damage the movement of watches with metal cases anyway. It is just a stunning execution for the typically conservative family of Speedmaster watches.

Omega didn't need to actually engrave "Dark Side Of The Moon" onto the rear of the watch, but they did. It isn't a limited edition either. Thankfully, this is a standard model in the Speedmaster collection for now, and I promise you that given its success at the show, will be built upon in the future. Despite the black tones of the case and dial, legibility is fully intact as it would be on any other Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph. The baton hour markers and hands are properly sized and easy to read, maintaining the DNA of the original Speedmaster Moonwatch.

For years now, Omega has wanted to be eye-to-eye with Rolex. Unfortunately, with the amount of new pieces Omega releases they will never be able to maintain the same level of staunch conservatism as their rival who tends to release experiments such as this maybe a handful of times each decade (if that). You have got to give Omega kudos for supplementing its major product pillars with pieces like this. Omega knows how to equally cater to novice watch lovers as well as enthusiasts who can get behind the concept of a watch like this with haste.

Inside all of the new 44.25mm wide Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph watches is the in-house made Omega caliber 9300 automatic chronograph movement. Silicon parts for accuracy (COSC Chronometer certified) and resistance as well as a long power reserve along with a Co-Axial escapement. Inherent to the movement's design, are two hands in the right subdial to measure both the chronograph hours and minutes (it can also be used as a second time zone). This gives the Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph the flattering appearance of having only two subdials.

For a watch with such thin strips of lume, it is remarkably bright in the dark. Sporty touches of red complete the look along with the engraved tachymeter scale on the ceramic bezel. Instead of a leather or rubber strap, Omega decided to outfit the Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon watch with a black cordura textile strap with a black ceramic buckle. Just a killer watch and one of my top picks from the Baselworld 2013 watch show. Omega will commercially release the Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph Dark Side Of The Moon watch in the fall of 2013 and it will be priced at about 10,000 Swiss Francs. Worth the premium over the steel model? I think your heart answered that for you.

Breitling Emergency II Hands-On: Truly Global Rescue Beacon In A Watch

Will you ever be in a situation where you might need a rescue team to come find you? If so the Breitling Emergency II watch is a gadget you are going to want strapped to your wrist. This is an exclusive hands-on first look by aBlogtoWatch, though we originally debuted the Breitling Emergency II watch here.

In addition to being a luxury Swiss watch maker, Breitling retains its role as a supplier of professional-use timepieces to military personnel and demanding active people all over the world. For 2013, Breitling has released an updated and improved version of their famous Emergency watch designed to be used in situations where you might need to be rescued. The Emergency II represents a unique evolution in miniaturizing emergency beacon frequency technology in what is otherwise a stately-sized timepiece.

The original Breitling Emergency watch is a distinctive-looking piece and was released in the mid- to late- 1990s. It contained a capsule filled with a wiry antenna that when deployed automatically transmitted a signal on the 121.5 MHz emergency frequency channel. It had a range of about 100 miles, and was to be used exclusively in legitimate emergency rescue situations as the 121.5 frequency is actively monitored by search and rescue authorities.

In about 2009, I understand that most marine and air services stopped using the 121.5 MHz frequency in favor of the 406.040 MHz frequency channel for emergency beacon signals. The reason is obvious, given that the 121.5 MHz frequency's range is limited. The 406.040 MHz signal is also monitored by low orbit satellites that are part of the Cospas-Sarsat system. This effectively gives the Emergency II watch a much more impressive range than the original Emergency given that the wearer is no longer limited to transmitting a signal with a 100 mile range.

On land, the 121.5 MHz frequency is still monitored because there are very few places that are 100 miles out of range of an emergency beacon monitoring station. In air or at sea, that is a different story. Therefore, the Emergency II watch automatically transmits both signals when the beacon system is activated. The Emergency II is the very first watch that a dual frequency emergency beacon technology has been implemented into a timepiece.

How it works is rather simple. The Emergency II watch is basically part timepiece, and part radio transmitter. The transmitter has a pair of antennae that sit in a pair of capsules which are accessible on the sides of the watch. Unscrewing the caps and extending the wire-style antenna automatically activates the beacon system, which alternates between sending out signals to the 121.5 MHz and 406.040 MHz periodically for about 24 hours. The system uses a rechargeable battery, which should be charges each 2 months. I am glad that Breitling was able to manage all this in the space of a wrist watch as the 406.040 MHz signal requires much more power than the 121.5 MHz frequency to transmit.

Breitling supplies a smart charging base with each Emergency II watch. The charging base not only charges the beacon battery, but also does a systems check to ensure that the system is in proper working order. The watch movement itself operates on a separate battery. This new system is significantly more robust than the one on the older Emergency watch. In addition to the dual frequency capabilities, the Breitling Emergency II watch is finally a emergency beacon system that allows for search and rescue anywhere in the world.

It is likely that Breitling will extend their original Emergency watch policy to the Emergency II. That policy said that if someone uses an Emergency watch in a true emergency situation, Breitling will replace their Emergency watch without charge. A replacement is necessary due to the antenna system which was designed for a one-time use.

The new technology of the Emergency II watch is rather fantastic, and I am pleased to hear that Breitling was able to offer the same, no-brainer operation as the original. As a watch the Emergency II looks like the big brother of the original Emergency, quite literally. The Emergency II is a rather large timepiece, even by large watch standards. It is wearable, but at 51mm wide, it is probably going to be the largest (and quite thick) watches in your collection. Produced entirely in titanium, the Emergency II isn't that heavy though - so at least weight is not an issue.

From the markings on the caseback to the overall personality of the watch, the Emergency II doesn't feel like a gimmicky high-end sport watch but rather a serious tool for active professionals who find themselves in high-risk situations. The entire point of a product like the Emergency II is to be reliable, and Breitling has done everything in their power to ensure that the Emergency II watch is just that.

Inside the watch, is a Swiss Breitling Caliber 76 SuperQuartz COSC Chronometer certified multifunction quartz movement. These fantastic thermocompensated quartz movements offer a rich variety of functions such as a 1/100th of a second chronograph, countdown timer, world time function, alarm, and full calendar. This is done via the analog hands for the time and the two negative display LCD screens. All of the functions are operated via the crown. Thermocompensated quartz movements such as the SuperQuartz are accurate to about plus or minus 10 seconds a year (which is very good).

Water resistant to 50 meters the Emergency II watch isn't meant for any serious time underwater. The dial comes in three colors, being black, yellow, and orange. Over the dial is a sapphire crystal and attached to the case is either a titanium Professional bracelet of a Breitling Diver Pro III rubber strap.

While wearability is an issue given the large 51mm case size, that likely won't deter professionals who have been relying on Breitling Emergency watches in the event they are caught in emergency situations and they need a beacon in order to be recused. I am not sure if the Emergency II will totally replace the original Emergency, but I suspect that it might. As the technology in the Emergency II timepiece is still new, the price is quite high at launch, being around $15,000.

viernes, 26 de abril de 2013

Hublot Masterpiece MP-05 LaFerrari with 50 day power reserve

At Baselworld 2013 Hublot announced the amazing Masterpiece MP-05 LaFerrari. It has a cylindrical, transverse movement with a tourbillon regulator and 50 hour power reserve.

Named after the limited edition LaFerrari hybrid supercar launched at the Geneva Motor Show in January, the Hublot Masterpiece MP-05 LaFerrari is probably the most intriguing automotive themed watch of recent years. It was created by Mathias Buttet, the technical genius at Hublot who was also behind the MP-02 Key of Time.

The movement - which has 637 parts, the most of any Hublot calibre - has 11 barrels laid out side by side in a straight line down the centre of the watch. These barrels unwind simultaneously, and give the watch a record 50 day power reserve. This puts the MP-05 LaFerrari ahead of the previous record holder, the Rebellion T-1000 which can run for 41 days.

At the front of the watch case, at the base of the stacked barrels, is the vertical tourbillon. Beating at 21,600 bph (3 Hz), the tourbillon has an extremely large balance wheel with a diameter of 14.5 mm.

An exploded view of the movement with its 637 components, including 108 jewels

The time is displayed on two revolving cylinders on the top right of the watch, with the upper cylinder indicating the hours and the lower one the minutes.

On the other side is the power reserve display on a single cylinder. Both the time and power reserve cylinders are secured by red anodised reinforcement bars.

The 11 barrels are wound with a key that has to be inserted into a socket at the top of the watch, while the time is set by a crown under the watch.

The case is black PVD coated titanium, fitted to a rubber strap. Only 50 pieces of the MP-05 LaFerrari will be made.

In Singapore this will retail for S$585,300 including 7% tax, which is equivalent to about US$475,000.


Chairman of Ferrari Luca Cordero di Montezemolo with the MP-05 LaFerrari
and with the actual LaFerrari behind him

Tudor Fastrider Black Shield ceramic chronograph

The Tudor Fastrider Black Shield is the brand's first all ceramic watch. It has a monobloc matte black ceramic case with the case and bezel being a single piece.

Equipped with a one piece black ceramic case made by injection moulding, the Fastrider Black Shield is Tudor's first all ceramic watch. The case construction makes it unusual as typically ceramic watches have multi-part cases.

A one-piece case on the other hand means fewer gaskets are needed, meaning there is a lower chance of moisture or dust entering the case.

The crown and pushers are in black PVD coated steel, completing the all black look. For contrast the indices, hands and chapter ring are in red (ref. 42000CR). This is available with a rubber strap or a leather strap with red stitching.

Another model is available with khaki hands and indices, for a more casual look (ref. 42000CN), with the option of a khaki Alcantara strap or a black rubber strap.

Water resistant to 150 m ,the ceramic case has a diameter of 42 mm and the movement is the automatic Valjoux 7753.