Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Tip of the Hat to one Giulio Papi

Giulio Papi held court at the Sincere Watch Academy on 29 Jun and what an informative night it was :) before i go any further HUGE ups to Sincere Watch Academy, Audemars Piguet, and AP Renaud et Papi for making this happen. my thanks.

Mr. Papi is a visionary and a great in the horological world. Stepping out from AP in his early 20s in 1986 when a watchmaker there had informed him that he would take another 20 years of working in AP before he could work on the grand sonneries and other grand complications... he and Dominic Renaud set up Renaud et Papi which became a hothouse for technical innovations and development of not only exceptional timepieces but independent watchmaking talent...
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I would first like to share some of the questions & answers that he had provided during and after his talk on repeaters, escapements and equation of times... yes lotsa AP photos will follow... keep your pants on ;)

Raph: what in your view is the best material for chiming watches?
Giulio: a material that is light and strong would make for good chiming watch case. titanium would make for a good case. Rose gold is also a pretty good material as it has copper in its mix.
Question in my head then was why we don't see much titanium chiming watches and answering myself, its probably because of commercial reasons...

Raph: what did he view as the future for horology?
Giulio: making complicated watches that are more robust. making them with parts that a watchmaker could always make. staying true to the artisanal nature of horology in its progression...

Audience member: what watch would he like to make in future?
Giulio: a complicated watch that does not need a user manual. [a great answer which drew appreciative sounds from the audience]
when chatting with him after, i mentioned how great such a proposition was as there was so much fragility in complicated watches. eg. not being able to adjust date and time at any time of day for some calendar watches. having to baby your grand sonneries and other grand comps...

Raph: how long do you test a new escapement before releasing it in watches for sale?
Giulio: for the AP escapement it was tested for 4 years in a lower frequency and 4 years in a higher frequency...

Raph: What complication is your favorite?
Guilio: the perpetual calendar as it has the information that i need on a watch on a day to day basis and it all adjusts automatically... [note, the perp cal is also my fave complication for the same reason]

Raph: what are your thoughts on something like kari's decimal repeater which chimes, the hours and 10s and 1s instead of hours, quarters and minutes?
Giulio shared on how he had built such a watch before but that there were some shortcomings with having it chime the 10s and 1s. he shared on how the human brain can accept 4s and register things better to 4. at this point he pointed over to 4 lovely lasses lounging on the sofas nearby and asked 'how many women do you see?' to which i responded 'too few' but he corrected me to 'u see 4 of em right?' and yup its easy to register up to 4. point proven very effectively.
also he gave the example of 12... and how its divisible by 4... and how we count to twelve and not two-teen similar to thir-teen or four-teen... it was four for thought... i mean food for thought ;)

horology lovers ;) one thing to point out is that mr papi is a most personable man, with no airs about him. friendly, accomodating and has a knack of explaining difficult things in a simple manner which i believe goes towards his philosophy...
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A point he shared during his talk which i agreed with was on the number of years before you would need to send a watch with a typical swiss lever escapement in for servicing/lubrication/re-oiling... 5-7 years. yuh not the BS 2-3 years or less that your watch seller recommends u. 5-7 years sounds ok and i know others who stretch it wwwaaaayyyyy more than that and their watches work fine for that time and last lifetimes.... modern oils should mean you shouldn't have to send a watch in for servicing at such short intervals impo...

I did ask his opinion of single axis tourbillons noting that they were meant to negate the effects of gravity in the vertical position and his thoughts of multi-axis tourbillons but you will have to chat with me to hear his thoughts on that ;)

Giulio also shared with us on the developments of the new AP escapement in the ChronAP beating at 43,200bph... the advantages of the movement being better energy, no lubrication, impulse in one direction and higher frequency which leads to better accuracy...
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millenary carbon one tourby chrono looks nicer in the carbon to my surprise... but for its price... uhm lotsa other watches i would go for 1st methinks...
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on a mate chatting on forged carbon, i confirmed with him that the forged carbon mix was improved with the bumblebee (a pic of mine below which has sadly flown out from my collection) as compared to the Team Alinghi...
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[ click to read the rest of the post... expand or collapse ]

he also shared on the following complications... on the workings of the planet and the equation of time...Photobucket

a definite treat for all that was present... i recommend all watch lovers experience these colloquiams
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he also spoke on repeaters... i believe he loves some of APs chiming watches very much
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some of the AP crew visible in this shot... Oliviero Bottinelli provided lively contributions to the Q&A and discussions as well and helped in translating some of my questions... [thanks Oliviero :) ] and theres Michael... and Victoria and Adrienne from Sincere having an exchange...
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Giulio was wearing a blue faced millenary perp calendar on one wrist and on the other... a watch i like loads too... the AP ROO Diver...this shot of it when i had it on my wrist a while back... a lovely addition to the ROO range
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some other watches on display... RO equation of time...
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grand comp... tourby chrono and repeater...
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millenrary chalcedony... sorry for the bad pic as the lights were in its eyes...
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blingy tourbillon squelette... one for the ultra rich ladies from russia or china? hmm... almost blinded by the bling :)
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signing off... raph-"i have APs on the brain"-meister ;)

Saturday, 26 June 2010

So What Watch Should I Be Wearing If I Support Argentina for the World Cup? :)

u're kinda forgiven if u're thinking tiffany & co ;)
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the answer is simple... nope its not the hublots that maradona sports on both wrists and nope its not the RM11 La Gran Carrera LE with the blue around the inside... it'll be this one... the AP ROO Pride of Argentina... what a name, u can feel the national pride brimming to the surface... but not only should you get the watch in Rose Gold you should consider carrying the super nice watch box around with you ;) [note this is spoken tongue firmly in cheek :) ]

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LE of 100 in Ti and 50 in RG... caseback is engraved with the Cabildo building and the inscription Pride of Argentina - 1810-2010– Limited Edition... otherwise its just another variant for the ROO (amongst the many many multitudes of ROO LEs :)

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but before that, lets just say that the 2 folks at the centre of world cup attention for the squad is its coach or spiritual leader(i mean it was called the Hand of god ;) diego maradona and one lionel messi or leo... the latter surprisingly has not scored as yet but has created many of the opportunities and goals in the progress of the team so far. oh and for the launch of this piece, 2 pieces were auctioned with messi's signature on the box. messi by the way is AP's newest brand ambassador. not too shabby...

it also means that he'll have better watches than the coach ;)
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Some press info: The Swiss watchmaking brand Audemars Piguet held an exclusive gala in Buenos Aires to present its latest creation, a limited edition collection honoring the Bicentenary of the Revolution of May.. a live auction of two watches from the new limited edition collection raised a total of $100,000 for the charity Fundacion COAS... In light of its philanthropic philosophy, the Swiss Manufacture has partnered in Argentina with Fundacion COAS, Cooperadora de Accion Social, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving patients’ care in the public hospitals of Buenos Aires by providing new medical equipment and access to the latest technology. The full proceeds of the auction, reaching $100,000, were donated to COAS and would enable the immediate purchase of urgently needed medical material.

Oh but if you're thinking i don't want to fork out the extra $$$ for a RG ROO.... then perhaps this one is a piece for your consideration...
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[ CLICK ME TO SEE MORE RG ROO PICS :) ]

luvly non-LE RG ROO Rubberclad... won by billionaire playboys and F1 team owners alike ;)
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or perhaps a piece unique franken RG ROO? :)
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Friday, 25 June 2010

China folks lurve their Omegas :)

a couple of months back i spoke about the mainland Chinese watch buyers buying every overpriced luxury good in sight click here and look under the "I'M RICH BEEYATCH" heading :) ... at a recent dinner with some friends cum watch aficionados the topic was brought up again and it was an entertaining one :) several examples were mentioned about the feeding frenzy for luxury goods too and interestingly enough, one of our group shared about how the China Chinese are hot for OMEGA! yeah baby the swatch group have a winner here... sure the queues to Vuitton in Champs Elysee is commonly known but on weekends in China, there are queues outside the Omega shops! Say what? and they are selling 'em by the truckloads daily (no exaggeration yuh... truckloads) check out the full article from bloomberg businessweek here and some select excerpts below.

another interesting thing though was that at this dinner there was one guy there wearing an Omega... no prizes for guessing who and which watch... yup it was Aldrin with his Speedmaster :)
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jokes aside... it was lil ol' me (should this read BIG middle aging me? hmmm :) who had this vintage-y speedmaster on...
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it won't win any prizes for finishing (hey its less than US$5k (think thats about the pricing now i think) and over 40 years old yuh) but its a VERY nice looking classic chrono movement... the lemania that has also found its way into VCs and PPs... in the PP 5070 though, its all dolled up with extra bits and that watch of course going for more than 10 times the price of this...
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Excerpt 1 "In China, a quarter of all Internet searches for watch brands last year were for Omega, compared with Rolex’s 18 percent... China and Hong Kong last year consumed a fifth of total Swiss watch production."

Excerpt 2 "Omega gained luster with younger consumers when actor Daniel Craig wore its Planet Ocean in the 2006 James Bond movie “Casino Royale.” Craig’s predecessor as 007, Pierce Brosnan, appeared with an Omega in the 1995 film “Golden Eye.” Rolex was in earlier Bond movies, Sean Connery wearing a Submariner model in 1962’s “Dr. No.”

the joke here is that Daniel 'its an omeee-gha' Craig wears Rolexes in real life. he has a lot of 'em. trust me google to check it out :) but also to note is that Omega were smart to put their watch on Bond. Bond is just plain cool man. Why the Rolex Sub for me for my first 'real' watch? Sean Connery as Bond man... Shaken, not stirred ;)
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“I won’t wear Rolex, that’s a brand for my dad,” said Dani Wen, a 23-year-old student from Guangzhou as she eyed a $3,800 ladies’ Omega Constellation in a Hong Kong watch shop."

shakes head... waitaminute... i am a dad! and u know wat, so are tons upon tons of extremely cool / really nice / really great people i know who wear Rolexes... kids just don't understand huh ;)

"Omega’s designs are newer and trendier,” said the 30- year-old businessman from Hangzhou, China. He bought the watch a month ago after seeing advertisements featuring swimmer Michael Phelps and actress Zhang Ziyi. “Rolex is old and traditional."

well i don't think he was referring to the speedy then for this remark... designs been around since the 60s... but its a classic... which is uhm... much better than 'trendy' in my books
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and to end off, the most rational thing is, get one of each at least :) they both have winners in the lineup thats for sure.

lets see, if i want big chunky dive watches [this is NOT for me but just suggestions to others who may want it yuh] - cue the ploprof and the deep sea seadweller
if i want a classic chrono - speedy, daytona and the new tudor heritage all step up to the plate
etc etc etc

hagwe. cheers, raph

Thursday, 24 June 2010

the only triple-axis flying tourbillon wristwatch... in the world ;)

[tip of the hat to clarkson there...& if u dun get it, pay it no mind :)] so a couple of months back, i had the good fortune of taking pics of some interesting time machines... i received the press release of one such machine today and thought to share some pics... and some information from that press release below

RAPHMEISTER INSTRUCTIONS... download the following 5 pics to your PC and save them in one folder and play it on super high speed slideshow(or click thru it quickly) and you have a bit of twirling goin on :) sorry folks i dun have a usable video of it
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Why a flying tourbillon?

A normal tourbillon is supported by bridges top and bottom that obstruct a clear view into the tourbillon. Although much more difficult to achieve, Thomas Prescher chose to make his triple-axis tourbillon fully flying, i.e. supported by just one side so that very little impedes visual access to the kinetic ballet of the triple-axis tourbillon.

Further ensuring that absolutely nothing diminishes the pleasure of enjoying the tourbillon in all its beauty, the complex and intricate triple-axis tourbillon mechanism is driven via two conical gears instead of the easier gear-to-gear solution. Thomas Prescher was the first, and is still the only watchmaker to use this system.

The difficulty in supporting anything by just one end is balance. When an object is supported on two sides its equilibrium is not as critical as if it is supported on only one. However, imagine balancing an object moving through not one, not two, but three different planes!

[ click to read the rest of the post... expand or collapse ]

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Constant-force mechanism

While the triple-axis tourbillon mechanism, which includes the escapement wheel, pallets, anchor, balance spring and balance wheel, is extremely light in weight – the smallest screw is less than 1/1000th of a gram – it is actually heavy in relation to the amount of energy available. One of the major issues regarding multi-axis tourbillons is ensuring an ample supply of power to the escapement, the mechanism that regulates timekeeping.

To resolve this problem, Prescher has added a constant-force device inside the tourbillon cage turning around the first axis. This device transmits energy directly to the escapement six times per second, i.e. with every beat of the oscillating balance. The main power train drives the tourbillon and recharges the constant-force spring so that it always has sufficient power on tap for the escapement. The "Jeanneret" constant-force system used requires no energy-sapping levers, but works efficiently using the different inertias of the escapement wheel and tourbillon carriage.

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Technical Specifications
Triple Axis Tourbillon Regulator. Calibre TP 3W6A.3; mechanical hand-winding indicating hours, minutes and seconds; flying tourbillon with constant-force in carriage; tourbillon flying on all axes; tourbillon with shock protection.

Calibre TP 3W6A.3
Power reserve: 40 hours
Balance frequency: 21’600 bph/3hz
Smallest screw: 0.0009 grams

Tourbillon, constant-force mechanism and oscillator

Tourbillon rotation height: 12.2mm
Full revolution: 1st axis one minute, 2nd axis one minute, 3rd axis 60 minutes
Constant-force mechanism: positioned in the tourbillon cage
Constant-force system: Jeanneret's inertia acceleration
Constant-force loading: 6 times per second
Diameter of balance wheel: 9.5mm
Diameter of tourbillon cage: 13.4mm
Weight of tourbillon 1st axis: 0.347 grams
Weight of 1st and 2nd axis: 0.766 grams
Weight of 1st, 2nd and 3rd axis (incl. bearing): 2.879 grams

Case

Case dimensions: 43mm x 16.5mm

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Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Auction Watch Followup for Jun 2010

FPJ Sonnerie Souveraine... stainless steel, minute repeater, Grande et Petite Sonnerie... sold for US$400k at Patrizzi (Estimate was US$400-550k)
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So about a month ago i talked about some of the pieces that caught my eye from the auctions that were coming up... Click to Check Out that Post... So how did those pieces fare?

3448 WG with WG bracelet... sold for US$182,500 at Christie's
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For Christie's
JLC Gyrotourbillon 2 ~ Dissapeared from the auction catalog interestingly enough
FPJ Ruthenium Tourbillon Souveraine US$68.5k
Freak 1.5 US$37,500
Urban Jurgensen Perpetual moonphase US$16,250
5970P US$134,500
5970G US$116,500
5970R US$108,100
5070P US$98,500
3448 US$82,900
Paul Newman 6239 Daytona US$86,500

For Patrizzi
VC Les Historiques US$17k
5970R US$106k
AP EOD & the Fiddy (Panerai 127, 1950) ~ No sale details so withdrawn or not hammered
Patek 5131 Cloisonne US$140k

i caught a pic of this at the patek exhibition...
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For Antiquorum
3448 'Howes' US$103,200
5070G US$60k
5970G US$126k
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6239 Paul Newman US$48k

Enough of the past... one more coming our way... 26 Jun Hong Kong... lets see if Asian buyers have as much appetite as the US collectors :) 2 watches of some interest...

the Urwerk 103 with a US$25-34k estimate [UPDATE: this went for about 34k]
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and the warhorse... u can almost hear the fire from its nostrils ;) Il Destriero Scafusia from Schaffhausen No. 12 out of 125 pieces... [UPDATE: Not done as far as i can tell... and it seems a number of pieces were not taken up too... hmm]
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Saturday, 12 June 2010

"diamonds are forever... they are all i need to please me...

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..they can stimulate and tease me... they won't leave in the night, I've no fear that they might desert me..." so sang shirley bassey and of course marilyn did also establish that diamonds are a girls best friend and madonna that we are living in a material world and what better way to be a material girl than have diamonds around... on a necklace, on a ring... and on a watch of course :) following on from my RG RM11 post (scroll down a bit) and saying how that totally works, well uhm, this blingy RM10 does it for me better than the normal RM10s :) its gotta have some 'ice ice baby... vanilla ice ice baby... vanilla" [that literally sent chills down my spine brrrr]

Richard Mille RM10 from the Bling It On collection ;)
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hmm actually i know a couple of guys who would wear this :)
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the side that u won't get to see clearly after u've been blinded by the ice in front :)` i like the skeletonised movement so that u can see through to the front... nice...
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[ click to read the rest of the post... expand or collapse ]

make sure your women partners don't see this yuh... don't tempt the temptresses ;)
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right here stands a man with the power to make a diamond with his bare hands... well uhm i didn't make these diamonds of course... was just referencing kanye's diamonds are forever lyrics yuh... and of course he is talkin about one super...man...
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so there u have it... great RMs for him and her/him in the base range. No tourbys but vaucher movements to RM specs... racing machine meets luxury and it works :)
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Cabestan Collaborates With Ferrari... And The Different Tale Unrealised

a few weeks back the collaboration of Cabestan and Ferrari was announced. it makes sense they both make super machines and have price tags in the same stratosphere, they are playthings for the uber rich and fantabulous ;) although the cars by themselves totally appeal and the cabestan watches by themselves do the same for me, i am not a huge fan of such collaborations... [there is a reason why Ferrari didn't do well with the GP collaboration and the Panerai hookup that ended recently.. & i won't go into psycho-analysing the kind of people who actually buy Ferrari watches for those who do and those who don't own the actual cars with the prancing horse]

a different league from the Ferrari by Panerai watches and GP Ferrari watches that came before... the Cabestan has always been positioning itself just at the top end of the haute horlogerie world...
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the real collaboration that didn't get realised that was of great interest to me though was this one that was announced 4 years back...was it a dream?
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vertical winch tourbillon with chain and fusee... digital time display on barrels...
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blueprints for dream machines...
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due to unforeseen (and rather unknown) circumstances, the project was not realised and Vianney and Jean Francois Ruchonnet went their own ways. i would like to think that end of day both these men have their own unwavering vision as to how they wished to realise the Cabestan project and how it was they wanted to take it forward and it was not aligned... this non-alignment then translating to other issues that made them part ways... but if it had been a Janvier SA realised timepiece... in my view, it would have made a wonderful tale indeed...

[ click to read the rest of the post... expand or collapse ]

blueprints for dream machines...
and another colour variant if your Ferrari is yellow and not red ;)

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