Jaquet Droz Introduces the Grande Heure Minute Quantième, an Entry-Level, Steel Gentleman’s Wristwatch (with Price)

Jaquet Droz has applied its minimalist design philosophy to a new price segment with the Grande Heure Minute Quantième its new entry level timepiece with steel case in two sizes, 39mm or 43mm.
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Clean and functional in appearance, the Jaquet Droz Grande Heure Minute Quantieme has only three hands and the date, with the only concession to decoration being the accentuated date window. Wide bevels on each side of the date display given the impression of peering through a keyhole.

Two dial variants are available, a silver opaline or deep blue with vertical Geneva stripes, with date discs matching the colour of the dial. Both have lance-shaped hands, baton markers and a railway minute track.

There nothing extra on the dial, save for the brand’s logo at 12 o’clock. A discreet dash of colour is seen on the seconds hand, which is tipped in red, and also on the last day of most months, with the “31” on the date disc in red as well.

Available only in steel with a case diameter of either 39mm or 43mm, the Heure Minute Quantième is equipped with the JD 1150P, a self-winding movement with a silicon hairspring. Now a favourite material for escapement parts, silicon (or specifically, silicon with an oxide outer later) is non-magnetic and immune to temperature changes.

Visible through the display back, the movement has an open-worked rotor and bridges decorated with a radial striping. The power reserve is a convenient 68 hours, almost three days.

The Heure Minute Quantième is one of the thinnest watches Jaquet Droz offers, with the smaller 39mm model measuring 11.09mm high, while the larger 43mm version is 10.85mm high. Both versions in either colour are priced at S$15,000, including 7% tax. That’s equivalent to about US$10,600.

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Introducing the Louis Vuitton Tambour VVV – Volez, Voguez, Voyagez (with Specs & Price)

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Inspired by an ad campaign from the 1960s unearthed from the Louis Vuitton archives, the Tambour VVV uses the triple V motif as the tricolour oversized central hand on the dial.

Short for “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez avec les valises Louis Vuitton” – meaning “Fly, Sail, Travel with Louis Vuitton suitcases” – a tagline from an advertisement used in the 1960s, the triple V motif is now a recurring theme in Louis Vuitton clothing and accessories designed by its Men’s Artistic Director, Kim Jones. It now makes it debut in Louis Vuitton wristwatches with the Tambour VVV. A large triple V hand is the main element on the Tambour VVV line that includes a GMT, Chronograph and Spin Time GMT. The typical position of chronograph hands is inverted on the Tambour VVV Chronograph, with both the elapsed minute and seconds hands resetting to six o’clock. A tricolour triple V hand in silver, white and yellow is the central elapsed minutes hand, while the yellow elapsed seconds has a V-shaped counterweight. 

Available in steel or rose gold, the case is 44mm in diameter with the LV 168 movement inside, a derivative of an ETA calibre. The Tambour VVV Chronograph is priced at US$8850 or S$11,800 in steel, and US$33,500 or S$45,500 in rose gold.

Volez, Voguez, Voyagez from the Louis Vuitton archives

Slight smaller at 41.5mm in diameter and available only in steel, the Tambour VVV GMT uses the triple V hand to indicate the second time zone. A 24-hour scale in yellow distinguishes between day and night for the second time zone. It costs US$5100 or S$6750.

And the top of the line Tambour VVV is the Spin Time GMT. Offered only in white or rose gold with a diameter of 44mm, the Tambour VVV Spin Time GMT features a rotating cube display for the second time zone. Invented by Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini of La Fabrique du Temps, a movement specialist now owned by Louis Vuitton, the Spin Time mechanism relies on 12 Maltese cross gears to turn the cubes on the dial. Pricing is not yet available for this.

The Tambour VVV will hit stores in September 2015.

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Explaining the Panerai Equation of Time 8 Days Calibre P.2002/E (with Original Photos & Price)

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A departure from the typical Panerai formula, the Equation of Time 8 Days features an uncommon complication, with a linear scale indicating the difference between mean time and solar time.

Introduced at SIHH 2015, the Equation of Time 8 Days is an unusual Panerai. Instead of a complication typical for the brand like a chronograph or second time zone, the Equation of Time 8 Days – available either as a Radiomir 1940 (PAM516) or Luminor 1950 (PAM601) – shows the difference between mean solar time and apparent solar time. That’s the difference between the conventional 24-hour day and the actual length of the day based on the Earth’s orbit of the Sun, what you would see on a sundial in other words. Though best known as the maker of military-inspired sports watches, Panerai has made timepieces with astronomical displays as tributes to Galileo Galilei, the astronomer who was born in Florence, the hometown of Panerai. One is the impressive Jupiterium clock that displays the planets of the solar system, and the other is the L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Equation of Time, the most complicated Panerai wristwatch ever. Both Radiomir 1940 and Luminor 1950 versions of the new Equation of Time 8 Days are powered by the calibre P.2002/E. This movement features the same equation of time function as the L’Astronomo, which was 50mm in diameter and cost over US$200,000. Fortunately the new Equation of Time 8 Days, available either as a Radiomir 1940 or Luminor 1950, is more manageable, both physically and financially.

Luminor 1950 Equation of Time 8 Days Acciaio (PAM601)

The world works on the standard 24-hour day that’s shown on watches and clocks, known as mean solar time. But because the Earth travels around the Sun in an ellipse rather than a circle, time based on the Earth’s orbit, known as apparent solar time, is not the same. The difference between the two is the equation of time.  Equivalent to the difference between a watch on the wrist and a sundial, the equation of time is zero only four times a year. The rest of the year, apparent solar time can be ahead by as much as about 16 minutes, or behind by just over 14 minutes. This is displayed on the linear scale at six o’clock, calibrated from -15 minutes to +15 minutes.

Months are indicated in the sub-dial at three o’clock, with “D” representing December and “J” for January. The date is also at three o’clock, while the sub-dial at nine is for the constant seconds.

The month indicator and date

The P.2002/E is hand-wound, with an eight day power reserve. Like several of Panerai’s other watches, the power reserve is shown on the rear of the watch. The power reserve is integrated onto one of the barrel bridges, as on the P.3001 movement inside Luminor 1950 PAM422.

Power reserve display
A full balance bridge anchored on both sides, typical of Panerai movement construction

The Equation of Time 8 Days is available in two guises. The first is the Radiomir 1940 (PAM516), limited to 200 pieces, with a 48mm steel case. This costs US$21,500 or S$29,100.

The second is the Luminor 1950 Equation of Time 8 Days Acciaio (PAM601), a 100-piece limited edition that’s also steel and 47mm. This is priced at US$22,000 or S$29,800.

While pricey by the standards of an average Panerai, the Equation of Time 8 Days is overly expensive compared to similar complications from other brands, which usually pair it with a perpetual calendar. Though the equation of time is not a function typical of Panerai, it is an intriguing and uncommon feature that adds a mechanical interest to a watch that appeals primarily for its aesthetic.

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