News: Laurent Ferrier and Meissen Italia partnership

Laurent Ferrier has entered into a partnership with the Italian subsidiary of German porcelain maker Meissen. For a start two unique Laurent Ferrier Galet Secret Tourbillons with Meissen porcelain dials, one with the dragon motif pictured below, will be unveiled at Baselworld 2013.

Customers will also be able to order custom porcelain dials, and next year Laurent Ferrier will unveil the first collection created together with Meissen Italia. Currently the Galet Tourbillon and Galet Secret (and also the Galet Micro Rotor) are both available with enamel dials, but this is the first porcelain dial for Laurent Ferrier.

Previously Meissen had a partnership with Glashütte Original, and I am unsure if that is still in force, or it has been circumvented by using Meissen Italia rather than the parent company. -SJX

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News: Lange Pour le Merite Tourbillon white gold hammers for record CHF338,500

A Lange Pour le Merite Tourbillon in white gold just hammered for CHF338,500 at the Antiquorum Geneva sale on Sunday. That’s equivalent to about USD358,000, EUR276,500 or SGD447,000. 

Only 19 Tourbillon Pour le Merite were made in white gold, with another 130 in yellow and rose gold (most were yellow), 50 in platinum and one in steel. This is a record for the timepiece, which has seen steadily rising values at auction, as evidenced by recent sales of platinum and yellow gold specimens.

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Baselworld 2013: Antoine Martin Slowrunner with oversize 24 mm, 1 Hz balance

Antoine Martin, the independent co-founded by Martin Braun (who formerly ran his eponymously named firm that was part of Franck Muller Watchland), has just premiered the Slowrunner, a wristwatch with both the largest, and slowest beat, balance in the world.

Equipped with a free-sprung, 24 mm diameter titanium balance wheel, the Slowrunner runs at 1 Hz or 7200 bph, a quarter the frequency of the typical 4 Hz or 28,800 bph mechanical movement. And in addition the escapement and hairspring are made of silicon. According Antoine Martin, the immense size of the balance wheel increases its inertia and stability. In theory that makes sense, the loss of inertia due to reducing the frequency can be compensated by increasing the size of the balance wheel.

Slowrunner in steel with black or silver dial

To cope with its size, the large balance is mounted on a three-armed bridge, with additional shock absorbers.

This is a fascinating idea, and its performance in real world conditions is still to be proven. The 42 mm Slowrunner is available in steel (retail CHF19,500) and rose gold (CHF34,500).

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Introducing The IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Laureus Edition

IWC has just announced the seventh Laureus Sport for Good Foundation watch. This year the distinctive metallic blue dial of the Laureus series is applied to the Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph in a limited edition of 1000 pieces.

As with the earlier Laureus editions, the Yacht Club Laureus has the engraving which reproduces a drawing done by 12 year old Hakkini Hasanga Sandumal De Silva from Sri Lanka. The boy won the Laureus contest for drawings based on the theme “Time to Move”. Inside the 45.4 mm steel case is the in-house cal. 89361 flyback chronograph movement with column wheel and Pellaton winding.

This watch benefits the Laureus foundation, which seeks to help disadvantaged children through sport. And the retail price is US$15,100. – SJX

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