Exclusive: Introducing the Stowa Flieger Singapore Edition 2014, the Lady Chin Swee (with specs and price)

Stowa, working with retailer Red Army Watches, has just unveiled the Lady Chin Swee Flieger. Made specially for Singapore, the Lady Chin Swee has a case back motif embodying diverse themes from Singapore’s history.

The Flieger Lady Chin Swee is the first Singapore edition made by Stowa, a small German maker well liked for its affordable military timepieces like its minimalist Flieger Chronograph. Created in partnership with Red Army Watches, which specialises in accessible and quirky timepieces, the Lady Chin Swee is based on the hand-wound Stowa Flieger with a uniquely Singaporean motif on the case back. Engraved on the solid case back is an enigmatic design: a pin-up girl sitting beside a tiger. According to Red Army Watches, the lady in the logo, nicknamed Lady Chin Swee, is modelled on the pin-up girls used in nose art – the decorative paintings on the fuselage of military aircraft – especially in the early twentieth century.

Someone like her might have been one of the patrons at the grand old Raffles Hotel in Singapore, where in 1902, an escaped circus tiger was on the prowl, until it was shot by a member of Singapore’s rifle team. And that explains the lady and the tiger. Based on the Stowa Flieger timepiece, the Lady Chin Swee has a 41 mm case with the decorated Unitas 6498 visible through the second, sapphire case back.

In the typical beobachtungsuhr (the Second World War Luftwaffe navigator’s watch) style, the dial is black with blued steel hour and minute hands, and a gold-plated sub-seconds hand. 

The watches will be numbered 1 through 38, though only 33 pieces will be made as 4, 14, 24 and 34 will be omitted. Balloting for the limited edition numbers will take place at an event organised by Red Army Watches later this year. The Stowa Singapore edition retails for S$1990 including 7% tax (~US$1590) with delivery estimated for the second quarter of 2014. Owners of the timepiece also have the option of having their name engraved on the tang buckle. This is available only from Red Army Watches. – SJX Follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for updates and news.

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Explaining the corporate turbulence at Laurent Ferrier

Laurent Ferrier, the recently founded but highly regarded independent watchmaker, lost its CEO not too long ago. A recent story in the New York Times explains why.

The Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor

The Swiss watch industry almost always manages to retain its serene façade, regardless of the troubles bubbling away underneath. That veil has been recently and briefly lifted as the New York Times has just published a story detailing the turmoil at Laurent Ferrier, written by Nazanin Lankarani. It details the fall-out which led to the CEO and minority shareholder, Olivier Müller, losing his job in August. The story gives side their due airtime, which essentially pits Müller against François Servanin, the founding and controlling shareholder. Ironically each party appears to be accusing the other of much the same thing – overly ambitious growth beyond the capabilities of the company. Laurent Ferrier is not the only successful independent watchmaker to experience a shareholder battle, Franck Muller and Roger Dubuis are two notable past examples. – SJX

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Introducing two new dials for the Patek Philippe ref. 5270G

Patek Philippe has just updated its website to include two new dials for the ref. 5270G perpetual calendar chronograph in white gold, including one in metallic blue.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5270G-014

Without fanfare Patek Philippe has introduced two new dials for the ref. 5270G perpetual calendar chronograph. One has a blue sunburst dial (the ref. 5270G-014) and the other has a silvery opaline finish (ref. 5270G-013).  These two new models come not long after the limited edition ref. 5270G-015 unveiled at Patek Philippe’s KunstWerkUhr exhibition (or “Watch Art Grand Exhibition”) in Munich. The first version of the ref. 5270G, which was launched two years ago at Baselworld, has been removed from the line-up, and is presumably discontinued.

The first ref. 5270G at left, and the two new models

Though equipped with the in-house CH29 movement which is considerably superior to the Lemania 2310-based CH27 calibre, the ref. 5270 never quite sold as well as its Lemania-equipped predecessors. As a result, collectors have been speculating about the model’s future.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5270G-013

Besides the dial colour, the new models have two other key differences. Firstly, the dial has a tachymetre scale on its perimeter, and the size of the logo on the dial has been reduced. All in all this brings it closer aesthetically to the much desired Patek Philippe chronographs of old.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5270G-015 for KunstWerkUhr

These two new models come just two months after Patek Philippe unveiled the ref. 5270G-015 at the KunstWerkUhr exhibition, which provided the template for the new dials. Limited to 50 pieces, the Munich edition is very similar to the new version with a silver dial, except the dial has blue accents. – SJX

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Hands-On With The Baume & Mercier Clifton 10057 Triple Calendar-Moon Phase (With Photos And Pricing)

Launched at SIHH 2013, the Baume & Mercier Clifton 10057 triple calendar with moon phase is inspired by the complete calendar watches of the thirties and forties, right down to the traditional layout of the dial.

Baume & Mercier has leaned heavily on early to mid twentieth century wristwatches as it revamps its various watch lines. This is obvious in the Capeland chronographs, and likewise for the Clifton. The flagship of the Clifton collection, the Clifton 10057 is a traditional full calendar watch, indicating the day, date, month and moon phase. Though the 43 mm diameter is a distinctly modern size, the layout and styling of the watch is clearly vintage-inspired. All the calendar indications are legible, though a bit small relative to the size of the case and dial. The red-tipped pointer for the date on the perimeter for the dial is sometimes hard to catch because of its size. 

As with typical complete calendar watches, the calendar displays are adjusted via pushers in the sides of the case. And because the calendar is neither annual or perpetual, it has to be adjusted at the end of every month which does not have 31 days. Available in either dark blue or silver, the dial has a sunburst brushed finish, with stamped and plated numerals. 

Inside is an ETA 2892 with the calendar module on top. The movement is decorated in a rudimentary manner, but the result is reasonably pleasing and suitable for the price range.

Of greater quality is the case, which has elegant curved lugs with a careful finish – brushed on the sides and top with a polished band in between.

Though mechanically simple, the complete calendar is not a common complication. In fact, the pricier perpetual calendar is more easily found. Another notable complete calendar unveiled earlier this year is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar.  Relative to the competition in this particular niche, the Clifton 10057 has the advantage of being accessibly priced, with a retail of US$4950 in the United States and S$6550 in Singapore. – SJX

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