SIHH 2014: Introducing the Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planétarium Poetic Complication, the solar system on your wrist (with specs and price)

With help from with Dutch independent watchmaker Christiaan van der Klaauw, Van Cleef & Arpels unveils the Midnight Planétarium Poetic Complication, which shows the real-time position of Earth and five planets around the sun, making it one of the rare few planetarium wristwatches.

Van Cleef & Arpels recruited Christiaan van der Klaauw, the Dutch watchmaker who specialises in astronomical complications and a long-time AHCI member, to create the new Midnight Planétarium Poetic Complication. A miniature of the solar system, the planetarum displays the position of six planets, the Earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, as they orbit the Sun at the centre of the dial. Each of the latter five planets are visible from the Earth on a clear night. Each of the planets rotate exactly as they do in their actual orbits, meaning 29 years for Saturn, 12 for Jupiter, while Mars takes 687 days, Earth 365 days, Venus 224 days and Mercury 88 days. In practice there is precious little movement on the dial over time, especially in the outer planets; taking nearly 30 years to make one round of the dial, Saturn will remain in place for much of the owner’s lifetime.

The time is indicated, very much approximately, by a shooting star on the edge of the star against a 24 hour scale. Because of the graduations on the dial, the time can only be indicated to around 15 minutes accuracy, but mere minutes can hardly matter against the decades of planetary orbit.  All the tiny spheres representing each planet are made of precious materials, with the Sun in pink gold and the other planets in semi-precious stone. These are set against a disc made of aventurine, a quartz crystal with glittering mineral inclusions.

On the outermost edge of the dial is a monthly calendar, which can be used with the rotating bezel to position a red arrow at the desired day and month. This is meant to be the wearer’s lucky day, on which the Earth on the dial will come direction below a lucky star etched on the sapphire crystal.

The twin pushers on the left of the case are the set the calendar comprising the day, month and year, which can be viewed on the back of the watch. Totalling 396 components, the planetarium module was developed by van der Klaauw, while the base movement is the automatic RD821 from Roger Dubuis. 

The 44 mm case is in pink gold. The Midnight Planétarium Poetic Complication retails for 330,000 Singapore dollars, equivalent to about US$258,000. Keep an eye on our SIHH page for updates. Or follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to keep track of the happenings at SIHH 2014.

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SIHH 2014: Introducing the Van Cleef & Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs, a clever twin jump hour dual time zone with retrograde minutes (with specs and price)

Fresh off the press at SIHH 2014, the new Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs from Van Cleef & Arpels is a simple but novel dual time zone, featuring a double jump hour plus retrograde minutes.

The Van Cleef & Arpels Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs – “time here and time elsewhere” – is an elegant dual time zone that is simple yet complicated. With everything extraneous (and a little bit more) peeled away, it features only a double jump hour for each time zone, and a retrograde minutes display in between the two hour apertures. Home time is indicated by the hour aperture at 11 o’clock, and local time at five o’clock. The fan shaped retrograde minute scale runs from one hour window to the other. 

At the top of the hour, all three indications – two hour discs and the retrograde hand – jump simultaneously. Both time zones are set via the crown, which is topped with a diamond.

The twin discs for the jump hours

The calibre was developed by none other than Agenhor, the technical specialist run by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, who was responsible for most of the other VC&A complications, including the Poetic Wish repeaters. Self-winding with a platinum micro-rotor, the movement also features with a bidirectional magic lever winding, a mechanism seemingly favoured across all Richemont brands.

The magic lever

Admittedly the Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs is not particularly practical as a travel watch, since it lacks both a date and a day/night indicator, but its elegance and simplicity have to be admired.  The Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs is presented in a white gold, 42 mm case, A pique motif, inspired by the front of a formal shirt, decorates the white dial.  The retail price is 48,500 Singapore dollars, equivalent to about US$37,900. Keep an eye on our SIHH page for updates. Or follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to keep track of the happenings at SIHH 2014.

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SIHH 2014: Introducing the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon Openworked (with specs and pricing)

With a focus on skeleton timepieces at SIHH 2014, Vacheron Constantin unveils the Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon Openworked, a tourbillon with a skeletonised movement and a two week power reserve, giving it the longest autonomy of any skeleton tourbillon on the market.

Vacheron Constantin is going all out with its skeleton watches at SIHH 2014. After the Malte Tourbillon Openworked, the Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon Openworked is the second skeleton tourbillon unveiled by Vacheron Constantin at the fair.

Requiring an extra 10 hours of finishing and 40 hours of engraving, the cal. 2260 SQ of the Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon Openworked is decorated in a contemporary style. The bridges, base plate and barrel are decorated with bold lines, reminiscent of bamboo shoots.

The base movement is the same as in the regular Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon, which is hand-wound with a two week power reserve, as well as Geneva Seal certified.

The platinum case has a 42 mm diameter and a height of 12.22 mm.  Retail will be a steep 525,000 Singapore dollars, equivalent to about US$411,000, making this one of the most pricey tourbillon wristwatches on the market. Keep an eye on our SIHH page for updates. Or follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to keep track of the happenings at SIHH 2014.

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SIHH 2014: Details on the full IWC Aquatimer collection (with specs and pricing)

IWC has revamped its entire collection of Aquatimer dive watches for 2014. The new IWC Aquatimer is diverse, ranging from the top-of-the-line Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month to the bronze Charles Darwin chronograph. All models are equipped with a new internal-external dive bezel, as well as a quick-change bracelet mechanism.

All the new Aquatimer watches share the IWC SafeDive bezel, a hybrid internal-external rotating bezel. Like all dive bezels, this turns only anticlockwise, moving in increments of one minute. An external, notched bezel is linked via a sliding clutch to the inner, dive bezel. Turning the external bezel turns the inner timing ring simultaneously. The bulge on the case at nine o’clock is the protective cover for the sliding clutch.  A handful of the new IWC Aquatimer range were previewed before SIHH, and here is the rest of the collection, all of which have the quick-change system where the strap or bracelet can be removed with the press of a button.

At the top of the Aquatimer range sits the Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month, a 49 mm giant in rubber coated titanium with the bezel and back in red gold. 

Limited to 50 pieces, this uses the cal. 89801, which combines a chronograph with a perpetual calendar featuring oversized digital displays for the date and month. Water resistant to 100 m, its size and complication means this makes little sense as a dive watch. 

The Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month will retail for 77,400 Singapore dollars (~US$61,100).

Technically more interesting and probably more useful is the Aquatimer Deep Three. IWC makes the only reasonably successful luxury wristwatch with an integrated depth gauge (JLC tried but gave up) and the Deep Three is the third generation of this series.

Housed in a crown on the left of the case, the depth gauge in the Deep Three is essentially a membrane with a pin behind it. When water pressure pushes the membrane in, the pin moves the depth gauge hands on the dial.

The blue depth hand indicates the current depth, while the red hand marks the deepest point reached during a dive, both of which max out at 50 m.

The Deep Three has a 46 mm titanium case and retails for 26,300 Singapore dollars (~US$20,800).

Two rubber coated Aquatimer chronographs were introduced as well. Both models have 44 mm rubber coated steel cases with the cal. 89365 inside.

The first is the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “50 Years Science for Galapagos”, a limited edition of 500 pieces with blue dial accents. This retails for 15,300 Singapore dollars (~US$12,100).

The second is the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Galapagos Islands”, which is part of the regular collection, and priced at 15,200 Singapore dollars (~US$12,000).

Next is the Aquatimer Charles Darwin, the first bronze watch from IWC. It has a 44 mm bronze case and is part of the regular collection, not a limited edition. The Charles Darwin will retail for 15,200 Singapore dollars (~US$12,000).

The flurry of commemorative editions continues with the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau”. Powered by the Valjoux 7750, this has a blue dial with orange accents, the typical colour scheme of the Cousteau series. Also part of the regular collection, this retails for 10,400 Singapore dollars (~US$8150).

Identical to the Cousteau is the regular Aquatimer Chronograph. Also 44 mm and in steel, the Aquatimer Chronograph is likewise equipped with the Valjoux 7750. It’s available with either a black or silver dial, on bracelet or strap. The price is 10,100 Singapore dollars (~US$7910) for the strap version and 11,500 for the bracelet model (~US$9000).

Last come the time-only dive watches. The larger of the two is the Aquatimer Automatic 2000. Rated to 2000 m, it has a 46 mm titanium case. Inside is the IWC cal. 80110, a manufacture movement loosely based on the Valjoux 7750.

And the last of the Aquatimer line-up is the entry-level Aquatimer Automatic. The case is steel and 42 mm, with the ETA 2892 inside. It is also available in black or silver, with the option of a rubber strap or steel bracelet. This retails for 8150 Singapore dollars (~US$6440) on strap and 9550 Singapore dollars (~US$7550) with the bracelet.

Keep an eye on our SIHH page for updates. Or follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to keep track of the happenings at SIHH 2014.

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SIHH 2014: Introducing the Montblanc Homage to Nicolas Rieussec, a redesigned signature chronograph from Montblanc (with specs and price)

Montblanc has redesigned its signature chronograph and given it a a more restrained and elegant aesthetic. Created in tribute to the inventor of the chronograph, the new Montblanc Homage to Nicolas Rieussec is a monopusher chronograph with second time zone, and unusual hidden hour indices that glow only in the dark.

Montblanc’s most distinctive wristwatch is the twin counter Nicolas Rieussec chronograph. The latest iteration of that model, the limited edition Homage to Nicolas Rieussec, is also the most tasteful. Whereas the earlier versions of the Rieussec were unnecessarily fussy, the new Homage to Nicolas Rieussec has a simple ivory dial with blue accents.

Inspired by 1821 chronograph of Nicolas Rieussec, which was actually a stopwatch in a box, has twin white lacquered discs, made to resemble the enamel of the original, for the seconds on the left and minutes on the right. A horizontal blued steel hand which acts as a pointer for both counters.

Inside is the R200 movement, made in-house by Montblanc. Self-winding with twin barrels, it has a three day power reserve. Additionally, it is a monopusher chronograph, with a button at eight o’clock for start, stop and reset.

The dial has a grained, eggshell texture, with a date display at three o’clock, and a day and night indicator for the second time zone at nine. The second time zone hand is skeletonised, and can be hidden under the hour hand.

The hour index above appears unadorned, with a simple railway minute track. But in the dark its Breguet numerals become visible. Because the luminous numbers are exactly the same colour and flush with the dial, they are invisible in the light.

The case is 43 mm in diameter, available in either rose gold or steel. The rose gold version is limited to 193 pieces with a retail price of €26,900 (~US$36,500), while the steel is limited to 565 pieces priced at €8990 (~US$12,200). Both will be available in autumn 2014.

Keep an eye on our SIHH page for updates. Or follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to keep track of the happenings at SIHH 2014.

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SIHH 2014: Introducing the Cartier Ballon Bleu 39 Flying Tourbillon with blue flinqué enamel dial (with live photos, specs and pricing)

Now smaller and more elegant, the Ballon Bleu Flying Tourbillon is presented in a new 39 mm case, along with a brilliant blue flinqué enamel dial.

Originally available only in an oversized, 46 mm case the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Flying Tourbillon has been given more compact proportions. Now measuring 39 mm in diameter, the Ballon Bleu 39 Flying Tourbillon technically identical to its larger cousin, with the same 9452 MC movement inside. But beyond the size, the 39 mm tourbillon is special the white gold version is fitted with a blue flinqué enamel dial, a first for Cartier’s Fine Watchmaking line.

The blue enamel dial is a nod to Cartier’s early history, when flinqué enamel was used extensively to decorate clocks and objets d’art during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, particularly when these were in vogue in pre-revolution Russia.

Flinqué enamel is made by first decorating the metal dial base with guilloche, then covering it with enamel and firing it. The enamelling is repeated several times until the desired brilliant, translucent colour is achieved, after which the dial is then polished to give it a clear shine.

The Ballon Bleu 39 Flying Tourbillon is better proportioned than the 47 mm model. Here the tourbillon carriage sits midway between the dial and edge of the case, instead of being very close to the centre. And the tourbillon seems larger and more prominent.

Now look much more appropriately sized in the smaller case, the 9452 MC movement is made in Geneva at Cartier’s workshops above its boutique on the Rue du Rhone, and it has the Geneva Seal.

Limited to 100 numbered pieces, the Ballon Bleu 39 Flying Tourbillon in white gold with an enamel dial retails for €80,000 (~US$108,000). 

And the regular production version in pink gold retails for €68,000 (~US$92,100). A third ladies’ model in white gold with diamonds and a pink strap is €92,000 (~US$125,000).

Keep an eye on our SIHH page for updates. Or follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to keep track of the happenings at SIHH 2014.

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Introducing the De Bethune Dream Watch 5, a sculpture for the wrist (with specs and pricing)

Sleek and entirely executed in mirror finished titanium, the De Bethune Dream Watch 5 is extreme, yet elegant. The Dream Watch 5 is the most avant-garde case from De Bethune yet.

Though its other timepieces have strikingly modern designs, all have roundish cases. In contrast the Dream Watch 5 is shaped like a space craft, or a seashell from an ocean on another planet. Its triangular shape is a design element found throughout the De Bethune line-up, often used for the hands, most recently on the DB25 Imperial Fountain.

Mirror finished throughout, the titanium case of the Dream Watch 5 is sleek, seemingly moving at speed, yet it is a compact size, measuring 49 mm wide and 39 mm long. It shows the hours, minutes and moon phase in a narrow window adjacent to the large crown topped with a ruby cabochon.

It has the same DB2144 movement as the recently launched DB28 Digitale, and also the same functions: jumping hour, wandering minutes and a spherical moon phase.

The fifth in the Dream Watch series – its immediate predecessor was a US$165,000 iPhone case inset with a pocket watch – the Dream Watch 5 retails for a steep 150,000 Swiss francs before tax, or about US$165,000.

Keep an eye on our SIHH page for updates. Or follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to keep track of the happenings at SIHH 2014.

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Introducing the De Bethune DB28 Digitale Jumping Hours

Inspired by the ornate French clocks of the nineteenth century, the De Bethune Digitale is a jump hour with wandering minutes and a spherical moon phase, fusing modern watchmaking with a classic horology.

The De Bethune Digitale combines the new and old in typical De Bethune style, with lots of polished surfaces and blued titanium. It is a jump hour with a wandering minutes, comprising rotating disc for the minutes indicated by an arrow at 12 o’clock. A blued titanium crescent set with white gold stars sits outside the minutes disc, representing the night sky.

Below the jump hour aperture is a blued titanium insert and in its centre, two half-spheres, one in palladium and the other in blued steel, combined to form a spherical moon display, a De Bethune invention. The moon phase is accurate to a day in 1112 years, though the nature of the moon phase means it is almost impossible to set precisely.

The front of the watch is covered with a barleycorn guilloche, much like how vintage pocket watches were decorated. The 45 mm case is titanium with the spring-loaded lugs found in all DB28 models, with the crown at 12 o’clock.

Visible through the sapphire back is the DB2144 movement, a hand-wound calibre with a five day power reserve. It features several of De Bethune’s innovations, including a silicon and white gold balance wheel, a silicon escape wheel and the triple pare-chute shock absorber for the balance.

Notably, the DB28 Digitale is actually the second digital display watch from De Bethune, the first was the DBS Digitale, similarly pocket watch inspired but less striking visually.  The DB28 Digitale retails for 95,000 Swiss francs before taxes, equivalent to about US$104,000.

Keep an eye on our SIHH page for updates. Or follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to keep track of the happenings at SIHH 2014.

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SIHH 2014: Introducing the new 38.5 mm Lange 1815 hand-wind (with specs and pricing)

Lange has just unveiled a smaller version of the time-only Lange 1815. It still retains the same 1815 aesthetic and L051.1 movement, but with some minor tweaks to the case.

The new Lange 1815 is largely similar to the current model, with the primary difference being the case size and design. Smaller than the current 40 mm model (which will not be discontinued) at 38.5 mm in diameter, the new 1815 also has the stepped bezel first seen on the 1815 Up/Down launched last year.

While most Lange watches have a bezel that sits flush with the case, the stepped bezel of the 1815 breaks up the vertical lines of the case, giving it a slimmer look.

The movement inside is the hand-wound, 55-hour power reserve L051.1, exactly the same as found in the larger model.

The new 1815 will be available in yellow, pink and white gold, with a retail price of €20,000 (~US$27,100) for the first two, and €21,000 (~US$28,400) for the white. Keep an eye on our SIHH page for updates. Or follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to keep track of the happenings at SIHH 2014.

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