H. Moser & Cie. Reveals the Million Dollar Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time Sapphire Skeleton

Priced at one million Swiss francs, the H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time Sapphire Skeleton is a publicity strategy shaped like a skeleton tourbillon inside a sapphire crystal case.

With the Venturer Tourbillon as a base, H. Moser & Cie. has created its most expensive watch ever. Once a modest manufacture of discreet and concise watches, H. Moser’s latest creation is a skeleton tourbillon inside a clear sapphire crystal case, fitted to a rubber strap that has been 3D printed.

The HMC 803 movement has been open worked, and the bridges decorated with a hand-engraved motif. Unplated German silver is the material of choice for the bridges and base plate, meaning they will develop a patina over time as the alloy reacts to the atmosphere.

Machined from a sapphire block, the case is completely clear. Even the crown is in sapphire crystal. Though not named, the maker of the case is probably Stettler, a specialist in sapphire and ceramic cases that makes the sapphire cases for the even more exorbitant Richard Mille sapphire watches.

The strap is rubber, slightly transparent with an indistinct organic pattern on its surface, printed on a 3D printer. An alligator strap is also available.

The Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time Sapphire Skeleton is a one-off piece with a price of 1 million Swiss francs, or about US$1.01 million, a price that will surely garner publicity. It will be available at renowned Parisian watch retailer Chronopassion.

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Introducing The Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 (With Specs And Price)

Patek Philippe had a big surprise in store for Baselworld, unveiling the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524, a dual time watch styled like an aviator's timepiece of sorts that has taken the watch world by storm.

Because the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 looks so drastically different from every other Patek Philippe, it has not gone down well in most quarters. Reactions mostly range from surprised to appalled. Intentionally or not, the controversial aesthetic has made it one of the most talked about watches at Baselworld 2015 (at the same fair Patek Philippe also reminds us it can design great, inoffensive classics). If there is no such thing as bad publicity, this is one of Patek Philippe’s success stories for the year.

This is ostensibly based on the oversized hour angle prototype watches Patek Philippe made in the thirties. Only two were made, and one sold in 2009 for nearly US$2 million at Christie’s, while the other resides in the Patek Philippe Museum. But the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time instead resembles – in the vaguest of terms – the early twentieth century aviation watches made by brands like Zenith and Omega, especially with the oversized serif font numerals.

Unlike typical pilot’s watches with black dials, this has a deep blue dial, while the numerals are made of white gold filled with Super-Luminova. The second time zone hand is white and skeletonised, and when not in use can be hidden under the blued steel hour hand.

Mechanically the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524 is identical to the Aquanaut Travel Time, offering two time zones along with day and night indications for each, plus a date sub-dial at six o’clock. The calibre 324 inside is automatic with a 35 to 45 hour power reserve, and fitted with a silicon Spiromax hairspring, as are all of Patek Philippe’s current watches.

Two pushers in the case adjust the second time zone in one hour increments, either forwards or backwards. Both pushers have a proprietary locking mechanism that requires a quarter turn to unlock before they can be used. Turning them in the opposite direction locks the pusher, ensuring no accidental adjustments to the time.

The best description of this watch comes from William Rohr, the CEO of watch forum Timezone, who writes, “[reminds] me of these high end shoemakers like John Lobb who make overpriced sneakers, half as good as a pair of Nike Air at [ten times] the price.”

The case is white gold with a screw down back, and a diameter of 42 mm. The price is 42,000 Swiss francs or 61,100 Singapore dollars.

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Hands-On With The Seiko Marinemaster 1000 m Hi-Beat 36,000 Limited Edition (With Live Photos And Price)

Seiko marks the 50th anniversary of its first dive watch with the Marinemaster Professional 1000 m Hi-Beat 36000 Limited Edition, in hard-coated titanium with high frequency movement – making it the brand’s first hi-beat dive watch in nearly 50 years.

Taking some of its cues from Seiko‘s first high frequency dive watch of 1968, the Marinemaster 1000 m Hi-Beat Limited Edition (SBEX001) is a blend of vintage and modern design elements. Just introduced at Baselworld 2015, this is the flagship commemorative watch for the 50th anniversary of the Seiko diver’s watch and is the highest spec Prospex dive watch, with features and pricing comparable to the Grand Seiko diver. The black gilt dial is inspired by the 1968 Seiko 300 m Hi-Beat dive watch, but the case shape and size is distinctly new. The case is monocoque, made of one piece of titanium with no case back. It’s rated to 1000 m and is magnetism resistant to 16,000 A/m. And the crystal is sapphire, with an anti-fog coating.

The hi-beat diver with the new 1000 m Tuna in the background

A hard coating is applied to the case as well as titanium bracelet, making it scratch resistant. Because titanium is lightweight, the watch does not feel chunky, although it is large, measuring 48.2 mm in diameter and standing 19.7 mm high.

An unusual feature is the bolted on bracelet, secured by two screws on each end. The screwed on end links serve to secure not just the bracelet, but also the bezel. A serrated edge on the bezel side improves grip.

The movement inside is the first and only high beat calibre used in a watch that is not a Grand Seiko, making this Seiko’s first high frequency dive watch in nearly 50 years. Running at 36,000 beats per hour (bph), the calibre 8L55 movement inside is derived from the high beat Grand Seiko movements, but with less refined finishing and details. Like the high beat Grand Seiko movements this is aassmelbed by hand at the Shizukuishi Watch Studio in Morioka. The power reserve is 55 hours. The bracelet is titanium with a ratcheting extension clasp like that found on the Marinemaster SBDX001. This will be available internationally in a limited edition of 700, with a retail price of €6400. That’s equivalent to about US$6800.

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Introducing The Patek Philippe Ref. 5370 Split Seconds Chronograph With Black Enamel Dial (With Official Pricing)

Patek Philippe has returned to its roots with the traditionally styled Ref. 5370, a split seconds chronograph in platinum with a black enamel dial and the CH 29 movement inside.

Patek Philippe has taken flak from traditionalists of late for designs that can be described as nouveau. With the Ref. 5370P split seconds chronograph that just made its debut at Baselworld, Patek Philippe is aiming for those with a fondness for classical aesthetics.

The dial is black enamel, fired in an oven on a white gold base and printed, white dial markings. Each of the hour markers are applied white gold Breguet numerals, while the hands are rhodium-plated steel. Steel has a stiffness that gold lacks, which is necessary to withstand the force exerted when resetting the chronograph hands.

The Ref. 5370 rattrapante has a 41 mm platinum case and wide lugs (probably 23 mm), giving it the proportions of timepieces from an earlier era, particularly the thirties to the fifties. Examples of such watches include the refs. 130 and 1518, both also chronographs from Patek Philippe’s long history with the complication.

A ref. 130 split seconds chronograph from 1937

But unlike the watch cases of an earlier era the Ref. 5370 has complex detailing, with a slightly stepped bezel, and a recessed, matte finished case band as well as white gold cabochons on the tip of each lug.

The CH 29-535 PS inside is the first pure split seconds variant of the CH 29 movement to come to market. It was earlier combined with a perpetual calendar in the Ref. 5204 from 2012. Boasting a construction that is one of the most sophisticated of any high-end chronograph, the CH 29 is a fine calibre, though not quite as artisanal as the movements of the past.

The Ref. 5370P is priced at 320,100 Singapore dollars or 210,000 Swiss francs.

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Introducing The Breguet Tradition Chronographe Indépendant 7077 – An Ingenious Chronograph With Constant Force, Powered By A Blade Spring (With Specs & Price)

Breguet has notched up one of the most novel chronograph movements on the market with the Tradition Chronographe Indépendant 7077, featuring twin gear trains and an unusual, blade spring that powers the high frequency chronograph.

The La Tradition marks its tenth anniversary this year with a trio of additions to the line, including the Tradition Retrograde Seconds presented before Baselworld. Breguet‘s signature modern timepiece deserves something more notable, and the Tradition Chronographe Indépendant 7077 certainly fits the bill.  Essentially made up of two movements, one for the time and another for the chronograph, the basics of the Tradition Chronographe are not new. The details of the chronograph mechanism, however, are unique, making it one of the most interesting chronograph movements in recent memory. Unlike the time display mechanism which has a traditional coiled mainspring, the chronograph is powered by a small blade spring (think of it as a long and thin piece of metal). This spring is independent of the crown, instead it is wound whenever the chronograph is reset by the motion of the reset button. This removes the inconvenience of having to wind two mainsprings by the crown, which is usually needed for twin mainspring watches.

Because the blade spring is so small, pressing the reset button once is enough to bring it to full wind. The power reserve of the blade spring is necessarily short, maxing out at just 20 minutes thanks to a optimised form that ensures maximum tension whenever it is wound.  However, it is good enough for the chronograph, which can record times of up to 20 minutes on the arc at 10 o’clock (the other indicator at two o’clock is the power reserve). That’s certainly shorter than the typical 30 minute chronograph, but in truth it is sufficient for purposes like boiling eggs and other trivial tasks that are made more fun with an expensive, mechanical chronograph.

Chronograph at left and power reserve on the right

Because the blade spring delivers non-linear torque, in other words the power it supplies drops sharply to the end, the chronograph includes a constant force mechanism. A “non-concentric going train”, which means a gear train with wheels that are not circular, delivers constant torque to the chronograph escapement. The chronograph balance wheel runs at 36,000 beats per hour (bph) or 5 Hz. In contrast, the balance wheel for the time display runs at a more conventional 28,800 bph or 3 Hz. Despite its higher frequency, the chronograph balance is the same size (high frequency balance wheels are often smaller) – an intentional design decision to ensure the dial is symmetrical. That was achieved with a lightweight titanium balance wheel for the chronograph, while the timekeeping balance is a traditional Glucydur type alloy. Two brakes against the titanium chronograph balance, releasing it when the chronograph is started. 

The chronograph balance

Each of the brakes is designed to ensure the chronograph balance always stops at the ideal position for restarting, so that it immediately begins to oscillate at the right amplitude once the chronograph is started. Without such a feature, the chronograph balance would take a moment to reach the right amplitude (degree of oscillation of the balance), meaning the initial elapsed period measured would be wrong. Both balance wheels have silicon Breguet overcoil hairsprings, along with silicon pallet forks. The timekeeping display has a 50 hour power reserve. The Tradition Chronographe Indépendant has a 44 mm case avaialble in white gold for 77,800 Swiss francs, or in rose gold for 77,000 Swiss francs.  Prices in Singapore dollars are $114,500 and $113,300 respectively.

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Introducing The Rolex Day-Date 40, The 40 mm President With A Brand New Movement (With Details And Price)

The new Rolex Day-Date 40 features a 40 mm case - a first for the President - with the sophisticated new calibre 3255 inside that boasts significant innovations including a new escapement and a three day power reserve.

Known as the President because it was worn by several American presidents, the Rolex Day-Date is the brand’s flagship watch available only in precious metals. The Rolex President is now slight smaller but much better.  Just introduced at Baselworld 2015, the new Day-Date 40 has a 40 mm Oyster case that contains the calibre 3255, a state of the art movement equipped with the new Chronergy escapement, an extended 70 hour power reserve and most intriguingly, new lubricants that Rolex produces in-house.

With a case diameter of 40 mm, the new Day-Date replaces the oversized Day-Date II, which suffered from day and date indications that seemed too small relative to the case. The Day-Date 40 will sit alongside the original, 36 mm Day-Date in the collection, with the latter being positioned as a ladies’ watch with bright dial colours available.

The Day-Date 40 has the same case form and profile as its larger cousin, with polished tops and sides on the lugs. It is available in four precious metals, platinum, Everose, as well as white and yellow gold. The top of the line platinum model is fitted with a pale blue “glacier” dial that Rolex bestows only on its platinum watches, decorated with an etched crosshatch motif.

Yellow gold
White gold

New dial finishes

That’s not the only unusual dial finish found on the Day-Date 40. The Everose model has a pinstripe motif, while the white gold model has an unusual striped, quadrant finish. And the yellow and white gold models are notable for the use of applied, bevelled Roman numerals, against a first for Rolex.

Though simpler, the baton indices found on the platinum and Everose watches are also bevelled.

The mechanics

Like all Day-Date watches before, the calibre 3255 used here has an instantaneous calendar, meaning both the day and date displays change within a fraction of a second at midnight.

But the calibre 3255 goes beyond the calendar, with 14 patents in it. A thinner barrels, improved gear train and newly developed lubricants produced in-house give the watch a 70 hour power reserve, a 50 percent gain over the equivalent earlier movement.

And the calibre 3255 also has the Chronergy escapement that includes a redesigned pallet fork with an asymmetric shape that functions more efficiently than the traditional anchor. The escape wheel has also been redesigned, and is skeletonised for lightness – meaning that is is produced via the UV-LIGA process of metal deposition.

The Day-Date 40 is available only on the President bracelet, slightly redesigned to integrate better into the case. And the clasp is hidden, with a hinged Rolex crown to undo the locking mechanism.

Prices are as follows:

Yellow gold 33,200 Swiss francs
White gold 35,800 Swiss francs
Everose gold 35,800 Swiss francs
Platinum 59,500 Swiss francs

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Rolex Introduces The Yacht-Master Everose With Oysterflex Integrated Rubber Strap (With Specs And Price)

The brand new Yacht-Master combines Everose gold with a black ceramic bezel insert, red lettering on the dial, and the first ever rubber strap from Rolex, the Oysterflex.

Long the most luxe of Rolex‘s marine sports watches, the quintessential Yacht-Master is in solid gold. Likely the first of a refreshed Yacht-Master line-up, the new Yacht-Master Everose unveiled at Baselworld 2015 is notable for its aesthetics and integrated rubber strap dubbed the Oysterflex.

The case (available in 40 mm and 37 mm) is Everose, the proprietary rose gold alloy developed by Rolex that’s resistant to fading, while the bezel is a matte black Cerachrom. Unlike other ceramic used by Rolex, this has polished, raised numerals and markings against a matte base. The typical Rolex bezel, on the other hand, is inverted, with engraved, matte markings on a glossy base.

For the first time ever in a Yacht-Master the dial is black, with the Rolex logo in gold, along with the model name in red. It’s certainly no accident that the dial is vaguely reminiscent of vintage Rolex sports watches, with the red lettering dive watches of the seventies like the Red Sub and Double Red Sea-Dweller, while the gold logo brings to mind gilt dials.

Patented by Rolex, the Oysterflex bracelet is a synthetic rubber strap with a rose gold folding clasp – making it similar to several aftermarket rubber straps made for Rolex that have been available for several years.

Underneath the black rubber is a titanium and nickel alloy blade that gives it flexibility and strength. The inside of the strap is moulded with a “patented longitudinal cushion system” that keeps the watch sitting stably on the wrist. This bracelet will certainly find its way to other models in upcoming Baselworlds.

The larger 40 mm Yacht-Master Everose is equipped with the calibre 3135, while the smaller model has the calibre 2236 inside. Both are automatic, and the calibre 2236 is fitted with the Syloxi silicon hairspring that made its debut last year.

Yacht-Master Everose 37 mm

This will cost 23,800 Swiss francs for the 40 mm model (ref. 116655) and 21,000 Swiss francs for the 37 mm version (ref. 268655).

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