Introducing the Montblanc Star Classique Singapore Special Edition SG50 (with Pricing)

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Made to mark Singapore’s 50th anniversary, the Montblanc Star Classique Singapore Special Edition is a limited edition of 50 pieces, with part of the proceeds from its sale going to charity.

A slim, 39mm wristwatch, the Montblanc Star Classique Singapore Special Edition has a mother of pearl dial, with the city state’s lion emblem on the seconds sub-dial, alongside a tiny “SG50”. SG50 refers to Singapore’s 50th anniversary in 2015, marking 50 years since independence in 1965.  With the Singapore edition, Montblanc joins Longines and Louis Vuitton in marking the occasion with limited edition watches. More references to Singapore can be found on the case back, with the city centre’s skyline is printed on the underside of the sapphire crystal.

Beneath the display back is an ETA 2892. The Meisterstuck Star Classique SG50 costs S$14,200 including taxes.

Also part of the SG50 line-up is the Meisterstück White Solitaire limited edition in white lacquer with rose gold-plated trim. Available as a fountain pen, rollerball or ballpoint pen, the Singapore edition pens have the skyline engraved on the section. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of any SG50 edition, both pen and watch, will be donated to the Pathlight School, an education institution for autistic children. The SG50 editions are available from all Montblanc boutiques in Singapore from August 2015.

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Hands-On with the Corum Heritage Bubble, a Revival of the Millennial Sensation (With Original Photos & Price)

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Named after the shape of its enormous crystal, the Corum Bubble was a runaway hit in the early 2000s, becoming a bestseller for a few, heady years. Now the Bubble has made a comeback.

Almost exactly like the original but slightly larger, the Corum Heritage Bubble has the same exaggerated sapphire crystal, so thick it distorts the dial. The shape is immediately familiar, having been ingrained into the popular mindset given how fashionable the original Bubble was 15 years ago. The origins The Bubble was first introduced in the year 2000, conceived by Severin Wunderman, an entrepreneur who bought Corum that very same year. A Holocaust and cancer survivor – hence his well known affection for skull and vanitas motifs – Wunderman made his fortune as the licensee for Gucci watches. His first stroke of genius was to set diamonds on affordable steel watches, the second to sell the franchise back to Gucci. With the proceeds he bought Corum and turned it into a maker of diverse, offbeat and quirky timepieces.

He was inspired by the Rolex Deep Sea Special, an experimental dive watch made in 1960 that survived the journey to the deepest point on Earth. The almost comically large domed crystal of the Deep Sea Special was used as the template for the Bubble, which is more crystal than watch. Wunderman’s creation was an immediate hit, and copied in even greater numbers (the other hot watch in that era was the now forgotten Technomarine).

The comeback Although 15 years is not that long ago, the Bubble was reintroduced at Baselworld 2015 as a historical reissue. The Heritage Bubble is larger than the original, with a 47mm case – large but comfortable given the short and curved lugs – that measures 18.8mm high. Nearly half its height, a full 8mm, is the sapphire crystal. 

Likely the most expensive component of the watch, the crystal’s thickness magnifies the centre of the dial while distorting the edges. And it makes reading the time from an angle impossible. The effects of crystal are used to create an optical illusion on the two limited edition versions of the Heritage Bubble: the dial appears domed, although it is actually flat. The dials are brass and stamped with a checkerboard guilloche with squares that increase in size towards the centre of the dial, enhancing the optical effect.

Limited editions Both limited edition versions of the Heritage Bubble have PVD cases. The first is made up of multiple shades of brown, with the case, dial, strap and even the Super-Luminova a different tone of the same colour.

The next one is a conventional black on black, with a black coated case and black dial. It’s a monochromatic look that lessens the visual impact of the case shape. Both PVD versions are each limited to 350 pieces. 

Bubble skeleton Part of the regular collection is the Heritage Bubble Squelette, equipped with a skeletonised ETA 2892 movement. The movement is predominantly grey, with the handful of gilded wheels providing some contrast. 

The bubble crystal enhances the appeal of the open-worked movement, because of the slight visual distortion that makes it a little more interesting.

Pricing

Limited to 350 pieces in each colour, the Heritage Bubble PVD retails for US$3425 or €3300 or S$5457. And the Heritage Bubble skeleton is priced at US$8300 or €7950 or S$13,268.

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Up Close with the New Lange Datograph Up/Down in Pink Gold (with Original Photos & Price)

Unveiled just earlier this year, the pink gold Lange Datograph Up/Down offers a striking contrast with its black dial, along with the exemplary L951 movement.
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As chronographs go, the Datograph from A. Lange & Söhne is one of the greats. Not because it’s innovative or cutting edge, but because the movement is gorgeous. First introduced in platinum, the Lange Datograph Up/Down was introduced in pink gold at SIHH 2015. Aside from the case metal, everything else remains the same. The pink gold and black dial version of the first generation Datograph has been nicknamed the “Dufour Datograph”, because independent watchmaker Philippe Dufour famously bought one, often noting it’s the only watch he ever bought, instead of made. The new Up/Down has the same look, but slightly more modern in appearance with its cleaner dial.

With a case diameter of 41mm, the Up/Down is slightly larger than the 39mm first generation model. All the elements of the dial have been enlarged to fit the case, so the dial retains the same pleasing proportions as on the original.

The signature oversized date with two discs that are on different levels but the gold frame hides that

It’s also been simplified, with baton indices instead of a combination of baton markers and Roman numbers. And it has a power reserve indicator at six o’clock, hence the “Up/Down” appellation. The new look, standard for the whole Saxonia range, is uncluttered, but has arguably less character than the original.

Ab and auf translate as “down” and “up”.

Now known as the calibre L951.6 (the original was the L951.1), the movement has been upgraded significantly for the Up/Down. It boasts a useful 60 hour power reserve, compared to just 36 in the original. And it uses Lange’s in-house, free sprung balance wheel along with the in-house overcoil hairspring, instead of the screwed Glucydur balance in the original.

Notice the calibre number “L951.6” engraved to the right of the balance wheel
At centre, the beautiful black polished cap on the escape wheel cock

Technical improvements aside, the movement still looks as stunning as it did in the first generation. It’s multi-layered and wonderfully detailed. While the movement is slightly less sophisticated in terms of construction as compared to the Patek Philippe CH 29, it wins hands down for visual appeal.

The Datograph Up/Down in pink gold retails for €66,000, including value added tax of 19%.

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