Hublot Unveils Big Bang 10th Anniversary Pop-Up Store in Singapore for SG50, and the Red Dot Bang Limited Edition

Hublot marks the 10th anniversary of the Big Bang alongside Singapore’s 50th year of independence with a pop-up store in the heart of the Orchard Road shopping district in the city state, together with a pair of limited edition chronographs.

Open from August 16, 2015, the Hublot pop-up store in Singapore is its largest ever, comprising some 1050 square metres. It’s dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Big Bang, the wristwatch that revived the brand, and also SG50 – the 50 years since Singapore became independent in 1965. Making its debut alongside the opening of the pop-up store is the Red Dot Bang, a pair of limited editions created specially for the occasion. Inspired by the nickname coined by an Indonesian politician (as in the “little red dot” on the map), the Red Dot Bang is a 44mm limited edition created for the pop-up store, available in Hublonium (a lightweight alloy of magnesium and aluminium) or yellow gold. The “10” on the dial of the Red Dot Bang is in red, signifying the 10th anniversary of the watch. The Red Dot Bang in Hublonium is limited to 50 pieces priced at S$36,600, while the yellow gold Red Dot Bang is limited to just 10 pieces with a price tag of S$66,400.

The Hublot pop-up store is open from August 16 to 26, 2015, from 10am to 9pm, at the Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza.

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U.S. Watch Sales Post Biggest Fall in Seven Years After Apple Watch Launch

Watch sales in the United States fell 14% in June 2015, the biggest drop in seven years, with low priced watches registering the most severe falls, according to Bloomberg.

Whether or not the Apple Watch is any good, it appears to taking market share away from traditional timepieces, particularly low priced, “fashion” watches, as reported by Bloomberg, citing market research firm NPD Group. Though Apple has not revealed how many watches it has sold, it appears more Apple Watches than traditional wristwatches were sold in June 2015. The US$375 million of watch sales in June is 14% less than the same period last year, making it the largest decline since the 2008. Watches priced between US$100 and US$150 registered the biggest fall. One reason for the decline, according to the analyst quoted, is the launch of the Apple Watch.  Most high-end Swiss watchmakers we spoke to, however, don’t think the Apple Watch is a substitute for fine mechanical timepieces. Source: Bloomberg

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Introducing the Atop World Time, a Clever and Practical Travel Watch for $120 (with Original Photos & Price)

Simultaneously clever and practical, the Atop World Time is an affordable travel watch set via an aluminium bezel that can also account for Summer Time, and is now available in a 100 piece limited edition for Singapore’s 50th National Day.

Few inexpensive watches are clever, but the Atop Time Zone is both ingenious and practical. Established by a Taiwanese engineer and his wife, Atop has only one product – a convenient world time – in both wristwatch and travel clock form. The world time works on a simple principle: the hands are synchronised with a world time bezel showing cities representing the 24 time zones in the world. So turning the bezel anticlockwise moves the hour hand forwards in one hour increments. The city at 12 o’clock shows local time, while Daylight Savings Time requires the local time city to be set to 11 o’clock as indicated on the dial. A disc with a sun and moon at nine o’clock acts as the day and night indicator. The movement is quartz, but the world time mechanism is mechanical. All its functions are summed up in the company name, which is short for (take a breath first) – “Automatic setting in one easy step, Twenty-four pre-set destinations’ time, Operates worldwide with total reliability, and Patented precision movement”.

Because the watch has no crown, setting the time requires removing the screw back, quickly done with the key supplied with the watch. That allows access to a small crown on the movement for setting, as well as replacing the battery.

Available in a wide combination of colours, the basic Atop Time Zone has a hard plastic case, aluminium bezel and silicone strap. It feels inexpensive, but it starts at only S$167 (or about US$120). Versions with steel cases are also available, priced at about double the plastic models.

A limited edition of 100 pieces has been made for Singapore’s 50th anniversary (SG50) since independence, priced at S$193. The Atop Singapore Edition has the SG50 logo on the seconds sub-dial at six o’clock, as well as “Singapore” in red on the cities bezel. It’s also numbered on the rim of the bezel. The Singapore Edition is available at Red Army Watches.

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Up Close with the Patek Philippe Ref. 5539G Minute Repeater Tourbillon (with Original Photos & Video)

Unassumingly plain with a black enamel dial and spade hands, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5539G is an entry level watch of sorts, being the simplest hand-wound minute repeating wristwatch in the collection.

Introduced two years ago at Baselworld 2013, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5539G is a minute repeater with tourbillon, an exceptionally complex and fine watch that is also unpretentious. It’s the spiritual successor of the Ref. 3939 launched in 1992, equipped with the same calibre R TO 27 PS. The letters in the calibre name reveal all its functions: Répétition, Tourbillon and Petite Seconde. By modern standards it’s a smallish movement, just 28mm in diameter but full sized at the time of its introduction 23 years ago. The same calibre with the addition of a perpetual calendar was found in the Patek Philippe Ref. 5016, unveiled at the same time and the firm’s most complicated wristwatch for many years (that has now been succeeded by the Ref. 5207P).

Comprised of 336 parts, it’s manually wound with a one minute tourbillon regulator and a minute repeater. The signature feature of the movement is the third wheel in hardened solid gold with gently curved spokes that are exquisitely rounded and polished.

From the front the watch is visually plain, but the dial is far from simple. It’s made of an 18k gold disc covered with fired black enamel. Each of the applied hour numerals is 18k gold as well.

The white gold case is 37mm in diameter, giant compared to the 33mm of the its predecessor Ref. 3939 but modest on the wrist. Like all of Patek Philippe’s other minute repeaters, the case is dust and humidity resistant, but not water resistant, in order to achieve the best sound since sealing the case dampens the chimes. The Ref. 5539G-001 retails for approximately €400,000, or about US$450,000.

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