MARKET WATCH: A Trio of Finely Finished, Time-Only Wristwatches from Independents

A trio of time-only wristwatches by independent watchmakers – none of whom are Swiss notably – ranging from an appealingly priced McGonigle to a richly valued Roger Smith, starts off our new Market Watch series, covering notable watches for sale from around the web.

Watch listing service Crown & Calibre is offering a McGonigle Tuscar Banu, a time-only wristwatch made by a pair of Irish brothers. The movement is wonderfully finished, as an earlier published story illustrates. Only 20 pieces were made in red gold, featuring a grey tinted sapphire dial and a moment with German silver bridges. Complete with box and papers, it’s available for US$27,500. I hesitate to call it a bargain, but it is attractively well-priced for the quality of the finishing. For a bigger budget is a Voutilainen Observatoire, listed for US$75,000. It’s fully priced, but the Observatoire is rare (around 50 were made) and desirable, sometimes considered the only other Swiss made alternative to Philippe Dufour’s Simplicity. It’s equipped with a vintage Peseux 260 movement made for observatory timing trials that Voutilainen restored and finished to a high degree. Available from TickTocking.

Even more richly priced, but even more uncommon is the Roger W. Smith Series 2 from London-based consignment service Watch Xchange. Isle of Man-based watchmaker Roger W. Smith makes only about 10 watches a year, mostly by hand in the traditional manner. Few watchmakers produce watches in this manner now. Smith was an apprentice of the late George Daniels, who invented the Co-Axial escapement used by Omega.

The Series 2 is a 40mm model in rose gold, and complete with box and papers, offered for £115,000, equivalent to about US$180,000. That is approximately the same as the current retail price for the Series 2 so some negotiation is in order.

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Richard Mille introduces the RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon, Proving the Brain is the Most Important Sex Organ (Yes, Seriously)

At Watches&Wonders 2015 Richard Mille will unveil the RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon, a wristwatch with three rollers that display a random, sexy statement.

Whereas erotic watches of yore had automaton doings naughty things, the Richard Mille RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon dispenses with the explicit and instead features a trio of titanium rollers with text on each. A pusher at eight o’clock spins the rollers, which then stop randomly, creating a presumably titillating phrase. Richard Mille terms this complication the “oracle”, which supposes it has predictive powers. [Addendum: In response to the flood of questions, yes, this is for real and it will be launched at Watches&Wonders 2015.] To prevent the hands from blocking the rollers in action, both the hour and minute hand swivel away from the rollers are activated. Like most other Richard Mille complications, the movement of the RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon is made by Renaud & Papi, the subsidiary of Audemars Piguet that specialises in such things. It is manually wound with, no surprise here, a 69 hour power reserve, while the bridges and base plate are coated with a black PVD layer.

Because the rollers take up all the space in the top of the case, the movement has been constructed with the barrel sitting directly below the tourbillon. The power reserve is located at four o’clock.

The titanium case measures 50mm long and 42.7mm wide, with a thickness of 16.15mm, almost exactly the same size as the RM011. Slated to be officially introduced at Watches Wonders 2015 next month in Hong Kong, the RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon is a limited edition of 30 pieces. No price has been announced, but the $1 million ballpark is a safe bet. Update Dec 21, 2015: The RM 69 is priced at SFr690,000, equivalent to US$696,000.

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