Hautlence Unveils its First Ever Tourbillon Wristwatch (with Pricing)

Hautlence introduces its first tourbillon, powered by a self-winding movement manufactured by its sister company H. Moser & Cie.

Just weeks after the Concept d’Exception Vortex was introduced, Hautlence has taken the covers off the Tourbillon 01, its first timepiece with a tourbillon regulator. Conventionally round in form, unlike the brand’s signature cushion-shaped timepieces, the Tourbillon 01 nonetheless shares the design elements of other Hautlence watches, including a complex, multi-layered dial. The dial base is decorated with vertical Geneva stripes, with the hour markers and minute track on a raised sapphire ring. Four large gilded screws secure the sapphire ring to the dial, while the tourbillon is visible at six o’clock.

Shaped like an inverted “V”, the tourbillon is a familiar one. That’s because the movement comes courtesy of H. Moser & Cie., the other watchmaker owned by Hautlence’s parent company MELB Holding. The same calibre is found in Moser’s Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time.

The HMC 802 movement is automatic, with a second time zone function indicated by a smaller hour hand. That second time zone hand, as well as the hour and minute hands, are made of red gold. Comprised of both titanium and pink gold, the case is a large 44mm in diameter. Its bezel and lugs are in 18k pink gold, while the case band is black-coated titanium. The Hautlence Tourbillon 01 is priced at SFr88,000 including Swiss taxes. That’s equivalent to about US$91,600.

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Introducing the Klokers KLOK-02, a World Time with Jumping Hours & Retrograde Minutes

A crowdfunded maker of affordable and fun watches, Klokers' second project is a travel watch with jumping hours and retrograde minutes, powered by a clever movement that displays the date and hours in the same window.

After having raised over €430,000 (equivalent to some US$488,000) for the slide rule-inspired KLOK-01, Klokers has just announced its second timepiece, a mechatronic world time with jumping hours and retrograde minutes. Like its first timepiece, the KLOK-02 will be crowdfunded on Kickstarter.

Looking like a leather-covered instrument, the KLOK-02 shows the minutes and seconds on a retrograde scale on its upper half. An arrow-shaped hand points to the seconds, while a small wire loop indicates the minutes.

The circular aperture in the middle of the case shows the jumping hours using two discs, one for each digit. To its right is a window for the world time function, showing one of 24 cities around the world, each representing one time zone.

Pressing the button at four o’clock advances the cities disc by one time zone, while simultaneously advancing the time by one hour. But pressing and holding the pusher will show the date in place of the hours. Once released, the hours return to the window. The KLOK-02 is powered by a movement manufactured by Soprod, a Swiss specialist that supplies movements and modules to many major watch brands. Examples include the alarm module found in the Tudor Heritage Advisor, and 10 day movement from Oris. It’s quartz but the time display is mechanical. The case is a combination of steel and black plastic, with the lower half covered in embossed artificial leather. It’s 43mm in diameter and attached to the strap with the docking mechanism found on the KLOK-01. The case snaps into place on the strap, and the red button on the case releases it from the holder on the leather band.

Because the case is removable with a clip on the back, it can also attached to a bag or chain as a pocket watch.

The KLOK-02 retails for €985, but early backers can get it for as little as €499 on Kickstarter.

Addition October 13, 2015: Kickstarter pricing info added.

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A Watchmaker’s Regret – Antiquorum to Sell Bejewelled Chopard Wristwatch Made For Muammar Gaddafi

A large and unattractive jewelled Chopard watch made for Muammar Gaddafi will soon go under the hammer at Antiquorum’s upcoming Hong Kong auction.

Antiquorum auctioneers continues to build its rogue’s gallery of timepieces: having sold a Patek Philippe Nautilus once owned by a yakuza boss earlier in 2015, the auction house will soon sell a possibly unique (thank goodness) Chopard chronograph made for Muammar Gaddafi. Created for the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Libyan revolution, and a watch Chopard surely regrets, it’s in white gold and unappealingly set with diamonds and emeralds. In the ostentatiously gauche style of the late Libyan leader, the dial is dark green with a silkscreened image of Gaddafi along with independence leaders of other nations. This gaudy chronograph is just one of a several hundred watches Chopard created for the Libyan revolution anniversary celebrations in 2009. 

A controversial move at the time, Chopard’s creations for the anniversary event included a series of L.U.C XP watches featuring a stylised map of Africa on the dial (one of which Sotheby’s sold in 2013). And several news reports at the time also note that guests at the celebrations were each given a Chopard wristwatch with an African map on the dial, with Libya marked by a single diamond. Chopard, however, is not the only watchmaker to have made wristwatches for unsavoury leaders, though it’s probably the most recent. Timepieces made by Patek Philippe featuring the emblem of Saddam’s Iraq continue to pop up regularly at watch auctions. But such happenings are increasingly rare, especially for established brands, given their awareness of the resulting bad press. The Gaddafi chronograph is estimated at US$32,000 to US$62,000, and will be available at Antiquorum’s October 25 auction in Hong Kong.

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Hands-on with the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 “200th Anniversary F. A. Lange” Honey Gold (Review, Original Photos, Price)

To mark the 200th birthday of its founder, A. Lange & Söhne has once again used its proprietary honey gold alloy for the 1815 “200th Anniversary F. A. Lange” limited edition.

Honey gold was introduced by A. Lange & Söhne in 2010 and used only once before, on the 165th Anniversary “Homage to F.A. Lange” three-piece set. On yet another anniversary, this time the 200th birthday of F.A. Lange, honey gold makes a return with the 1815 “200th Anniversary F. A. Lange” limited edition.’

A gold alloy exclusive to Lange

Lange introduced a good number of watches 1815 timepieces this year, including the recent boutique edition chronograph, because Ferdinand Adolph Lange was born in 1815, a year best known for Napoleon’s final defeat. While the German watchmaker promises something more complicated at the end of the year, the 1815 “200th Anniversary F. A. Lange” in honey gold is the most unusual edition so far.

Visually honey gold is a cross between yellow and rose gold, being a pale but warm tone. It’s an unfamiliar look, but one that quickly grows on you. Honey gold has a tiny bit of silicon inside, making it slightly shinier and also harder. But like conventional gold alloys, it is still an 18 karat gold alloy, being 75 percent pure gold.

Exclusive to Lange in watchmaking, honey gold costs more than ordinary yellow gold as a raw material, and is also more difficult to cast and machine. That’s why the honey gold 1815 costs as much as the platinum version of the anniversary 1815 introduced earlier in the year, which makes it rather pricey for a time-only gold wristwatch.

Though the case material differs, the case dimensions are exactly the same as the platinum edition. It’s 40mm in diameter, with a small step at the base of the bezel, a feature that’s slowly becoming standard on the 1815. Though a minor detail, the step serves to give the watch more visual depth, and also make the bezel seem smaller.

Inspired by marine chronometers

Beyond the case material, another unusual feature is the dial. Most 1815 watches, including the new boutique edition chronograph, have smooth dial finishes. The honey gold 1815 is more interesting, with a granular surface finish that’s meant to evoke the texture of the silver dials on vintage marine chronometers. While the effect is appealing, setting it apart from other 1815 watches that look similar, the historical inspiration is confused since the 1815 is modelled on vintage pocket watches rather than marine chronometers.

The L051.1 movement

Though the movement is simple, it does not look plain. The decoration is lavish and typical of Lange movements. In familiar Lange style, most of the movement is covered by a three-quarter plate, a feature Ferdinand Adolph Lange adopted from English watchmaking, then the pre-eminent.

The three-quarter plate is made of German silver, an alloy sometimes known as nickel silver that is actually mostly copper, with a bit of nickel and zinc. It’s soft and oxidises over time, which is why Lange movements develop a patina with age.

Another signature is the hand-engraved balance cock, also inspired by the same feature in antique Lange pocket watches.

As is expected of a Lange the movement is strikingly decorated. Even up close the finishing is excellent.

The steel cap on the left is for the escape wheel jewel

Limited to 200 pieces, the honey gold 1815 costs US$33,500, €31,500 or S$48,300, which is exactly the same as the earlier 1815 anniversary edition in platinum. That’s steep for a gold wristwatch with no complications, but being a limited edition with a relatively small run, it will sell out.

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