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SIHH 2016 Personal Perspectives: Greubel Forsey

At SIHH 2016, Greubel Forsey made itself more accessible - relatively speaking - with the time-only Signature 1, presented alongside a variant of its double balance wheel timepiece. Here's all you need to know, complete with original photography and prices.

Best known as a specialist in exquisite, exotic and expensive tourbillons, Greubel Forsey introduced its first ever time-only wristwatch at SIHH 2016 – a sign of the times perhaps. Named the Signature 1, this entry-level wristwatch is hand-wound and features an extra-large balance wheel, and is naturally decorated to the usual exceptional standard typical of Greubel Forsey.

Priced at SFr155,000 in stainless steel, less than half the next most affordable Greubel Forsey watch, the Signature 1 is the brainchild of Didier J.G. Cretin, a watchmaker at the brand whose name is engraved below the balance. The Signature 1 is the first in a planned series of watches that will each be conceived by a watchmaker at Greubel Forsey.

As a wristwatch the Signature 1 is simple but elaborately constructed from expensive materials. The dial for example is solid gold, while the hands – hours, minutes and seconds – have countersunk centres polished to a mirror finish by hand. And the balance bridge is long and carefully shaped, with wide, polished bevels along its length. Even the escape wheel bridge is solidly and carefully crafted.

The view from the back is also impressive, with details like an open-worked bridge for the barrel, as well as jewels set in gold chatons.

At 41.4 mm in diameter the Signature 1 is a large watch, but feels small by Greubel Forsey standards. And in steel it is surprisingly lightweight, again in contrast to the usual heft of a Greubel Forsey wristwatch. As finely put together as it is, the Signature 1 is still an entry-level Greubel Forsey, a compromise of sorts.

The average high roller who can afford a Greubel Forsey tourbillon – a president-for-life or Forbes lister – does not need an entry-level Greubel Forsey (except to give away). Those who wallets make such a watch a necessity, however, have other watches to consider, like a Voutilainen Vingt-8 for instance. Limited to 11 pieces each in steel, red and white gold, the Signature 1 is priced at SFr155,000 before taxes, and in red or white gold it’s about ten percent more.

The other new wristwatch unveiled by Greubel Forsey is more typical of the brand. The Double Balancier à Differential Constant features twin, inclined balance wheels linked by a differential that averages out the rate of the two. It is essentially a variant of the Double Balancier 35° unveiled in 2013, with the intricacies of the twin regulators and differential revealed.

The tiny hand that indicates the rotation of the differential below, once every four minutes

The dial is a pleasing juxtaposition of a plain half-dial with a power reserve indicator, with the rest removed to expose the two balance wheels. This allows all the beautifully finished components to be admired from multiple angles.

All the is on the front, with the back being a single plate with a frosted finish that is a signature of the brand.

Limited to 33 pieces in a 43 mm white gold case, the Double Balancier is priced at SFr350,000.

Stayed tuned for more personal perspectives on the other brands at SIHH 2016 to come over the following days. Links to the rest of our SIHH reports below.

A. Lange & Söhne Audemars Piguet Baume & Mercier Cartier Greubel Forsey IWC Jaeger-LeCoultre Montblanc Panerai  Parmigiani Piaget Richard Mille Roger Dubuis Vacheron Constantin Van Cleef & Arpels

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SIHH 2016 Personal Perspectives: Baume & Mercier

Baume & Mercier was all about chronographs at SIHH 2016, with a line-up that is made up of a new Shelby Cobra limited edition and the top of the line Clifton chronograph with triple calendar. Here's all you need to know, complete with original photography and prices.

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Bernard Madoff’s Patek Philippe Ref. 130 Chronographs Up For Sale

A pair of vintage Patek Philippe wristwatch chronographs once owned by Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff will soon go under the hammer, along with jewellery.

Photo Gaston & Sheehan Auctioneers

Seized by the U.S. Marshals Service from convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff, the two Patek Philippe ref. 130 watches will be sold at auction on February 16, along with jewellery that once belonged to Madoff’s wife.

A modest 33 mm in diameter, the ref. 130 was the signature Patek Philippe chronograph in the 1930s and 1940s, an important chapter in the brand’s chronograph history. Both of Madoff’s watches have refinished dials, though the black dial ref. 130 is the worse of the two. As of writing, the black dial ref. 130 is at US$21,450, while the champagne dial specimen is US$25,900.

These are the remnants of Madoff’s possessions, with much of it, including several dozen watches, having been sold in 2009, shortly after his Ponzi scheme collapsed. The items are being sold by Gaston & Sheehan Auctioneers in Texas. Proceeds will go to the restitution fund for Madoff’s victims. Bidding can be done via the online catalogue.

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Introducing the Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Master Co-Axial

Omega has bestowed its latest generation Master Co-Axial movement on the Speedmaster, along with a moon phase so detailed it reveals an astronaut’s footprint on its surface. You’ll find details and the price below.

At Baselworld 2016 next month Omega will unveil the Speedmaster Moonphase Master Chronometer, an enhanced version of its classic with a moon phase display at six o’clock. It’s powered by the newest Omega movement, the calibre 9904, which includes all of the brand’s innovations, including exceptional magnetism resistance and an Si14 silicon hairspring. Though the look is instantly recognisable as a Speedmaster, the new moon phase model is clearly a modern watch. Stainless steel and 44.25 mm in diameter, the Speedmaster Moonphase has a blue ceramic bezel insert, matched with a metallic blue dial. 

Two sub-dials give the face a symmetric layout: the left register is for the constant seconds and date, while the right sub-dial combines both the hour and minute counters. The moon phase display features a photorealistic depiction of the moon, one so detailed an astronaut’s footprint can be seen up close.

This is not the first Speedmaster moon phase chronograph, however, it’s the first with an in-house movement; earlier generations were powered by the hand-wound Lemania 1872. The calibre 9904 inside is a Master Co-Axial calibre that is METAS certified, having passed tests conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). And being a Master Co-Axial means it is magnetism resistant to over 15,000 Gauss – an industry record – thanks to special non-magnetic alloys used for its escapement.

Like all Omega watches with a silicon hairspring, this has a four year warranty. The retail price will be SFr9400, or S$14,600.

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