Being just days away from the New Year, it’s time to look at the year gone by and take stock of what has happened on SJX Watches.
We’ve profiled many an independent watchmaker, reported extensively on major watch auctions, brought you a countless number of hands-on reviews including the watch so fascinating it had to be named twice, Paul Newman’s Paul Newman, and debunked the false rivalry between uber-collectors Henry Graves Jr and James Ward Packard.
But some stories were released hits with readers. Here’s a round-up of the most popular stories of the year.
1. Portrait: Masahiro Kikuno, Japanese Independent Watchmaker
The up-and-coming 33-year old Masahiro Kikuno crafts his timepieces by hand in a tiny workshop inside his home located in the Japanese city of Matsudo. A one-man operation, he makes almost the entire watch himself with eminently traditional techniques, and even produces his own mokume-gane, a type of pattern Damascus steel.
Read about Kikuno-san here.
2. Real World Test: Diving with the Rolex Submariner, Sinn U1, Seiko Turtle & Prospex PADI
Dr Wong Ju Ming, a PADI Master Scuba Diver and Emergency First Response (EFR) Instructor offers his verdict after putting four of watchmaking’s most well-known dive watches – from the Rolex Submariner to Seiko “Turtle” – through their paces in the waters of Bali.
See what Ju Ming had to say.
3. Living With the Omega Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday”
One of the watches that sent the watch community into an acquisitive hysteria earlier this year was the Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday” limited edition that was sold exclusively on Omega’s website. Not only did it generate tremendous buzz on social media, it showed the potential of e-commerce in a trade honour-bound by tradition. Of course, it also helped that the timepiece is well-executed on many levels.
Read the review here.
4. First Look: Hands-On with the Tudor Black Bay Chrono Ref. 79350
Launched at Baselworld this year, the Tudor Black Bay Chrono was polarising, being a blend of vintage elements in a model that never existed in the past, rather than an out-and-out historical remake. But the truth stands tall: the Black Bay Chrono is smart looking, equipped with Breitling’s superb column-wheel chronograph B01 movement, and it’s a bargain.
Find out why here.
5. Patek Philippe Declares No More Sealed Watches
Dictated in a letter to its retailers around the globe, Patek Philippe put an end to the sale of sealed and doubled-sealed timepieces in a bid to reduce “grey market activities”.
6. Hands-On with the Breitling Superocean Heritage II
Breitling revamped its retro-inspired dive watch at Baselworld 2017, with a little help from its friends. As a result of the collaboration with Tudor (which produced the Black Bay Chrono above), the ETA 2824 in Breitling’s Superocean Héritage II was replaced with Tudor’s MT5612 movement, which is COSC-certified, has a 70-hour power reserve and has been finished to Breitling’s requirements.
Read the review here.
7. Living With the Tudor Black Bay Bronze Blue Bucherer Edition
Tudor’s first retailer-exclusive special edition, the Black Bay Bronze Bucherer Blue offers in one package, as SJX puts it, “a proprietary movement, a well-made case in the material du jour, and the bonus of an uncommon colour palette”.
Read his review here.
8. The First Swiss Made Tourbillon Wristwatch Ever – It’s An Omega Circa 1947
Now the most expensive Omega ever sold at an auction – it sold for US$1.4m fees included – the prototype tourbillon wristwatch from 1947 was the first Swiss-made tourbillon wristwatch, pre-dating the competition by several decades.
Read the story here.
9. Jean-Claude Biver Reveals Zenith Defy Lab with Radical New Oscillator
In an exclusive interview with Jean-Claude Biver, watch division chief at LVMH, we got the scoop on Zenith’s revolutionary new watch unveiled earlier in September. The Defy Lab does away with the balance wheel, hairspring and lever escapement, replacing these with a single enormous oscillator forged from silicon.
Read the interview here.
10. A Look at Perhaps the Most Expensive Rolex Ever, Once Owned by the Last Emperor of Vietnam
Briefly the most expensive Rolex before it was bested by the Daytona “Paul Newman” owned by Paul Newman himself, the ref. 6062 “Bao Dai” is a triple calendar Rolex that is possible one of a kind, and was once owned by Bao Dai, the last Emperor of Vietnam.
See more of the “Bao Dai” right here.
That’s it for 2017. See you in 2018!
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