Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces the New Master Control Collection

A blast from the past with new movements.

A mainstay of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s catalogue for almost three decades, the Master Control made its debut in 1992 and has been facelifted every couple of years since.

Fresh off the press at Watches & Wonders 2020, the latest Master Control collection forgets the facelifts and is instead throwback to the inaugural line-up of three decades ago. The new range reproduces the models and style of the originals, including the popular, entry-level Master Control Date, but it also includes an all-new model, the Master Control Chronograph Calendar.

From left: Master Control Date, Master Control Calendar, and Master Control Geographic

And the Master Control Chronograph Calendar

New tech, classic style

While retaining the look of the originals, the new Master Control models are ever-so-slightly larger, now measuring 40 mm (while the 1990s originals were mostly 37 mm). More importantly, the new watches have been fitted with newly-upgraded movements equipped with silicon escapements.

The cal. 899AA of the Master Control Date

Though JLC has used silicon escapements in the past, most notably in the Master Compressor Extreme LAB 2 and the more recent Tourbillon Celeste, the movements in the new Master Control watches are the first affordable, regular-production models to feature such escapements.

The use of silicon pallet levers and escape wheels, coupled with the use of new lubricants and a stronger and longer mainspring, means substantial improvements in operating efficiency, with power reserves going from 40-something to 70 hours for most of the movements.

The silicon pallet lever and escape wheel visible just under the rim of the balance

All the new Master Control models, except for the Master Control Date, will be available in both stainless steel and pink gold.

But the pink gold is a new, proprietary alloy JLC has dubbed Le Grand Rose Gold. Like Everose of Rolex and Sedna Gold of Omega, JLC’s new gold alloy contains palladium to mitigate oxidation, ensuring it retains the rosy hue over time.


Entry-level but elegant, the Master Control Date, is available only in stainless steel and measures 40 mm by 8.78 mm.

The dial, in matte silver with a subdued sunburst brushing, features applied dart-style indices and triple Arabic numerals at the quarters, accented by a heat-blued seconds hand. And in a discreet new detail, the JLC logo is applied.

Master Control Date

JLC excelled at triple-calendar moon phase watches in the mid-20th century, and the Master Control Calendar is a modern take on those classics.

Powered by the cal. 866, it’s 40 mm in diameter but is slightly thicker than the Date at 10.95 mm, in order to accommodate the calendar complication.

Master Control Calendar

While the dial design is traditional and similar to the equivalent model of the 1990s, the Master Control Calendar discreetly incorporates a new element: the date pointer now takes the form of the JLC logo, a feature first seen on last year’s Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel. Another tweak lies in the moon phase. Instead of being rendered in gold as in the previous generation, the moon and stars are in silver against the deep navy background.

But beyond these stylistic nips and tucks is an new complication for the calendar – the jumping date that literally jumps the span from “15” to “16”, in order to not obscure the moon phase. Interestingly, this feature was first installed on far more expensive models, having been invented for the Master Tourbillon to allow the date hand to jump clear of the tourbillon aperture.

From the 15th to 16th of any month, the date pointer jumps from four o’clock to seven o’clock, bypassing the moon phase display

The Master Control Geographic is a comprehensive travel-time that combines a world time function with a second time zone display. It retains the dial layout of the earlier Geographic, with a power reverse indicator and pointer date on the upper half, and the second time indication along with cities disc at six.

Inside is the cal. 939, which has a 70-hour power reserve, instead of the 43 hours in the current generation.

Master Control Geographic

The Master Control Chronograph Calendar is the flagship of the new line. Though the other three models in the range are essentially remakes of the 1990s models, the Chronograph Calendar is entirely new.

With a case measuring 40 mm wide and 12.05 mm high, it is fairly compact for what it is. The dial configuration is traditional for watches combining a stopwatch and full calendar, with the pulsations scale being a bit more unusual.

More importantly, it’s the first time JLC has combined a chronograph with triple calendar and moon phase. To get there was fairly straightforward – adding the triple calendar module into the cal. 751 chronograph movement, creating the cal. 759.

Master Control Chronograph Calendar


Key Facts and Price

Master Control Date
Ref. Q4018420

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 8.78 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 899AC
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Calfskin

Availability: Already at boutiques and retailers
Price: 6,750 Swiss francs, or 10,000 Singapore dollars


Master Control Calendar
Ref. Q4148420 (stainless steel)
Ref. Q4142520 (rose gold)

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 10.95 mm
Material: Stainless steel or Le Grand Rose Gold
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 866AA
Functions: Time, full calendar with jumping date and moon phases
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Calfskin or alligator strap

Availability: Already at boutiques and retailers
Price: 11,100 Swiss francs, or 16,400 Singapore dollars


Master Control Geographic
Ref. Q4128420 (stainless steel)
Ref. Q4122520 (rose gold)

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 10.96 mm
Material: Stainless steel or Le Grand Rose Gold
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 939 (new generation)
Functions: Time, date, power reserve indication, and second time zone with 24-hour display and cities disc
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Calfskin or alligator strap

Availability: At boutiques and retailers from fall 2020
Price
: 12,200 Swiss francs, or 18,100 Singapore dollars


Master Control Chronograph Calendar
Ref. Q4138420 (stainless steel)
Ref. Q4132520 (rose gold)

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 12.05 mm
Material: Stainless steel or Le Grand Rose Gold
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 759
Functions: Time, chronograph, and full calendar with moon phase
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 65 hours

Strap: Calfskin or alligator strap

Availability: At boutiques and retailers from fall 2020
Price
: 14,500 Swiss francs, or 21,600 Singapore dollars

For more information, visit Jaeger-LeCoultre.com.


 

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Longines Introduces the Master Collection Moonphase

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Jaeger-LeCoultre Introduces the Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel

Brilliant blue flinqué enamel.

Patek Philippe Introduces Chronograph Annual Calendar Ref. 5960/1A in Black

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A. Lange & Söhne Introduces the Odysseus Datomatic in White Gold

Sports watch meets precious metal.

There was much anticipation in the lead up to A. Lange & Söhne’s launch of the Odysseus last year, which met with mixed receptions. The luxury-sports watch represented a few firsts for Lange – a first foray into sports watches, the brand’s first regular-production steel watch, and for the nerds, subtle technical features not seen before in other movements.

Unsurprisingly, the inaugural steel model is now been joined by a precious metal version, the Odysseus in white gold. While the new watch is functionally similar to the steel model, the gold version is set apart with a handful of dial details, and the more obvious strap choices.

Nips and tucks

The dial gets a couple of tweaks to distinguish it, going with a muted, monotone grey instead of dark blue. More subtle are the differences in the dial finishing, with a stamped radial pattern reminiscent of the Langematik Perpetual Honey Gold, replacing the concentric rings found on the steel model.

And the central portion of the dial is finished with a more conventional fine frosting, rather than the pronounced, granular surface found on the steel model.

While the debut Odysseus was offered only with a steel bracelet, the white gold version is offered only with leather or rubber straps that connect to the watch via proprietary end-links incorporating a quick-release mechanism. While the leather strap is ordinary brown calfskin, the rubber is more than run-of-the-mill rubber strap and features raised vents on the reverse to improve ventilation and drainage while on the wrist.

There is no matching white gold bracelet available for now, but that’s not a surprise. The lack of the metal bracelet is fairly common with precious-metal sports watches, as a matching bracelet would make the watch impractically expensive.

A sporty movement

As with the steel model, discreetly integrated into the case are two pushers disguised as crown guards. The pushers at two and four o’clock advance the date and day discs respectively. But the calendar can also be adjusted by turning the crown either clockwise or anticlockwise near midnight, with no ill effects on the movement. The gear teeth for the day and date mechanisms are large and wide, which contribute to its durability over time.

Powering the watch is the L155.1 “Datomatic”, an automatic movement derived from the L086.1 used in a handful of Saxonia models. While the original movement can be considered as the brand’s entry-level automatic, the Datomatic calibre is souped-up with technical upgrades for improved robustness; it is anything but entry level.

The Cal 155.1 “Datomatic” of the Odysseus

Most notably, it is the first Lange movement with a balance bridge instead of a balance cock – a choice made to improve the stability of the balance wheel, to better protect the oscillator from the vigorous movement or shock expected from using a sports watch. Furthermore, the balance wheel has been enlarged, with smooth rims for greater inertia and less air resistance.

The engraved balance bridge with a free-sprung balance


Key facts and price

Lange Odysseus Datomatic in white gold
Ref. 363.038 (leather strap)
Ref. 363.068 (rubber strap)

Diameter: 40.5 mm
Height: 11.1 mm
Material: 18k white gold
Water resistance: 120 m

Movement: L155.1
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds; day of week and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Leather or black rubber

Availability: At A. Lange & Söhne retailers and boutiques
Price: €39,500 including 19% VAT, or 57,400 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Alange-soehne.com.


 

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Piaget Introduces the Thinnest Mechanical Watch Ever

The Altiplano Ultimate Concept.

Piaget first introduced the Altiplano Ultimate Concept in 2018 as an exercise in pushing the limits of mechanical watchmaking – the thinnest mechanical wristwatch ever, at 2 mm in its entirety. Now the experimental creation has become reality at Watches & Wonders 2020, available as a wholly-customisable, special-order timepiece that’s still just 2 mm high – but accompanied by a staggering retail price.

No stranger to ultra-thin watches – the brand debuted its first extra-thin movement, the 9P, in 1957 – Piaget already claimed the title of thinnest-mechanical-watch-on-the-market in 2013 with the 3.65 mm-high Altiplano 900P. Most of the tricks relied on to create that record-setting movement have been repeated in the new Altiplano Ultimate Concept and its cal. 900P-UC, but in more extreme form, with the new watch boasting five additional patents for features relating to the extra thinness.

A sliver of cobalt alloy

Notably, the case and main plate of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept are one and the same, a single piece machined out of cobalt-based alloy for strength – gold is too soft and might bend if strapped too tightly on the wrist. As in the 900P, the case functions as the main plate of the 900P-UC, revamping a layer from the movement and reducing the overall thickness of the watch.

But despite being a single piece, the case and main plate can be specified with different finishes for contrast. For instance, the cobalt-alloy case can retain its natural colour with a polished finish, while the inside of the case is finished in a frosted black coating.

Constructed ingeniously

Reduced to a small sub-dial at 12 o’clock, the compact hours and minutes allow more space for the movement to be spread out flatly, rather than built upwards. The sub-dial is ringed by a flange that’s part of a larger, open-worked frame, which functions as a bridge for the pinions of movement.

Even more novel methods were employed to achieve the extreme thinness. Most interestingly, the movement has no balance bridge – often the tallest component in a slim movement and thus dictating its whole height – and instead the balance wheel has “floating” construction. It sits recessed in the main plate, supported on the bottom by ball bearings, leaving it floating. And because the balance staff is short and stout, without the conventional thin pivots on each end, it also goes without shock protection.

The floating construction also inverts the conventional set-up of the oscillator – the flat hairspring sits under the balance wheel. Because it would be tedious to rely on a traditional regulator in such a construction, the natural solution was a free-sprung balance with four adjustable weights for regulation.

Also notable is the exposed mainspring barrel at 6 o’clock. Instead of its arbor being supported by a bridge or “floating”, it is supported on the periphery with ceramic ball-bearings. The barrel ratchet wheel and first wheel sits slightly recessed within the peripheral ring, with the mainspring in-between, further reducing the thickness of the movement. And despite the very flat mainspring, it still manages a respectable 40 hours of power reserve.

The “floating” balance (left), and the open barrel (right)

Another innovation is found in the keyless works. While a conventional set of keyless works contain a bulky winding pinion and crown wheel, the 900P-UC uses a worm gear instead, or what Piaget dubbed an “infinite screw”. This allows the gears to be sideways on a single plane, while allowing a high gear-reduction ratio in a compact space, creating enough torque to wind the mainspring.

A related design element is the crown, which is a flat rectangle that sits flush with the case, maintaining the thin, streamlined look of the watch while protecting the crown from impact. However, due to its diminutive size it is most practical to operate it using a motorised tool for winding and setting.

The flat crown with its worm screw visible through the bridge on the dial

Other than that, the rest of the movement parts are conventional in form but made as thin as possible. The sapphire crystal for instance, is only 0.2 mm thick – a fifth of that found in a conventional watch. And the wheels have been reduced from 0.2 mm to 0.12 mm in height. Even the alligator strap is made ultra-thin, strengthened by a tear-resistant Kevlar lining.

As you like it

The Altiplano Ultimate Concept with be made to order, with customers being able to specify the colour and finish of nearly all components, ranging from the base plate to the hands to the chapter ring for the time.

But the cobalt-alloy case material is non-negotiable, being a necessity for the rigidity of the watch.

Various iterations of the Altiplano Ultimate Concept


Key facts and price

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept
Ref. G0A45500 (and variants)

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 2 mm
Material: Cobalt alloy
Water resistance: Moisture resistant

Movement: 900P-UC
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wound
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: Various, including leather, rubber, or fabric

Limited edition: Custom-order only
Availability:
Orders can be placed from March 2020 onwards
Price: Approximately 400,000 Swiss francs

For more information, visit Piaget.com.


 

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Vacheron Constantin Introduces Les Cabinotiers “The Singing Birds”

Artisanal flights of fancy.

Continuing with the musical theme that begun last year with Les Cabinotiers ‘”La Musique Du Temps”, an assortment of one-off, chiming watches, Vacheron Constantin unveils Les Cabinotiers “The Singing Birds” at Watches & Wonders 2020, the first time-only watches of the line that showcase the brand’s dexterity in traditional decorative crafts.

The “Singing Birds” watches interpret the overmatching musical motif artistically with songbirds, rather than literally with striking watches as most of last year’s watches were. Available in four different unique executions, the watches feature dials that combine an engine-turned time display with champleve enamelling, each depicting a different bird – hummingbird, blue jay, blue tit, and robin.

From left: Blue Tit, Blue Jay, Hummingbird, and Robin

But the watch is more than brightly-feathered aesthetics, it also features a wandering hours display. Though the complication originated 17th century clocks, it remains relatively rare, with the most famous modern-day examples being the Audemars Piguet Star Wheel and Urwerk. Vacheron Constantin has only ever utilised the wandering hours on limited edition or unique timepieces, like the Métiers d’Art Savoirs Enluminés of 2016.

The current hour is displayed across an arc marked out in minutes – as the hour “wanders”, it simultaneously indicates the minutes. It takes an hour for the number to cover the arc, and as it disappears on the far right, the next hour numeral rotates into position at the far left. Notably, instead of showing the hours on revolving discs as is convention for wandering-hour displays, Vacheron Constantin has instead oped for solid, 18k gold numerals on a trio of four-armed carriages, with the entire mechanism driven by Maltese cross-wheels and a planetary gear.

Measuring 40 mm wide and 12.37 mm high, the case is a classic beauty with elegant, fluted lugs. Naturally, the focal point of this watch is the dial, which is made of two parts, both solid gold.

The upper dial form the canvas for the songbird and is executed in rich champlevé enamel that’s made up of as many as 10 colours, some in subtly-graded shades to achieve depth and shadow. Translating as “raised background”, champlevé enamelling starts with a solid gold dial that is engraved with the motif. The engraved recessed are then hand-painted with vitreous enamel that’s fired in an oven to set.

And set one level below is the guilloché dial with the hour scale that’s decorated with a basket-weave pattern engine-turned by hand.

Inside is the cal. 1120 AT dressed up with a 22k gold rotor decorated with an unusual flower-petal guilloche. The movement is also equipped with a free-sprung balance wheel and a 40-hour power reserve.

It’s based on the ultra-thin, self-winding cal. 1120 that’s just 2.45 mm high. In fact, the cal. 1120 is even thinner than the additional wandering hours module, which is 3 mm by itself.

Though now produced in-house by Vacheron Constantin, the cal. 1120 was originally the Jaeger-LeCoultre cal. 920 that made its debut more than half a century ago. The movement is the only JLC calibre supplied to the “holy trinity” of Swiss watchmaking – Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin – but is more famous for being found in both pioneering luxury sports watches, the Royal Oak ref. 5402 of 1972 and Nautilus ref. 3700 of 1976.


Key facts and price

Les Cabinotiers “The Singing Birds”
Ref. 2010C/000R-B681 (Hummingbird in green)
Ref. 2010C/000R-B682 (Blue Jay in brown)
Ref. 2010C/000R-B683 (Blue tit in dark blue)
Ref. 2010C/000R-B684 (Robin in burgundy)

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 12.37 mm
Material: 18k pink or white gold
Water-resistance: Not water-resistant

Movement: Cal. 1120 AT
Functions: Hours and minutes
Winding: Self-winding
Frequency: 19,800 beats per hour (2.75 Hz)
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

Limited edition: Each a unique piece
Availability: Sold individually, only at boutiques
Price: Upon request

For more information, visit Vacheron-constantin.com.


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Panerai Introduces the Luminor Marina Titanio DMLS PAM01117

With extra-strong lume.

At a glance, Panerai’s latest Luminor unveiled at Watches & Wonders 2020 might look like, well, just another Luminor. But the Luminor Marina Titanio DMLS (PAM01117) is more than that. It incorporates a new type of luminous paint with an extra-bright glow, while boasting a titanium case produced via a process similar to 3D printing. And most crucially, the watch is covered by a 70-year warranty.

Given that Panerai’s identity is inextricably linked with legible, glow-in-the-dark dials, the new “lume” found on the Luminor DMLS makes sense. The watch features Super-Luminova X – a lot of it.

Beyond the usual dial and hands, the new Luminor also had luminous paint on the flange around the dial, crown locking bridge and lever, and the stitching of the fabric strap.

The use of “lume” as a decorative element brings to mind the Lumen series of A. Lange & Söhne (which is a sister brand of Panerai within Swiss luxury group Richemont), but here the luminous paint is executed in clean lines for a geometric pattern.

Though the Luminor DMLS is a large 44 mm in diameter, it is only 100 g, making it the lightest Panerai watch with a metal alloy case. The case is produced via direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), the same process to make the case of the Lo Scienzato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio PAM00578 from 2016.

DMLS is a form of 3D printing where a laser is used to melt titanium powder tiny amounts at a time, layer by layer as the case is built up. The nature of the process allows negative space to be formed within the case, leaving its interior hollowed out and especially lightweight.

Perhaps most interesting is the 70-year warranty, which has the same terms and conditions as the standard international warranty that covers ordinary Panerai watches. This is despite the fact that the Luminor DMLS contains a standard P.9010 movement, a slim automatic with a three-day power reserve.

All of those features result in a surprisingly high retail price of €19,000, which is hard to digest, even in the dark.

The Luminor DMLS is a limited edition of 270 watches, delivered with an additional rubber strap and packaged in a box with a luminous motif on its lid.


Key facts and price

Panerai Luminor Marina Titanio DMLS 44 mm
Ref. PAM01117

Diameter: 44 mm
Height: 15.65 mm
Material: Titanium
Water resistance: 300 m

Movement: P.9010
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds; date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3Hz)
Power reserve: 3 days

Strap: Fabric with luminous stitching and velcro fastener; additional blue rubber strap

Limited edition: 270 pieces
Availability:
 At Panerai boutiques starting November 2020
Price: €19,000

For more information, visit Panerai.com


 

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A. Lange & Söhne Introduces the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater in White Gold

A limited edition in dark blue.

Five years ago, A. Lange & Söhne unveiled its first minute repeating wristwatch (setting aside the €2 million Grand Complication), but it was no ordinary repeater. Instead the it was a decimal repeater incorporated into the Zeitwerk and its signature digital time display.

Originally introduced in platinum as part of the regular collection, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater now returns in white gold as a 30-piece limited edition at Watches & Wonders 2020. Though the white gold case bestows little price advantage over the monochromatic platinum model, the watch does look more striking in blue.

The idea of a decimal-repeating, digital watch is sensible – pairing the digital, jumping hours and minutes of the Zeitwerk with a decimal repeater means the chimes to match time display of hours, tens of minutes, and single minutes. In other words, the decimal repeater is as intuitive as the digital time-display. This is in contrast to typical minute repeaters that chime the time in 15-minute blocks, followed by the the remaining minutes.

Visible at 12 o’clock is a power reserve indicator

The only stylistic difference with this new edition is the dial colour. While the time display is still framed by the familiar rhodium-plated bridge, the rest of the dial is now dark blue, a first for the Zeitwerk (which has historically been available with either silver or black dials). And below the bridge are the symmetrically-arranged twin hammers and gongs, with the latter tracing the periphery of the dial.

L043.5

Mechanically, the new edition remains the same, with the same L043.5 inside. The power reserve is a short 36 hours, displayed on the scale at 12 o’clock. A red dot on the scale indicates the 12-hour mark of remaining energy when the repeater mechanism disengaged to prevent full depletion of the remaining power reserve, as the repeater is driven by the mainspring barrel instead of a secondary, independent barrel as conventional repeaters are.

The hammers strike inwards, towards the centre of the dial

Visible through the case back is the L043.5, a movement that builds upon the basic, time-only Zeitwerk movement, but incorporates the additional minute repeating mechanism. Despite the straightforward functions – just the time and repeater – the L043.5 movement is notably complex in execution, being comprised of 771 parts.

The time display mechanism contains a one-minute remontoir that regulates power to the escapement and also facilitates the jumping of the minutes disc. But it is also advantageous for the repeating mechanism, as the remontoir also allows for an accurate chiming of the current time when activated, as the repeater strikework “reads” the time off the snail cams connected to the hour and minute discs.

The L043.5 that’s made up of 771 parts

The remontoir spans the centre of the movement, setting under a long, skeletonised bridge. Visible next to it is the repeater governor, which regulates the rate of the repeater chimes.

When the repeater is activated, the ratchet wheel of the mainspring barrel is uncoupled from the winding train, which allows it to freely unwind and power the repeater. Simultaneously, a lever blocks the remontoir during this period, which prevents the hour and minutes discs from jumping until the chiming is complete.

The white gold Zeitwerk repeater is priced at €449,000, which is almost the same as what the platinum version costs. But the tiny, 30-piece run as well as the blue dial – which is common for simpler Lange watches but uncommon for major complications – makes this arguably more compelling.


Key facts and price

Zeitwerk Minute Repeater in white gold
Ref. 147.028F

Diameter: 44.2 mm
Height: 14.1 mm
Material: White gold
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: L043.5
Features: Digital hours and minutes, power reserve indicator, and decimal minute repeater
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 36 hours

Strap: Crocodile with folding buckle

Limited edition: 30 watches
Availability:
Only at A. Lange & Söhne boutiques
Price: €449,000, including German VAT

For more, visit Alange-soehne.com.


 

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A. Lange & Söhne Delivers the Very First Grand Complication

The most complicated wristwatch ever made in Germany, the Lange Grand Complication has just reached its first owner.

A. Lange & Söhne Introduces the Grand Lange 1 "25th Anniversary"

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Cartier Introduces the Santos de Cartier ADLC

The all-black Santos returns.

After unveiling the glow-in-the-dark Santos Skeleton ADLC “Noctambule” last year, Cartier debuts the similar, but simpler, Santos de Cartier ADLC at Watches & Wonders 2020.

The new Santos actually revives a look the brand first rolled out in 2009 with the Santos 100 ADLC, which was the brand’s first use of amorphous diamond-like carbon (ADLC) as a case coating. A nano-composite coating, ADLC possesses diamond-like properties, including high corrosion and scratch resistance, improving the robustness of the watch case. But like all coatings it can detach if the material below is dented or scratched deeply.

All-black (left), or a combination of natural-finish steel and ADLC-coating

Shades of black

Like the Skeleton ADLC “Noctambule”, the Santos ADLC is available only in the largest LM case that’s 47.5 mm by 39.8 mm on the face and a height of 9.38 mm, making it a big but relatively slim watch. It is available in two iterations: all-black ADLC-coated steel, or two-tone steel with an ADLC bezel.

While the case dimensions are identical to the standard Santos, the new models have a low-key matte finish. The bezel is brushed, instead of the mirror polish found on the standard model, with only the bevels along the edge of the case being polished.

The steel model features a dark grey dial which matches the shade of the ADLC coating on the bezel. Though the dial is a single colour, it appears two-tone due to the surface finishing – vertical brushing on the inner dial, echoing the finishing on the bezel, which is set against a radially brushed chapter ring.

The ADLC model, on the other hand, has a pure-black, matte dial, offering a stark contrast of shades and textures while accentuating the all-black look.

Both are powered by the in-house 1847 MC movement, the same movement found in the standard Santos. Though the movement was introduced five years ago, it was upgraded for the new-generation Santos with the addition of a nickel-phosphorus escapement, making the most critical part of movement less susceptible to magnetism. And the movement is enclosed in a soft-iron cage that shields it from magnetism.

As with last year’s Santos Chronograph XL and the earlier Santos 100, both watches are delivered with a rubber strap moulded to mimic the links of a Santos bracelet – and fitted with actual screws. But each is also accompanied by an additional option. The steel model has an actual steel bracelet with the quick-release mechanisms for the bracelet and links, while the all-black ADLC version is matched with a matte-black alligator strap.


Key facts and price

Santos de Cartier ADLC
Ref. WSSA0037 (Steel and ADLC)
Ref. WSSA0039 (ADLC)

Diameter: 47.5 mm by 39.8 mm
Height:  9.38 mm
Material: Natural steel, or ADLC-coated steel
Water-resistance: 100 m

Movement: 1847 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency:  28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: Rubber strap and steel bracelet (steel model); rubber and alligator straps (ADLC model)

Availability: In boutiques and retailers from September onwards
Price: 7,400 Swiss francs, or 10,300 Singapore dollars; 7,600 Swiss francs, or 10,600 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Cartierwatchmakingencounters.com.


 

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Cartier Introduces the Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique

Time-only and skeleton.

Cartier has made it an annual tradition to revive one of its iconic case shapes as part of the compact and focused Cartier Privé line, having started with the Tank Cintrée in 2018, followed by the Tonneau last year.

Now at Watches & Wonders 2020, the jeweller has recreated one of its most divergent Tank models with the Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique, in the classic time-only format as well as a contemporary skeleton version.

The Tank Asymetrique Skeleton

Introduced in 1936, the Asymétrique was not conceived as a Tank wristwatch at the time of its launch, and was known as the Parallélogramme or Losange after its case shape. It deviated from a conventional rectangular case literally, with the case brancards offset in opposite directions, transforming the rectangle into a diamond, while the dial was rotated by 30 degrees to the right. A distinctive feature of the dial on the vintage Parallélogramme watches were the alternating Arabic numeral and baton hour markers, probably conceived to improve legibility of the skewed dial.

In the modern day, the Asymétrique was incorporated into the Tank wristwatch line-up when it was reproduced as a limited edition. That happened first in 1996 with a limited edition with a small case size, with 300 examples in yellow gold and another 100 in platinum, both having the same dial style as the vintage originals. (And in 1999 a tiny run of watches was made to commemorate the handover of Macau to China.)

The CPCP Tank Asymetrique of 2006. Photo – Christie’s

Then in 2006 came the Collection Privée Cartier Paris (CPCP) limited edition of 150 pieces in yellow gold – along with a tiny number of unique examples in platinum – with a more Baroque guilloche dial and Breguet hands. But this edition had a larger case with a triple lug, making it more suited to modern tastes.

While both editions shared the same silhouette, they differed in almost every other aspect, from the dial, dimension, and even the lugs. The new Tank Asymétrique is a compelling fusion of the two earlier editions, combining the larger case of the 2006 version with the dial design of the earlier model.


Tank Asymétrique 

As with the earlier Cartier Privé models, the watch is available in three metals – platinum, yellow as well as pink gold – each in a limited run of 100 pieces. Predictably, the trio sticks to the case metal and dial combinations established by the rest of the Cartier Prive line, which means elegant, restrained colours.

Accordingly, the dial has a fine, radial-brushed finish that retains the alternating hour markers of the vintage original, but with a refined, serif typeface as well as the addition of tiny dots at six and 12 o’clock to aid readability.

Measuring 47.15 mm by 26.2 mm, the dimensions of the case are identical to the 2006 model, and features the same central lug to keep the strap in place. The case measures just 6.38 mm high due to the ultra-thin movement inside.

As a result of its shape, the case has a tiny volume of usable space within, so the movement is necessarily tiny. It’s the hand-wound 1917 MC, an in-house calibre originally developed for ladies’ watches. Measuring just 2.9 mm high, it is also found in last year’s Cartier Prive Tonneau and has a 38-hour power reserve.


Tank Asymétrique Skeleton

Though Cartier has long offered open-worked versions of almost all of its best-known watches, this is the very first skeletonised Tank Asymétrique. With the exception of a possibly-unique example made in 1997, Cartier has never produced a skeletonised Asymétrique.

The Tank Asymétrique Skeleton is available in pink gold, platinum as well as a bejewelled platinum version, the watch shares the same dimensions as the time-only model with the exception of its height. It’s slightly thicker at 7.82 mm due to the larger movement within.

As is convention for Cartier’s modern-day skeleton watches, the 9623 MC movement forms the dial with its bridges open-worked to form the hour indices. More unusually, the hour markers are engraved and filled with blue lacquer to complement the blued steel hands and to improve legibility.

And as is the with Cartier’s other skeleton watches, the Tank Asymetrique Skeleton is substantially more expensive than the standard version, priced at well over double in all metals.


Key facts and price

Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique
Ref. WGTA0042 (platinum)
Ref. WGTA0043 (rose gold)
Ref. WGTA0044 (yellow gold)

Diameter: 47.15 by 26.2 mm
Height: 6.38 mm
Material: Platinum; pink gold; yellow gold
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: 1917 MC
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wound
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Alligator leather

Limited edition: 100 pieces in each metal
Availability: 
In boutiques and retailers from December onwards
Price: 30,800 Swiss francs, or 41,500 Singapore dollars (platinum); 27,200 Swiss francs, or 36,400 Singapore dollars (pink and yellow gold)


Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique Skeleton

Ref. WHTA0011 (pink gold)
Ref. WHTA0012 (platinum)
Ref. HPI01370 (platinum with diamonds)

Diameter: 47.15 by 26.2 mm
Height: 7.82 mm
Material: Platinum or pink gold
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: 9623 MC
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wound
Power reserve: 48 hours

Strap: Alligator leather

Limited edition: 100 pieces in each metal
Availability: 
In boutiques and retailers from December onwards
Price: 60,500 Swiss francs, or 84,500 Singapore dollars (pink gold); 68,500 Swiss francs, or 96,500 Singapore dollars (platinum); 96,000 Swiss francs, or 136,000 Singapore dollars (diamond-set)

For more, visit Cartierwatchmakingencounters.com.


 

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Cartier Introduces the Santos-Dumont Limited Editions

Desirable livery with special engravings.

Hot on the heels of the Santos-Dumont XL hand-wind, Cartier has dropped four limited edition variants of the same at Watches & Wonders 2020, each dedicated to one of Alberto Santos-Dumont’s most significant aircraft.

Within just a decade, the pioneering Franco-Brazilian aviator designed and piloted diverse methods of conquering the skies, from balloons and dirigibles to heavier-than-air aircraft. The four flying machines commemorated by the new limited edition Santos-Dumont watches each represent a different milestone in his career, starting with his first balloon, the Brésil of 1898, to his greatest feat, the La Demoiselle plane of 1908.  

Increasing in edition size as the price decreases with the preciousness of the case, all four editions are mechanical, powered by the ultra-thin 430 MC found in the Santos-Dumont XL, which is actually a Piaget 430P.

Though they share the same movement, the editions are not all the same size. The first three are in the large Santos-Dumont case, with dimensions of 43.5 mm by 31.4 mm, perfectly appropriate for a modern-day dress watch, offering just the right balance between elegance and presence.

The last and most expensive edition, on the other hand, is platinum and XL size, meaning it is 46.6 mm by 33.9 mm.

Santos-Dumont XL in platinum (extreme left), and the trio of large-size editions


Santos-Dumont “Le Brésil”

Limited to 100 pieces, “Le Bresil” is named after Santos-Dumont’s first flying machine, a hot-air balloon notable for its small size and light weight that first took flight in 1898.

As implied by the ruby cabochon on the crown, the watch has a platinum case, paired with a silvered dial with a radially-brushed finish.

In a first for the Santos-Dumont, which has historically only had printed dials, the dial on “Le Brésil” features applied, shiny Roman numerals. They are combined with a black minute track as well as black sword-shaped hands.


Santos-Dumont “La Baladeuse”

The next watch is a tribute to Santos-Dumont’s ninth airship, La Baladeuse. At a time when automobiles were still a novelty, he created this motorised balloon, or dirigible, in 1903 to demonstrate its potential as a mode of transport. He routinely floated above the streets of Paris in La Baladeuse, using it as a means of personal transport.

Limited to 300 pieces, the Santos-Dumont “La Baladeuse” is in yellow gold, perhaps the quintessential material for the model, but one that has been long absent. The last time Cartier had a yellow-gold Santos-Dumont in its catalogue was 2006.

Perhaps the most striking iteration of the new editions, this pairs the yellow gold case with a champagne dial featuring printed, black numerals, which together offer a refreshing contrast against the blued hands and sapphire cabochon.


Santos-Dumont “Le 14 Bis”

Having experimented with balloons and dirigibles, Santos-Dumont began constructing his first heavier-than-air aircraft. Described as a “kite of compartments”, the Le 14 Bis was made up of cubes formed by wood frame covered in stretched canvas. In 1906, Santos-Dumont took to the skies in 14 Bis and became the first aviator to complete a manned, powered flight of 220 m.

In a nod to that record-setting flight, the outline of the aircraft is engraved on the back of the 500-piece Santos-Dumont “Le 14 Bis”.

The case is steel, but features a yellow-gold bezel and a dark grey dial, which make for a unique combination. The numerals are printed in white while the hands are gilded, offering superb contrast against the dark dial.


Santos-Dumont “La Demoiselle”

The final watch in the series is the largest, priciest, and most uncommon, with just 30 made. Presented in an XL-size platinum case, the Santos-Dumont “La Demoiselle” remembers the aviator’s most successful aircraft, which was one of the first ever to be serially produced, albeit selling in modest numbers.

“La Demoiselle” distinguishes itself not only with the case size and material, but also a special dial and strap motif, in addition to the aircraft emblem on the case back.

Meant to evoke the texture and colour of Santos-Dumont’s trademark Panama hat, the central portion of the matte, cream dial features a guilloche pattern, while the strap is a rendered in a Panama-weave fabric.

Crucially, the model is also distinguished by a pair of blackened Breguet hands, as found on the original Santos-Dumont. And more unusually, the traditional Cartier secret signature within “VII” on the dial has been replaced by “Santos”.

But beyond the watch itself, the Santos-Dumont “La Demoiselle” is delivered as part of an elaborate boxed set worthy of its elevated price.

It sits inside a lacquered wooden box that also contains an alligator-hide watch pouch and pair of cufflinks in 18k white gold with red tiger-eye inlay.


Key facts and price

Santos-Dumont “Le Brésil”
Ref. WGSA0034

Santos-Dumont “La Baladeuse”
Ref. WGSA0027

Santos-Dumont “Le 14 Bis”
Ref. W2SA0015

Diameter: 43.5 by 31.4 mm
Height: 7.3 mm
Material: Platinum; yellow gold; or steel
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: 430 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wound
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Alligator leather

Limited edition: 100 (platinum); 300 (yellow gold); 500 (steel)
Availability: 
In boutiques and retailers from May onwards
Price: 17,800 Swiss francs, or 25,800 Singapore dollars (platinum); 13,600 Swiss francs, or 19,800 Singapore dollars (yellow gold); 6,850 Swiss francs, or 9,950 Singapore dollars (steel)


Santos-Dumont “La Demoiselle”

Diameter: 46.6 mm by 33.9 mm
Height: 7.5 mm
Material: Platinum
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: 430 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wound
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Panama fabric, additional strap in brown alligator

Limited edition: 30 pieces
Availability: 
In boutiques and retailers from May onwards
Price: 41,600 Swiss francs, or 65,500 Singapore dollars

For more, visit Cartierwatchmakingencounters.com.


 

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Cartier Introduces the Pasha de Cartier

A subtle but significant revamp.

As it does every couple of years, or decades, Cartier reintroduces one of its iconic wristwatches, this time the Pasha de Cartier. Launched in 1985 and a big hit in the decade after, the Pasha was Cartier’s original round-case bestseller, long before the Ballon Bleu.

Three decades on, the new Pasha makes its debut once again at Watches & Wonders 2020 as a full-fledged collection with models for both men and women, from time-only to skeleton tourbillon, as well as diamond-set versions.

Variants of the new Pasha 41 mm for men

Mysterious origins

Despite having a round case – Cartier is most famous for its shaped watches like the Tank and Santos – the Pasha is amongst the most historically-important Cartier timepieces, apparently.

Legend has it that Cartier first created a water-resistant watch in 1934 for the fabulously wealthy Pasha of Marrakesh, Thami El Glaoui, who wanted a watch he could wear while swimming. The result was one of the first-ever luxury-sports watches.

While the Parisian jeweller no doubt made a watch to fulfil the Pasha’s request, it was most likely a rectangular Tank Etanche, rather than anything resembling today’s Pasha watch.

Inspired by that tale, the modern-day Pasha was born in 1985, penned by the hand of Gerald Genta, the prolific designer whose heyday in the 1970s and 1980s saw him create a string of hits, ranging from the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak to the Bulgari Bulgari.

Genta’s creations were often avant-garde in their day, and his Pasha was no different. In contrast to the small form watches that made up the bulk of Cartier’s catalogue, the Pasha was an oddity, in shape, size, and style.

A Pasha from 1985, here with a rotating bezel

The Pasha had a water-resistant, 38 mm case – oversized for the 1980s – “Vendome” lugs, and a protective cap over the tiny crown that was attached to the case via a small chain. One version of the Pasha case had a bidirectional-rotating bezel, while the other had a fixed, smooth bezel – the version being resurrected now.

Equally unusual was the square-within-a-circle dial, which had square, railway minute track surrounded by elongated stick indices and large Arabic numerals at the quarters, which has also been transplanted onto today’s watch.

The new Pasha line-up is made up of essentially two models – the 41 mm men’s watch and the 35 mm model for ladies. Both are essentially identical in most aspects, keeping all of the key elements of the original.


Pasha 41 mm (and 35 mm)

Available in stainless steel and yellow gold, the Pasha for men measures 41 mm in diameter and 9.55 mm high, making it larger than the 1985 original but smaller than the more recent, 42 mm iteration, and perhaps the most ideal size to date. (The ladies’ model on the other hand, is 35 mm by 9.37 mm.)

While the design remains largely unchanged, there have been a couple of refinements. As before, the Pasha features a distinctive, polished bezel, but the case band is now brushed for contrast.

Versions in 41 mm (left), and 35 mm

Similar, it retains the canteen-style crown cover topped with a blue cabochon, but now the small winding crown is also fitted with a blue cabochon that’s sapphire on the precious metal models or spinel on the steel versions.

Additionally, Cartier also offers subtle personalisation: the option of having a set of initials engraved on the case, within the recess that accommodates the chain securing the crown cover.

Initials on the case

Most crucial from a practical perspective are the upgrades to the bracelet. The new Pasha features Cartier’s patented QuickSwitch and SmartLink mechanisms first introduced in the Santos two years ago. The bracelet or strap can be easily detached from the case by simply depressing a tab between the lugs.

And SmartLink allows the bracelet to be sized without any special tools; links can be easily removed or added by pushing a button on the back of each link, releasing a retaining bar.

The QuickSwitch button on the back of the bracelet

Decorated with a radial, stamped guilloche, the dial remains largely similar to the 1985 design, but again with some tweaks that leave the dial look a bit cleaner. The hands remain blued steel and lozenge-shaped, with large Arabic numbers at the quarters.

But the the stick hour markers as well as the chapter ring for the minute track are now stamped instead of printed. At the same time, the Arabic numerals are accented by a small applied marker on the edge of the dial. And the date is displayed in an angled window that echoes the alignment of the minute track.

The men’s model with the date function; the model for ladies has no date

Both the large and small Pasha models are powered by the 1847 MC, the same automatic movement found in the Cartier Santos. The 1847 MC is Cartier’s entry-level in-house movement, not particularly beautiful but a solid workhorse with above-average magnetism resistance without using any silicon components (which brands owned by luxury group Richemont are unable to utilise).

Most notably, the escapement parts of the 1847 MC are made from a nickel-phosphorus alloy, making them less susceptible to magnetism. In addition, there is a soft iron inner cage around the movement that protects it against magnetism.


Pasha Skeleton

The new line also includes two skeleton watches, starting with the 41 mm Pasha Skeleton. Conceived as an entry-level skeleton watch, the time-only open-worked Pasha is available only in steel.

As is tradition with Cartier’s current skeleton movements, the bridges of the movement are open-worked to form the hour markers, in this case Arabic numerals and baton indices.

It’s powered by the hand-wound 9624 MC, the skeletonised version of the 1904 MC, the brand’s higher-end in-house automatic (as compared to the 1847 MC). With double barrels for more linear torque over the entirety of its running time, the 9624 MC has a 50-hour power reserve.


Pasha Skeleton Tourbillon

The top-of-the-line men’s model is the Pasha Skeleton Tourbillon.

Available in pink gold or white gold set with diamonds, the Skeleton Tourbillon is equipped with the 9466 MC, a skeletonised version of the 9452 MC, derived from a Roger Dubuis calibre (which came about after Cartier’s parent company acquired Roger Dubuis in 2008).

Originally conceived as a movement bearing the Poincon de Geneve, or Geneva Seal, the calibre in its latest form no longer has the hallmark, which helps make it more affordable than the Pasha de Cartier Skeleton Flying Tourbillion of 2011, which costs almost twice as much as this. That said, the movement remains largely identical in style and mechanics, including retaining the distinctive C-shaped tourbillon cage.


Key facts and price

Pasha de Cartier 41mm
Ref. WGPA0007 (yellow gold with grey strap)
Ref. WSPA0009 (steel with bracelet)
Ref. WSPA0010 (steel with blue strap)

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 9.55 mm
Material: 18k yellow gold or steel
Water-resistance: 100 m

Movement: 1847 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Winding: Self-winding
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: Bracelet or alligator strap

Availability: In boutiques and retailers from September onwards
Price: Starting at 6,300 Swiss francs, or 8,600 Singapore dollars for the steel on strap, going to 16,500 Swiss francs, or 22,900 Singapore dollars for the gold on strap


Pasha de Cartier Skeleton
Ref. WHPA0007

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 10.45 mm
Material: Steel
Water-resistance: 100 m

Movement: 9624 MC
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Bracelet and alligator strap

Limited edition: No
Availability: In boutiques and retailers from September onwards
Price: 26,000 Swiss francs, or 34,900 Singapore dollars


Pasha de Cartier Skeleton Tourbillon
Ref. WHPA0006 (Pink gold)
Ref. HPI01435 (White gold with diamonds)

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 10.45 mm
Material: Pink gold, or white gold with diamonds
Water-resistance: 100 m

Movement: 9466 MC
Functions: Hours and minutes; tourbillon regulator
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Alligator strap

Limited edition: No
Availability: In boutiques and retailers from September onwards
Price: 94,500 Swiss francs, or 138,000 Singapore dollars in pink gold; 136,000 Swiss francs, or 198,000 Singapore dollars in white gold with diamonds

For more, visit Cartierwatchmakingencounters.com.


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