Breaking News: LVMH Abandons Tiffany Takeover

Bye bye blue box.

Announced shortly before COVID-19 made the news, the US$16 billion deal to take over Tiffany & Co. has been scrapped by LVMH.

The French luxury conglomerate, which counts Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Hublot amongst its brands, cited the looming tariffs on French goods announced by the United States. That led to instructions from the French government to delay the deal until January 2021, according to LVMH. Another reason cited by the French group was Tiffany’s request for extension of the closing date for the deal, from November to December.

In response, Tiffany filed a lawsuit in the United States, seeking to force LVMH to complete the deal.

Regardless of the motives behind the withdrawal, it appears to be a shrewd move by LVMH, which is controlled by Bernard Arnault, the richest man in France and widely regarded to be a hard-nosed dealmaker. In the 10 months since the deal has been announced, the world has changed drastically. The state of the the industry makes it likely that LVMH will be able to find cheaper avenues to cement its position as the world’s biggest luxury group.

Tiffany shares fell almost 10% in pre-market trading on the news, while LVMH declined about 0.9% during the trading day in Paris.


 

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Vacheron Constantin Introduces the Overseas Self-Winding in Pink Gold and Blue

Catchy colours.

Relaunched in 2016 after a major revamp, Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas luxury-sports watch has since been expanded to include various complications, most notably the recent ultra-thin, skeleton perpetual calendar.

The mix of a pink gold case and blue dial has been used extensive throughout the line, primarily on complicated models, but the fashionable combination has now been applied to the base model with the Overseas Self-winding in Pink Gold and Blue.

Initial thoughts

Blue dials have become the archetype for the luxury-sports watch, so the new watch is sticking to a well-established formula. The dial on the new Overseas is quite captivating, largely owing to the use of a brighter blue than usual.

Also familiar is the combination of a blue dial and pink gold case, which creates a rich yet sporty look. The combination would be arguably be more appealing if it were applied to the ultra-thin model, which was once in the catalogue but is temporarily discontinued.

Priced at a little over US$46,000, the Overseas in pink gold is a contestant in a highly competitive arena, with the primary rivals being the similarly-priced – but far more difficult to obtain – Nautilus and Royal Oak. The two rivals have a slightly longer history, but all of the watches offer similar value in terms of intrinsic quality; the Overseas is very good at what it does.

Refined and modern

The Overseas Self-Winding has all of the details that characterise the 2016 redesign that resulted in a cleaner and more elegant look, while retaining the DNA of its predecessor. This includes a high level of finishing on the case, including the notches on the bezel that have vertically brushing on the recess, and the inner angles on the bracelet that are mirror polished.

Also found on other Overseas models, the bright-blue dial is the result of a semi-translucent layer of lacquer applied on the radially-brushed surface, giving it nuance at the edges where the translucency is revealed, adding to the visual flair.

Both the case hardware and movement are the result of in-house development. The cal. 5100 has a longish running time of 60 hours, thanks to twin mainspring barrels.

Another useful feature are proprietary quick-release tabs on the bracelet for easy strap changes. To that end, two additional straps, in leather and rubber, are included with the watch.


Key Facts and Price

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Self-winding in Pink Gold and Blue
Ref. 4500V/110R-B705

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 11 mm
Material: 18k pink gold
Water resistance: 150 m

Movement: Cal. 5100
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Winding: Automatic
Frequency:
28,800 beats per hour (4 hz)
Power reserve:
 60 hours

Strap: Bracelet with complementary rubber and leather strap

Availability: At boutiques and retailers from September 2020
Price: US$46,200; or 70,500 Singapore dollars

For more, visit vacheronconstantin.com


 

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A. Lange & Söhne Introduces the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold “Homage to F.A. Lange”

Slim split-seconds, dressed in black.

Perhaps the most interesting watches of the “Homage to F. A. Lange” 175th Anniversary collection, the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold “Homage to F.A. Lange” is the only watch of the trio that is a distinctly new model.

The thinnest split-seconds chronograph made by Lange to date, the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold is the first Lange chronograph in the gold alloy, a point of distinction enhanced by the uncommon black dial.

Initial thoughts

The 1815 Rattrapante is the first watch to feature the L101.2, a new movement that’s derived from the calibre in the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar.

Surprisingly slim for a highly-complicated Lange, its appeal is boosted by the high-contrast black dial with gold markings – always an attractive combination but one rarely found on a Lange wristwatches.

That said, it is highly likely that the 1815 Rattrapante will make its way into the regular catalogue – chief executive Wilhelm Schmid explicitly declined to comment on that – which would not make this a one-off creation.

The 175th anniversary trio

Streamlined split

Undoubtedly the most interesting watch in the line up, the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold is a brand-new model, though it is essentially a simplified version of the 1815 split-seconds with perpetual calendar. And it is the only watch in the trio that’s exclusive to Lange boutiques.

Described by Mr de Haas as a split-seconds chronograph for the client who wants something slimmer and simpler than the flagship Triple Split, the 1815 Rattrapante is unusually compact.

The 1815 Rattrapante is simpler than the Double or Triple Splits because it is a conventional split-seconds chronograph, and also lacks extras like an isolator for the split-seconds function.

The result is a watch that’s 41.2 mm wide and 12.6 mm high – slim for a split-seconds and very slim for a highly-complicated Lange.

The dial is also a departure from the brand’s usual look. It’s solid silver, as is the norm, but executed in black, instead of silver, the predominant colour for Lange dials. It’s matched with gold markings done in granular, gold powder print, along with red accents at the quarters.

The L101.2 inside is derived from the L101.1 found in the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar – the same movement but minus the perpetual calendar module.

Due to the style of the construction – developed for the movement to be as thin as possible – the L101.2 doesn’t have the visual depth of the Triple Split movement since the movements aren’t as tall. But it remains an attractive calibre that’s made even more appealing with the anniversary decor.


Key facts and price

A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold “Homage to F.A. Lange”
Ref. 425.050

Diameter: 41.2 mm
Height: 12.6 mm
Material: 18k Honeygold
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: L101.2
Functions: Hours, minutes, and split-seconds chronograph
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wind
Power reserve: 58 hours

Strap: Leather with 18k Honeygold pin buckle

Limited edition: 100 pieces
Availability:
Starting November at boutiques only
Price: €130,000 (including 19% German VAT)

For more, visit Alange-soehne.com.


 

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A. Lange & Söhne Introduces the 1815 Thin Honeygold “Homage to F.A. Lange”

Honey and enamel.

The base model in the “Homage to F. A. Lange” 175th Anniversary Collection is the 1815 Thin Honeygold, a slim, time-only watch that’s a restrained, formal-dress watch.

Though the simplest watch in the 175th anniversary line up, the 1815 Thin also the best variation of Lange’s ultra-thin watch. The standard version of this watch is the Saxonia Thin, a watch that’s a little staid. The anniversary “Thin”, on the other hand, has been reworked with a new, larger case as well as fired enamel dial dial – an extra rarely found on accessibly-priced Lange watches.

Initial thoughts

The 1815 Thin is notably appealing, not so much for its thinness, but how well it has been executed despite being minimalist.

The standard Saxonia Thin is overly plain, but the 1815 Thin manages to be compelling, mainly due the slightly larger case and fired enamel dial. And the 1815 Thin is also affordable as limited edition Lange watches go.

The 175th anniversary trio

Simple done right

Made of two parts, the enamel dial sticks to the pocket-watch inspiration of the 1815. At 38 mm by 6.3 mm, the case is slightly larger and thicker than that of the Saxonia Thin (which is 37 mm by 5.9 mm), in order to accommodate the enamel dial.

The movement is the same L093.1 found in the Saxonia Thin, but as with the rest of the anniversary watches, it’s been dressed up for the occasion. It has a frosted finish on the three-quarter plate as well as black-rhodium filling for the engraving on the balance cock and plate.


Key facts and price

A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Thin Honeygold “Homage to F.A. Lange”
Ref. 239.050

Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 6.3 mm
Material: 18k Honeygold
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: L093.1
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wind
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Leather with 18k Honeygold pin buckle

Limited edition: 175 pieces
Availability:
Starting September at boutiques and retailers
Price: €33,000 (including 19% German VAT)

For more, visit Alange-soehne.com.


 

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Introducing the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Tourbillon with Enamel Dial

Hacking, zero-reset tourbillon and a red "12".

A. Lange & Söhne Unveils the Lange 1815 Chronograph in Black

A monochromatic take on Lange's pulsometer stopwatch.

Introducing the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Automatic in "Terra-Brown"

Lange unveils "terra-brown" dials for its Saxonia Automatic, the German watchmaker's entry-level self-winding wristwatch.

A. Lange & Söhne Introduces the Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold “Homage to F.A. Lange”

An uber complication.

Conceived to mark the brand’s founding in 1845 by Ferdinand Adolph Lange, the “Homage to F. A. Lange” 175th Anniversary collection is the centrepiece of A. Lange & Söhne’s debuts at Watches & Wonders 2020 in Shanghai.

The commemorative line up is made up of three watches – spanning the price spectrum – all featuring Honeygold cases, special movement decoration, as well as dials that are new in either colour or material. And appropriately for the occasion, all three are from the 1815 line – named after the birth year of F. A. Lange –  that is characterised by a pocket watch-inspired aesthetic with Arabic numerals.

The flagship of the anniversary collection is the Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold “Homage to F.A. Lange”, a 50-piece limited edition variant of one of the most complex wristwatches made by Lange – it’s detailed below.

The other two watches are explained in separate stories: the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold, and the more affordable 1815 Thin Honeygold.

The 175th anniversary trio (from left): 1815 Thin, 1815 Rattrapante, and Tourbograph Perpetual

Honeygold

As with the 165th anniversary watches of 2010, the new commemorative trio is entirely in Honeygold – including a Honeygold dial for the Tourbograph Perpetual. A gold alloy exclusive to Lange, Honeygold is a cross between rose and yellow gold.

Because of its difficult nature, the metal has only ever been used for limited-edition watches because of its scarcity and price. According to Lange product development chief Anthony de Haas, its properties make Honeygold as difficult to work as platinum – drill bits used to machine the Honeygold cases wear out at the same rate as those for platinum.

Though all three share the same case material, each has a strikingly divergent dial style, ranging from white enamel on the 1815 Thin to an uncommon black dial for the split-seconds.

On the reverse, they are naturally different but a similar decoration created for the anniversary editions. Instead of the conventional striping and gilded markings, the movements have a frosted finish with the engraving and markings filled in dark grey “black rhodium”. And the hand engraving on the balance cocks is also done differently, made up of slimmer, more spread out curlicues.

Initial thoughts

All three anniversary watches are variations of existing models, but they are distinct enough to be special. Ordinarily I am not a fan of facelifts for commemorative editions, but these watches are smartly done – effort was put into making them genuinely different – especially for the split-seconds and extra-thin.

And in an unusual move for a commemorative series, each watch has a different dial – there is no single unifying look as there was for the Lange 1 anniversary set – which makes them more interesting as a set. One can conceivably buy all three and still have significant variety in style and function – Lange has indicated the three are available as a set.

The Tourbograph Perpetual is the most elaborate, and also the most attractive version of the Tourbograph to date. The highlight is the solid Honeygold dial with relief markings, which brings to mind the Handwerkskunst watches, although this is engraved mechanically, instead of by hand as on the Handwerkskunst.

That said, the new edition of the Tourbograph Perpetual makes it feel like there are too many versions of the ultimate Lange watch; this brings the tally to four, including the original version sans perpetual calendar.

Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold

With a dial made of solid Honeygold, a first for the brand, the Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold is impressive in mechanics and materials.

The dial is frosted Honeygold that’s been treated with “black rhodium”, giving it a dark grey finish. All of the raised elements are one and the same with the dial, which has been machined to create the relief numbers and letters. The raised portions of the dial are then polished to remove the black-rhodium plating, revealing the Honeygold beneath.

Also made of Honeygold is the moon phase disc

While the relief dial is done by machine, the moon phase disc is hand engraved

It’s powered by the L133.1, one of the most complicated movements made by Lange. The calibre incorporates a split-seconds chronograph, tourbillon, chain and fusee, as well as a perpetual calendar.

Because the perpetual calendar is an additional mechanism on the front of the movement, the tourbillon bridge has to dip downwards to secured the central axis of the tourbillon. This requires more complex hand finishing, but isn’t especially attractive visually since it is at odds with the relatively linear and formal style of the movement.


Key facts and price

A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold “Homage to F.A. Lange”
Ref. 706.050FE

Diameter: 43 mm
Height: 16.6 mm
Material: 18k Honeygold
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: L133.1
Functions: Time, perpetual calendar, split-seconds chronograph, and tourbillon regulator
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wind
Power reserve: 36 hours

Strap: Leather with 18k Honeygold folding buckle

Limited edition: 50 pieces
Availability:
 Starting November at boutiques and retailers
Price: €500,000 (including 19% German VAT)

For more, visit Alange-soehne.com.


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