The Blancpain Air Command chronograph belongs to the select circle of legendary watches whose very rareness exacerbates their appeal to collectors. While its creation remains something of a mystery and has generated a variety of stories, its military vocation is a certainty. Considered superior to that of other timepieces of this type, its design is likewise universally admired. Blancpain is now reissuing this legendary model in a 500-piece vintage style edition and the arrival of this major new model in the brand’s collections testifies to a little-known part of its history.
In the early 1950s, the French Ministry of Defence was looking for a high-precision chronograph capable of meeting demanding specifications. The watch to be selected must have a black dial with luminous hour-markers and hands to maximise legibility. The movement must be equipped with a flyback function, as well as a small seconds hand. A few years later, other armed forces began looking for a similar instrument. Blancpain, which had already won over the American Navy with its Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch, drew inspiration from it to develop a chronograph for the United States Air Force. This timepiece was offered to American military pilots through the distributor Allen V. Tornek, for whom Blancpain is thought to have created a dozen watches as prototypes. The total production of Air Command chronographs was probably very limited.
Renowned as the most sought-after military chronographs of the late 1950s, the Blancpain Air Command model has now been given a new lease of life. The 2019 edition exudes a style that is singularly faithful to that of the original. In keeping with its forerunner, intended at the time for pilots of the most modern aircraft of the era, it is equipped with a ratcheted “countdown” rotating bezel. Once set before flight, this feature enables instantaneous reading of the exact time when the fuel reserve is no longer sufficient for the plane to continue its trajectory. The time scale of the bezel, as well as the dial hour-markers and hands, are made of “old radium” type Super-LumiNova®, reproducing the orange hue of the original chronograph indications. The model bears a 30-minute totaliser at 3 o’clock and a 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock, while a tachymeter scale running around the chapter ring indicates speeds based on a 1000-metre distance.
In order to enhance the readability of the information and accentuate the majestic nature of this collector’s watch, Blancpain has improved the dial opening compared to the original model. The face of the new Air Command is protected by a sapphire box-type crystal, a distinctive characteristic of the watches from this period that also appears on the back of the watch – a first for Blancpain. The 42.5 mm- diameter steel case thus reveals a snailed movement notably graced with a contrasting propeller-shaped red gold oscillating weight.
A legendary timepiece deserved an equally prestigious calibre. The new Blancpain Air Command is powered by the F388B movement, whose high frequency of 5 Hz is perfectly adapted to its functions, since it enables each second to be divided into tenth-of-a-second intervals. This high frequency ensures greater accuracy, especially when timing events. Another advantage of the F388B movement is a vertical clutch that provides the chronograph seconds hand with a smooth start, as well as optimally
seamless stop and start functions. It has a column-wheel system, which remains the exclusive preserve of high-end chronographs, particularly because it gives a velvety feel when starting or finishing a measurement and returning the hands to zero. The flyback function enables instantaneous zero-resetting and restarting.
Combining a resolutely vintage style with Blancpain’s latest technical advances, the new 500-piece limited edition Air Command chronograph makes a remarkable entry into the brand’s contemporary universe. This exclusive model, fitted with a patinated calf leather strap, revives the history linking the Manufacture in Le Brassus to 1950s military aviation.
Longines has been known for producing exceptional timepieces since 1832. Continuing in this tradition, the company went back to the archives of their rich history to find inspiration for their latest creation: the Longines Master Collection Chronograph in stainless steel. This new timepiece combines a classically elegant look that is reminiscent of the vintage chronograph models with refined blue details. Longines’ latest addition to the Bucherer BLUE EDITIONS is limited to 500 pieces and is designed for true watchmaking aficionados.
The Bucherer-exclusive the Longines Master Collection chronograph in stainless steel features a radiant blue sunray-brushed dial encircled by a silver chapter ring, as well as Arabic numerals and a brown calfskin strap, which combine to create a distinctly vintage yet very modern and stylish feel.
For Longines and Bucherer, this recent cooperation was a natural continuation of their internationally successful partnership of more than a decade. Patrick Graf, Chief Commercial Officer at Bucherer, remembers: “When the Bucherer BLUE EDITIONS first launched in 2016, Longines was one of the chosen partners and embraced the idea of creating an exclusive model for our extraordinary collection. The first Longines Bucherer BLUE EDITIONS model – a great combination of the right product, the right design and the right partners – was very well received by press and consumers alike and turned out to be quite a success.”
Exclusive variation of a Longines icon
Launched in 2005, the Longines Master Collection is the epitome of the brand’s watchmaking history, incorporating its watchmaking expertise – amassed over the years through combined research into exacting technology – and timeless elegance. “Bucherer and Longines have been working together on their shared passion for watchmaking for years. Our excellent collaboration led to the development of the first Longines Bucherer BLUE EDITIONS three years ago. This success inspired us to work together with Bucherer on this second edition, which will delight lovers of fine timepieces”, states Charles Villoz, Longines Vice President Sales. The Longines Master Collection Chronograph Bucherer BLUE EDITIONS combines exclusive features such as a blue and silver sunray-brushed dial with a brown calfskin strap, and is limited to 500 pieces. This special colour combination, in addition to the exclusive inscription on the transparent case back and the limited edition, makes this automatic timepiece rather unique and appealing for watch enthusiasts who are fond of tradition and prefer a classically elegant, restrained style.
It is also sure to appeal to limited-edition lovers who will appreciate the fact that this model pays tribute to another iconic collection of superb watches with refined blue elements.
An alliance of the unscrutable blackness of the cosmos and the blueness of Earth, of ceramic with the sensuousness of a skeleton movement, conceived like a sculpture to form a whole that is resolutely contemporary, masculine, assertive and distinctive.
In 2019, Girard-Perregaux brings its permanent quest for perfection to life by engaging in a symbolic dialogue with the universe. The result is a series of exceptional timepieces whose nature comes to the fore in a skilful interplay of blue and black tones – gravitates toward a celestial dimension.
In the spirit of this year’s “Earth to Sky” theme, Girard-Perregaux looks up to infinity – its sparkling lights, its impenetrable shadows, its beckoning mysteries – and articulates a new aesthetic expression with the Laureato Skeleton.
The timepiece manifests the science of watch finishing and that of materials in a new light. The outcome is a resolutely contemporary aesthetic. An artistic and technical dialogue between matter and space, as it were.
A contemporary interpretation of one of the brand’s great classics
Laureato was born under the best auspices: at the confluence of the two worlds combining tradition and innovation. Designed by a Milanese architect in the 1970s, it immediately established itself as an object of art, history and form, a timeless icon of watchmaking. And today, more than ever before, the spirit behind this creation remains intact.
Rigorous yet sensual, the rhythm of Laureato’s curves gives strength to a skeletonised watch where the contents are in perfect harmony with the container. By integrating ceramic, first introduced in 2017, Girard- Perregaux takes one of its icons through an evolutionary step, combining a genuinely contemporary material with the ancestral art of skeletonisation.
That is because the art of watchmaking not only manifests itself through the mastery of the great complications, but also through the mastery of the “Métiers d’Art”, High Artisanship. And skeletonisation occupies a special place in this universe as it shows the mechanical as technically accomplished as it is aesthetically rewarding, and always stunning. Because this is the challenge in skeletonising an “Haute Horlogerie” movement: In order to reveal the inner beauty of the mechanism, the material is bored through, hollowed out, pared down until only what is vital remains. The architecture of the movement is thus magnified, its lines in their purpose revealed. The result is a true tour de force in watchmaking style and architecture. The richness of the essential and the lightness of the void. The straight line and the arc. The blue interior and the black exterior. That is what defines the Laureato Skeleton “Earth to Sky” Edition.
The vessel for this creation is a sober black ceramic case with a diameter of 42mm and a thickness of 10.93mm in thickness – the lugs forming an integral part of the lines – which is coordinated with a bracelet whose black ceramic links have an alternating matte and satin surface finish.
Impeccably proportioned, the watch lets sensuous curves play with restrained, clearly defined lines. To complete the whole, the famous octagonal bezel is polished and inscribed in a circle. Everything in it reveals a search for pleasing proportions and ergonomics.
As to the content, the watch reveals the GP01800-1041 calibre, developed, manufactured and assembled in the Girard-Perregaux workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds. It is entirely skeletonised and finished by hand with an angling to augment profiles and inner angles. A mechanical lacework whose texture, enhanced by an entirely skeletonised rose gold oscillating mass, catches the faintest light. Within this elegant blue filigree, the heart beats at noon. The balance wheel reminds us that the Laureato Skeleton “Earth to Sky” is a living creation, its variable inertia fulfilling the promise of superb precision.
Ceramic, reaching for material perfection in watchmaking
An exterior that is intensely solid, yet surprisingly supple. An interior that is visibly sensuous, yet structurally uncompromising. Dark outside, bright inside. The Laureato Skeleton “Earth to sky” is a vehicle of both emotionality and functionality.
Crafted from black ceramic, the Laureato Skeleton directly benefits from the qualities of what is probably one of the best materials in watchmaking. The most current, too. Non-allergenic, lighter than steel yet extremely strong, resistant to high temperatures, virtually unalterable, highly resistant to abrasion and therefore to scratches, it also offers a degree of ergonomic and aesthetic comfort that is highly appreciated. Soft to the touch, heat-dissipating, its colour does not change, neither in the face of adversity nor over time.
In tune with the times, distinctive and distinguished, the Laureato Skeleton “Earth to sky” is a total and complete commitment to rearticulating the urban expression of today’s active men.
Breitling launched its Superocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition watch in Bali with the support of its high-profile Surfers Squad members Kelly Slater, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Stephanie Gilmore. Working with the conservation group Ocean Conservancy, Breitling organized a beach cleanup to celebrate the launch of the chronograph, which is limited to 1000 pieces.
On May 10, 2019, Breitling introduced a limited-edition model to commemorate its important partnership with Ocean Conservancy. The launch, which was held in Bali in cooperation with Ocean Conservancy, was part of a beach cleanup initiative with 100 Breitling guests and hundreds of volunteers from Bali and the surrounding region. The cleanup effort resulted in hundreds of kilo- grams of trash and plastic being removed from the beach.
Celebrating a Partnership
The Superocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition watch celebrates not only the partnership
between Breitling and Ocean Conservancy, but also their shared commitment to helping maintain a healthy ocean and clean beaches. Breitling is participating in Ocean Conservancy’s cleanup programs to protect the health of the ocean and maintain trash-free seas.
Breitling CEO Georges Kern emphasized the impor- tance of Breitling supporting Ocean Conservancy to raise global awareness of its missions and conserva- tion initiatives. He said: “This cleanup initiative in Bali underscored the power of our partnership with Ocean Conservancy. With the launch of this first great watch, we want to add a meaningful and credible element to our partnership and its global projects. I would like to thank Ocean Conservancy, all the volunteers, and the members of the Breitling Surfers Squad for making this event such a resounding success.”
Janis Searles Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy, shares Georges Kern’s enthusiasm for her foundation’s part- nership with Breitling. She said: “We are all proud to be able to work with Breitling. The new Superocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition watch is stunning, and we are thrilled that this partnership contributes to our important work to keep plastic and trash out of our oceans.”
The Superocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition is distinguished by a caseback engraved with the Ocean Conservancy logo and the limited edition “1 OF 1000”. The chronograph, which is powered by a Breitling Caliber 13 mechanical movement, features an ultra-hard scratch- and shock-resistant unidirec- tional rotating bezel with a luminescent central dot at 12 o’clock, a particularly useful feature for divers. This dot, as well as the minute and hour hands, are coated with Super-LumiNova® and emit a blue light instead of the standard green. This color variation complements the design of the watch, whose silver-colored dial is enhanced by a blue “Superocean” inscription. There are also blue accents and a blue central second hand as well as tone-on-tone subdials with blue or nickel- plated accents.
Innovative, Environmentally Friendly Straps
The 44-millimeter stainless-steel chronometer is pre- sented with a pair of NATO straps made of ECONYL® yarn, an innovative material repurposed from nylon waste, one source of which is fishing nets from oceans around the world. The straps are extremely durable, and the ECONYL® yarn material can be recycled indef- initely. The watch is presented on a blue-striped satin NATO strap and is delivered with an additional plain blue satin NATO strap. The packaging is also made from 100% recycled material.
Carrying on the SuperOcean Legacy
The original Breitling SuperOcean, which was first launched in 1957, was created to meet the needs of professional divers, but it quickly found favor among amateur divers and scuba enthusiasts, and attracted an audience of wearers who were drawn to its bold style as much as to its performance and extraordinary functionality.
The Superocean Heritage Ocean Conservancy Limited Edition timepiece is part of one of watchmaking’s greatest legacies, but it is even more than that: it is a beautifully timed call to action, reminding each of us that we can all play an important role in efforts to main- tain healthy oceans and clean beaches. A portion of the sales of the watch will be donated to Ocean Conservancy and its global fight against ocean pollution.
With the Flying Grand Regulator Open Gear Retrograde Second, ReSec for short, for the first time in its more than 35-year history, Chronoswiss presents a regulator timepiece in a striking 44mm case with an automatic movement. The C.301 is an exceptional automatic calibre developed by Chronoswiss. The refined Open Gear construction makes the regulator mechanism a main design element. It is put into the spotlight at the face of the dial, where the train wheel bridges in charge of the off-centre hour display were skilfully skeletonized and screwed firmly to the dial, which in turn becomes part of the movement. The eponymous retrograde seconds hand sweeps along the tracks of a 120 degree scale and every 30 seconds jumps back to the start in a trice.
So much technical sophistication demands taking a look at the exterior of the new arrival: the case reveals a dynamic touch and was specially redesigned by Chronoswiss. The bezel is distinctly robust and, depending on the case finish, radiates a fascinating lustre. With its shortened horns, the timepiece sits comfortably on the wrist. The 42-piece dial is also worth a second look through the double-coated sapphire crystal. Regardless of the intriguing play of colors, which make each variant something special, it impresses with its high level of sheer craftsmanship: the dial surface is elaborately hand-guillochéd for each individual timepiece in the series. This is administered with much love and skill on a historic rose-engine in the workshops of the House of Chronoswiss, Lucerne, thus creating an exceptional fusion of innovative design and traditional craftsmanship. The hand-guillochéd dial means, however, that the Flying Grand Regulator Open Gear ReSec can be made only in a limited edition of 50 units worldwide. They all carry their individual limited series number on the dial.
Other noteworthy features include the intense indexes that glow persistently in the dark, made of a mix of Super-LumiNova and ceramics, whose massive cylinder shape provides a perfect match for the 3-D design of the dial. The hands in the shape of elongated triangles and also equipped with Super-LumiNova inlays ensuring optimal night readability, were specially designed by Chronoswiss. The rear of the Flying Grand Regulator Open Gear ReSec is also worth a second glance, as the beauty of the embellished movement can be admired through the sapphire crystal back.
Versatility determines the collection in all five versions. Particularly eye-catching is the model in blue, whose color is by no means limited to the dial, with its case being entirely “Electric Blue”. It derives its fascinating color through the coating with a high- quality, extremely scratch-resistant DLC (diamond-like-carbon) finish with a hardness of 4,500 Vickers, also ensuring its irresistible lustre. The components used for the complex dial construction are also coated with blue DLC, such as the skeletonized gear train bridges and the hour gauge funnel. And even at night, the blue color variation remains true, because all the fluorescent elements such as the inlays of hands and indices match the blue of the Super-LumiNova Blue Line. It’s no surprise that the bracelet also fits into the color scheme.
The versions with highlights in bright green or red are also colorful, standing out effectively from the black DLC case and the hand-guillochéd, black galvanized dial – and in the truest sense of the word, since all colored parts are further prominently highlighted on second and third levels. The stitching of the distinctive Hornback crocodile leather straps is bright green or red enhancing the particular accent.
There are finally two more variations both classical and yet contemporary. While the timepiece with a solid red gold case and elegant grey strap and dial is impressive, the alternative stainless steel case houses a galvanic silver dial with blue accents, taken up by the blue Hornback crocodile leather strap. This variant is also available with a steel bracelet on request.
All five versions have one thing in common: they celebrate the fusion of progressive design and traditional craftsmanship. And it’s always fun to follow the seconds hand, as you admire the hand-guillochéd dial – and watch it jumping back in a flash every 30 seconds.
The selfwinding Maverick in bronze and titanium is the latest version of URWERK’s UR-105 CT wandering-hour watch. It’s a watch made in honour of mad artists, eccentric inventors, people who think up world-changing ideas. The “Maverick” is a blank canvas or a lump of clay, ready to be imprinted with the personality of the owner and acquire the patina of his lifestyle. It is built to take the hard knocks of its transformation into the most personal of possessions. The assaults of the environment — hot, cold, damp or dry — as well as the hazards of everyday life only serve to improve its looks. The Maverick is thus destined to be your favourite watch because you will mould it to your image.
The UR-105 CT Maverick starts out with a strong character. “Bronze is the most ancient of alloys, somehow magical and always unpredictable” explains Martin Frei, Urwerk’s chief designer and co-founder. “Unlike our other creations, the Maverick leaves our workshops in the raw. It’s on the owner’s wrist that the watch acquires its finish. It will be transformed through symbiosis with its host.”
The Maverick features Urwerk’s signature wandering-hours complication in which the hours on satellites progress in turn along a track of minutes. Four satellites, each holding three hour numerals are mounted on an openworked rotating carousel. The rotation of the carousel and the sequential changing of the hours on the satellites are accomplished in silence and with smooth efficiency, thanks to an improved design. “In our previous models, the satellites were mounted on Maltese crosses and held on top by an orbiting cross,” explains Urwerk’s head watchmaker and co-founder, Felix Baumgartner. “We re-examined the design and found ways to improve it. You can feel the result when you set the time — no friction, no clicks, just the waltz of the satellites. Our work is hidden in the flow of the transmission through the gears.”
You have to push the sliding tab on the UR-105 CT Maverick to discover its inner workings. You’ll see the satellite hours on the four arms of a new openworked carousel. Each satellite carries three hours which turn to present the right hour when the satellite appears along the track of 60 minutes. The wandering hour thus combines a digital and an analog way of indicating the time. “The UR-105 CT is a watch with an evolving style,” Baumgartner continues. “When shut it is extremely plain, only the hour is visible. It looks supremely self-sufficient. Open it and you enter a very metallic scene. It’s quite cold. You catch a sense of speed, an effort at efficiency. The carousel has been completely redesigned to be ultra-light, ultra-strong and totally effective”
A power-reserve indicator and digital seconds make up the rest of the indications on the dial. The digital seconds are remarkable in that they indicate the tenths of a second. The system was manufactured by a photolithographic process in which each seconds marker was skeletonised to weigh less than a tenth of a gram.
On the back, two turbines govern the automatic winding system. They are adjusted by a lever. In the FULL position, the slightest movement activates the winding rotor. Turn the lever to the RED (reduced) position and the turbines dampen the winding action to avoid too much tension on the mainspring. In the STOP position, the automatic winding is disengaged and the watch can be wound manually by the crown.
Two years ago, Zenith introduced the revolutionary Defy El Primero 21, the only high-frequency automatic chronograph designed to measure hundredths of a second, ushering watchmaking firmly into the 21st century. In 2019, the Swiss Manufacture is taking another big leap with the Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon: an innovative model powered by the El Primero 9020 calibre and its two separate escapements. One of the latter serves to keep the chronograph beating at an exceptional frequency and power the 1/100th of a second display, while the other ensures the lasting precision of the watch. This model is available in two limited editions: a 10-piece platinum version and a 50-unit carbon interpretation.
One sweep of the dial per second
With its DEFY collection, Zenith is constantly innovating and setting the standard for tomorrow’s watchmaking: after the unequalled Defy El Primero 21, the first serially produced mechanical chronograph to provide hundredth of a second measurement; followed by the Defy Lab, the world’s most accurate mechanical watch with an unprecedented oscillator, the Haute Horlogerie manufacturer is unveiling the Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon. This unprecedented combination of horological complications – two tourbillons and a 1/100th of a second chronograph – features truly exceptional qualities.
A distillation of technology, innovation, performance and design, the latest addition to the Defy collection asserts itself in terms of both its construction and its aesthetics. For this model, Zenith has developed two tourbillons, a first for the Maison. In an additional feat, one of the tourbillons (at 10 o’clock) is coupled with and regulates the chronograph measuring and displaying hundredths of a second in a perfectly legible manner. Beating a frequency of 50 Hz (360,000 vibrations per hour) with its carriage performing a complete rotation every five seconds, this tourbillon is the fastest in the world. It drives the chronograph hand at the amazing speed of one full turn of the dial per second. The second tourbillon (at 8 o’clock), operating at 5 Hz with a carriage performing one rotation per minute, regulates the rate of the watch, meaning the hours, minutes and seconds.
A vivid expression of futuristic horology
Echoing this dual architecture, two dedicated barrels – one for the watch and the other for the chronograph – store and deliver energy. They respectively provide 60 hours of power reserve for the watch and 50 minutes for the 1/100th of a second chronograph. Heir to the legendary 1969 El Primero, this new high-frequency in-house movement drives the hours, minutes, 1/100th of a second chronograph, 60-second and 30-minute counters (at 6 and 9 o’clock respectively), along with a chronograph power-reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. As a further guarantee of precision, the El Primero 9020 calibre is chronometer-certified by an independent body (TimeLab).
While vividly expressing futuristic, technical and assertive watchmaking, the Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon also stands out for its powerful aesthetics. With its generously openworked dial accentuated by a two-tone treatment – a new signature of Zenith Haute Horlogerie movements – El Primero 9020 and its 311 components are shown to full advantage. The blue-treated tourbillon carriages with the Zenith star, along with the bridges and baseplate, feature polished angles that further enhance the 3D view of this stunning mechanism in motion.
Whether crafted in platinum with the collection’s characteristic satin-brushed and polished finishes and a sapphire case-back, or entirely made of carbon, the case is water-resistant to 100 metres. It is secured to the wrist with a luxurious high-tech black rubber strap, coated with alligator leather or Cordura-patterned. Effectively combining aesthetics, functionality and polymorphism, its composition is resistant, durable and hypoallergenic, while offering infinite possibilities for variations in textures, colours and topstitching. The platinum Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon is available in a 10-piece limited edition, while the carbon model is limited to 50 units.
“Louis Moinet has its very own way of celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the USA. The innovative mechanical creation in question is both a tribute to the pioneers of yesteryear and an invitation to those of the present day – for whom it is available on a pre-order basis of two limited edition of 18 and 69 watches.” Jean-Marie Schaller, CEO & Creative Director
150 years ago, A LEGEND WAS BORN…
The idea of building a railroad spanning the North American continent from one ocean to the other dates back to the early nineteenth century. It was a complex undertaking, with a huge continent to be crossed amidst an acute lack of technical and financial resources. Initially, President Thomas Jefferson convinced Congress to allocate $2,500 to Lewis and Clark, who organised the first expedition across the United States from east to west. They faced all kinds of danger – and took two years (1804-1806) to complete their mission. And so the adventure began…
Years of reconnaissance were then needed to identify the route: through the Sierra Nevada mountains, avoiding Death Valley, bypassing the Yosemite Peaks – as well as all the canyons and rapids of the Missouri. In 1862, even as the American Civil War raged, President Abraham Lincoln’s vision involved unifying and reviving the country. He promulgated the Pacific Railroad Act, allocating the construction of the railway to the Union Pacific and Central Pacific companies. Once work had started, each company drew nearer to the other at a rate of forty miles per month.
The project was finally completed on May 10, 1869. After 6 years’ effort, marked by a whole host of unexpected and varied challenges on a daily basis, the first transcontinental railroad was ready! The two companies’ tracks met at Promontory Summit, Utah, linking Sacramento, California to Omaha, Nebraska. A huge number of bridges and tunnels were required, in addition to 1,766 miles of track to connect with the existing railroad network in the east of the USA, thus linking the Pacific coast and the Atlantic coast.
This feat revolutionised the nation’s economy, demographics, and mindset. The age of covered wagons travelling along perilous trails was over; modern-day, powerful America had arrived!
Driving the last spike: the legendary “Golden Spike” ceremony.
East and West shook hands as the last piece of track was laid at Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869. To symbolise the event, a Golden Spike was driven in (later replaced by a steel crampon). This iconic symbol of the transcontinental accomplishment is now carefully preserved at the Stanford University museum in California.
Reserved For TODAY’s global pioneers only: the “Transcontinental by Louis Moinet” PRE-ORDER
Louis Moinet has a particularly keen sense of human endeavour; previously, the manufacture has celebrated the exploits of cosmonaut Alexey Leonov and triple Formula One racing world champion Nelson Piquet. It has also supported tropical forest research with the Geograph Rainforest, as well as the installation of water wells in Africa with 123 Action.
Today, in a blend of respect and admiration, Louis Moinet is paying tribute to those who devoted all their energy and knowhow to pushing back boundaries and shaping the world as we know it. One hundred and fifty years after the first transcontinental railroad was completed, Louis Moinet has devised a commemorative watch, destined for the pioneers of the new world we have inherited.
“Transcontinental by Louis Moinet” pre-order
In the spirit of the great human adventures of the nineteenth century, the “Transcontinental by Louis Moinet” pre-order is now open!
From now until September 10, 2019, it is being made available to the descendants of the transcontinental pioneers – as well as to forerunners and innovators everywhere. All of them will recognise the same unique values that enable them to successfully complete their own human endeavours.
Pre-order offers them three key advantages:
1) Ensuring they will be able to possess this collector’s watch, of which there will be just two limited editions (18 watches in rose gold and 69 watches in steel and rose gold);
2) Choosing a customised number (on a first come, first served basis);
3) Benefitting from an attractive launch price, the pre-order amount is very reasonable: USD 57,500.00 in rose gold and USD 38,500.00 in steel and rose gold. It should be borne in mind that the retail price fixed after the pre-order period will be higher. In both cases, delivery will be carried out by one of Louis Moinet’s partner retailers.
Those interested in the pre-order are invited to request further details from:
The “Transcontinental by Louis Moinet” watch
An innovative mechanism
A clever automaton has been developed to reproduce the coupling rod systems on “Jupiter” and “119”, the two locomotives that made the final connection at Promontory Summit in 1869. A wheel arrangement comprises two large wheels and one small wheel, concentrating energy into continuous power.
The coupling rod passes on power to two reamed, anodised aluminium piston rods – except that here, rather than a piston, the system showcases a reproduction of the legendary Golden Spike, moving up and down in recollection of the thousands of crampons driven in all the way along the route.
The hours and minutes can be read off in the centre of the watch, while the seconds are displayed at six o’clock, on a segment representing the front of a locomotive.
The movement is an automatic winding mechanical movement.
Ateliers Louis Moinet have won 29 prizes over the past ten years, including a large number of design awards from all over the world. Creating meaningful pieces remains the Ateliers’ absolute priority.
“Transcontinental by Louis Moinet” plays on the contrast of a black plate and a rose-gold-coloured dial with a high copper content. While frosted decoration is a watchmaking classic, this particular finish is of an entirely different order. To produce such dense frosting, a micro structure was developed using laser technology. The individual number of each watch is engraved at 12 o’clock, on an 18-carat “Golden Spike” head, framed by the date – 1869.
Innovative technical solutions were devised to create an unprecedented case shape. Everything is arranged around two stylised, openwork bridges. These span the watch, securing the strap at either end of their lugs. The bridges hold the movement’s container – and the precious mechanical mechanism it houses – in place. Last but by no means least, the signature six-screw bezel, a hallmark of the Louis Moinet style, adds a distinctive touch to the piece.
The alligator strap, meanwhile, comes with a folding clasp decorated with another historic Louis Moinet symbol: the Fleur de Lys.
The box features an original design illustrating the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad, with the inside done out to resemble the piping of a steam locomotive. A medal commemorates the event; at its centre sits a newly-fashioned crampon made from a genuine American rail spike dating back to the nineteenth century.
Transcontinental by Louis Moinet will be available in autumn 2019 in two exclusive limited editions. To commemorate the 1869 achievement, just 18 watches will be available in 18-carat rose gold; and just 69 more will be available in steel and 18-carat rose gold.
JAEGER-LECOULTRE PRESENTS THREE ALL-NEW REVERSO MODELS
Since its creation, the Reverso has remained unscathed by the passing time and fashions, maintaining its characteristic Art Deco features: its simple, refined lines; the iconic, rectangular case; the typical gadroons; and the reversible system. The first Reverso was invented in 1931, when a British officer stationed in India issued a challenge to shield his watch dial during often animated polo matches. Reversible, just as the name suggests, it soon became an icon far beyond the Swiss borders. The case can be slid with a finger to reveal either a solid, easily customisable reverse side or a second dial. The new pieces presented at SIHH 2019 demonstrated the design’s eternal youth, the most noteworthy of which were:
REVERSO TRIBUTE SMALL SECONDS
The new Reverso Tribute Small Seconds showcases a very pure design that enhances the daring colour of its dial and the matching topstitched strap designed by the celebrated Casa Fagliano. Wine red, burgundy, crimson, or aubergine – while the descriptions differ, this deep, dark, enchanting red is most definitely this piece’s colour. This passionate, fiery shade evokes both the fire that fuels the master watchmakers and craftsmen of Jaeger-LeCoultre and the passion of its lovers of beautiful objects, many of whom love to collect multiple Reverso models. Enhanced by its shimmering, satiny exterior, the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds will prove no exception to the rule.
Art Deco Inspiration
The pared-down details of the new Reverso Tribute Small Seconds form a captivating contrast against the attractive wine-coloured dial, showcasing the iconic gadroons, Dauphine hands, hand-applied hour- markers, and a small seconds in an aperture at 6 o’clock. These functions are powered by the Jaeger- LeCoultre Calibre 822/2 manually wound mechanical movement, which was entirely designed,
• Reverso One Duetto
At SIHH 2019, three new interpretations of the Reverso Tribute line enchanted collectors, watch professionals, and the general public. Let’s review the main charms of these three pieces inspired by the historic 1930s model.
produced, and assembled in-house. The watch’s solid reverse offers a blank, fully customisable space in keeping with the design’s reversible heritage.
Casa Fagliano strap
To achieve flawless aesthetics and extra sophistication, on the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds the Manufacture’s craftsmen have matched the shade of the sunray-brushed dial to the leather strap. Dressed in shimmering wine tones accentuated by topstitching, the strap has been designed by Casa Fagliano. It serves as a clever nod to the shared polo heritage of the Reverso and the famous Argentinian boot maker, which is intimately involved in international polo championships.
REVERSO TRIBUTE DUOFACE & REVERSO TRIBUTE DUOFACE FAGLIANO LIMITED
The names alone evoke a promise: that of the ingenious Duoface concept developed by Jaeger- LeCoultre for the Reverso in 1994. This high-precision watchmaking feat conceals a revolution universally appreciated by lovers of fine mechanisms: two time zones on two separate dials powered by a single movement – the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 854A/2 – housed in a case 10.3 millimetres thick. On the front, an aperture at 6 o’clock features the small seconds. Meanwhile on the reverse, a day/night indicator shows whether it is daytime or nighttime in the home country.
Limited edition, unlimited delight
Available in boutiques only, the new Reverso Tribute Duoface Fagliano Limited is even exclusive in the number of pieces released. Limited to just 100, it radiates rarity in every detail, from the most discreet to the most visible. Its two textured dials subtly display their functions in an elegant pink gold case, revealing a blue sunray-brushed ground on the front and a silvered guilloché motif on the reverse. To continue this contrasting composition, the Cordovan leather strap, entirely handmade by Casa Fagliano, dons two tones of bright blue accentuated by elegant topstitching.
REVERSO ONE DUETTO
In natural, life-size surroundings at SIHH 2019, Jaeger-LeCoultre highlighted a number of women’s models, including the new Reverso One Duetto pieces, which are instantly recognisable thanks to their thin case. These three new interpretations of a famed 1930s model show that they still have the potential to turn heads along with their dials.
Warm, glittering, and almost velvety, the strap of the new Reverso One Duetto in pink gold presents a captivating, eye-catching shade. Dressed in a beautiful, deep red – burgundy or crimson depending on preferences – this subtly shimmering, satin-finished strap suits all skin tones.
A strip of brilliant-cut diamonds lines either end of the case, which of course contains the Duetto concept. The twin sets of hands are driven by a single movement, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 844.
Two diamond-hemmed dials
The front face of the Reverso One Duetto, with its simple yet refined, silvered, sunrayed guilloché dial, lends itself to daytime wear. The blued Dauphine hands and delicate Arabic numerals perfectly pair with its pure decor. Meanwhile, the reverse side elegantly flatters evening wear. Its shimmering, lacquered dial in hypnotising burgundy reveals gold-plated hour-markers split into sun-like rays. The enthralling depths of the heavenly vault have once again served as inspiration for the Manufacture’s master craftsmen. They enchant women looking for beauty coupled with precision.
A true timepiece for collectors, if ever there was one
Featuring a dial-side combination of gilded mainplate and palladium-treated bridges framed by a white gold case, the Insight Micro-Rotor white gold limited editions see Romain Gauthier present his acclaimed time-only movement in perhaps its most collector-oriented guise to date.
Sweeping around the centre of the dial are the small seconds surrounded by the hour-minute subdial at 12 o’clock, beating balance at 6 o’clock and, at 9 o’clock, the swaying micro-rotor, framed within a circular cut-out in the mainplate. The mainplate has been hand-frosted then treated with 4.5N rose gold, and it is this golden tone and matte finishing that make the straight-grained, palladium-treated bridges visually pop.
The observer is treated to more views of the movement through the display back. Here, the micro-rotor continues to steal the show as it sets the visible train of gears in motion, starting with the reversing gear that gives the mechanism its bidirectionality.
Like the mainplate, the bridges on the back of the movement are 4.5N rose gold-treated and decorated with hand-frosting and hand-made, hand-polished bevels and jewel countersinks. These bridges are fixed in place using in-house screws that bear an aesthetic S-slot.
The gilded hue and frosted finish of the bridges contrast neatly with the rhodium-treated elements next to them: straight-grained, linear plaquettes; circular-grained gears and ratchets featuring bevelled, circular spokes; and the mainspring barrels of which the lids have been decorated with snailing.
Meanwhile, the case’s 39.5mm diameter makes for a very wearable timepiece. Other design details of the case include a lip in the caseband that flares out to join with the bezel; the crown positioned at 2 o’clock to free up space for wrist movement; and the bombé sapphire crystal which rises so that its highest point is over the hour-minute display, the de facto centre of the dial.
“The gleam of the white gold case, the matte finish and gilded tones of the movement…. For me, this historical combination of colours and finishes is the one that most evokes a collector’s watch,” says Gauthier.
Insight Micro-Rotor white gold is available in three 10-piece limited editions: with oven-fired white enamel dial, oven-fired black enamel dial and oven-fired blue enamel dial.
Romain Gauthier will present these Insight Micro-Rotor white gold limited editions for the first time publicly at WatchTime Los Angeles watch fair May 3-4, 2019 at the Hudson Loft space in downtown LA.
Insight Micro-Rotor In Detail
Highly visible, in-house movement
Developed, produced, decorated, assembled and regulated at Manufacture Romain Gauthier in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland, Insight Micro-Rotor’s movement has been designed to be highly visible so the observer can acquire an immediate appreciation of the mesmerising mechanics and immaculate hand-finishing, hence the moniker “Insight”.
The bidirectionality of the micro-rotor is accomplished via a reversing gear. The axis of this gear glides side to side, guided by an aperture cut within two arc-shaped steel plates that have been black-polished to enhance the gear’s rotation and lateral movement. When the micro-rotor changes direction, it drives the toothing of the reversing gear in the opposite direction, making the reversing gear slide this way too.
Given the relative weight of the micro-rotor, Romain Gauthier has chosen to sandwich it between two bridges for superior stability, rather than designing a ‘flying’ rotor supported by just one bridge from beneath. Both ends of the micro-rotor axis turn in a ruby-lined pivot hole. The rubies have a high wear resistance and low coefficient of friction helping to create an inaudible, fluid rotation of the micro-rotor compared to, say, metal ball-bearings, which can entail wear and noise.
Power and precision
The two mainspring barrels offer 80 hours of energy when fully wound. The barrels are in series for more constant power to the regulator that features the Romain Gauthier balance wheel featuring curved arms and calibrated eccentric weights, as well as a hand-assembled pallet lever that is triangular for more rigidity.
Last but not least, the superlative movement decoration includes hand-made and hand-polished bevels, hand-frosting, circular-graining, straight-graining and snailing, in addition to hand-made and hand-polished jewel countersinks.
Two new models enhance the Clifton Club collection: a GMT version for modern-day travellers and a bronze automatic version with a refined neo-retro look.
The Clifton Club collection is expanding this year with two new automatic references. Built for adventure, they elegantly revisit the codes of sportsmanship while respecting Swiss watchmaking traditions. These new watches are loyal to the Baume & Mercier spirit: high- performance, natural elegance, and easy everyday wear.
The Clifton Club GMT: a version for modern-day travellers
Attractive and modern, the Clifton Club GMT watch has been designed to accompany its wearers on all occasions, whether professional or personal. Powered by a Swiss self- winding mechanical movement, with the second time zone displayed by a central hand and the date visible in an aperture at 3 o’clock, this new reference has many advantages, including a 42-hour power reserve. With a diameter of 42mm, its polished/satin-finished stainless steel case, equipped with a protected crown, fits all wrists. Even better, thanks to a contained thickness of 10.6 mm, the Clifton Club GMT watch slips easily under a shirt sleeve, combining discretion with sportiness.
The time in the second meridian is read by a central hand and a deep azure blue aluminium bezel, graduated over 24 hours. A sensational complication for globetrotters, the instant display of a second time-zone makes it possible to see at a glance the local time and the reference time at home. With a design that is both contemporary and classic, this reference leaves nothing to chance; every detail has been carefully considered. Its screw- down crown and the opaline black of its dial give it a sporty look, evoking both refinement and performance. To be totally legible in the dark, the hour and minute hands and the Phi logo at 12 o’clock are coated with white Superluminova blue emission.
The robust Clifton Club GMT is also equipped with an antiglare scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a screw-down full case back decorated with the Clifton Club coat of arms; all ensuring a water-resistance of 10 ATM, to a depth of 100 metres. The Clifton Club GMT is available in two versions, with two bracelets. The first option: a black “All Road” calfskin strap decorated with sailcloth-like patterns and a blue rubberised calfskin lining. The second option: a polished/satin-finished three-row stainless steel bracelet. Both bracelets feature an adjustable triple folding buckle and two stainless steel side push-pieces for maximum safety and an easy opening. The Clifton Club GMT from Baume & Mercier is made for modern-day travellers who are looking for a multifunctional sporty-chic watch.
The Clifton Club Bronze: when colour rhymes with style
With this collection, Baume & Mercier offers multifunctional watches that can be worn on every occasion, whether at the office or on holiday, in the gym or for a special event. Originally made of stainless steel, the Clifton Club watch is presented this year in a bronze version, giving it a unique neo-retro charm. Without losing an ounce of its athletic identity, it is available in four dial versions (black, brown, blue, green), and is up to the minute with the trend for bronze yet retaining everything that has made the watch such a success: a distinctive design combining elegance, sporting prowess, functionality and wearing comfort. With a universal diameter of 42mm, the polished/satin-finished bronze case of this new Clifton Club will acquire a patina over time. It’s all there: interacting with the effects of oxidation, it will develop a singular colour hue.
The advantage of using bronze lies in the fact that it is a living, changing and non-magnetic material, thus ensuring better protection of the movement’s precision. As it oxidizes, the bronze case will become darker in colour, a deeper brown, and may in time develop a greenish sheen. All these chromatic nuances are due to exposure to air, water or sunlight. At the heart of this exceptional case which is only 10.3 mm thick, is a proven “Swiss made” self-winding mechanical movement with 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). The sporty lines of the Clifton Club Bronze are also highlighted by its screw-down bronze crown, its unidirectional rotating bezel, a water-resistance to 10ATM and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that makes it suitable for everyday use, whatever the situation.
Fully in tune with the times, the Clifton Club Bronze is available in four versions. The first is the black dial and black “All Road” calfskin version with sailcloth-like patterns and a blue rubberised calfskin lining – available with an additional brown nubuck calfskin strap. The second version has a brown dial and a brown nubuck calfskin strap with off-white topstitching and an additional black rubber strap. The third version has a blue dial and blue rubber strap. The fourth version has a green dial and a brown nubuck calfskin strap with off-white topstitching. Again, for these two last references, an additional bracelet is available: a black calfskin strap with a green rubberised calfskin lining. As would be expected, the screw-down stainless steel case back is decorated with the Clifton Club collection coat of arms. Each bracelet is equipped with a pin buckle with stainless steel loops. Both stylish and adventurous, the Clifton Club Bronze watches symbolize the watchmaking versatility that the men of today are looking for.
LM SPLIT ESCAPEMENT IN DETAIL
THE LM SE ENGINE
The first Legacy Machine drew on the atmosphere of wonder and optimism that characterised the World’s Fair expositions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The suspended balance was designed to channel this heady mix of emotions, an effect achieved by its sharp departure from established watchmaking tradition. By transporting the impulse jewel, anchor and escape wheel to the opposite end of the engine, Legacy Machine Split Escapement magnifies the visual impact of its balance, akin to an illusionist meticulously hiding all traces of the mechanisms that drive his latest show-stopping opus. And just like any other enigmatic feat of visual wonder, it’s achieved by bending some old rules and writing some new ones.
The sensitivity of the balance and the paramount role that it plays in chronometric precision are usually reason enough for watchmakers to avoid straying too far from convention when it comes to escapements. However, the outstanding horological mind of Stephen McDonnell, the watchmaker behind the award-winning Legacy Machine Perpetual, was able to circumvent the real and perceived hindrances to creating a new configuration of mechanical regulator.
Legacy Machine Perpetual was the first MB&F creation to utilise the split escapement in 2015, although the attention then was rightfully focused on the groundbreaking new perpetual calendar. Now, with Legacy Machine Split Escapement, the time for its eponymous feature has arrived.
Despite the technical hurdles faced in creating the split escapement, the LM SE engine is still designed with aesthetics and classicism in mind — beautifully symmetrical, with bridges that frame their underlying components and curve smoothly around gold chatons and countersunk jewels.
Dial-side, the balance bridge is the third iteration of a component that has been central in all Legacy Machines thus far. In the first Legacy Machines, the bridge was characterised by an industrialist aesthetic, but progressed to a more rounded form with a wedge-like base in Legacy Machine 101 and in the final edition of Legacy Machine N°1. In LM SE, similar to Legacy Machine Perpetual, the bridge assumes an organically arched line from end to end.
TECHNICAL CHALLENGES OF THE SPLIT ESCAPEMENT
In watchmaking parlance, the escapement is the set of components that allows the stored energy of the mainspring to escape in a series of regular controlled impulses instead of unwinding all at once. In its most common configuration, it consists of the balance assembly, anchor and escape wheel, and horological tradition dictates that these components should be as close to each other as possible to minimise external disturbing influences. In this particular area of horology, which is rarely challenged, MB&F is doing a new thing.
Whilst the balance of LM Split Escapement beats just under the dial-side dome of sapphire crystal, its impulse jewel, anchor and escape wheel are on the other side of the movement, visible through the transparent caseback. This necessitates an unusually long balance arbour, which runs through the centre of the movement, a true milestone of micro-mechanical and manufacturing technique.
The distance between the balance wheel and the impulse jewel is a full 11.78 mm, the length of the arbour that traverses the movement and projects through the dial to support the oscillator. A longer arbour increases the likelihood of disrupting influences on the oscillator, as well as the potential distorting effects of a long axle under continuous torsion. The inertia of the balance and the rigidity of the arbour are key factors in this delicate equation, and the LM SE engine is precisely engineered to ensure its chronometric integrity.
In the Split Escapement, stability of construction becomes exponentially more important than it usually is, which significantly restricts the margin of dimensional error during the manufacturing process. In addressing this, the balance arbour is fitted at both ends with anti-shock jewel bearings, and the bridge that holds the anchor and escape wheel is separately fixed for optimal fine adjustment.
Because a longer balance arbour has a higher mass, which potentially detracts from the amount of energy ultimately transmitted to the oscillator, the LM SE engine is driven by two barrels in parallel, which allows up to 72 hours of optimal timekeeping.
The first launch editions featured very traditional finishing with a hand-frosted dial. The burnished surface finish is closely associated with watch movements from the 18th and 19th century. It was originally functional as well as decorative, providing an oxidised matte surface that resisted tarnish and gave off a subtle and even sheen, which is prized by antique collectors and enthusiasts.
Traditional methods of creating the frosted finish are no longer practicable, due to its hazardous nature (the procedure involved heating metal over an open flame before dipping it in concentrated nitric acid). To achieve the same effect, MB&F works with specialist craftsmen to recreate the texture and sheen of frosting without the use of chemicals.
The surface to be frosted is hand-worked with a wire brush, creating minute indentations one small area at a time. Each time, the wire brush must meet the metal surface with exactly the same angle and the same amount of pressure, and the indentations have to be evenly distributed over the entire surface in order to create the desired finish.
For Legacy Machine Split Escapement, a wider, more diffuse frosted finish was used, to accommodate the larger area and to draw attention to the hand-worked process. The surfaces were then PVD treated to colour them — blue, ruthenium, red gold or yellow gold.
The latest grade 5 titanium edition with green CVD-treated dial is decorated with a spectacular sun-ray finish, which catches the light from alternating angles and makes the dial colour vary between blue and green.