Summer time...

Many have already started they vacations. Most of us will choose some beach along the Mediterranean and a few will rather go for cooler mountain air. For those that will have chosen the beach beware. After going through perils like traveling, thieves, carelessness and customs agents you will face one of your watche's worst enemies, the beach. Since for many not wearing a watch to the beach would fell like you are going naked, choose your companion well.

My choice; The SINN U2. Apart from looking like it's built like a tank, it actually is! The bezel has been rendered virtually scratch-proof by treating it with liquid hydrogen. This process called "Tegiment" will cause steel to harden to levels of ceramics. The case is made out of German submarine steel that is guaranteed to be corrosion-proof, as well as impervious to salt water. It is waterproof to way beyond what you might dive to. It is a GMT, very convenient if your beach of choice is not in your home time zone. Despite its size and weigh it is very comfortable due to the rubber strap and fantastic clasp.

If you are thinking about one, forget it, you are to late. The are back ordered in most markets for and average of 6 months.


Deals, Discounts & Old Stock...

Here is a very honest first contact critique from Velociphile on two of AP's boys, the Jumbo and the more recent 15300. I must admit that I agree with both critiques and conclusions, but there is one thing I would like to point out to buyers... he comments;

"Additionally, the winding rotor of this piece exhibited quite a lot of stick, very different from the free running item of the brand spanker. Maybe it had just been stored a while, but disappointing all the same. You wouldn't want to leave the showroom feeling like it needs a service or with "let's see how it goes" ringing in your ears."

With this I would like to point out that watches that have been sitting in stores for some time will/might have problems. Like described in the Watch Maintenance Guidelines not moving the watch (keeping it in a safe) and heat (direct sunlight, display halogens, hot shop windows...) will most likely render the lubrication ineffective or non existent. If you can, order the watch as factory fresh as possible. What you save on a good deal at the store you will eventually loose in servicing, plus the aggravation... Remember that 90% of the stores that sell watches have no idea what they sell. Regardless of what the seller says, ALL good watches need service. Whether it's cleaning, lubricating or changing rubber gaskets you will inevitably need to go through the hoop (...and sometimes it's on fire!). Make sure you count the possible cost of having the watch serviced to the total cost of the watch, then decide if it is a deal or not.

Girard-Perergaux "Laureato EVO3"

The Laureato was always the "Cinderella" of the bunch, hidden away and unnoticed. Born in the Seventies, like the Royal Oak from AP or the Nautilus from Patek. While the other two seemed to thrive and evolve the GP simply went nowhere. With the new Laureato EVO3 it now looks like they are tailgating. Suspiciously familiar to the 3712 it looks like an attempt to ride its success. By today's standards this has become normal in the industry, ask Hublot...

All this said I must admit I like the Laureato EVO3. I gives a chance for those that liked the functionality of the 3712 to have it at half the price, about 8,000€ list price. It really is a great deal and an alternative to the Oak and the Nautilus. Except for the glamour aspect it really has nothing to envy from the other two.



Revivals of classics is becoming more than just a trend. Like Jaeger's AMVOX1 that is a re-edition of the "Polaris" from the 60's or Patek's "World Timer" that was recently upgraded to look even more like the original. If they where popular watches in their time and the style is back in fashion, why not add todays manufacturing and finishing to yesterdays designs?

This re-edition of the "California" will be highly sought after. The approximate 5,000$ price is well within reason although the 47 mm Radiomir case might be a bit too large. Unlike the Jaeger this one does not vary and is as close to the first and original Panerai as possible. In this day and age where everybody has to have their brand in big heavy letters everywhere, Panerai (Richemont Group) have decided to be true to the original and have no brand on the dial, kudos to you guys... This could very well be the most authentic replica ever made. Many Panerai collectors "must" have this Radiomir in their collection.

New materials for base-plates

It has been several years now that watchmakers exploring nonconventional materials for watch cases. Ceramic, ALUSIC, Zalium, Alacrite 602, Tantalum, etc... amongst others are some of the different options that can be found in more and more brands. The trend seems to be growing, and has been very successful in some cases, yet now it's time to turn to the base-plates. Renaud & Papi seem to be at the forefront of this. First with the high-end Richard Milles in "carbon nano-fiber" and recently this Jules Audemars from AP in "agate".

Wether the results are positive or negative time will tell. What is obvious is that the look of these little gems is really spectacular. Unfortunately at the moment the cost of machining such plates makes it exclusive to very expensive watches.

PITA "Oceana"

Still only a prototype, this PITA "Oceana" shows some promise. What is revolutionary here is the construction of the case. It has no crown and no back plate making it waterproof to surreal depths. It is not filled with silicon-oil and measures 42 mm wide and only 17 mm think. The concept is based upon pressure itself to ensure its waterproofness. The more pressure is exercised on the case, the more it becomes airtight. The glass is a special 8 mm thick poli-blablabla-acrylic... (just can't remember) that will, unlike sapphire or mineral glass, withstand maximum pressures without fading or braking. Quiet a logic and simple conclusion if you ask me, but like many things somebody else could have thought of that but didn't. Maybe this is where genius truly lies.

I can't wait to see the final or more advanced versions.


Patek underpriced?

After the 3712's stratospheric price increase, going from 18,000$ (list price) to, in some cases, above 36,000$ (pre-owned but unworn). Was it really because it was retired before all where manufactured and delivered to the stores? For the most part this is probably true, yet looking around at new or resurrected brands it seems that Patek is very reasonably priced. Hell, they look like a bargain! There are several "fellows" out there that are asking real fortunes for a lot of show and very, very little history. I don't question their excellence, but it is inevitable that I compare their price-tag to Patek or Rolex. I am not a big fan of either but I do consider them good points of comparison when it comes to pricing. In my book a Patek 5970 goes way before a Lange Datograph Perpetual (the Lange is around 60k more, and even if the finishing of the Lange goes beyond that of the Patek...).

Comparing them with these "benchmarks" gives me a good idea of their value for money relationship. However, this "meter" of mine seems to be way off lately, because I just can't agree with some of the prices out there. I am really making an effort not to mention some ridiculous examples out there. Look around for yourself and compare, you will be surprised.

Guidelines & Recommendations

I have setup a page with what I think are the most important "guidelines" to ensure the longevity of a watch. Without going into "psycho-care" these are a good start, especially for novel watch lovers. Most of you will have these in your mind already. Even though they might be common sense to you they are definitely not to everybody. This list is very useful if you just gave you wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend a Patek and he/she is NOT from "Watch-Planet".

Guidelines & Recommendations...

The fist ten are general guidelines, now it's time to work on the "Recommendations". A good recommendation could be; "Putting your watches in a suitcase and checking it in is not a good idea. Luggage gets lost and broken into all the time. Try to travel with one watch, in the worst case make sure the other watches are in your pockets. Tourist bags are always at danger and make a great target."

If you have any recommendations please post them here or email me. I will add the ten best.

Sometimes it makes no sense...

How can certain prices be justified? How can a Seiko Spring Drive Moon Phase be more expensive than a Rolex Submariner or a Zenith Defy Xtreme Open more expensive than an OffShore Polaris? Regardless of technical excellence, that I am sure marketing directors in any of the manufactures can dispute and argument the final prices of their products. Flicking through watch magazines lately I can help but wonder if the world has gone mad.

The market has no heart and understands no mercy. It is very human to attach yourself to material objects (unless you are a communist) and value them well above what they really are worth. How nasty was your surprise last time you had your beloved car valued at a dealer when you where about to purchase a new vehicle? Ouch! Truth hurts, especially once you get sick of that Zenith Defy Open (yes, the one that cost you around 20k after discount). Bad move in the first place...