A. Favre & Fils "Phoenix 10.1"

Here is an interesting development, A. Favre & Fils have just jumped the scene with the "Phoenix 10.1 and the 10.2. What?!? You have never heard of them? Well, neither have I. Despite the need to legitimate a brand by pasting together several generations of completely unknown watchmakers, the product in itself is quite noteworthy. Unlike many, for me the past only counts as a memory. If the present does not cut it the past will not take you very far in my book. A. Lange is a perfect example of a newly founded modern manufacture that are obsessed with reconstructing their past. Surprisingly, while they have all the recognition from watch enthusiasts around the world, the are still going out of their way to dig in a past to find a legitimacy. A legitimacy that everybody agrees they have forged themselves through hard work since their re-birth. What is most ironic is that the "old" A. Lange was not even close to the level that the "new" A. Lange is in the watch industry today. Anyway, back to the product at hand...

While the front/face needs some work, I must confess that I am quite taken by the back. Very impressive. From the pictures presented we have quite a calibre here. The two barrels at 28,800 alternations could deliver a 5-day power reserve yet it has been cut down to slightly over three, to ensure a linear torque delivery over these 80+ hours. The right move I believe. More than average run'o the mill finishes and a very pleasant architecture. The twin barrels in the rear (that remind me of Jaeger's Duometre or some of the latest A. Lange models) make the behind of this piece very, very sexy. As with all watches I have not held in my hand, my valuation is only based upon what I see. What I see here I like. If I have the chance to see the Phoenix 10.1 at the next Geneva show I will be posting a complete report. This one has certainly awoken my interest.

At the first glance, the rear is stunningly exquisite. I must say that I am sold. Especially the rear power reserve that I am particularly fond of, is very well integrated in the rear. The engravings on the edges are properly placed and well balanced. The case and crown are classic but different enough to not resemble anything else and give a sense of identity. The proportions are well balanced at 41mm wide and 11mm thick yet one millimeter less on the thickness and possibly one millimeter wider would have probably give it a more streamlined/elegant impression.

The face here is where I think that there should be more work done. For some reason it just does not work for me. It is just too blend and the open windows for the date are a bit difficult. On top of that, the circular brushed flat face with very simple indices reminds me of a desk clock that belongs in an office of the early 70's. The hour and minute hands I like but the central second seems a bit in the way. I understand that most people like to have large second hands, but on a watch of this magnitude it should be either non-obtrusive, as a small seconds on the side or simply not present.

All that said, the idea of this date display is not completely wrong and as a new way to tell the day it is very welcome. However, I feel that for it to work it should be taken "several" steps further, either much more aggressive or much more classical. Staying in-between will yield a blend result similar to the look of the latest "Maurice Lacroix" lineup. Since I suspect that the price tag will be "slightly" above those, there might be a problem in passing the message of this rather striking piece. The back and front at this moment do not transmit the same message. In a way it has the very same shortcomings as the H. Moser. For those that such as myself love beautiful movements over everything, I would like to remind you that 99.99% of the time what you see is the front. Watchmakers tend to forget that sometimes. If you neglect that... Houston, we have a problem.

What is quite odd is that their site is quite pleasant and well conceived. Very unusual for the industry. Actually, I just had to go through Roger DuBuis' site and I am still feeling sick. Their site feels like taking LSD while sitting in a roller coaster next to a hairy Bulgarian drag queen performing a Brazilian bikini wax. Very unsettling. On the other hand the A. Favre & Fils site is worth a little detour. Enjoy.

A. Favre & Fils...

At last!

Let me tell you, it was about time. Soooo many years talking about the singularity of the Speedmaster saga (unfortunately more the past and less the future...) and not owning a Speedy has been going on for too long. No more excuses, I have finally remedied that shortcoming and re-inserted a Speedmaster in my collection with an "Apollo XI".

I almost forgot how elegant this watch is. A real classic that thanks to fait is still around (not reeeealy like the original but close enough). I guess a little is better than nothing. A very refreshing watch. No nonsense, no crap, just a classic manual chrono. It feels like being barefoot on the beach. Simple.

I regret having sold several of these in the past to be honest and a version with the sapphire back and front could be a great everyday watch. Looking at the insane escalation in prices for these last months these Speedmasters are almost a bargain together with another classic, the Submariner (no date) by Rolex.


10 DAYS!

Many times I have thought about my dependance on watches and if it is really true that in "theory" we do not need watches on our wrist today. These doubts came about at a friendly dinner when while discussing our favorite subject, horology, one of the gentleman made us aware that most of the times we, watch nuts, looked at the watch yet did not read the time. Hmmm, interesting and probably true. It is true that in current times there are watches everywhere; on your computer, in your car, your mobile, the street, friends... hell, my oven has a clock! On top of that most of these are adjusted to the atomic time. They are readily available everywhere and are likely to be more precise than even the Tourbillon you might have on your wrist. In theory we would not need to wear any watches at all... well, in theory that is. I went on to trying a small experiment. 10 days without a watch. Here is how it went;

Day 1: I am surprised I started this foolish tests at all. I have checked my empty wrist once but no major nuisance in not wearing a watch.

Day 2: I am sort of relieved not to wear a watch since I have been doing some mowing around the house and it is very likely I would have scratched it numerous times. Mind you, it is Sunday and I am not really in need to know the time at all.

Day 3: Out in the real world... No big deal, but I am starting to get annoyed at having to take out my phone all the time to check the time.

Day 4: I am mostly in front of the computer today and the time is in the upper right corner. No problems but I keep glancing at my naked wrist from time to time. I am starting to experience a "light" withdrawal syndrome.

Day 5: Taking out my phone out of my pocket to check the time is really stating to get on my nerves. In my head I am starting to think that 5 days is enough and maybe I could strap my URWERK (man it looks good!) back on again... NO, I am going through with this until the end!

Day 6: I am wondering if just putting the Linde Werdelin instrument counts as a watch. What about just keeping it in the pocket? No, no cheating...

Day 7: The physical urge of wearing a watch on my wrist has been overcome, BUT because I hate to pull out my phone to see the time I find myself asking my wife for the time ALL the time.

Day 8: My wife is really annoyed at me asking for the time ALL the time. Don't blame her, I am annoyed to ask ALL the time but it beats taking out the phone.

Day 9: I have stopped asking my wife for the time. At this point I fear for my physical well being should I ask her once more. I am back to taking out my phone...

Day 10: My god, I can't wait it to be over. Now, who will be first...

It is clear that after this little test I not only look at watches for the sheer pleasure of looking at them. Granted, many times I do, and I guess so do you. The thing that struck me most is that nobody, I mean NOBODY, asked me in 10 days why I was not wearing a watch. This is particularly relevant since most people go out of their way to see what I am wearing on my wrist. Not that I consider myself that important, but rather I have "peculiar" or "unique" watches that on occasions digress from the more "classic" or standard view.

Anyway, I have sacrificed myself so many of you don't have to. If you have doubts or had them, here is my experience and conclusion. Watches are a part of our lives today more than ever. They not only say something about you and set you apart but they are helpful so as not to loose track in a world where every second counts. Enjoy them, they deserve it!

L.U.C. Tech Twist "CronotempVs I"

A rather mysterious/unknown piece, the "CronotemVs I" has just been delivered to the initial founding members of a private watch collectors club. A sporty interpretation of Chopard's L.U.C. Tech Twist for a private watch collectors club. The first L.U.C. watch with a DLC watch case. The movement is rhodium plated in black with yellow writing to match the indices and yellow Luminova.

Marrying a traditional or classical watch with a more modern sporty look was a bargain but it turns out to work rather well.

CronotempVs is a private watch collectors club that started in Spain yet has since its birth last year several foreign members as well. In order to be accepted you must have a godfather and a board will vote your adherence to the club. Should one not have any access to a member of the club to be introduced there is always the option to prove that you could be a valuable member of this organization either by contributing in knowledge or simply passion for horology. A letter introducing oneself to the organization directly is the first step...

CronotempVs ordered 20 of these to celebrate their first anniversary. Subsequently there will be one watch ordered per year. What will be the next piece is as of now unknown but it will be, like this one, a piece to be remembered.


RESSENCE "Zero Series"

At last! One of the few interesting novelties of this year's Basel World 2010 is really coming to life. I was hoping that the Ressence "Zero Series" by Benoît Mintiens becomes fact and not fiction. I must say that I was very impressed when I first saw the prototypes. A new idea in difficult times is definitely worth some attention.

Physically the watch is very well balanced and all the details look quite stunning, especially for a proto. The top and bottom sapphire glass make it a very, dare I say it... sexy watch. (Don't forget that due to this peculiar use of the sapphire glass covering most of the surface of the watch you will have very little scratches on the case). It is extremely pleasant to the touch with almost an eery feeling of "Feng Shui". Holding it almost feels like entering a Japanese Zen Garden. Despite its initially complex design the Ressence is as harmonious as a classic hour-minute dress watch.

The face is flat with all information on the same level front is a regulator with seconds and day night indicator. The back has the same front sapphire glass but shows a rotating disk instead of the classic rotor. The face that incidentally displays everything on the same plane is composed of a main rotating disk for the minutes and three smaller disks inside for the hours, seconds and day/night indicator. A bit tricky at first but it does not take long to get used to. Here is a demo... The crown has a safety in oder to prevent changing the time inadvertently.

All the details are phenomenal and although I have not been able to have a finished production model what I have seen so far was quite impressive. Compared to the original prototype the Zero Series is almost 1 millimeter thiner and the strap at the case is 22 millimeters. Both changes are extremely welcome since they are the only two things that I would have changed from the prototype. The only drawback is that the crown will be larger according to the specs. Although I hope the crown will be only "wider" but shorter since I found it a bit sticking out on the first test models. Perfection would have been this beauty to be manual wind, bliss would have been a seven day power reserve with indication.

I was very impressed with the first trials. This is generally rarely the case with prototypes that disappoint rather than enamor. As with everything this is only the beginning for Ressence and this new idea to tell time so expect there to be more to come after the "Zero Series". However, expect it to be more complex and probably more expensive. I do not have to remind many of you that URWERK's 101 and 102 was a steal at a similar price to this first Ressence (and never to be seen at this price again...).

Prices are excl. VAT and import duties for non-EU countries
For TYPE1001 & TYPE1004: 9950€
For TYPE1002 & TYPE1003: 11500€

Because the Zero Series is hand made there are some possibilities of customization. As with many things, there will be only 50 lucky owners with one of these in their collection.



It is rare that I speak of quartz, let alone digital, watches here at all. Now, there are always exceptions and in order for them to be exceptions they would have to be well worth it. Like many of us in my age bracket (40's...) we do remember that our first love of watches where most likely a digital Casio or Seiko. A long time has passed since them and we have all changed quite a bit in our preferences. To the point of not only avoiding digital but rather shunning it altogether. The question is simple; is it our evolution into more refined/exclusive products or the simple lack of evolution of the digital in the luxury watch segment? I guess a bit of both. Myself, the only digital I wear sometimes, and quite enjoy from time to time, is Linde Werdelin's land instrument. However, it is an instrument and meant as addition to a watch. Surprisingly, being an addict to all thinks that have lights and go beep I have gone the mechanical way when it comes to watches.

It is only yesterday that by chance I came across a new project called HALDA . I must admit I was quite impressed. The HALDA looked like it could be the first Luxury Digital watch to date. A very gutsy move since it is difficult to make anybody, especially watch enthusiasts, spend that amount of money on electronics. VERTU has somewhat overcome that prejudice but still, it will be a difficult task considering the times. The idea is to use the strap as a docking mechanism that will accept not only the two current modules but subsequent modules with different functions and complications in the future. This modular concept might be interesting yet on the long run could limit the possibilities of HALDA to evolve inside this form.

I have not been able to see the HALDA in the flesh so my critique is only based on the product itself and the marketing strategy. Construction-vise I have owned a Sjöö Sandström CHRONOLINK since probably the creation of the company (I am not sure but it was back in 1997 when I got mine) And judging from the make and quality of this watch there should be no problems at all with this one either. The main figure behind this is Mikael Sandström. By the way, thanks for not calling this watch something as unpronounceable as ShjjooossSaaandeströööemm. What a nightmare!

The watch looks quite impressive from the renders. The functions are tuned to space missions and remind me of the functionality of Omega's now retired X-33. There is all sorts of features related to mission objectives like mission timers, countdowns, double timezone, alarms and a G-Force counter that will store the different accelerations in a memory bank. Not that many of us will be going into space anytime soon but I would love to sit in a roller coaster and test this. Another option would be as a copilot inside a Formula 1 car. (Although being Swedish I suspect that some will be tempted to test it during the running of the bulls in Pamplona. Swedes have a habit of getting caught by the bulls... alcohol, no sleep and a pissed-off bull result generally in a large amount of pain.) One of the most aesthetically appealing feature is the self adjusting backlight with an exterior sensor (if this sensor is coupled with the actual watch computer it could lead to some very interesting features). The sensor is located at 12 o'clock and will automatically adjust the intensity and even the color wavelength of the display. Very cool! My last surprise is that contrary to the X-33 or the Speedmaster the HALDA goes 100 meters deep. Which according to my scale it is well inside the casual swim or "poolproof" parameter. Which comes quite handy since it is much more likely to end up in a pool than in space.

The mechanical movement seems to be a bit left out compared to the impact of the space module. This module is no joke, a very desirable NOS Andersen tuned to operate at 36,000 bph. The design is clean and straight to the point although on the back the rotor is maybe too classic for this concept. I would also note that the mechanical module is only 50 meter waterproof. This creates a disparity between both modules and could lead to confusion by the owner. For some reason the mechanical module is 2 millimeters thiner than the space module. I am not certain if it would help, but making it the same thickness as the space module to make it waterproof to 100 meters. This would standardize not only the size but also the performance.

On the negative side; The proportions seem to be quite well balanced although the case "sounds" a bit thick at slightly over 17 millimeters for the space module. However, this could change when seen in the flesh. There are some features or indications that I am missing. Adding things such as an equation of time, sunrise and sunset or even a moonphase would greatly appreciated. The (now lost) nerdy hour chime would also make sense in a watch of these characteristics since it does help keep track of time. I was not too happy initially with the two years battery life yet in the end it is for the best since it forces the watch to go through service regularly for firmware updates and gasket changes to ensure the waterproof property of the watch. I am not particularly fond of the bracelet, especially the part of the clasp. Again, I generally dislike all bracelets except for the Submariner's and RoyalOak. From this view of the watch, the clasp does not look very "luxury" to me. Many times it happens that watch designers put so much emphasis on the design of the watch that details like the clasp are often left to chance. I hope there is a kevlar/velcro option that can be worn on the wrists without the space suit.

These first 128 pieces will be sold directly for the time being. The idea is to slowly setup a network of trusted distributors worldwide. The price is set to 8,800€ for the set with the two modules, the two straps, travel box and the instructions. Delivery is around 3 to 4 months from the initial order. I have not yet had the chance to get my hands on the HALDA for a definite critique but from what I see I must say I like the whole idea very much.



Awesome! Pictures at last of this little gem! Believe it or not, the watch weights without the strap just little over 13 grams. I held it in my hands during the Geneva show 2010 and it is just mind blowing. There is an unconfirmed rumor that say that Nadal actually has tested this watch during matches under one of his wristbands. Just like Massa wore his Turbillon during racing.

Great move to sign Nadal. Like Felipe he is a very nice and down to earth professional a real joy to have and work with. I rarely like it when brands put famous people under their banners but these two guys are a very good choice.

Richard Mille...

The last V8... I meant , AMVOX2!

Apparently the AMVOX2 will ceased to be produced, at least for the time being. Even if officially Jaeger do not discard to do "some" in the future, these will be for specific occasions and by special requests only. Great move if you ask me. It will help raise the appreciation of the AMVOX2 but also put it in a different, more exclusive spotlight. The AMVOX2 has so far always been produced in Limited Editions even if the number is close to a total of around 4,000 watches there are not many of each especially considering that there are about 1,000 Jaeger dealers around the world. Amanico of "thePuristsPro" has actually made a great chronological summary of the AMVOX2 line. Here...

Now, who/what is the last AMVOX2? Well, the code name is "DR5" or the (newly inaugurated) "Madrid Boutique". DR5 are simply the initials of the address (Don Ramon 5). There will be 25 pieces made and for now it looks like these are the final and last 25. Aesthetically it looks like a hybrid between the first PVD AMVOX2 and the DBS version with the seconds on a disk at 6 o'clock. Unlike all previous black AMVOX2 versions the trigger and crown in this version are also black PVD.

Together with this piece comes the exclusivity of the owner to have preferential rights to the next Madrid Boutique limited edition with the matching watch number. This preferential option is for the "owner" and not the "buyer" in order to avoid any type of speculation. Don't miss interpret this by thinking that owners will be penalized or punished for selling these pieces. This simply means that if you are a registered owner of this piece you will receive information and the chance to reserve the next LE before anybody else. This is a way to reward and give preferential treatment to collectors and give them the safety to NOT be always on the lookout.

Needless to say that those registered owners will also receive the Boutique VIP status. What is VIP status? Well, receiving pieces well before everybody, the possibility to reserve number if still available, visits to the manufacture, Jaeger Master Class courses, tickets to events sponsored by Jaeger, etc... I guess buying from a Jaeger leCoultre Boutique has its perks.

The price is 13,500€ and the discount is strictly (and most unfortunately) ZERO. Orders and reservations will be accepted starting April 5th. If you are interested here are the details;

eMail: Boutique.Madrid@jaeger-lecoultre.com
Tel.: +34 91-781-9600 (English spoken)
Address: Don Ramon de la Cruz 5, 28001 MADRID

Jaeger leCoultre...


Basel was incredibly uneventful this year, the Tourbillon is no longer the star of the show (thank god for that...) and the big boys are making the effort in making cheaper/more affordable watches. sad, because from the looks of it they seem to have forgotten how to do that. One or two "cheaper" models are not going to help any brand out of a slump. It might help set the normalization but ultimately if the eyes are not set on the near future such moves are basically inconsequential.

Surprisingly there is no need for me to make a list of the worst of the Basel Show this year. Since most brands have dropped the fanfare and bull-crap for logical reasons. As with everything there is always one that shits beside the pot. Patek, who else? They deserve a separate and more in-depth analysis.

Things in the watch world are back to normal; competitors hating and bashing each other's products, ultra expensive pieces are having a lot of trouble selling, collector and watch lovers are back in vogue, no more expensive opulent parties, Rolex presents basically nothing new, Omega presents its annual edition of the Speedmaster, ... the watch world is back to its origins.

There are few things that I can really say that where memorable this year. I can sum them up in a few instances; URWERK retires the 103 with two great pieces, Speake-Marin has had a considerable jump in quality (and price) since I last saw his work, The new Tudor Montecarlo remake (not kidding...) is probably my favorite of the show, L.U.C. still amaze me with four completely new movements amongst them a proper Tourbillon for 53,000 Euros... and there is a new kid in watchtown called Benoit (but more on him later).

All in all, with less shown Basel was probably more pleasant than previous years. I only spent two days this year due to other engagements so unlike other years I had no chance see everything. Even if I surely missed something the general feel was of acceptance that the golden age is over and it is time to go back to normality. At last.

Extreme Lab 2

There is no doubt in mind that these years star of the show is Jaeger's "Extreme Lab 2". Not only for the complications at what I consider to be a more than very competitive price but because it might be the begging of a completely new direction for Jaeger. There has been a lot of critique on this piece, in favor and against. This leeds me to believe that it will indeed be a hot seller. When you have such opposite feelings regarding a product it is generally a sign of success. Indifference would be the worst possible scenario.

For 39,000€ you get a radial power reserve indicator, digital minutes 24-hour chrono, date, GMT, function selector, antimagnetic mechanism, reset to zero seconds, ceramic bezel, TiVan 15 case, fine adjustable buckle and a watch that is made out of over 500 parts! There is no argument with me that 39k is a lot of money, yet considering what you get here is a bargain! I asked several aficionados/collectors to quote me a price after they have been presented the piece at the Jaeger stand and no one was below 200k! I will not want to make too much predictions here but at this price and only 300 pieces in titanium and 200 in rose gold, they might be difficult to source. All really depends if Jaeger is able to breach the "glamour barrier" since a watch at this price point is subject to more superficial valuations rather than complications or performance. AP is the perfect example for a brand that has successfully breached the "glamour barrier" for expensive watches with little complications inside. Needless to say that this could eventually backfire if you expect this to go on for ever. I hope that Jaeger will not increase quantities for this watch despite having three times the demand.

The Extreme Lab 2 is based or rather takes several aesthetic and mechanical details from the first Extreme Lab. At 46mm it is quite an increase in size and most Jaeger customers might feel a bit overwhelmed with its size. Thankfully there are two things that make this actually a very pleasant watch to wear despite the size. One is the strap ball-bearing mechanism inherited from the Extreme Lab 1 and the other is the curvature of the case bottom. Not only that but the ardillon buckle is adjustable to ensure a perfect fit, even if your ideal size is between two holes on the strap (usually ALWAYS the case...). This makes the Extreme LAb 2 one of, if not the most comfortable watch I have ever worn.

The watch has only one handicap. It looks much better on the wrist than off the wrist. Similar to AP's "Survivor" it is a watch that kicks you in the head once on your wrist. There are some minor changes that could, and should, take place before reaching final stage of production. Some change in the Luminova and a more logically color-coded power reserve indicator should be some. Right now the time is unreadable at night despite having quite thick hands and indices. The problem lies with the tip of the minutes that coincides with the indices. At night this tip disappears when in front of any of the indices making the hours and minutes almost indistinguishable. The power reserve in white and red is simply not clear enough. The combination should be white and black or red and black.

Despite some minor logical flaws I can't wait to get the hands on mine. Unfortunately I will have to wait until November according to Jaeger. However, knowing Jaeger's history in being a couple of months behind when it comes to new models, you can be sure that the is NO WAY IN HELL that any of these will be delivered by then. In fact, I am going to bet with my official importer here that if I where to receive mine by... let's say the last day of November, I will shave my head. Trust me, the chances for me to do that a very, very slim...

Jaeger leCoultre...

De Bethune

A pleasant surprise. My first official contact to see De Bethune in the flesh. As far as I can remember the thing that kept me away from De Bethune was its funky moon-phase. Well, I still cant stand that revolving ball that just does not look right inside the dial of a watch. It might be a great technical feat, yet to me it's just... I don't know, it simply doesn't work for me. It's distracting and even if it is more graphically accurate I just can't seem to get the idea as to why interpret this complication as a 3D object when in fact we see and perceive it a a 2D object due to the distance. Regardless of the fact that this type of moon-phase thickens the watch at least a couple of millimeters.

Technically the whole collection is impeccable. True that most are a bit too big for my taste. Also having too much "extras" on the outside of the case make the whole a bit distracting. A lot of swinging parts to adapt to the wrist and awkward crown placements make it sometimes scary, yet the finishes are simply beyond reproach. Interestingly, and this is a first, I was much more interested in some of the more affordable models that the important pieces. These are smaller, cleaner and with the same finishes as the rest of the collection but with less distracting stuff inside and around the watch. These two pieces have definitely caught my eye.

DB25: Make me think what would happen if a Richard Mille "Perini Navi" and Patek "Calatrava" had a love child. These type of marriages rarely are successful but in this case i think they both would be proud. The DB25 is simply striking in its elegance despite being a modern watch. The power reserve at 12 o'clock is non-intrusive on the dial yet very easy to read. Like with all the rest of the collection the finishes are impeccable and technically right up there with the best. The DB25 is rather expensive yet it is well placed in its price range.

My only regret are the skeletonized strap holders and blue watches generally look better with dark blue straps. Other than that the DB25 is a very well balanced piece. Great watch.

DB24: This is a much more sporty version and also much larger than the DB25 yet thankfully it remains relatively thin. The dial has no paint/enamel since that blue color is achieved through heat and finished by various polishing methods. Like Richard's RM010 you have three positions to adapt the speed of the winding rotor to your lifestyle. However, here you can actually set them yourself at anytime without having to open or send the watch for service.

The setting can be seen from the front of the watch as well as from the back. I would have done without the front display since both indications are redundant. One would have suffused and having it in the back only would make the dial a bit cleaner. The power reserve at 12 o'clock looks hot yet a bit hard to see and the hour hand is easily confused with the minute hand or even dial. It is a possible option for those that want something modern yet just don' like the RM's tonneau shape.

I still think that prices such as these are no longer justifiable through "exclusivity" alone. With De Bethune I get hight prices but also more than others if compared at the same price range. De Bethune is a niche, a complicated one at that but one that has been growing strong especially during this crisis. The question remains if they will manage to get on that boat. Personally, I hope so.

De Bethune...

IWC: SIHH 2010

I wasn't expecting much from IWC this year. To be honest the las years have been quite boring or simply horrifying with the new interpretation of the DaVinci, the ghastly vintage collection or the "Lego Diver" collection of last year. Nothing really that got me interested at least since the Ingenieur Ceramic. The Portuguese has never really clicked with me. That is until now... I always found it blend, boring and expensive. That and the feeling that IWC could go a bit further with the Portuguese. You know, that feeling that they just came up short in with some details.

Now looking at this years Portuguese collection I must say that I am pleasantly surprised. Everything seems to be where it should be and the collection seems to have been injected with that little extra that makes it worth a second look. Out of all of them one stands out above the rest. I was especially surprised by the Portuguese Manual ref. 5454. Hmmm... nice, very nice.

The proportions are very elegant being 44mm wide and 10mm thick even if it could have been just a tad smaller. The dial looks much more elaborate that the previous equivalents and there is nothing to complain about the finish. What is a hit is the price that will be close to the 6,000 € mark. This one goes definitely on this year's list for candidates to be purchased.

Ahhh, and I forgot the 8-day Automatic. A bit of a contradiction (8-day automatic movements) but a welcome addition to the Portuguese collection.

The DaVinci chrono in ceramic on the other hand, is serious shit gone wrong. It looks like nothing, says nothing and is just as bad as all other DaVinci models. Have a look for your self. No comment.


Jaeger leCoultre: SIHH 2010

There are many very interesting pieces from Jaeger this year. Some where presented at the SIHH and some will be presented at a later date and I can't discus these yet. here are some of the highlights of Jaeger;

Extreme Lab 2: I was going to tell you later about my choice for the star of the 2010 SIHH but I can't hold it anymore. As far as I am concerned the Extreme Lab 2 takes that spot. I had three contenders in that cathegory; Lange's Zeitwerk, Richard Mille's RM027 and the Extreme. I will comment in a separate post later as to my reasons.

Master Grande Tradition:

I could have lived without that Tourbillon but what is really astonishing about this piece is the repeater volume. Simply astounding. I have not herd this decibel level from a pocket repeater ever, let alone from a wrist watch! This beast was very, I mean VERY loud in a padded room crowded with people at a distance of 5 meters!!! For a second I even thought there was a mic in the room. The trebuchet hammer system coupled with the one and a half time revolving gong spring simply blast anything I have ever heard before. Honestly, this beast was so loud I simply did not stop and look at any of the other complications! I would love to see a striped down version with this repeater system at a much lower cost. The first time I would consider a wrist repeater for myself.

Duometre Moon:
The second watch in the Duometre collection that confirms that there will be a continued Duometre line. This makes me very happy. This is one of those "smart" products that have sprung out of this year's SIHH (there are surprisingly many this year!). The time display is properly placed on the right side of the dial and the chrono has been replaced by a date and moon-phase. All this drops the list price by 5,000 Euros while it maintains the architecture and so much appreciated finish of the movement. Most of us do not use a chrono anyway so changing that for a more commonly useful complication while dropping the price is nothing but good news.

Navy Seals Automatic: Very clean with a great size and shape for normal wrists. It will be bellow the 6,000 Euro threshold. I like it, but I am not sure why yet.

Memovox International: As discussed in a previous post it is one of the most elegant watches I have seen in a long time. There is something almost mystical about the watch. I have held many Memovoxes yet this one has something special about it. I have had the chance to review this piece before the SIHH and my mind has not changed since then. Here is my previous review...

Extreme World Chrono: The reedition of the Extreme Chrono with a very pleasant hour hand on the chrono. Does not look like a Jaeger but it is a interesting development that I am very curious to see how it does in the stores.

Jaeger leCoultre...

URWERK "203 Razor"

The odometer and 5 year oil change indicator are back! But only for 20 times. The 203 could be seen as a fusion between the 201 and 202. The automatic turbine movement remains the same while the minute bezel and hour satellite have been skeletonized. This gives a better view of the turning dice mechanism as well as making the turning central satellite lighter. The finish is sandblasted platinum with URWERK's already popular PVD-like coating.

To be honest I was not expecting much from URWERK this year. Developing something like the CC1 for a small company like URWERK is simply a titanic task. After this "feat" a small rest would have been understandable. I regard the 203 as a "bridge" model for the future things to come. The next few years at URWERK will be very interesting if not astonishing.



As commented before here are the pictures of MB & F's "Horological Machine Nº2". A hypnotizing piece this HM2-SV. One of those watches that 90% of the time you look at them you do so without the intention to read the time. You just look at it to admire the architecture of the movement. I reckon that this is not everybody's cup of tea yet being different today is almost a complication in itself.

This is the third (actually fourth counting the Alain Silberstein) of the HM2. Very striking although my favorite remains the HM2 Ceramic version.

I know there are already new developments in the oven at MB & F and can't wait to see what will be presented shortly. I have the feeling that the HM2 has already been interpreted in the correct amounts, anymore would be taking the "OffShore" road. If the HM2 is Büsser's hottest product than it deserver a regular production slot. The problem with Limited Editions is explained in their own definition. They LIMIT your success. I still have hope that the industry will learn this, eventually.

MB & F...

Ralph Lauren: SIHH 2010

I think it better to get the garbage out of the way first. As you can appreciate from the pictures below, RL have given us diamonds on last year's phenomenal effort in imagination horological excellence. I would be vomiting right now but thankfully it has been a while since lunch. Thankfully I prepared myself for this year and they did not manage to cheat me into coming in early in the morning to be presented with this... well, whatever.


Barf, barf...

Mega barf...

Here is another prediction; I doubt this will last another season. Looking at last years "appalling" success coupled with this year's additions to the collection I doubt there will be a SIHH 2011 for them. If "Ferrari by Panerai" did not make it past year three this will not go much further.