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FRIDAY 19 APRIL 2013

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LONDONTIME
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LONDONTIME
50 years of TAG
Heuers Carrera P.23
Hard man
horology P.28
German
A
SK a watch aficionado to name
a classic sports watch, and the
first answer may well be the
TAG Heuer Carrera.
Why? Well, its been around as
long as Beatlemania; its been seen
on the wrists of superstars like
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jenson
Button; and as a modernist retort to
the stuffy designs that preceded it,
it helped change the way watches
were both designed and worn.
The Carrera appeared 50 years
ago, back when TAG Heuer was just
Heuer (the company was bought out
by Techniques dAvant Garde in
1985) and the world was about to
get into its Swinging 60s stride.
Company boss Jack Heuer had the
idea for his new chronograph
wristwatch after a conversation
with Mexican race driver Pedro
Rodriguez, who had told him about
a furiously quick five-day road race
called the Carrera Panamericana.
The race was full of glamour and
panache, and the jet set flocked to
see professional drivers and rich
amateurs hurtling along Mexicos
dusty roads. But it was also
incredibly dangerous, and was
cancelled after claiming 27 lives
between 1950 to 1954.
Nevertheless, Heuer seized on the
machismo of the event. Carrera
means road and career in
Spanish, and he felt the name
would appeal to ambitious, red-
blooded, sophisticated men
emerging as the world left behind
the shackles of the post-war era.
MODERNIST, MINIMALIST
His design was lithe, handsome and
undeniably masculine. At the time
most chronographs retained the
military look of those used wartime
pilots, but Heuer, who idolised the
minimalist designs of Oscar
Niemeyer and Charles Eames,
thought it was time watches
embraced the modernist spirit. The
original Carrera, with its sleek,
pared-down lines and baton markers
rather than numerals, may look
retro today but was as boldly
modern as a Lichtenstein comic
book painting at the time.
It helped transform Heuer from a
company specialising in
stopwatches and timing systems for
industry into a celebrated prestige
watch producer. In the half century
since, it has become one of
watchmakings bona fide icons.
Today, it continues to be a
Robin Swithinbank celebrates 50 years of a true sporting classic
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RACING ONWARDS
Heres an interesting thing: people
are now buying seriously expensive
new watches online. I know one
internet retailer who regularly
makes sales of watches over 10,000
and upwards (sometimes a long way
upwards). His business is up over
100 per cent year on year.
A couple of years ago that simply
wouldnt have been possible: high-
end brands didnt allow retailers to
sell their products on the internet,
because they reckoned it
besmirched their luxury status.
Now theyre falling over themselves
to get their products up on retailer
websites. The net is no longer
declasse its right at the heart of
the strategy.
Whats changed? The sites
themselves have got better,
realising that sophisticated online
interaction with a customer is not
about flashy website bells and
whistles, but good old fashioned
contact and information.
More importantly, the slow-on-
the-uptake powerhouse luxury
groups are finally realising how
people now do their purchasing:
research, research online, then
perhaps head to a boutique to try
watches on in the metal, then
home again to research some more
and finally summoning up the
courage to click buy. An awful lot
of online watch transactions occur
on a Friday night, after someone
has spent days or weeks
researching and finally gets home,
opens a beer and decides to go
through with the big purchase.
Having said all that, the bricks &
mortar boutiques are going
nowhere in fact theyre springing
up in numbers. This spring sees
new shops from Breitling and
Vacheron Constantin arriving on
Bond Street (no doubt complete
with special edition watches only
available in the brands own
boutiques), while Parmigiani only
recently opened on Mount Street.
Meanwhile, here in the City, the
Royal Exchange remains one of the
finest hubs for watch buying in the
UK. In February it saw a new arrival
in the form of the Watchfinder &
Co boutique, a specialist in vintage
and pre-owned pieces. Next month
the Exchange is hosting a week of
watch-related activity, including
workshops, displays and talks (see
page 32 for more details). Id
encourage anyone with even half
an interest in watches to attend.
Timothy Barber is the editor of 00/24
WatchWorld magazine and managing
editor of www.TheProdigalGuide.com.
The internet is the new frontier for watch retailers
LONDON
TIME
TIMOTHY BARBER
cornerstone of TAGs offering, in a
collection that includes this years
50th anniversary Carrera Calibre
1887 Chronograph Jack Heuer
Edition [5,295 www.tagheuer.com].
Jack himself 81 this year had a
hand in the design, insisting, for
example, that the dial carries baton
hour markers and not numerals,
ensuring the unfussy, utilitarian
look the Carrera is famous for.
Heuer shared design duties with
London-based designer Christoph
Behling, the mastermind behind the
asymmetrical case found in last
years groundbreaking TAG Heuer
Mikrogirder a mechanical watch
with a stopwatch function that can
measure to an accuracy of 2,000th of
a second that is used again here. It
was also Behling who swung the
crown and chronograph buttons
round to 12 oclock, in part to evoke
old-school Heuer stopwatches, but
also so the watch could be worn and
operated on either wrist.
One last thought Jack Heuer is
retiring this year, meaning this will
almost certainly be the last watch
he has a hand in. Given the fact his
original Carreras have become
exceedingly collectible pieces,
theres no reason his last wont do
the same.
Right, Jack Heuer stripped back watch
design to its basics with his crisp,
minimalist chronograph from 1963
A Lange &
Sohnes
remarkable
Perpetual
Calendar
Rattrapante, an
haute
horlogerie
master piece
unveiled this
year
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W
ERE IT not for Ferdinand
Adolph Langes particular
penchant for lazy Sunday-
afternoon rambling, we
might not have ever seen the likes
of Nomos, Glashtte Original and A.
Lange & Shne lighting up the
windows of Bond Street today. All of
these brands, with their sober but
elegant design and surprisingly
pretty movement decoration, offer a
genuine alternative to the
dominant Swiss brands, and they all
owe their existence to the
aforementioned 19th-century
clockmaker.
Whats more, unlike Switzerlands
scattered horological landscape, they
all come from one tiny village,
Glashtte, itself like a mini Swiss
idyll, surrounded by snowy peaks
and spiked with ornate, chocolate-
box rooftops.
Herr Lange (1815-1875) enjoyed a
privileged lifestyle in the royal
palaces of Dresden, the Florence of
the North, where mathematics
and physics were embraced
in equal measure to the arts.
Lange was not the sort to
rest on his laurels, however.
On his weekend hikes
through the neighbour-
ing Erzebirge mountains,
he soon became aware of
the dreadful poverty that
had stricken the local
mining towns since
their seams had run
dry. Glashtte
getting its name
from the glass-like
glasenerz lead-sil-
ver ore it once relied
upon was one of
the worst; a ghost
town.
Taking advantage of
interest-free subsidies
levied by the Saxonian
prince, Lange determined
to inject life back into the so-
called Ore Mountains with a
new watch company staffed by
Saxon peasants.
A competition was held in 1845,
where each town petitioned to
Dresdens palace, explains the
German Watch Museum Glashttes
Ulrike Kranz. Glashtte was chosen
over everwhere else because it was
the closest to Dresden, its rough
paths made it (just about) accessible
and enough locals were willing to
become watchmakers.
Of Langes original volunteer
apprentices, 15 qualified successfully
as watchmakers, and his ingenious
enterprise was soon in full swing,
making 600 watches a year. Former
employees set up on their own and
became suppliers to Lange, or even
brands in themselves.
At the peak of the German empire,
from the late 19th century up to the
Twenties, says Kranz, southern
Saxonys watches were the finest a
byword for quality, reliability and
mechanical sophistication.
However, it was World War II that
almost saw-off the Glashtte as we
know it. Not only was it heavily
bombed on the very last day of the
war, with 80 per cent of the surviv-
ing machinery plundered by the
Russians, but by 1951 it had fallen
into the DDRs socialist doldrums.
Every local watch company was
expropriated by the state and consol-
Vorsprung durch tik-tk
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the tiny town of Glashtte has
witnessed a phenomenal resurrection in its local watchmaking
industry. Alex Doak hikes his way to Germanys Ore Mountains.
idated into the peoples watch com-
pany, or VEB Glashtter
Uhrenbetriebe (GUB), turning out
multitudinous, generic and unre-
fined product.
It was Ferdinand Adolph Langes
great-grandson and master watch-
maker Walter who first took the ini-
tiative. After the fall of the Berlin
Wall and the reunification of
Germany, he returned from the West
in 1990 and teamed up with IWC and
Jaeger-LeCoultres then-owner, the
late, great Gnter Blmlein.
Certainly there was no lack of
qualified staff in Glashtte and its
surroundings, Lange recalls in his
memoirs, The Revival of Time (Econ,
2005), for GUB alone had about
1,000 employees Most of GUBs
employees probably thought the idea
of building a company in Glashtte
to market exclusive watches sheer
adventurism
A
DVENTURISMor no, relatively
unskilled but eager
watchmakers were plucked
from the GUB and trained up
at IWC in Switzerland, millions were
invested into machines, refurbishing
the original run-down premises, and
in keeping with the doctrine of its
eponymous forefather no
compromise spared when it came to
quality and finish. Sure enough, A
Lange Sohne now produces watches
comparable to those of Patek
Philippe, Piaget or Vacheron
Constantin.
Langes success has paved the way
for as many as 12 other local con-
cerns, all crammed into Glashttes
tiny, idyllic enclave. Most of them are
revived brand names, like Moritz
Grossman and Nautische Instrumente
Mhle-Glashtte; one of them,
Swatch Groups Glashtte Original, is
a consolidated tribute to the Saxon
tradition; some of them, like Tutima,
have returned from their Western
boltholes to reclaim some of their
Glashtte heritage; and theres even a
relatively new kid on the block,
Nomos, whose ice-cool Bauhaus
designs may take shape in hip Berlin,
but whose manufacture the compa-
ny produces its own movements at
extraordinary value couldnt hap-
pen anywhere other than sleepy
Saxony. The Swiss have every reason
to keep an eye over their shoulder.
Nomos
Orion Grau
One of the most exciting emergent watch brands in any country,
Nomos makes its own movements for its minimalist watches.
1,530 www.nomos.com
Glashutte Original
Senator Panorama Date
The towns other senior haute horlogerie brand to A Lange &
Sohne specialises in exquisite, unfussy pieces like this new
stunner. Price on application. www.glashuette-original.com
Tutima
Classic Flieger 1941 Chronograph
Leaving aside the fact that this was originally designed for
Luftwaffe airmen, a classic retro pilots watch
2,125 from www.stewartswatches.co.uk
Wempe
Chronometerwerke
You may know the sensational Bond Street boutique, but the
retailer also produces its own sensational watches.
Price on application. www.wempe.ch
A NEW WAY
OF OVERTAKING.
Ingenieur Chronograph Racer.
Ref. 3785: This is a watch that knows
only one direction: fast forward. So its
ideally equipped with one of the most
efficient movements we have to offer;
the 89361 calibre in a stainless-steel
case. In fact, the only backward glance
youre likely to cast here is at the back
cover itself, which features an intricate
engraving of a FORMULA 1 racing car.
IWC. ENGI NEERED FOR MEN.
Mechanical chronograph movement, Self-winding, 68-hour
power reserve when fully wound, Date display with
crown-activated rapid advance, Stopwatch function with
hours, minutes and seconds, Hour and minute counters
combined in a totalizer at 12 oclock, Flyback function,
Small hacking seconds, Screw-in crown, Sapphire glass,
flat, antireflective coating on both sides, Water-resistant
12 bar, Case height 14.5 mm, Diameter 45 mm
Official Partner of the
MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS
Formula One Team
IWC Schaffhausen, Switzerland. www.iwc.com
The worlds nest timepieces are exclusively available from selected watch specialists. For an illustrated catalogue or list of nationwide concessionaires please contact IWC UK. Tel. 0845 337 1868.
E-mail: info-uk@iwc.com
ATELIER PARMIGIANI 97 MOUNT STREET, LONDON W1K2TD, TEL. 020 7495 5172
LONDON HARRODS | ARIJE
YORK HARPERS
MESURE ET DMESURE
*
*

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KALPAGRAPHE
Rose gold
Aufomaflc chronograph movemenf
Herms alllgafor sfrap
Made ln Swlfzerland
www.parmlglanl.ch
FRIDAY 19 APRIL 2013
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TIME TO
H
E had me pinned underneath
the boat with a boathook
puncturing my chest, recalls
Scott Cassell of one of his
hairier moments on a mission to film
shark poachers off the Mexican coast.
As he was poking me he was trying
to bring me up, so I took up my
fighting knife, slid up the pole, jabbed
it into his hand and snapped it to the
side. That probably broke every bone
in his hand, and I got away from him.
Around Mexicos coastal Baja
peninsula where Cassell operates his
covert recon missions, the poachers
are in cahoots with the drug cartels
pretty much the very worst people
on Earth to mess with. He is not a
popular man in these communities,
where his films of people poaching
sharks, turtles, sea lions and other
endangered species have landed the
perpetrators with heavy prison
sentences. So he was happy to get
away from the guy with the boat
hook, right?
My knife lodged in his hand, so
that bastard got my $200 knife and I
only got his $5 boat hook. Im still
mad about that I want my knife,
he says bluntly.
SPECIAL FORCES
For a 52-year-old former Special
Forces sniper, combat diving
specialist and sometime mercenary,
with the build of an armoured car
and frontline experiences from any
number of theatres of combat,
Cassell is a surprisingly placid
character. Actually hes charming,
and has an almost evangelical
fervour for his true love the sea and
the life within it.
The oceans globally are in the
process of dying, he says. Were on
an extinction event: were watching
temperatures shift, ocean
acidification, systems collapsing.
Weve only explored about 1 per cent
of the ocean, and in that 1 per cent
we see terrible things happening, so
whats happening in the other 99
per cent? We dont know, but what
we do see is very alarming.
Cassell, who grew up scuba diving
and admits to being more
comfortable under the sea than
above it, has made numerous
underwater films, and led the team
that was the first to film a giant
squid in its natural environment.
Hes even built his own submarine to
continue exploring and perform
scientific missions. Like any diver, he
relies on his watch, particularly in
no-light conditions both at depth
and when making his night time
escape from Mexican poachers (he
sometimes lies motionless on a
beach in camouflage for over two
days on a sniper stalk, filming).
He works with Luminox, an
American company that specialises
in luminescent watches thanks to
markers on the dial and hands filled
with Tritium, a glowing radioactive
gas, to develop his ideal timepiece.
Able to be read at depths where
sunlight never penetrates, its a
crucial part of his kit as he makes his
escape. At an exact point in time,
usually 2.30am, Ill swim out on a
compass course, count my kicks so I
know how far Im travelling, and
surface in the right place at the right
time to be picked up. The next
landfall is 75 miles away thats how
much I rely on this watch.
Cassell willingly describes serving
alongside heroes so does he
consider himself one? No, Im kind
of a regular guy. Ive rubbed elbows
with heroes but Im not one.
TIMOTHY BARBER
Undersea explorer and former special forces operative Scott Cassell is taking on poachers and drug cartels
MAGNETIC MOMENTS
MAGNETIC fields are one of the major origins of inaccuracy in watches, causing moving
parts of the movement to stick together, repel each other and behave erratically. With
more electronic machines producing more magnetic fields, Omega is unveiling the
most powerful anti-magnetic watch yet the latest in a line of watches battling
magnetism dating back to the 19th century. Companies then were researching materials
that could be used in a movement instead of ferrous steel and brass, but it was not until
1930 that this could be successfully used in a wristwatch. It was IWCs invention of
shielding inside the watch case that really moved things forward in the 1940s.
1933 Tissot
Antimagnetique
The first mass-market
antimagnetic wristwatch, Tissots
watch used palladium in the
crucial escapement mechanism to
reduce magnetic interference.
1948 IWC
Schaffhausen Pilots
Watch Mark 11
Made for RAF pilots, the Mark 11s
movement was placed in an inner
case of soft iron, which acted like a
Faraday cage to deflect magnetic
fields emanating from cockpit
instruments.
1955 IWC
Ingenieur
IWC introduced the inner
shielding tech from the
Mark 11 to the civilian
market in a watch aimed at
engineers and scientists
working in fast-developing
technical areas.
1956 Rolex Milgauss
Rolex also used the inner
shielding method for its Milgauss,
which could resist fields up to
1,000 Gauss (a fridge magnet is
about 50 Gauss). It was marketed
for scientists at the newly-
opened CERN laboratory. The
following year, Omega made
produced the Railmaster
antimagnetic watch as electronic
rail travel proliferated.
1989 IWC Ingenieur 500,000 a/m
IWC used non-ferrous materials to create a watch that could
resist far higher magnetic forces than anything attempted
before. Its timekeeping was unreliable, however, and it was
only produced in small numbers.
2013 Omega Seamaster
Aqua Terra 15,000
Omega has rewritten the rule book
this year with a watch capable of
withstanding 15,000 Gauss enough
to see off the magnetism generated
by an MRI scanner. It uses futuristic
nonmagnetic materials, including
silicon with no shielding, the
movement can be fully on display.
1996 Bell & Ross Bomb Disposal Type
The young French company making military-style pilots watches created an
antimagnetic watch for use by bomb disposal experts.
2007 Milgauss revived
Rolex brought back the Milgauss,
still with 1,000 Gauss resistance. Its
been a niche favourite with buyers
ever since, particularly in its green-
dial incarnation.
Luminox Scott Cassell Special
Edition Deep Dive Automatic
1,595 www.luminox.com
OU CAN wear it up a mountain or
in the boardroom so goes the
mantra spoken by those at
Bremont, the British watch
company whose steel watches are
specially hardened through
industrial processes. Theyve got a
point. If youve got an active
lifestyle whether that means
climbing mountains, jumping out
of planes, wasting bad guys on Special Ops missions
(Jaeger-LeCoultre has worked on watches with the
Navy Seals) or particularly intense PlayStation
sessions its worth having a watch that wont fall
apart on active duty.
Modern watch companies are more than up to the
task. High-tech materials like industrial ceramic and
carbon fibre mix such qualities as lightness, shock
absorption and serious toughness, while designers
have understood how to bring smart clarity and
functionality to watches that mark you out as a man
of action. Even in the boardroom.
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HARD-MAN
Ultra-tough materials and suave styling make
for watches that can take on any situation.
We pick 2013s ultimate tough guy timepieces
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5
4
6 8
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Oshore Diver
The Oshore line is the younger, chunkier, sportier brethren of Audemars Piguets
classic Royal Oak, and this may be one of its strongest models yet. The case is in rock
hard, lightweight black ceramic, and the watch is waterproof to a depth of 300 metres.
15,720 www.audemarspiguet.com
Bremont Supermarine S2000
You want tough? Bremonts cases are hardened through industrial processes to 2,000
Vickers, nine times the norm for watch cases. Its new diving piece is also sealed for
antimagnetic protection, and waterproof to an incredible 2,000 metres. Looks good
too.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Chronograph Cermet
Take lightweight aluminium, strengthen it with particles of ceramic and give it an outer
protective ceramic coating and youve got the rugged material for Jaeger-LeCoultres
charismatic diving piece, with a groovy red/white on/o indicator for the chronograph.
www.jaeger-lecoultre.com
Panerai - Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Ceramica
Panerai originally made watches for Italian Navy frogmen, and theres still a sense of
old-fashioned military derring-do to its latest diving piece. The case is scratchproof
matte ceramic, and at 47mm its a whopper.
10,900 www.panerai.com
Ralph Lauren RL67 Automotive Chronograph
The king of preppy elegance has pulled o something with a much more rugged
sensibility than youd expect the Jeep-like camo-green case is in innovative titanium
resin while still retaining his customary classic aesthetic thanks to that burlwood dial.
12,300 www.ralphlaurenwatches.com
Graham - Chronoghter Oversize K2 Mountain
You want tough? Its got ghter in its name, and what resembles a hand grenade
trigger on the side (actually the start/stop pusher for the chronograph) this is hardly
a watch for a quiet game of chess. Climb any mountain with this strapped on.
4,380 www.williamandson.com
IWC Ingenieur Carbon Performance
Having entered into a partnership with resurgent F1 team Mercedes AMG Petronas, IWC
has been incorporating ideas like the tough-as-a-diamond (literally) carbon bre here
used for the case and dial, in F1 used for the entire monocoque of a car.
18,750 www.iwc.com
Bell & Ross - BR01 Airspeed
Last year Frances aviation-obsessed brand released three watches directly based on
cockpit instruments, and this year it presents three more. This punchy number, as its
name suggests, takes its look from the speed indicator. Available in May.
3,200 www.bellross.com
Y
AVIATION BR 0392 AUTOMATIC VINTAGE BR 126 SPORT CHRONOGRAPH
Bell & Ross UK +44 207 096 0878
informationbellross.com e-Boutique: www.bellross.com
HILE its hardly a
new adornment,
mother of pearl is
having a bit of a
moment in ladies watches
right now. Also known as nacre, the
iridescent inner shell coating of
molluscs has been used in
decorative items, from buttons to
musical instrument inlays, for
centuries. The watch industry is
currently experiencing a surge in
interesting, complex womens
watches, and mother-of-pearl is dial
material of choice.
The trend for mother-of-pearl
dial is largely down to the fact that
it can be used in such a wide variety
of colours and is perfect for simple,
elegant dials, says a spokesperson
for high-end watch and jewellery
house, Chaumet. It can also be cut,
carved and inlaid, thus opening up
a range of wonderful possibilities to
be creative for the designers and
artisans. It brings life to the dial.
Chaumet is not alone in
rediscovering this material. Jaeger-
LeCoultre this year unveiled its
Grande Reverso Lady Ultra Thin
Duetto Duo, a feminisation of the
classic two-sided Reverso, one side
of which has an Art Deco mother of
pearl dial. Added to this Blancpain
is unveiling its Grand Date
Chronograph, which sports a
nacreous, diamond-set dial, and
Hermes recently launched its
Arceau Petite Lune.
We decided to use mother of
pearl for the dial of the Arceau
Petite Lune to give it a softer, more
brilliant touch, says Luc
Perramond, CEO of Les Montres
Hermes. It is a question of
aesthetics. It makes sense for us to
use this kind of material for small
complications. It gives a more
feminine touch to a womans
watch.
DAY OR NIGHT
A mother of pearl watch can also be
the perfect transitional piece.
Although women are slowly
catching up with men when it
comes to horologically interesting
watches, in general they are still a
long way from accruing watch
wardrobes a range of watches to
suit different occasions. While an
oversized, borrowed-from-the-
boyfriend timepiece can work
during the day, its hard to make it
work after hours. Conversely, a
delicate cocktail watch jars when
paired with daywear as much as a
high jewellery piece.
Mother of pearl watches, however,
can do the crossover. It was one of
the most famous jewellery houses
that first showed this.
Without question, Cartier
helped make mother of pearl a
fashion statement, says fine
jewellery consultant Bronwyn
Cosgrave. Its workshop did so by
juxtaposing the industrial aesthetic
of its cases and bracelets with the
light, feminine, pink-hued shimmer
of the dial. This strong look means
that there is no restriction on when
to wear it.
Zeniths Ultra Thin Lady
Moonphase, which pairs a nacre
dial with an alligator strap, is a
good example of this. The delicate
shimmer of the mother of pearl dial
may suggest a watch made for the
flickering glow of candlelight, but
by combining such dials with more
everyday elements like steel cases
and leather bracelets, modern
watch houses are proving that this
is a material whose beauty isnt
dimmed by the harsh light of day.
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1. Blancpain Chronograph Grande Date, CHF 40,000, www.blancpain.com 2. Chaumet Montres Precieuses Piece 3, price on application, www.chaumet.com 3. Dior Dior VIII in white ceramic with stainless steel case, 9,300, www.dior.com 4. Hermes Arceau Petit Lune,
4,850, www.hermes.com 5. Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Duetto Duo, 15,100, www.jaeger-lecoultre.com 6. Montblanc Star Classique,8,400, www.montblanc.com 7. Zenith Ultra Thin Lady Moonphase, 5,700, www.zenith-watches.com 8. Van Cleef & Arpels
Charms Extraordinaire Muguet, price on application. www.vancleefarpels.com
With women being offered
increasingly sophisticated
watch choices, iridescent
nacre is all the rage again,
writes Laura McCreddie
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5
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6

8
A
S a wise cove once told me, a
mechanical watch is really just
a device for regulating the
uncoiling of a spring (the
mainspring thats wound up to
power the watch). The crucial organ
in this operation is the escapement,
an assembly of a toothed wheel and
anchor that delivers even impulses of
energy to the oscillating balance
wheel, which in turn regulates the
energy into units of time. Its a
mesmeric thing to see beating away;
and as it represents the crucial area
determining a watchs accuracy, its a
ripe platform for complex
innovation. Add these facts together
and you get sensational collector
watches designed to dazzle with their
vibrating, spinning, beating
micromechanical hearts.
Most famous in this category is the
tourbillon escapement, which puts
the mechanism inside a constantly
THE GREAT ESCAPEMENTS
rotating cage assembly, designed to
negate the detrimental affects of grav-
ity on timekeeping.
But tourbillons are relatively com-
mon these days, so for something
truly prestigious, consider Jaeger-
LeCoultres Gyrotourbillon, first intro-
duced in 2004. The genius of this is
that the assembly rotates on two axes
at once, an inner cage tumbling one
way and an outer cage the other. In its
latest incarnation, the not-exactly-
shyly-named Master Grande
Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 Jubilee
(1), it takes flying tourbillon form with
the added innovation of a spherical
hairspring in blued gold, that can be
seen breathing in and out as it tum-
bles away.
Zeniths Academy Christophe
Colomb Hurricane (2) takes a differ-
ent route to defying gravity. Inside a
crystal bubble on the face of the
watch, the escapement sits on a gim-
bal system that keeps it horizontal at
all times. Zenith has also included the
traditional clockmaking mechanism
of a fuse-chain, a tiny chain that
wraps around wheels in the mecha-
nism to ensure a constant rate of ener-
gy delivered through the gear train.
Thats actually an age-old problem:
as the mainspring unwinds it delivers
diminishing force, and accuracy is
affected. So Girard Perregaux has
achieved an astonishing complete
redesign of the escapement system in
its Constant Escapement (3) watch. In
this, a nano-formed, butterfly-shaped
structure in blue silicon vibrates away
infront of two escape wheels, deliver-
ing a constant force of energy. Like the
others on this page, the accuracy of its
function is in the end neither here nor
there its the dizzying sight of it in
action thatll have people stumping up
six figure sums.
TIMOTHY BARBER
Royal Exchange to
celebrate watches
New extreme versions of a mechanical watchs beating heart
FRIDAY 19 APRIL 2013
LONDONTIME
cityam.com
32
A
LREADY home to the
glorious watch boutiques
Wempe and Marcus and
own-brand stores from
Chopard, Cartier, Breguet and
Piaget, Bond St is gaining a couple
more heavy hitters. In June,
Breitling newly represented by
Paris St Germains latest signing,
Mr David Beckham himself will
be opening a huge store in what
was formally Diesels Bond St
home.
Shortly after that one of the
most esteemed names in top-
end watchmaking, Vacheron
Constantin, is to open the doors
on its first London boutique.
The Old Bond Street venue,
arranged over two floors, will
feature a gentlemens club-
style lounge, a private VIP
area and an in-store
watchmaker. Most
importantly, itll have
Vacherons most precious
watches only available
through its own boutiques,
such as this years decorative
Florilege watches (pictured),
inspired by the work of English
19th century botanist Robert
Thornton. The boutique will also
offer Vacherons Atelier
Carbinotiers service for
customised and even bespoke
watches. From 27 June to 3 July
Vacheron Constantin will once
again be presenting at Masterpiece
London, Chelseas selling
exhibition of art, antiques and
beautiful design objects. Vacheron
will have both new watches and
vintage pieces from its unparalleled
250-year history on display and
available to buy. For more
information see
www.masterpiecefair.com
Breitling and Vacheron come in style to Bond St
Above, David
Beckham with his
Breitling watch;
left, one of
Vacheron
Constantins
Florilege
decorative
watches
Watchfinders WF&Co boutique sells pre-owned and vintage timepieces.
THE SQUARE MILES own home of
luxury, the Royal Exchange, is to
host a week of events and displays
dedicated to watches next month.
The Exchange recently added
WF&Co, the first bricks-and-mortar
shop of online pre-owned and
vintage specialist
www.watchfinder.co.uk to its clutch
of high-end boutiques, which
include Watches of Switzerland,
Omega, Montblanc, Bulgari and
Patek Philippe seller Boodles.
Watch Workshop Week will kick
off on May 20, with exhibitions,
watchmaking masterclasses and
consultations. There will be an
exhibition of vintage Rolex Daytona
pieces from WF&Co and an invite-
only VIP evening on the opening
night hosted by City A.M.s own
watch editor, Timothy Barber. For
more info see
www.theroyalexchange.co.uk
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N O B O D Y
I N T H E I R
R I G H T
M I N D S
W O U L D P U T
A W A T C H
T H R O U G H
T H I S .
B U T
F R A N K L Y ,
M A N Y
O F O U R
C U S T O M E R S
A R E N O T
I N T H E I R
R I G H T
M I N D S .
Chances are, youve never had to eject from
a fighter plane.
Its not much fun. (Though, its got to be
said, the alternative is even less fun.)
In the first second after ejection, your body
is subjected to pressures of up to 30G. Ouch
isnt the word.
Happily, most pilots get through their entire
careers without having to exit through the
cockpit roof.
But the possibility is always there. And we
built our aviation chronometer, the Bremont
MB, with that in mind.
A pilots timepiece, we reasoned, should be
able to withstand everything the pilot does.
High altitude. Low temperatures. And
unscheduled departures at 500 mph.
So we enlisted the help of none other than
Martin-Baker, the company that pioneered
the ejection seat.
(Thanks to them, more than 7,000 pilots
have lived to fly another day.)
At their headquarters in Denham, they
subjected our watch to a punishing regime
of vibration testing, the equivalent of thirty
years flying.
Shaken, but not stirred, it was then time for
the ultimate test: the ejection seat.
Strapped to the vinyl wrist of a crash-test
dummy, our watch was shot from the
cockpit again and again and again.
Yet the Bremont lived to tell the time.
How? Well, for starters, the Bremont MB
is encased in solid steel, seven times harder
than the average watch case.
(We bombard the steel with electrons to
toughen it up.)
Inside this is a second case, held in place by
a flexible ring that absorbs any shocks.
We make the inner case from soft iron and
it forms whats known as a Faraday Cage,
protecting the delicate mechanism inside
from magnetic fields.
The mechanism itself is assembled by hand
in our workshop in Henley-on-Thames.
The movement is 99.998% accurate and
has undergone an arduous fifteen day
certification process conducted by COSC,
the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing
Institute.
All of which goes to make a watch that will
perform way beyond the call of duty.
Do we stop there? Of course not.
To ensure that the Bremont MB can be
read in all conditions we use Grade-A
Super-Luminova

paint on the dial.


Then add nine layers of anti-reflective coating
to the sapphire crystal for maximum clarity.
Some might call that excessive. We dont
think so.
A pilot whos just ejected from his aircraft
may not know what day it is.
But thanks to the Bremont MB, hell always
know what time it is.