No words...

Here is a perfect example of "Horological Terrorism". This is one of those horrors that many of us will be subjected to at the Fairs...

as?@&% ue74 4i2x1 2 "·&!!!

... sorry, just vomited on my keyboard.

URWERK "Blackbird"

Only 10 units of this URWERK will make this a goner. Even though black finishes are not everybody’s cup of tea, I don’t think that many will be available after they are presented at Basel this year…
The bottom picture is the "Blackbird" at night. The luminous material shines in a blue tone.


SQUADRA "World Chrono"

The Reverso 2.0 version for it's 75th Birthday. It was certainly time to do something about it. Without upsetting the other lineup this new evolution to a timeless classic is a great addition in Jaeger's portfolio. This larger case will be appealing to larger wrists that have been yearning for a Reverso. The Squadra might turn out to be to the Reverso what the OffShore is to the Royal Oak. The rear is simply superb!

Jaeger LeCoultre...

UPDATE: I just noticed (read) that this thing is equipped with an automatic movement! I just had to call Jaeger because I believed it was a typo... it's not. Jaeger is really turning out to be a real "Power-House" when it comes to developing new ideas.

PATEK "5130"

YES!!! The "World Timer" re-edited in a 39 mm case, and with the classic hour hand. Not too large, not too small... just perfect. Our prayers (of the large wristed people) have been heard!

Patek Philippe...

LANGE "Datograph Perpetual"

Thank you! Things seem to get interesting at last.

A marriage between the wonderful (yet small) Datograph and the exquisite (but boooring) Perpetual. A match made in heaven. It's got the looks, the size, but I shiver at the price tag. I dare not ask.

A. Lange & Söhne...

AP "Cabinet Piece nº5"

Just like those flaming prototypes presented at International Car Shows AP presents this new creation. It is unfortunate that all of these (Watches and Cars) are beyond the reach of most mortals, yet they are marketed and publicized as a reasonably priced item. What a waste of time. Instead I wish they would include all these extraordinary new developments in their regular production watches to come...

By the way, can't stand the millenary shape although this one seems to be a little bit more harmonious. I have difficulty with non-centered dials and layouts, maybe that is why I have not jumped on a Lange yet. The dial is completely unreadable and utterly confusing, you have to squint to actually recognize that it is a Perpetual Calendar. What is really peculiar is that most of the people that will be purchasing one of these are older men that simply do not have the eyesight to use this at all. Why do they call it "Cabinet Piece nº5"? Is it because they expect "it" to stay in a cabinet?


HUBLOT "Mag-Bang"

Still not a fan of Hublot but at least they are really doing interesting stuff with alternative materials. Magnesium is not generally preferred by watch manufacturer yet with the peculiar case construction of the Bang this is easy and not excessively expensive. It is refreshing to see that more and more manufacturers are moving away from traditional/conservative materials. Especially since the standard answer in the trade is; "No, it can't be done". Too bad others don't take note. The total weight will be 72 grams. There will be 250 units, not many considering how popular the regular production model is.

In this case I like the PVD movement finish (a bit too similar to the Richard Mille RM005 though...).

VERTU "Ascent"

The Vertu "Ascent" is in a class of its own... "yes, but it's four times the price of any other high-end phone!", you might say. And you are right, but contrary to the others this one feels in your hand like a million bucks!!! Why is the Vertu better than the others? Simple, it works. The software does nothing fancy. What it does, it does very well. Actually the insides is nothing else than a two year old Nokia, but a Nokia that they had the time to properly progam, contrary to all others. The Bluetooth is impeccable, actually the only Bluetooth that I have ever owned that actually works! (I recommend you use the SonyEricsson headsets, they work with all Phones and are much more reliable than any others out there). The outsides are symply built to last, and last. Ceramic, leather, sapphire crystal and liquid metal make it much more durable than anything in the market today. The buttons have rubies under them to reduce wear, and it works! The touch on the buttons is simply magic and smooth. I have been test-driving the Vertu for 8 months now (actually I test-drive many phones) and it looks and feels like the first day. Furthermore, it is extremely stable, the software has not "bugged" once in all this time! This is not so with the other Nokia, Samsung and SonyEricsson phones that I have tested.

POSITIVE: It's built like a Tank! The software is properly written, finished and tested. First time Bluetooth works on a phone, ever. The sound quality inside and outside is great. Should there be a new Ascent next year with more options and features (maybe 3G, quad-band or Bluetooth 2.0) you can send it in and they will overhaul and upgrade the insides. At your cost of course, but your Vertu will be up to date. After having one of these, looking for phones is a thing of the past. Ah, and the absolute best thing... it does NOT have a camera! Yes, this means that you will not need to leave your phone at the desk in Government Buildings and paranoid Multinationals. Hurray, you have a phone that will not be the wet dream of adolescent MMS pros'...!

NEGATIVE: The weight. A bit too heavy for most, and way too heavy for the Ladies. Personally I love the weigh but I understand that most people prefer something light. The "Concierge Button" is completely useless if you don't live in the UK or US. If you are not a big traveler don't bother. Chances are that if you can afford a Vertu you will have a personal secretary and better connections than the Concierge Service to begin with. Conclusion; the Concierge Service is redundant. Truly disappointing are the accessories; There is no deskstand, and at that price point it should be expected. The charger and headset are substandard, even for a midrange priced phone.


Here we go...

Yuppie!!! Change the dial, make only a few, call it something special and voila! A brand new product to be presented to the Press. The trick actually works since you have to publish something right? It must be a real endurance race sometimes to keep smiling at manufacturers when they present such "novelties". Just imagine spending 10 days going from stand to stand, interview to interview only to report on last years news.

This is what I was talking about; the Basel and Geneva shows at their best.

Bluetooth everywhere...

It is not surprising that sooner or later Bluetooth would find a way to your wrist. You can find that option on practically any electronic appliance today. Whether this watch will ever see the light is highly doubtful. This Seiko prototype, worthy of a Japanese Manga or the 4th sequel to The Matrix, connects to your mobile phone via Bluetooth. This is supposed to enable you to adjust and change settings on your mobile. Is it useful? Who cares, it looks really cool though...



There is a trend in watches that I hope will not be as predominant as in the Car or Electronics industry. The Japanese invented this and almost everybody else followed. I call this phenomenon "SPECFLATING"; this is inflating specifications and numbers that seem to be eye-catching to the consumer, and use it as a sales-pitch. We have the tendency to pass judgement upon products by placing two spec sheets side by side. We value the data that we think is important. How many times have we collected info on the internet and then compared it side by side? Things get worse when manufacturers tell YOU, what you should think is important and market it accordingly.

An example of this in the car industry are bhp (horsepower). Many people (especially men) tend to judge a cars potential and performance according to that number, at least I used to. Unfortunately we tend to neglect figures such as torque, lateral acceleration, weigh or even aerodynamics (drag-coefficient). Almost anything can be made to look good on paper. When comparing side by side the Japanese cars can emulate European specifications for 20% less money, on paper. Once you test drive both models, things look and certainly feel different. Another example of this can be found amongst European car manufacturers. Some time ago I remember a comparison between a Porsche Carrera 2 and a BMW M3. Two power cars around the Nuerburgring in Germany. Both had almost the same lap times, I am not certain but the M3 was slightly ahead. The significant factor here was that the M3 was 30% cheaper than the Carrera 2. Great value for money? Nope... Specflating? Yep... Why? Easy answer. Both cars where tested as new, yet when the test was repeated after both cars had 60,000 km under the hood... things changed. While the Porsche maintained practically the same lap times, the BMW did not. What made things worse was that the BMW, between its first test and the second test, had the clutch and brake disks replaced due to wear. The Porsche had only an oil change. Bottom line, there are no 9 cent dimes...

The MegaPixel race in the digital camera world is another example. Consumers don't seem to be aware that what is important here is the size and type of the Sensor (CCD or CMOS) that captures the image and not the amount of pixels. In many cases more pixels in the same area means worse quality. This is so because the smaller the light capturing diode of the sensor the worse the quality of the light captured, etc... This becomes apparent when comparing images of a professional 5 megapixel camera with a large Sensor and 10 megapixels compacts with smaller CCDs. The difference in favour of the 5 meg is quiet striking. Sure, the pictures can't be enlarged to that of a 10 megapixel but at regular sizes the 5 megapixels will be simply superior. The goal is to make 10, 12 or 20 megapixel cameras with larger and better performing CCD or CMOS sensors. Am I being unfair comparing a SLR with a point-and-shoot? Not really, what I am trying to convey here is that the general consumer is led to believe that his/her 10 megapixel camera is better than a 5 megapixel camera, regardless if it's a point-and-shoot or an SLR.

Now to our world... There are several controversies arising regarding frequency rates in watch movements. Personally I like that my watch is as accurate as possible, yet being a very critical consumer, (this means that even though I just bought something I do not believe it is the best in the world...) when it comes to watches I favor material quality rater than specifications. I do believe that on the long-run this will be much more favorable for your watch. Personally I would rather have a 18,000 vph movement that will last a long time (200 years if necessary that will have less wear) than a 36,000 vph movement that will burnout sooner. Many of these high-frequency watches will not be able to keep the initial specs over time. Just like F1 engines designed to reach incredible revs but will only last for two races. Which would you choose? In a long term race high frequencies will not be ahead. New materials!.. I hear over there. Yes, that is correct. Like the megapixel race, the right thing to do is to increase specifications (frequencies or megapixels) once new materials permit you to do so. Unfortunately, I am almost certain that once this "war" is declared longevity will not be the concern of "most" manufacturers.

Wrong Turn

After last year's Tourbillon Frenzy at Basel/Geneva it's starting to look suspiciously similar for this year. More Tourbillons at astronomic prices that I doubt anybody buys for less than 50% discount. There are some exception though that make this complication interesting and worth having. It seem that manufacturers keep insisting in producing complications that do not appeal to the general public, because they are either to expensive or they are just not really relevant. Between a Tourbillon and a Perpetual complication I would take the Perpetual 100 times over...

Genta shoved some promise last year with the CuatroRetro (too bad they chose the least interesting version of the two color combinations to be produced).

Now they present this horror! Tacky in every aspect and completely unreadable.

Gérald Genta...

Turning to the Sea

A new page has turned. This "Nautical" version will be the first of a new line in the Mille collection. Can't wait to se more affordable models in this new Marine line. A logical and brilliant evolution of the species.

Richard Mille...

Bad News for the V4

It is very unfortunate but the Tag V4 will be no more. At leas not for now.

What is very disappointing is that a few of us defended the fact that that new system would work. The decision of not producing the V4 in a way empowers the critical sector that claimed that it would never work. It does look like they where right after all.

The Two Sides of the Coin

Now there is a real reason to takeoff your watch. More and more manufacturers are adding information on the rear of the movement (not mentioning the Reverso which is in a class of its own or those ultra expensive Pateks and Vacherons). A great way to unclog the front and make the back way more interesting. URWERK and the Targa 103.03 take the lead yet the Panerai with their "8 days" and the MIH have followed. Pierre Kunz also has an interesting rear power reserve indicator complication that can be added by request to some of their models. These are only a few examples of what is starting to emerge in the watch world. I would not be surprised if there was more to come in Basel/Geneva this year.

The URWERK has seconds, 15 minutes and the 43h power reserve indicator. The whole thing looks like the dashboard of a plane. Not a pioneer to have stuff on the back, but one of the first to investigate the full potential of using both sides of a watch.

The Jaeger LeCoultre movement inside the Panerai is a joy to look at. The front is clean, very clean. The whole watch becomes a wonderful item once you turn and visit its 8-day power reserve.

The Pierre Kunz option is different. It looks awesome, almost unreal to have that huge power reserve in the middle of the back. Contrary to the others, this does not come standard with a specific model. This is an upgrade, an expensive upgrade. The upgrade of this complication on your Pierre Kunz will cost you an extra of 9,000 euros. Not all of their watches are upgradeable.

The Oldest Trick in the Book

It is known by all... if you can't present something new for the Basel and Geneva fairs just reissue an old model with a new face or just slap diamonds on it. This has been so for several years now, the market pressures and demands "new" products once a year from producers. Pressure was never good council.

The Freak is one of those cult watches that always raises interest. Even though the new Freak II includes several improvements over its predecessor the yellow and white gold combo was not everybody's taste. They just couldn't leave well enough alone.

Just another soul lost to the "God of Bling".

More manual stuff...

As was expected there is a sudden revival of the manual chrono. Roger Dubuis offers his manual Chrono for 20,000 Euros in the S.A.W. line since last April. Only 888 pieces at the moment yet there are rumors of a new chrono presented in Geneva this year. One thing bothers me though; why screw-down crowns on Manual wind watches? It is just annoying to screw and unscrew the crown almost every day to wind the watch. Don't think this will be the best idea for the crown, especially long term. Almost 80% of all these manual beauties have a screw-down crown. Silly.

Most recently Maurice Lacroix has added a manual chrono to the collection. What is interesting in this version is the 60 minute counter instead of the usual 30 minutes (love that!). The new "Le Chronograph" will be limited to 250 units. Am not excited about the face though.

I wonder if they will keep the price within reason.