MB & F "Horological Machine No.2"

I must admit that as time goes by my taste in watches grows stranger and stranger. Loving classics like a simple Patek "Calatrava" or a Lange "Richard Lange" to exotic birds like an URWERK "Hammerhead" or Maximilian Büsser's creations. Although, like the "Idalgo" I know that I am not ready to wear these pieces... just yet. I must admit that I enjoy looking at all the design details of the "No 2". I guess that the reason for this is that designs like Büsser's are ahead of its time. This is what makes the object interesting more than awkward. These are the same feelings I have when I see Halter's or Hysek's creations. Can't stop looking at them yet I am not ready for them just yet.

What is refreshing is the new "wave" of alternative watch designers and makers that are making them selves known. Richard Mille, URWERK, Hautlence, Vianney Halter and now MB & F are a small revolution in watch designs. Combining absolute traditional watchmaking excellence with a modern aggressive design. Some of you will like one or more from this list, few will like none. Times are changing and sine in essence the watch technology is a still based on principles that were discovered hundreds of years ago and are still very much true today. Whit these new boys the rules of engagement are beginning to change. Quite a difficult task in an industry that is well known for its lethargic evolution and unwillingness to change. Because of these new designers and their commercial success many more traditional manufactures are reassessing their positions. Hence, traditional houses like Jaeger or AP that are only now daring to experiment with bolder designs. Thanks for that guys!

Actually the more y look at it I realize I would love to se this watch in a single face variant. I have a soft-spot for jumping hours and retrogrades, plus I do like the look of the Nº 2's design elements. Maybe a more serialized production and a cheaper list of something like that could do the trick? There is no doubt that these 125 units are all gone yet I would welcome a more "popular" mainstream Busser. Something like what the RM005 was for Richard Mille.

All this said, MB & F seems to know where it's going and more, it looks like it is getting there. There is already a HM3 in the oven for 2008.

MB & F...

And the winner is...

This year Patek takes the lead. The Titanium Nautilus has fetched a staggering 525,000 Euros. Not bad for what probably cost Patek lest than 5 grand to make. Is it worth that? I a purely horological standpoint, No. Is it a good investment? No doubt, Yes. You can be sure than when ever this thing resurfaces it will fetch over a million. If collectors are paying millions for old world timers and steel chronos from the 40's, you can be certain that this "Piece Unique" will do as much in several years to come.

Second (third...) was the RM011 "by S+arck" that went for 320,000 Euros. Sorry guys, can't be number one every year (although I have my doubts as to who pushed for the Patek...). There is no doubt that the RM011 is technically much more interesting than the Nautty 5712Ti. Fortunately it is better looking than last year's S+arck and far more interesting.

Now, the guys that pooped big time... Pierre Kunz. The "Chrono Sport Monaco" fetched an ASTOUNDING 12 grand. Under list. Hahaha... what a pisser!


P.s. Sorry, second was the deWitt "Incognito 2008" for 400,000€. Since there is no picture of the watch it is "incognito" indeed. In any case it is a bit astounding that somebody would buy a watch they have not seen, let alone a deWitt. I really would be interested is knowing who buys and their relationship with the brands. Bidding "incognito" has its advantages. If the ties are too close for comfort with the brand (like being the general manager or owner) there should be a law against this. Inflating prices at auctions is a relatively easy and almost cheap means of promotion. Some are doing a great job at this. Off course, I am not pointing fingers... I just wonder after Pierre Kunz's poop the next watch they auction (maybe next year) will do substantially better due to a "mysterious" bider.

RM016 "Ultra Plat"

If there are any analogies in the watch world you could say that no other watch manufacturer resembles Ferrari like Richard Mille. A myth since its beginning, exclusive, very different, aggressive performance, spottable a mile away, masculine, unique, modern, sexy... I suppose that those that revere Ferrari could go on for ever. Richard has in a way achieved the same in its relatively short life which is quite impressive. What isn't surprising are the close ties with RM and many of the people in Ferrari especially in the F1 section. It suffices to say that many of the improvement and inspirations to RM watches come from the great Scuderia.

If I had to pair both, Ferrari models with RM models, then I would have to pair the RM016 with the Ferrari Mondial. Why? Because the Mondial is by far the ugliest Ferrari ever made (if it isn't the ONLY ugly Ferrari ever made). So is this Richard. The RM016 is a far leap from the other RMs, it's just FUGLY. Incidentally this reminds me of another try by AP to "reinvent" the RoyalOak by making a "rectangular-quartz-freak-show". Yes, even they make mistakes.

I am curious as to the sales of this model but I would not be surprised that it is not going to be in production for a long time. At least I hope.

Richard Mille...

Who's next?

After the recent and official purchase of Richemont Group of Roger DuBuis there are bets to who will be next it line. My personal bet is that Swatch Group will make the next move. I have the feeling that Watchland (Frank Muller, Pierre Kunz, European Watch, CVSTOS) is the next one to join one of the major boys.

Now what is out there that is still interesting? Maybe any of these:

- Audemars Piguet (there is a rumor of a preferential buying option with Richemont.)
- Patek Philippe (They are all waiting for this one. Like vultures they hope for Stern to leave soon and negotiate with the "heir" to buy them out.)
- Rolex (... they can't be bought. Plus, "cash-cows" are very expensive!)
- Watchland (My bet it tat they are next in line.)
- BVLGARY (a bit too big for any of them to handle. Plus they are out shopping when ever they can as well.)
- Richard Mille (AP already got 10% and is first in line to get the rest if it ever becomes available.)
- URWERK (not interested in selling at the moment.)
- Ulysse Nardin (I wonder how come they are still on the loose?)
- F.P. Journe (not being mentioned in any possible purchases by anybody.)
- Hublot (Increasingly attractive since the Big-Bang.)
- Parmiginany (Not an attractive product but their installations and resources can be cannibalized and be put to good use doing something else.)

It is quite interesting how these purchases often don't come alone. Any bets anybody?

Where there's smoke...

Yep, so it was true in the end.

Only this piece, for now. The rest might be coming soon. The news of the sale of Roger DuBuis Movements to Richemont first hit the streets end of September only to be denied a week later. Turns out I was NOT so full of it...


P.s. Keeping Carlos Dias dependant upon momements is an accident waiting to happen. Being the independent soul that he is it is difficult to picture him blending in a corporate atmosphere. Playing nice dog and rollover to the flute of a boss over you in a multinational is no easy task. Especially if you have always been your own man. I guess we will know soon enough.

How hard can it be?

With the introduction of new technologies in the watch world many are boasting and throwing adjectives that could lead to misinterpreting the actual functionality. First, there is NOTHING scratch proof in the world. Yep, not even diamonds! Anybody with children could attest to the fact that nothing is indestructible. Leave anything with them for a while, you'll see. Second, even if the case is built like a tank and it is or has been hardened to levels unknown to the industry until now, that does not mean that you can treat the watch in a much rougher manner. The movement inside the watch is still subject to the same basic laws of Physics, even if the case has been revised to fit our modern times.

What the new technologies such as AluSiC, TiAIN, Alacrite 602, Tegiment and Ceramic bring is a more "resilient" attitude towards regular wear. What it will protect you from is the constant wear of the shirt rubbing against you watch, the unfortunate "ding" against a door, the occasional rubbing against other watches... Believe me, a regular nail file will cause a maximum amount of damage with minimum force on any of these metals or metal treatments.

So, whose fault is it? Them, that explain only what they like to explain or us that like to hear only what we want to hear? Maybe the industry is partly responsible for not only involuntarily misleading customers but in failing to educate them. It is very easy for the uninitiated to assume that just because the outside is tough so is the inside. Big mistake! Casio G-Shocks are pretty tough yet even they have a limit. Things should be explained differently. Maybe giving information on the properties of the case and outlining that the insides are subject to the same "laws of destruction" as any other mechanical watch. It is quiet common that people perceive a product as a whole. If it's tough outside, than it is tough inside... The fact is that cases have evolved these last 50 years more than the movements in the past 500 years. Little has been done recently to address the issue, except Richard Mille witch has addressed the issue of shock resistance on high-end watches including silent blocks to their movements. Granted, they are all getting better but no way near the metallurgical advances.


The tuned-up version of the AMVOX 2. Same case and movement but with more openings on the front face to see more sections of the movement.

This one will, I hope, be available sooner than the AMVOX2 "Black". There will be 999 pieces making it less collectible yet its face is a bit more interesting than the AMVOX2. What is surprising is that the price tag has not increased in comparison to the "black" one. Good move guys! Many where expecting that Jaeger would take advantage of the AMVOX2 popularity to cash-in on this one.

Jaeger leCoultre...

P.s. There is an overlooked detail, at least one that I have just noticed. The DBS has a seconds hand/disk at 6 o'clock! What strikes me as odd is why it is not present on the regular AMVOX2. Strange...

Royal Oak " George H.W. Bush"

For the 75th Anniversary of the "SAVE THE CHILDREN" foundation there will be an auction held on September 6th. Amongst the items to bid there will be this Royal Oak Chrono engraved with President George H.W. Bush’s signature.

I must admit that I am more than tempted but unfortunately I suspect that the bids for this piece could spin out off hand. These one-of-a-kind watches are very sought after pieces by collectors. Plus there is an added difficulty in getting them since the people that buy them generally do so for charity and not speculation. So it's pretty much an "end-of-the-line" for many of these pieces, since whe will most likely never see them again... ever!

If anybody is interested in biding here is the link for more details: auction...

Good luck!

P.s. To those that use the pictures from this Blog: If you are going to take them, please do so. However, please refrain from calling it a "Scoop" or putting your own website's water mark across the picture. Not mentioning the source is OK with me but using it as if it where you own that is another. Thanks.

RM013 "Planetarium Tellurium"

A picture is worth a thousand words...

Quite a pice. I dare not ask its price, and you shouldn't either! Trust me, you don't want to know.
I guess this gem is destined for somebody with a wallet as big as a whale.

Richard Mille...


The new 103 shows promise. This revolutionary TiAIN coating sure makes this URWERK standout. This procedure hardens the 103.08 to an astonishing 3,500 vickers! Unseen until now in the industry.

It will be slightly cheaper than the gold models but only 40 will be produced per year, for now. This 103 could be the "hardest" and most sought after URWERK to date.


OffShore "Shaquille O'Neal"

Sure to make the delight of quite a many "gang'sta rapers" and "drive-by shooters", the Shaquile O'Neal is without a doubt one of the most "misfortuned" Limited Editions of the las decade by AP. This little, sorry, large horror is in close rivalry with Arnold's "All Stars"... another poor soul by AP. With diamonds this horrid sight gets to be one of the tackiest, tasteless and gaudy watches of the year. I would have liked a warning sign before putting my eyes upon thee. Something like; "Beware, extreme ugliness! Ingest your lunch before seeing", or "Please wear sunglasses when viewing at all times!"... would have been welcomed.

Yet another contender to this years most horrible watch award.

Audemars Piguet...

My most sincere apologies...

Dear watch friends,

First I would like to apologize for my long silence (I am sure more than one welcomed it! ;-D). I am sorry but my schedule these last three months has been a bit intense making me turn away from my hobby onto more pressing maters.

I will have you all know that starting this weekend I will be resuming "business as usual" on this blog as well as updating the KronosClub and all the other Watch Clubs (Royal oak Club, Richard Mille Club, URWERK Club, etc...), which is for many much more important than my sometimes senseless blogging.

I am again very sorry about my long silence and hope that all will go back to normal very soon.

Thanks for reading,

Blue Chip

A good friend and fellow watch lover has recently brought this podcast to my attention... (Thanks by the way, great find!) Quite an interesting piece even though there are some points that I am not in agreement with, it describes pretty accurately the recent evolution of the relationship between manufacturers and prominent collectors/customers in recent years.

Wall Street Journal...

However, there are several statements that I can not agree with, although his term "Blue Chip Watch" in very interesting indeed. For instance, not "all" Pateks are a good buy, and I would not put "BlancPain" amongst the blue chip description when it is clearly closer to a junk bond. Apart from BlancPain being a "sinking ship" its resale value is among the very worse in the market.

There is also... hmmm I would say a despective tone as to the "recent" love affair between collectors and manufacturers. Describing how collectors now have to mingle (kiss ass...) in order to get certain pieces, how they get invited to the factories and events etc... Not untrue, however the tone this is being told almost sounds like; "I am a journalist and used to be in demand but now they invite "others" to all the cool parties... and it's all Internet's fault!" Hmmm... could it be that watch journalism has become so submissive to the point of obsolescence that people start looking in other places? If one offers lots of praise and little critique you will eventually be replaced by "others" that in the end contribute to improving a product. Could it be that manufacturers are listening to us? I am almost in tears... nah, wake up! The truth is simpler than that. Manufacturers have discovered that it's by far more glamorous/lucrative to network at diners or cocktails with people that can afford to buy their mega-ultra-expensive watches than journalists/reporters that say yes to everything and only care about the amount of publicity they will be able to sell. With journalists being more and more arrogant, brands are shifting funds for promotion to their end clients or customers. As a result of doing this there are more grateful people and more "attentive" journalists next time there is a venue. In order to attract journalists to events, brands have had to go to incredible lengths only to make them appear, and that after having all expenses paid! There are some journalists out there that sure know and love their trade, but there many more out there that report and write on the subject yet don't even like watches. Believe me, I know quite a few.

ROLEX "Yacht Master II"

This thing is sooo horrible in sooo many ways, that I am just going to say nothing...

... just when I thought that they could not do anything more horrific that the GMT-II here they go at it again. Please, no more of this torture I beg you!

Yacht Master II...

Three Kings

Panerai have followed up on last years p.2002 with three new home-backed movements. Three quite impressive movements in their conception although one is particularly interesting, the 10-day Chrono. The design and finishing of the movement is clean, modern and straight to the point. The finishings are attractive even though the classic "boise" finish (the little polished circles on the base plates and bridges) has been left aside. To be honest with you, I not only not miss it but welcome the lack of it. There is a distinctive look to them without being too exotic.

p.2005: The Tourbillon is like all tourbillon in another league. Not a really commercial solution since its price is a to high for a Panerai especially when Jaeger is priced at half that with the "Master Compressor". It is a beautiful 30 sec Tourbillon from behind. What is commendable is that they had the guts not to show the tourbillon cage from the front. That would have made any Panerai look awkward.

p.2003: The 10-day GMT is a great idea... however its concept is deeply flawed. IT MAKES NO SENSE TO HAVE A 10-DAY AUTOMATIC WATCH (Unless it is a perpetual calendar that is). Why? Because making it automatic voids the need of having the power reserve complication. Part of the "magic" of having a power reserve is to see its evolution and wind it when it needs to be wound. It is almost a way to establish a personal "rapport" with an object. Because the watch is automatic the 10-day power reserve will always be fully wound, hence it is useless.

p.2004: The 8-day Chrono is quite a piece of work. A manual monopusher chrono with a linear 8-day power reserve... uffff, I almost ran out of air. This is a watch purist's dream yet what remains to be seen is the price of this piece. I don't think it will reach the 20's yet it will be well above the 10's.

Where as this new strategy of Panerai will be successful remains to bee seen. It's clear that their intention is to raise the level and play in the bigger boys back yard. The new movements are quite interesting even at a price previously unseen in the brand. The markets reaction will be crucial during this year. Still, they are very well aware that their previous price range is what until now fed them.


HD3 "Three Minds"

Things are looking up for "alternative" ways to read time. I see more and more imagination used in the design of such displays. To be honest this system is nothing new since this is a derivative of jumping hours and digital minutes APs and Pateks from the 20's. Less aggressive, of course, but the very same concept nonetheless. The mecanism is a jumping hour (I sincerely hope so) since otherwise it would be unreadable and minutes plus seconds wheel. The "Three Minds" is a great piece of kit for the lovers of Oversize watches. A bit agressive but good enough to be recommended to anybody with a more "modern" taste in fashion. My guess is that it will be around the 50k mark. It sounds a bit excessive yet there will be only 33 pieces made in the different combos (Black Titanium, Rose Gold and Titanium/Rose Gold) which makes it more costly. Economies of scale and the exclusivity factor play an important role here.

Jorg Hysek has really been growing since he left the company bearing his name and founded HD3 with Valerie Ursenbacher and Fabrice Gonet. Looking at precedents like Gerald Genta and Frank Muller it was not what many expected. When BIG names leave the manufactures that they once named generally end up floating into the limbo of forgotten yet once in a while acknowledged. In this case HD3 is probably taking off right there where Hysek (the brand) seems to be stuck. The policy of making only 33 pieces per model seems a bit difficult to enforce in the future. As impossible as it was for Roger DuBuis to keep making only 28 pieces of each watch. Eventually HD3 will have to make 333 units just like DuBuis had to make 888 of some models. The other option is to keep demand at bay by raising prices and so adjusting the demand of their products. That practice, however, has its risks.


Grrrrrr... for a good cause.

Journe and Delon have teemed up for a good cause. This "piece unique" was made to raise funds for the IRP foundation that fights paraplegia. The "Le Guépard" is a one of a kind Octa based on the movie by the same name from Luchino Visconti. The face is hand engraved by Bernard Ditzoff.

I can't wait for the 21st of march since I am very curious on the outcome of this auction

F.P. Journe...


Leaving cheap sexual innuendoes and clichés aside, size matters. But not the way you might think, especially in the watch world. In a society obsessed with sizes, big is not better here. People want bigger penises, bigger breast, bigger burgers, bigger planes, bigger cars... except mobile phones that go smaller. If you are not big then you are nothing. At least that is what they want you to think. Never have people, men and women alike, been so concerned with the size of their genitals. Breast and penis enlargement procedures keep spiraling upwards. The same trend seems to be emerging with watches today. Manufacturers have struck a gold mine with the recent oversize madness and are offering the same'ol stuff just much larger. People spend more money than ever on watches and many unscrupulous manufacturers make them bigger, not only in size but also in price. Even respectable houses like Patek that "swore" never to make larger watches, and claimed that it was only a short lived trend, has succumbed to the call of larger watches and bigger money. Everybody does it. There is nothing wrong with that if the market demands it. However, don't be fooled, there are different ways to make the transition. Many manufacturers fall into the temptation to raise prices by increasing sizes and not making better watches. As far as I know the only manufacturer that has or had a policy regarding that is A. Lange & Söhne. Their idea is that what dictates the size of the case is the size of the movement. In other words... if you want a 44 mm case than you need a movement that will completely fill the case. Although I am not sure this is true anymore.

Historically the point of making pocket watches (and today wrist watches) was to make what was once very large, portable and small. The truth is that the smaller and thiner the better, and thus more exclusive and expensive. It is obvious that it takes much more skill to make a small watch rather than a large clock. Until not so long ago watches have always been small and thin. It is only ten years ago (with the birth of the OffShore and the rediscovery of the Panerai) that oversize watches have started to be fashionable at all. Yes, they have been around forever yet that does not mean that they where popular then. In fact they are very rare and today they get good prices at auctions around the world. There is nothing wrong with large watches, if they have a purpose that is. If you weight 300 pounds and your wrist is the size two-by-four then you are in luck. Never has there been so many 46 mm and larger sizes available. Personally I believe that it looks as silly, if not more, to wear a too large watch than a too small watch. Everybody has a size range, find yours. But beware, it is very difficult to go "smaller" once you get used to "bigger". I have set myself a personal limit, and have had many temptations to go bigger since then. Staying within this boundary allows me to go back and wear smaller watches from time to time. There are some fantastic small watches out there so make sure you don't discard them by going "too big".

Yes, SMALLER IS BETTER. Most of the times smaller is much more expensive. Although there is nothing wrong with big if there is a reason for a larger case. Some have a purpose but unfortunately many don't. Increasing the size of a watch by 2, 4 or 6 mm for aesthetic reasons does not justify an increase of several thousands of dollars/euros for the same movement/watch. A depth rating of 1,000 meters, a large and very complicated movement, antimagnetic protection, etc... is a good reason for it. There are several large watches that I respect for several of the cited reasons. The Porsche "Indicator", Lange "31-days", Jaeger's "Master Grand Reveil"... are some of the large watches that have a good reason to be large. The other side of the coin? Well the Cartier "Santos 100", U-boat, the ever growing "Biretros" by Genta and some I dare not mention in this Blog (to keep it clean).

I suspect that this year's Geneva and Basel shows could be horrifying to that respect. Something tells me that we should prepare for some real juggernauts coming our way this year.

Jaeger leCoultre...

Safari. The return...

Brass (bronze) was never a great idea for watches. In any case the spirit behind the Safari was much more that just the brass. I wonder how this will work with the general public.

The watch looks great at first site, although I would like to see the compass on the buckle like the original Genta Safari in the 80´s, that was part of its charm. More to come soon...

Gerald Genta...

Jean Dunant "SHABAKA"

Alternative ways to display time are becoming very popular lately. URWERK could be one of the first of this new movement with HD3 following close by. Lately Jean Dunant with their latest creation, the "Shabaka" have joined the party. Quite a "tour de force" if you look at its numbers. A perpetual minute repeater (with 721 parts and 54 jewels) was up until recently only available at one of the Three Geneva Princes (AP, Patek and Vacheron). The buttons on the side are not for a chrono, as many might think, but to set the date.

It is readable at first although I must admit the design reminds me of some sort of "hell-robot-juggernaut" from a bad 70's Sci-Fi flick. The price? I dare not ask.

P.s. The 70's where very prolific in "alternative" watches. If you like this stuff take a look in Watchismo's blog there is some great stuff in there.

Jean Dunand...
press release...


After much speculation an anticipation the new "Team Alinghi" is finally being presented.

By far the most aggressive AP to date. It will be a watch to love or hate. If you feel neither than it is likely you don't like watches to begin with. As with the first Tantalum watch AP is pioneering a new material for a watch case, "forged carbon". Nobody has used anything like this until now. Will it be as good as the materials used up until now? Don't know yet but I sure would love to test-drive this baby. Many will complain about its weight yet some do welcome light and comfortable watches once in a while.

There is no need to go into detail regarding the movement since most of you know the calibre already. It is the same one that is present inside the Polaris, a 10 minute countdown regatta chrono. I must admit that I am tempted to believe that since it is quite extreme and previous extreme models like the EOD and Montoya have done amazingly well in the grey market that this Team Alinghi will do as much.

The will be, like in the past, three versions. A bit silly since the whole thing about this watch is the full forged carbon case.

There is "one" thing that I am not particularly impressed with. Can't get used to the strap connection to the case. Just don't like the way it hooks to the case without the links. It looks sloppy, almost like cutting costs. I would recommend getting the regular rubber strap, four steel links (the ones that make the strap connect to the case) and have them PVD'ed by your local Jeweler. It would look better and you would have a deployant to boot. A kevlar strap on this baby would have been bliss...

Audemars Piguet...