The "Holly Grail" of Swatches

Little is it known that the largest a most complete Swatch collection resides in Spain. In this "temple" there is not only the watches themselves but all merchandise remotely related to the brand. From matches to the Smart-Swatch car. Displays, phones, jackets, pencils, condoms, beepers, banners, stands... He simply has it all. From having almost four of each Swatch ever produced he also catalogues all "dummies" and variations of dummies (these are the watches that are used on displays and that are not really functional), prototypes, wall clocks, freakish mistakes and even fakes. I have seen many collections of many things in my life but something this extensive and complete NEVER.

Most astonishing is that amongst practically all that Swatch has ever produced there is one that might be king of them all. The "HAI ECK". Know as an urban legend to most Swatch collectors I have had the chance to hold it and shoot it personally.

Now to the story; Apparently this piece was made by an employee of Mr. Hayek some time ago. The dial was made to represent a shark and a corner as you might see from the picture. Translated into german this means "Hai" for shark and "Eck" for corner. Together they pronounce "HAYEK" which incidentally happens to be the last name of the owner. Once presented with this piece, far from being flattered at this tribute of admiration, he felt offended. Little was the artist aware of Mr. Hayek's laking sense of humor. Needles to say the creator of this unique Swatch got sacked. The watch disappeared for a while and resurfaced only to be acquired by this collector.

You wonder; "What else doe he have?" Well, practically everything. Apart from several "Kiki Picasso" more "Mimmo Paladino" he has prototypes that have and will never seen the light. Here are some samples.

Some Kiki Picassos and prototypes...

Some Mimmos...

The Puffs...

More prototypes...

Anyway, this can go on for ever. A full guided tour of the premises takes about 2 to 3 hours. I must say that I find myself very fortunate to count the owner of this incredible collection as my friend. Having the chance to see this is simply a privilege reserved for a fortunate few. I was never a Swatch collector, yet this collection it simply jaw dropping and could hardly be described in its full magnitude. I can't imagine what impact this collection would provoke to a real Swatch collector.

Love/Hate at first sight

This is one of those watches that I never considered at first but once discovered... I must admit it is causing me to loose some sleep lately for two different reasons. The first is that I love the back, the second is that I hate the front. Please take time to look at the pictures of the different movements I am including here. Simply breathtaking. Not only the astonishing finish but the whole architecture and design of the movement. Spectacular. The crown is on the back (one of my favorite features) and on top of that the proportions are just close to heaven. These being 41 millimeters wide and 11.3 millimeters thick. It simply fits most wrists from small-medium to large. The case is of classic conception but has some more modern accents. What a beauty. I am speechless.

Now, once I turn the watch and look at the front I just cry in despair. Awful. (Incidentally, I hope nobody at RG is actually reading this... actually if you are, please skip this chapter and go to the next) I just can't get to understand how this can come to be. Is it just me? I know that I am heavily biased against off-centered dials. However, this one is even worse since it is completely off-balance with nothing south on the dial to compensate. Even the design of the dial says absolutely nothing. Blend and boring... only barely elegant. My question to anybody that waste time reading this blog; Do you like the dial? Please be honest. I am trying to convince myself to get one of these works of art, pretty much like I try to convince myself that the Mona Lisa is actually a beautiful woman. After all these years she still looks to me like a flat-chested chubby woman without eyebrows. As far as art is concerned I was always more impressed by Goya's interpretation of "Saturn devouring one of his sons" than with the "Gioconda", connotations aside. Could this be the same here, could I be the "uneducated insensitive to art caveman" that my wife has been telling me for years? Hmmm, possibly...

The finish of the movement is really something to be very impressed about. One of the most difficult things to produce in handmade movements are sharp angles on bridges and baseplates. There are basically two kinds; outward angle and inward angle. The second of these two being the hardest one. When looking at a movement the way to immediately see if it's handmade is to look for these sharp angles. To date these can only be made by hand. No machine, no mater how expensive, can properly execute such angles. Now, until now I have not seen anybody, I mean anybody, make such a deep inward "anglage" like the guys at Romain Gauthier. By that I include any of the big guns like Lange, AP, L.U.C., Vacheron or Patek. These guys are in fact light years away from such finishes. Yes, these finishes are even above those of Voutilainen, Philippe Dufour and could even challenge the ever magnificent reign of Greubel Forsey. Look at this, judge, sit back and enjoy.

The only thing I am certain of is if Romain Gaultier were indeed one day to center its minutes and hours I would be looking for my piggy bank (life savings) like Jack Nicholson was looking, axe in hand, for his wife in the "Shining".

Memovox "International" UPDATE

This is the first official picture of the "International".

Details are as follows;

- Limited to 750 units in steel and 250 in rose gold.
- The oficial list price will be 8,250 € for the steel and 16.100 € for the rose gold version.
- The table stand will be sold separately and exclusively at the Boutiques as an accessory. The price will be 1,000 €

I find the price to be even more reasonable than anticipated. I guess that this is due to separating the stand from the piece. Quantities are within normal parameters. I guess that the decision to separate the "tablet stand" from the watch helps bring the price down. It is only logic to assume that some would rather spend 1.000 € less for the watch instead of having to forcefully buy a base they might not even want in the first place. The second benefit is that it will be available as an accessory to all those that have a regular Memovox. I can but applaud this decision. It's simply is a win-win situation for all. The watch is cheaper and anybody that owns a Memovox has the choice to purchase the base separately.

The base will be pretty much like it has been shown in the pictures bellow. It will be rhodium coated like the Atmos and the top will be padded with leather to prevent scratching. Actually the base fits so well it is only to prevent scratching the buckle when inserting the watch in the base.

Jaeger leCoultre...

P.s. I am still intrigued about where this base/stand came from. Once I have the proper data I will post here in that regard...

Memovox "International"

I am usually not in the game of making reportage bloging. However this time it is different. I have just been given a chance to test-drive the new, to be introduced in January, Memovox "International". At first I thought; "... 40mm, hmmm, too small for me" Being used used to be in the 44 to 46 range lately it did strike me to be a bit small at first . This reminds me that I should wear normal sized watches for a while or at least until I find 40mm normal again. Anyway, once on my wrist I could not help but be astonished at how strikingly elegant this was really is. For a moment I felt teleported to the 60's wearing a dark suit, white shirt, thin dark tie and the classic thick black Ray-ban sunglasses while crossing the TWA bridge at JFK Airport. When traveling had style and glamour, and flight attendants where graceful heavenly creatures. Almost hypnotizing to have something so 60's brand new on your wrist.

Needless to say that this is a first and nobody, I MEAN NOBODY, has published pictures of this piece yet. Yes, you saw it here first. By the way, I would hate to have to put watermarks on any of my pictures. If you want to use them, please go ahead but please have the grace to mention or even link where you got these photos from. Thanks in advance.

The second surprise is the prototype desk-stand. This is actually a replica of one that was sold originally with the Memovox in the past. Apart from being a stand for the Memovox it also amplifies the sound of the alarm. I really was smitten with the idea that they would bring this back. Awesome! Even if you are not the kind to take off your watch when at work or when asleep. This is a very cool accessory none the less.

The brass prototype of this stand/amplifier was clearly unfinished yet incredibly tight and well fitted to the Memovox. It is unclear what the indentation in the front was. Some believe it was possibly a thermometer, others a digital clock. This version will get a plate. This is pure speculation but it could be engraved in case of this being a gift. I still think one or two millimetres would have done this watch some good. And my only "but" is that the opening of the date does not have a steel frame like the previous Memovox. In this case I still have hope since this is not a 100% completed watch.

Since this was a prototype, a very well finished prototype, the details on the back are likely going to be different so there is no point in shoving it just now. The price will most likely be slightly higher than the Polaris. If the stand is part of the whole package I would estimate a 10% to 20% increase over the Polaris. Quantities are most likely going to range in the 1,000 range. Personally I can't but applaud these "vintage" editions. They are what many of us have been dreaming to have a chance to own one of these pieces of history.

Jaeger leCoultre...

P.999 "Starting to make sense again..."

Last year we where speechless with introduction of two new movements that where just unbelievably thick. The first around the 8 millimeter mark while the second almost reached 1 centimeter in thickness. Most stunning of all, they where (and maybe still are) meant to be used as base calibres to later add modules on top. Now let's add; 10 mm for the base, 5 mm for a 100 meters waterproof case, an extra 2 mm for a nice sapphire convex glass and a GMT or chrono module of another 3 mm. Now add this up. Hilarious...

Interestingly, almost a year later it looks like somebody has finally bashed some sense into Panerai and the P.999 seems to be what should have been introduced not in 2010 but in 2008 instead. The numbers are indeed much more coherent and noteworthy than the previous predecessors. At a thickness of 3.4 millimeters we are talking just the right size to add interesting stuff on top and not really make a burger out of it. The P.999 has also a 60 hour power reserve which is almost 50% more than the UNITAS commonly used in manual low range Panerais. Not enough to reach three days but a welcomed increased autonomy none the less. The architecture is nothing new yet without going into the debate if this is yet another evolution of a movement developed last century, I give them again browny points for the looks of their movements. Despite this being an evolution of something old (practically all modern movements today are evolutions) their looks at least are modern. I can't wait to see the finished product in Geneva at the SIHH if it looks anything like the render here than I must admit I will be impressed. My second concern will be to know if this indeed will replace the Unitas at Panerai completely. I guess that production of the P.999 is limited. By the looks of it they are trying to maximize cash just sticking it into a gold case at first. A production of 500 pieces (possibly across two years or more) is no way near enough to replace the Unitas across all lines. If the P.999 where indeed to be the replacement I can only say; It's about time.

The P.999 certainly looks great. As I said in the past, I like the looks modern and simple but well executed finishes of their movements. I am also a recent fan of the Radiomir yet this first edition (PAM00336) to receive the P.999 is inconsequential at best. A 42 mm rose gold is just not new. This could be a mistake though since looking at the past gold Radiomirs that have been ridiculously expensive have been hard sales, even back when almost everything was getting sold. If you are indeed in the market for a gold Panerai this is undoubtedly the way to go. If you are not, just pray for the P.999 in steel.


Navy Seal "ALDAO"

First, before you start reading this post I need to inform you of my bias in the matter. I confess that I am one of the "fortunate" few that will have one of these NSA on December 10th and you could even say that I share a friendship with that jeweler. Now that the cards are on the table you can take the next paragraphs as you like.

There has been quite a stir with this Special Edition "Navy Seal Alarm" at the forums lately. The piece is essentially the same as the original one except for one "small" modification. The inscription on the glass instead of on the alarm wheel. Unlike most might think, this is no small difference, in fact this was how the NSA was initially planed. The regular NSA will be made 1,500 times and 30 out of these will be made with the printing on the glass. Understandably some Jaeger Fans feel left out, yet with little reason if you ask me. I fear that if I should post this on any of the forums I might cause more harm than good I have decide to post most of the facts regarding this matter here. Even at the expense of seeming that I am trying to sell watches from a jeweler. Here is the story;

June 4th, a group of Spanish collectors have been invited by the jeweler "ALDAO" to be presented with the new "Navy Seal" collection during dinner. During casual conversation at dinner it was revealed to one of these collectors that in fact, unlike the prototype, the official production version will have the "Jaeger leCoultre" as well as the "300 meters waterproof" printed on the dial. This was certainly a step back, in fact many liked the NSA because of the printing on the glass rather than on the dial. During this revelation, the gentleman in that conversation asked if it could be ordered with the "original" printed glass. At that moment, a second gentleman asked if he too could have this done to his NSA. Shortly thereafter, and needles to say, all the others where quick to get wind of this petition and asked for the same option. As a gesture to these very good customers Jaeger kindly offered 10 Navy Seal Alarms to be discretely and exclusively sold through that jeweler. Obviously they where sold on the spot....Two months later there is word that the 10 will be no longer, instead they now will be 30. The reason being that some members of a well known international forum found out about this small series and felt left out. Understandably, they also asked to have the chance to acquire this piece. So in order not to leave anybody out of this series Jaeger decided to raise that quantities to 30 while keeping their word that ALDAO would keep the exclusive right to these pieces.

For some reason, those that vigorously voiced their desire to have the chance to get this piece have not been sharing this information with all the people they where supposed to (cheeky, cheeky...) and rightfully so some now feel left out. Here I not only include fellow watch addicts but also a certain point of sale that pressed insistently to have some of these 30 NSA. Interestingly, since he is not getting any he has simply decided not to share existence of this piece with any of his customers. Instead of sending these customers and give them the chance to own this particular piece there is just no mention of this anywhere. I am not mentioning names since without proof this is merely "here-say" yet who is involved knows what I am talking about. ;-) I have the feeling that some people have not ben completely honest here.

Now back to the watch; I mentioned in a post back in February that I do think that the printing on the inside of the glass simply completes the watch in a very special way. I hope that it's understandable to anybody that if given the opportunity to have the watch as I saw it (and fell in love with) I would naturally go for it without hesitation. There have been some people voicing their concern regarding the anti-glare coating, or rather lack-off, on the inside of the glass due to the printing. It is true that for some reason you can not have both. Yet, I had both versions in my hand... the one with the printed glass wins hands down, despite the fact that it is not coated. Because the dial has a mat-black finish the lack of anti-glare on the inside is really no factor at all. Actually the only time I have missed a coating such as this on the inside of a glass was on the AMVOX1 LE in Titanium. The grey shiny surface was sometimes a problem but only when walking outside or if you had halogen lamps right above your head. Other than that it was just fine.

Now to the sales pitch; The watch will be delivered to all those that bought the watch at a dinner after a whole-day event hosted by ALDAO and Jaeger leCoultre in Madrid on December 10th. The event in it self is a mystery but according to the people organizing it it will be well worth the afternoon and following dinner. The price is the same as the regular Navy Seal Alarm. I am not certain if the are many left but here is the way (if you are interested) to get in touch with them and if possible still get your hands on one;

ALDAO Joyeros

c/ Gran Via 15
Tel; + 34 91-521-6925 (ask for Jorge)
eMail: aldaojoyeria @

Good luck to all, may the hunt last for ever!

Jaeger leCoultre...

The ABSURD at its best

...?!? So let me get this straight, there is a shortage of 5070s and considerable problems to replace it with a non-Lemania manual chrono, and Patek blesses us with a Lady's manual chrono?!? I wonder if they made any research regarding the market's need for something like this. If they indeed made some research, whoever came up with this brilliant moment of infinite clarity deserves to be skinned alive. Here is when you hear from you average run-o-the-mill moron say; " Patek is Patek..." Incidentally, the truly dumbest comment you can make about any brand to date. If you ever hear this moronic statement, turn around and walk away... you are in a conversation with a retard. Anybody that says "Patek is Patek", "Rolex is Rolex" or "AP is AP" simply is an idiot, no doubt. What does this mean anyway? That "whatever is whatever" is always great or always bad? What a stupid thing to say... Anyway, let's leave morons aside and continue discussing this latest strike of "genius" by Patek.

The movement is really something that most of us, manual-chrono addicts, were longing for from Patek. 2010 was (and still might be) the year of the 5070 replacement, yet instead of presenting its successor we get hit with a whole truck full-o-nonsense. Nonsense, why? Simple. What woman would buy a 50k watch (about 75k in US currency) that is completely deprived of sex appeal or glamour what-so-ever, and on top it's a manual? Manual!?! Pssst, psssst... guys at Patek, women that like watches and like to buy things like this have tastes closer to men and generally dislike diamonds on a watch. Women that like diamonds on a watch want a watch that is featured in Glamour magazine and definitely must NOT need to be winded every day. Plus, let's face it, this piece is UGLY. It looks like a Daniel Jean-Richard, a Millenary and Aerowatch had a child in a nightmare-love-trangle. Yuck! What a waste of a perfectly beautiful movement.

I sincerely hope that Patek have something good for those of us that are waiting for the 5070's replacement next year. If they don't, many are going to fall on them like a ton of bricks since most already believe they are a year late. Patek's stand at the Basel fair 2009 was already a disappointment.

Well, now what? Should this movement be replacing the 5070's Lemania... don't you think after "this" it is slightly demeaning?

Patek Philippe...

P.s. Incidentally, I am going over the articles and I am just barely done pissing my pants. Apparently the design team was made up entirely of women "... so as to leave nothing to chance". What a pisser!!! They surely "left no chance" instead of "leaving nothing to chance". To make sure I wasn't biased I showed this to my wife, with my best pokerface (I swear!). Needless to say, she just looked at it in disbelief. At the risk of sounding misogynistic, I can honestly hope this "team" does not bless us with more of their creations. This Lady Chrono will be available only at the new Art-deco Salon in Paris (would love to see it. Did I mention that the one in Geneva looks like a brothel?). Expect this 7071R to be at the nº10 de la Place Vendôme a long, long... very long time.

"Quo impuber pernocta excrementado alborea"...*

Good riddance! I for once, am very happy Audemars Piguet is no longer sponsoring this event (America's Cup). As they say; "It was fun at the beginning..." but exuberant costs and a notable hike in prices just made this sponsorship inviable. The "Alinghi" theme by AP was indeed beginning to smell rancid. Only the first "City of Sails" was really a Blockbuster, the carbon "Team Alinghi" piece did only barely alright while the "Polaris" and "Alinghi" really struggled to be sold.

Personally I am ecstatic that AP have decided to keep their money and hope (pretty-please...) that there are NO more sponsorships in the future of any mainstream/popular events. As I mentioned before, the Alinghi theme was starting to smell more and more like a fish market rather than an exclusive Yacht-Club. I see no reason why AP would need to sponsor events and spend money in publicity stunts instead of using it for investigation. AP have reached all the recognition possible amongst watch lovers/collectors/aficionados and have no capacity to increase production to become a more "commercial" brand in a short time frame. It should be obvious by now that AP have no need to join forces with anybody to sell their watches. The Barrichello II was a hit NOT because of Rubens' driving skills but rather because the watch is a great piece of kit. Let's face it, AP sells regardless and despite Rubens, Arnold, Jay-Z, Sachin, Alinghi, Maserati or any other matter. The market is, amongst the initiated, very well penetrated and since they are not in the position to manufacture and supply to the rest of the world, such expenditures are frivolous at best, especially in the current economic times. AP should shine through its own merits of excellence and not bet on the success of third parties.

Now, there is a negative side to this change of sponsorship. The obvious degrading of the Alinghi series. As mentioned before, some where not hot sellers and I suspect that the arrival of an Alinghi Hublot (soon I bet...) their value will be going down a couple of notches. Since the official announcement, I have received three mails of fellow collectors wanting to sell their Alinghis. Some even the first and most desirable out of the collection. It is ironic that companies that are so brand conscious as watch manufacturers would invest such amounts of money in other companies or ventures where they have no control over decisions. If they only had a bit of sense they would add a clause that would not allow the sponsored party to be sponsored by any competitor for a period of five (or even ten) years, should the sponsoring agreement in the future not be renewed. You might think that this is extreme but when you initially put 8 million Swiss francs (for hot air) and a commitment/relationship of almost a decade on the table to have your name on a small portion of the sail, I do think you are entitled to cover your butt.

Signing with Hublot seems to be almost a vengeance from Alinghi's leadership for AP not agreeing with the new fees for the next America's Cup. By the way, it appears that AP is not alone and other sponsors have already decided to leave the team. Apart from the cost, there was also a certain "unease" about the arrogance of Alinghi's management. I guess that in a world of ungrateful pricks such things are expected. By no means do I know the whole story, nor do I pretend to. Yet here are the facts: AP sponsored the first boat, the "Be HAPpy", a boat to take part in a competition that no European country had won in a century from the only european country with no access to the sea. It was disqualified for several technical reasons (also known as cheating). After this success they come back with the Alinghi and AP supports them yet again. They win and everything is a big success. So big in fact that suddenly there was hardly a boat without a watch manufacturer somewhere on the sails... Now, all of this seems to be forgotten and despite the economic crisis in the luxury sector there is a considerable hike in price to sponsor Alinghi for the 33rd America's Cup. There is no agreement and the result is that Hublot, known to cannibalize the OffShore not only in looks but in strategy, signs the deal. Well, if you had any doubts that Bertarelli is an asshole, now you know for sure.

The moral of the story; You just can't work with assholes... No mater how big and successful they are, eventually you will get shitted upon.

What happens now? Well I hope that dropping the sponsorship of sail related events does not mean that the "marine" inspired line will be discontinued by AP. A proper and new Carbon Sail watch could still be attractive to many. Hell, let's go nuts and make it a regular production model!

Official announcement...

P.s. I can't wait for the first guy to enter an AP Boutique and ask; "Excuse me, do you have one of those Alinghi Hublot for sale?..." Would love to see the sales staff response after the 12th time...

*Latin for; "Who sleeps with children awakes soiled..." In other words; choose your partners wisely.


The "King Cobra" is finally here!

OK... I promise this is the last of the "ULTRA EXPENSIVE" pieces I will be commenting about for some time. This URWERK surely deserves more that just a few lines. Yes, after many months of expectation the latest wonder by URWERK does meet the expectations. As I have posted in the past, URWERK has succeeded with the King Cobra where Patek has failed. How many can say this? Very few...

This alternative means to display time is based on two rotating cylinders was indeed attempted by Patek 50 years ago. Whetter they managed it to work is not really certain since Albert's and Cottier's prototype is locked-up in the Patek museum in Geneva. By the way, what an ugly watch... In any case Patek either thought it was not economically plausible, not too Patek'ish... or just like me, they though it was NOT precisely the most attractive piece they ever made. The principle is inspired from Cadillac Cars from the 60's that had lateral speedometer displays. As the cylinders turn the hours and minutes progress displaying the correct time. It is a bit awkward at fist, as with all other URWERKs I guess, yet once you get the idea the time is quite easily readable. First the turning disks, than the rolling dice and now revolving cylinders. What's next? Quite frankly I have no idea. Every time I think that there are no more ways to display time somebody comes along and proves me wrong.

I was one of the few blessed to actually physically see and touch the functional prototype several months ago. I was smitten. The King Cobra is a big watch, but it wears surprisingly well. In any case I doubt that many will wear these since most are going to be kept in their owner's large vaults because they are going to be such a special piece. That is a pity since all the stuff from URWERK, even the most complicated, is actually meant to be used and enjoyed on a regular basis. Bare in mind that up until few years ago ultra-complicated watches where not really capable of working over extended periods of time. A brief interlude; Did you know that until the mid of las century less than 10% of the about 500 Tourbillon watches made actually worked?... Anyway, back to our mater at hand. The King Cobra is a very usable and wearable item and I sure hope to see it worn at least once, even if the odds to find one of 50 amongst 5 billion people is rather slim. Although, I must admit I have come across rarer watches in the past.

The CC1 will be executed 25 times in white and 25 (for 2010) in black. Knowing URWERK you can be sure this amount will be definitive. If you are amongst the lucky ones to have a healthy enough wallet to go after one of these, don't debate for too long. Rest assured that the King Cobra will be one of those watches that will have a preferential spot in the watch Elysium.


A. Lange & Söhne "ZEITWERK"

I can't disguise that I am very happy to see such a development coming from the house of Lange. Finally something REALLY new from the guys over in Dresden. Not only a way to get your hands on a clientele unknown to them so far but also to re-interest those that already share their philosophy. The new "Zeitwerk" is not just a Lange, it's a great Lange. What is very appreciated is that the Zeitwerk will be joining the catalogue as a regular production item and not a limited model. I can't stress enough the fact that ultra conservative manufacturers need sometimes to go crazy and come up with ideas that are revolutionary to their heritage. I guess the best example would be AP and their Royal Oak. Going "sport-steel" has opened a whole new and before unknown market for them (and others). Developments such as this can result in an interesting and profitable direction. New developments ensure the longevity of the brand. It is those that stay anchored in rancid principles of design and clinging to the past that are likely NOT to survive in more difficult times. The past should be regarded with respect but never as guide to fix one's goals for the future. A vintage edition might work a couple of times yet ultimately you will need to look in the future.

Could this be my first Lange? Quite possibly (however, my accountant (wife) might not entirely agree with the idea). This despite being the white gold version the most attractive to me and I just can't stand rhodium plated white gold... Even though I respect and appreciate practically all of Lange's work I never came across the right Lange for me. The "Datograph" is too thick and the proportions of the case seem just not right to me... The DoubleSplit's face is too boring, especially after somebody at the manufacture decided to remove the red in the power-reserve... The "Lange 1" has the hour and minutes hands on the wrong side of the dial... The "1815" is too small (although the latest one comes closer to being a candidate). The Turbograph is well out of my reach and so is the wonderful Richard Lange "Pour le Merite"... Well, there was always something in the way of adding something as wonderfully executed as a Lange. Until now.

With this DigiGraph... pardon me, Zeitwerk the story changes. It is different in every aspect as a Lange. Considering the complication, the high price seems well in the reasonable range. The Zeitwerk is different while remaining elegant and sporty at the same time. The movement is, as with all Langes, simply sublime. The beauty of the Zeitwerk's movement is probably only second to that of the DoubleSplit. Many might think that the 36 hour power reserve is a bit short. Don't be mistaken, a standard 42 hours power reserve is not much more useful since you still have to wind it every day (because it does not reach the full 48 hours/2 days). Because of the torque requirements needed to move and jump every minute the power reserve had to be shortened to maintain a level of accuracy acceptable to Lange. In any case, the Zeitwerk is equipped with a power-reserve indicator. So that resolves that point. Personally I am a huge fan of long power reserves but NEVER at the expense of accuracy.

On the negative part I still think that the germans get their proportions between thickness and wideness wrong. It is not so bad on the Zeitwerk yet a millimeter wider would have made the case more harmonious. The strap is also a bit thin at the case. The dial could have a bit more color but I guess sobriety was a must in this case like it is in all other Lange Watches.

My only worry is really the jumping minute mechanism. It's just a question of math. Take 60 and multiply by 24, then by 365. You will roughly end up with slightly more than 500,000 jumps a year. Imagine this in ten years? We are talking about close to 5 million jumps if you decide to wear it all the time! I can assure you that if it where any other manufacturer than Lange proposing this I would discard this watch for this reason alone. Yet, it is a Lange, and as far as I know they test their products for quite a long time before officially presenting. It is known in the sector that Lange's former CEO used to wear the prototypes on his wrist for a whole year before releasing it as a product. Fact or fiction, who knows? What I know is that Lange does give a sense of "safety" like a Mercedes. Both are a safe bet in all aspects...

A. Lange & Soehne...


Jaeger leCoultre is one of those "Houses" that never cease to amaze me. After the last years almost supernatural development of until now unseen horological exploits there is still room for more. Jaeger, as I have mentioned many times in the past, absolutely rules the market in the midrange complication. You will NOT get movements of this variety and complexity at any other manufacturer. The AMVOX2, Scuadra GMT or even the Duometre are simply unthinkable at these prices under more "prestigious" brand names. There is no question in my mind that Jaeger is by a landslide the most honest manufacture out there. It is undoubtedly one of the more prestigious watch manufacturers of our times. Wether one might like them or not, one thing is certain... they are a great piece of machinery. Yet, it does not share the "glamour" or "bling-bling" that houses like Patek or AP have, but adepts are growing at a steady rate. The advantage of not being a fashion item is that in the long run you only depend on yourself and the customers you have convinced. Contrary to fashion victims there are very loyal and are likely to stick with you for a long time.

After the Triptyque and the GyroTourbillon Jaeger sets the bar to an even higher level. The "Hybris Mechanica" is a jaw dropper. Whether it is the MOST complicated watch to date is generally a difficult statement to back. Here, however, it is not difficult at all. At least you could put it up there in the glorious "top ten" of all time. Don't be confused, that top ten is a very difficult place to be. Patek's calibre 89 and Richard's RM008 are two that I dare put in this category together with the Hybris Mechanica. The other seven spots I let you decide...

Essentially the Hybris Mechanica is a Grande Sonnerie including a Westminster Carillon with four hammers that includes a jumping hour regulator and perpetual calendar as its main functions. Upsss... forgot the flying Tourbillon. Just like in the Duometre the power reserves of the "sonnerie" and watch are separate. A new development is the activation of the repeater by pressing the crown instead of pulling a lateral trigger. The whole lot will be delivered in a special safety vault over 2,000 pounds heavy including a Gyro and a Triptyque. There will be only 30 sets of these available. Instead of getting into too much mechanical and technical details, many of which are not too clear yet, I am posting some pictures for your enjoyment. I will try to get a full technical explanation/resume in English for you. Once I have it, I will post it...

Now, back to business. The price will obviously be completely out of this world and considering a purchase is wishful thinking for all but a few. So why should this watch be of any consequence if there are going to be so few of them and so expensive? Easy. Because like with car prototypes there are things developed on products such as this that might one day find themselves into more affordable watches. Here are some things that jump to my mind when I see the Hybris;

- The crown to activate the Sonnerie. Could this be a way to dispose of the lateral trigger and improve on waterproof ratings on repeaters? Despite new material and miracle rubber gaskets these triggers are a nightmare to adequately waterproof.

- The style and philosophy of the Duometre is patent with the Hybris. This hopefully means that the Duometre "project" is alive and will keep evolving. A great development for watch lovers.

- Jumping hours, retrogrades and regulators could be back at Jaeger. For us watch lovers it would be great to see this in the Duometre philosophy.

- The fact that Jaeger had the BALLS to go ahead with this project despite the current economic situation. Many big projects such as this where put on standby by most other big companies. AP was the other exception. I do not want to be mean but, what novelties did Patek present this year in terns of horological development? A no-show like most others...

- The most surprising and what probably will be eclipsed by the Hybris is the new adjustable "Ardillon" buckle. Wonderful! At last the problem has been tackled and from the looks of it resolved!!! Out of all three variants; the deployant buckle, the butterfly buckle (just like the deployant but with two hinges so the buckle remains in the middle) and the classic ardillon... I always liked the ardillon because it was secure, thiner than a deployant and more comfortable. Except for sports watches the classic ardillon is still the best solution to fasten you strap. One of the problems with classic ardillons occurs in summer with swelling wrists. Most people need to their strap to another hole during summer because of the heat making you wrist swell. This meant that you have to remove the watch, at the risk of dropping it, and set it to a different hole. This also takes a tole on the leather strap causing it to wear much more quickly. With this new ardillon the problem has been solved. You get the flexibility to adjust size for heat without removing the watch and keep the comfort or a traditional ardillon.

Believe it or not, out of all the novelties included in this new marvel this is without a doubt the first I would love to see in regular production models. Hell, the second they have matching metals of this new ardillon for my cases I am getting one for all of my Jaegers!

Jaeger leCoultre...