Porsche Design "P'6920"

I wonder... there is nothing really extraordinary about this Valjoux rattrapante, apart from sharing the only good looking "Porsche Design" design by Eterna. At what price will the P'6920 be presented at? Similar products range at around 5,000 € with the IWCs going close to the 12,000€ mark. What about this one?

This new rattrapante takes after the design of the unique Porsche "Indicator". (If you ask me, they should make them all in this design and drop the other crap.) This rattrapante is a very attractive watch. Unlike the Indicator it is of a more humane size. Its proportions are 45 mm wide and 15 mm thick. These proportions are very similar to an AP OffShore. The original Indicator was practically a burger, not by choice of design but because of the complexity of the movement. The chrono indications for minutes and hours are displayed by two rotating disk unlike the classic hands. Probably less efficient when needing a quick read but looks good to me. On the negative side; I would have killed that crummy date indicator at three o'clock, or at least have a date in a small window.

Commercially it is risky that Porsche Design would go ahead and do this piece disregarding the feelings of people that paid a whole lot for an Indicator. This is probably why I have the feeling it will not be cheap. Hence, in this economy, a total disaster. Piss-off their own customers and gain no new ones. Smart...

I guess that the success of this piece ultimately boils down to price. Most other Valjoux rattrapante sold are more prestigious in name (actually, all are!). Especially IWC. So, I would think that this P'6920 should be no more than 12,000€. Compensating for lack prestige is the design of the watch that makes it somewhat different to similar products. Personally I would think that 9,000€ would be a very competitive price and could actually turn this Porsche design to be a hit. Well, if they pretend to go after AP's OffShore market and place this at 15,000€... than it is obvious that there are some people at Eterna smoking the wrong kind of Ganja! But, If they are going to price this in the 19,000€ range than they are headed for a Zenith Defy Xtreme crash!!! Believe me, people are just not THAT retarded.

Porsche Design...

MB & F "HM2 Ceramic"

Almost forgot! I was finally face -to-face with the new HM2 in its ceramic variant. As expected, it's a great piece!

I must admit that I am a bit disconcerted. I am not really a big fan of "horizontal" watches yet the HM2 has me sold. Maybe because it is actually thin and perfect for a jacket or simply because it transgresses the classic boundaries of watch case designs. I don't know. The only thing I know is that the more I see it, the more I understand it. This coming from a guy that is more and attracted to boooring classical pieces. Weird.

I really think that the MB&F pieces are not marketed the proper way. There is no real sense of what the watch looks like on the wrist. It is imperative for them to have commercial wrist-shots. Professionally made pictures similar to the ones made by Dunhill when selling cufflinks. This would be the only way to really give an idea of size proportion and how well the pieces really sit on the wrist. I have already described the general feel of the watch on the wrist in a previous post (here...) yet unless people can really see the pieces there is little that can be done to convey the real fit of the pieces.

As I mentioned earlier, ceramic in this piece is definitely the way to go. It reduces the visual impact and adds a very welcomed scratch resistance. Perfect combination. Although it looks easy and straightforward to make, I held the ceramic plate in my hand and my first thought was; " this thing must have been a nightmare to machine..!" When asking Max about this he not only corroborated that but told me that for a short while it was uncertain that they could be made at all. Thank good for his persistence they will be made after all. Ufff... close call.

MB & F...

RM004v2: What legends are made of...

Regardless of what I think of the RM025 "hockey-puck" (sorry, couldn't help it...) there is one aspect here that I find particularly interesting. The removal of the "rattrapante" function from this variant of the RM008 calibre. Oddly, few have commented about that calibre modification and its commercial consequences. This is a very interesting development as far as I am concerned. Could it be that the RM008v2 and especially the RM004v2 are close to see their end? Will they be substituted by the same movement but without the ratrapante complication?

I am almost certain that the RM004v2 is far from being a profitable watch to Richard Mille. Most of the difficulty in this piece is due to the rattrapante complication. Believe me, despite the price, you are getting much more for your money than you are really paying for. When analyzing quantities that can be produced and difficulty in making, this watch should be up in the price range with a Tourbillon. Fortunately for all those who are lucky enough to have one the price is not in that range. (I guess it would be difficult to explain the Tourbillon price without the Tourbillon...) A while back, not having a RM004 would have meant that there was a substantial gap between the first prices (RM005) and the second prices (RM002). Without the RM004 the gap would have been of almost 200k. Don't get me wrong, the RM004 was never meant to be a "filler". It was in fact one of the first projects by RM. To completely design a new Chronograph from scratch posed an immense challenge. to this day I believe that it only saw the light because of political and not commercial reasons. Demand was brutal for the RM004 with 400 outstanding orders and a production limit of 15 to 25 pieces per year... you do the math. With the arrival of the RM011 it was foreseen that demand for the RM004 would calm down. Many that wanted a Richard Mille Chrono would turn for a RM011 instead. Unfortunately, or I should say fortunately, this was not the case. The RM011 went like hot cakes while the demand for the RM004 did not decrease. In fact it has become, despite criticism, a "grail" watch today more than ever. (Surprising, considering its price.) Although them both being chronos by RM (saving some distance...) they simply appeal to two completely different crowds. Hence, the supply/demand problem for the RM004 still persists. RM004s are, despite the crisis, still hard to come by.

With the new RM025 and the removal of the rattrapante complication this could change. I have always thought that the RM004v2 would not last. Manly because of the complexity of the manufacturing. The removal of the rattrapante complication could mean a way to cheapen the product for the customer, make it easier to manufacture and more viable for RM. Quite frankly, apart from the breathtaking beauty of a rattrapante movement what is it really good for? Could it be that many out there would trade that with a flyback, less complicated to manufacture, sturdier and 30k cheaper RM004 version? Or would you not? Could this mean that there could be a RM021,22 or 23 along that line? Hard to say but it would make sense. I am being a bit hypocritical here since I would go for the rattrapante hands down, yet I understand that others would rather have option "B".

Richard Mille...

Linde Werdelin "SpidoLite"

There sure is a lot of stuff going on at Linde Werdelin lately. Considered the ultimate gadget watch by many, Linde Werdelin is moving into a hole new league with their latest introductions. To be honest, it is hard to look away. The "Sea Instrument" is a great piece of kit and the new "Land Instrument" could leave electronics like the Suunto bitting the dust. Electronics-wise you could find similarities with B&O. Fantastic design, ease of use and functionality are key here. You will always have detractors saying that it is just too expensive and that you can get the same hardware at a lesser price. Yes, could be true, yet ironically all the stuff I own from B&O looks good still today. My twenty year old B&O music system still sits happily in the bedroom, with the consenting approval of my wife that is. Could you say the same about your twenty year old SONY?

Generally in the electronics segment these factors are often overlooked and users get rather complicated, under-designed and untested tools that are many times supplied with instructions booklets the size of telephone listings. When this happens it's simply because they cut the development and testing expenses. The less work they make at the final stage of the product, the more YOU need to work in order to operate the phone, camera, stereo, television, etc... With their two instruments LW have done much of that work for you already. Operating the instruments becomes child's play. Many people overlook the fact that it is the software and testing that take the longest. In some cases this is more expensive than the development of the hardware.

After the very welcomed "Black-DLC" there is a new LW. The "SpidoLite" is not only a new development but also different direction for LW. The open dial titanium SpidoLite is a show by itself, yet with a movement by Svend Andersen they are tackling a whole new kind of crowd. The selection of Svend Andersen for the movement of the SpydoLite is a bit awkward for most yet a very interesting choice. Probably more interesting than if it where any of the usual suspects like Valjoux, Unitas, Vaucher, GP, etc... This choice could actually work since most of us like contradictions. Like a classic independent watchmaker inside a modern sports watch for instance? The black-DLC SpidoLite with the yellow sapphire looks the part. I hope that on the final version it will be like the Milgauss where the green is only predominant on the edges of the sapphire crystal. Prices will be around the 8,000 € for the Svend Andersen version. I have no info on the others yet but expect them to be lower.

Linde Werdelin was a personal bet of mine and I am very happy with the way the company is facing the future. As a watch nut and electronics addict this certainly was a product made for me. With the latest development I can't but agree. The designs look great and give the LWs a new dimension. There are more news on the way to be presented this year. I can't wait to see these in Basel this year.

Linde Werdelin...

P.s. I would like to now what you guys think of these new pieces and LWs new strategy. Right, wrong? Positive and negative comments are welcomed...

URWERK "Tarantula"

Apart from the Cobra, the star at URWERK this year was the very anticipated "Tarantula". It was worth the wait. I don't cease to be amazed at the versatility of the 103. The options seem to be endless. The 103 is an incombustible machine. The Tarantula is stainless steel treated with AlTiN (Aluminium, Titanium, Nitride). This renders the Tarantula only second hardest after a diamond. The AlTiN finish gives it a mat shine that is different from their previous "BlackBird" versions that where blackened platinum. Both are unique and very different in feel and touch. The Tarantula is also considerably lighter than gold and platinum (obviously...) making it very comfortable to wear. The black effect makes it also look smaller, dramatically smaller than the precious metal versions. It feels like a sports watch despite it being initially a dress piece. In truth, it is so radically different from the classic 103s that getting a Tarantula, even if you already own a rose or white gold 103, does not pose any conflicts. Despite them being the same watch I would not be surprised if most buyers for this piece are already URWERK owners and have no plans to sell their current URWERKs (if they can afford to keep both that is...).

The new open top displays the function of the hour satellites to a maximum. Unlike the previous models the disks rotate several times before reaching the desired time. The classic 103s rotated the disks outside the field of view. The new frame on top of the satellites helps the owner to concentrate on the actual time. Understandable since with all in the top open it would be spectacular (especially at night) yet very confusing for a quick read. I initially feared that "because" of that frame the Luminova would not charge, yet this is unfounded. The Luminova charges to its fullest amount in 30 minutes with a normal light source and should last for over 48 hours. After one hour the intensity will have settled evenly amongst all Luminova indices. This means that after several hours into the night it will be of no consequence that all Luminova is charged or not at the same time. There is actually an upside to this new design. Luminova is perishable and the more you charge it the sooner it will loose performance and start to age. With this new frame you prevent unnecessary and prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

Despite the Tarantula being one of my favorites this year I can't help but feel that it is time for the 103 to move on. It might be time to start setting the plans for a 104. Sometimes the best way to preserve the past is to look into the future. If there is interest to maintain the unique character on the 103 at a suitable heir would be needed. Too many versions end up confusing customers and stretching the possibilities of collectors. The Tarantula would be the perfect occasion for a transition to a new 100 series URWERK. There is no telling when and what is in URWERK's pipeline. What ever it is I have the feeling it will be more than just notable.


URWERK "Cobra"

Going to visit URWERK has become one of the highlights of every SIHH. I am still amazed that such a small watchmaker is capable of developing and presenting new things every year. While giants like Jaeger or AP have a wast amount of resources and brainpower, small manufacturers like URWERK that produce about of 200 units per year rely on the proficiency of their founders alone. It must be an incredible effort to be able to bewitch watch lovers year upon year. The new "Cobra" (that will officially be presented in April) simply bogles the mind. To think that this is based on a Prototype by one of the great Patek watch makers is simply extraordinary. When Luis Cottier (father of Patek's "World Time") made this piece, completely out of his traditional path of design, Patek simply was not up to the task nor had the guts to make these. In fact, it is not really clear if the original Cobra actually works. Cottier's Cobra landed in the Patek Philippe museum as an oddball. It is only now, over 50 later that Felix and Martin resuscitate the Cobra.

The idea is to use a linear indication of time with the means of two cylinders. both are placed in parallel and as the rotate they give a linear display of time. Graphically similar to the Cadillacs from the 60's but completely different in concept and in difficulty.

Even if they say that the Cobra is a titanic feat, I am not sure they are yet conscious of their extraordinary achievement. There is no doubt in my mind that Felix and Martin are going to be part of horological history in the future. With understandable doubts in the minds of collectors as to the longevity of brands during hard times such as these, I am certain that URWERK will not only prevail but grow. Martin is a design "monster" and Felix has his feet well planted on earth like few in this business.

In any case, I have seen the piece, there are two working and fully finished pieces and they are simply mind-boggling. Unfortunately it will be presented in April and until then there will be no more info... darn.


Jaeger leCoultre "Grande Reverso"

The other pleasant novelty of this years SIHH is the oversize and ultra-slim Reverso. I can't begin to tell you how happy I was when these where first rumored to be in the pipeline. At last I had the chance to see them in the flesh. Finally a Reverso that would fit a large size wrist! It was long overdue if you ask me. The mythical Reverso was shrinking these last years due to everything else around it growing. Despite the latest and larger Reversos, they where still not quite the proper size. Even the previous large 8-Day manuals where a tad too small. The introduced Squadra did not really fill that need either. It is a more sporty version of the Reverso but not really a classic Reverso. Now, these new resized pieces are another story. Simply perfect in size while remaining as thin as posible. Exceptionally elegant and refined despite the increase in size. Unlike others that get bigger and often loose in class, the new Reverso actually gains in that respect.

There are two models presented for now. A simple version with a sapphire back and a duo-face in black and white. Both are very aggressively priced with the base starting at slightly over 4,000 € and the duo-face under 7,000 €.

When I see these I can't help but dream for an 8-Day GMT or a Grande Sport Chrono in this large but slim Reverso case. If these work commercially expect more to come in the future.

Jaeger leCoultre...