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Having said that there are a few things that we can state. Also, we aren't watch makers so we can't go ultra in-depth comparing machine to machine as that level of insight isn't our forte. Swiss ETA movements produced by the Swatch Group are mostly excellent. From a sheer quality perspective these are hard to match. They may be common, they may not all be complicated, but they are durable and mostly very reliable. ETA produces a huge volume of movements each year, and has had decades to work out small issues in them in order to make some of the best mass-produced mechanical movements around. All things equal, they are fantastic.
This last point may not be an immediate concern to most, however, think about that TAG that you got handed down from grandpa in early 2000s... Now imagine if that watch was from the house of Breguet instead. Well, you'd now know when and where he bought that watch visiting Europe after the war. And that my friend is priceless...
I want to add that I've been regularly impressed by the quality and fit and finishing of Harry Winston's most high-end timepieces when it comes to their final retail models. This includes Opus collection watches as well as Histoire de Tourbillon pieces. While the prototypes they show us are good enough, it is the final retail versions that look best. Writers like us rarely get to see these pieces, but on the rare occasions that I have, I am really happy with the results.
This topic is really important. And discussing it is going to piss off a lot of people, but I need to get it off my chest. Funny enough, due to a mix-up on our end, this article was published before it was finished, retracted, and then eventually completed. Cries of censorship filled our inbox! Consider this a follow-up to a previous article I penned that discussed Why Watches Are So Expensive. OK, this isn't exactly news to many people, but watches are really expensive. And to be honest with you, they are usually too expensive. Way too expensive - and whether that is good or bad is another topic. This (longish) article is about value, and what the hell happened to it. It actually isn't just about the watch industry and I am not really trying to advocate for change, but rather using the luxury industry perspective to discuss a particular set of observations.
Necessary Data >Brand: Breitling >Model: Chronomat 44 GMT >Price: ,820 >Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes >Friend we'd recommend it to first: Someone with at least one professional vehicle license who wants a handsome daily wear. >Worst characteristic of watch: Hard to keep polished steel case 'mint' looking >Best characteristic of watch: Sensible all-around luxury watch that doesn't make you feel like a one percenter.
I have no word yet on the price but it should be the least of your concern. Customers who bought the previous version had to sign an agreement stating that they would bear the costs of a rescue intervention should the distress beacon be set off. Also, the beacon needs to be rearmed at the factory after every use which makes this watch something that you don't hand over to your 5-year-old son to play with, lest you find rescue helicopters above your house. As a serious instrument for professionals, this is no plaything, yet somehow I have the feeling that customers who buy this watch will know what they are going in for.
In addition to a slew of many other salivation-worthy watches, 2013 greets us with this new version of the well-known and pretty darn cool Zenith Christophe Colomb. Now a staple of the brand's "Academy" collection of more complicated watches, the Christophe Colomb has been executed in a number of versions. Zenith enthusiasts will recall that the history of the watch's gimble-style escapement assembly started a while ago with the Defy Xtreme Zero-G Tourbillon watch that pre-dated the Christophe Colomb collection. When Mr. Dufour took over Zenith a few years ago he re-purposed the unique complication into something much more interesting and desirable.
This Calibre 1887 Jack Heuer Special Edition is easily the most striking and unique out of all the 1887's out there. In fact Tag Heuer has shown a concept piece that looks remarkably similar in the main aspects. The Tag Heuer Carrera CMC Concept Chronograph Watch, which we looked at here, also has the Calibre 1887 movement mounted Bullhead style in a Mikrogirder shaped case.
The Ivresse as pictured above is Badollet's latest creation and is certainly a magnificent watch. Its distinctively curved case, rich blue and uncluttered dial is the sort of watch that is memorable enough to launch a brand from obscurity into the realm of public consciousness. Indeed, when I first saw pictures of this watch, it was elegance exemplified. An aesthetic rigor pervades its design, pulling in a combination of a brushed chapter ring against a blue backdrop on the dial, with the Badollet logo at 12 o' clock, set against curved and polished surfaces of the platinum case.
Dimensions of the movement: Overall diameter: 33.00 mm
Casing-up diameter: 30.40 mm
Overall height: 5.20 mm
Height of winding stem: 1.80 mm
Diameter of stem thread: S0.90mm
But what maybe is the most important aspect of this Navitimer and also explains the nice, short, 01 moniker is the movement. It's the first Breitling manufacture movement, the B01. This is the same movement used in the Chronomat B01 and other newer Breitling models. That same movement is also the basis for the Breitling B02 and B03 in-house variations. It is a classic column-wheel chronograph design which is typically agreed by most to be a better design for a chronograph than alternatives like lever or cam actuated movements. While being a common design and not revolutionary, creating a new completely in-house column wheel chronograph is no small feat and pushing the guarantee to five years shows the brand's confidence on the reliability of that new movement.
The blued titanium hands are lovely to look at and elegant in their design. The overall impression is one that calls your attention as most people have never seen a watch dial like this. Matched to the elegant case, this watch satisfies both the desires of watch nerds as well as the needs of a fashionable elite - a difficult thing to achieve for sure.
One of the new Devon watches for 2013 to be presented at Baselworld will be this Exoskeleton version of the Tread 1 (reviewed here). This will be Devon's highest-end watch to-date. While the core electro-mechanical movement from the Tread 1 remains more or less the same, and the overall design is certainly "Tread 1", this piece is a different beast altogether. For one thing Devon is thinking about making it in precious materials such as 18k white or rose gold. More importantly, it will be highly "skeletonized."
It's not hard to understand the appeal of the Calibre 16 versions for someone who may have had a faithful quartz model for years and is now looking for an upgrade. That buyer now has a familiar option to stack up against a Calibre 16 Carrera or Link Chronograph as they move into the mechanical range of TAG Heuer's lineup. Given the age of the Formula 1 line, this is a natural evolution of the line, especially as more and more buyers are looking for mechanical watches. With pricing starting around 3000 CHF, the Calibre 16 Formula 1 does represent a big jump in the price over the current Formula 1 range. What do you think? Would you wear an automatic Formula 1? While I like the look of these new Formula 1 models, if it were my cash, it would be hard to resist the urge to opt for a Monaco or a Carrera. TAGheuer.com
Who can blame them? I have to admit, I really do love glossy pages. However, the numbers don't always coincide with what is on the minds of the top guys in Switzerland. Readership of watch media online absolutely dwarfs that of print - including the non-watch focused luxury lifestyle publications. Nevertheless, the Swiss evolve - albeit at an arguably slow pace. The point of even discussing that is to mention that growth for top online watch websites is still something slower than one might expect given our traffic numbers. At least for the time being.
I really like the look of this Frecce Tricolori special edition. The large hands, markers and bezel give the Chronomat a diver-like appeal and the brushed case avoids the rather flashy vibe that often characterizes much of Breitling's modern styling. The chronograph is pilot-ready as well, offering central seconds with 1/4th seconds resolution backed by both a 30 minute and a 12 hour totalizer. Lastly, there is a date feature with a dial-matched white-on-black design between the four and five o'clock markers.