Monthly Archives: September 2016

vacheron constantin traditionnelle repetition minutes tourbillon closeup



Three months before 2017’s SIHH, the Genevan brand has given us a preview of a fine watch design that’s only available from its stores.

The Traditionnelle collection captures the soul of Vacheron Constantin’s gift for watchmaking. It epitomises over 250 years of mechanical expertise, artistic style and passion from the brand based in the Geneva canton and founded in 1755. Holding such a beautifully made piece as the new Traditionnelle répétition minutes tourbillon, even if it’s just for a few minutes, makes your heart sing.

In terms of design, the watch makes a statement with its perfectly proportioned and curvaceous 44mm platinum case, its shimmering silver or slate grey dial highlighted by the hand-engraved barley pattern and the softly spinning tourbillon. In terms of function, the crystal-clear but powerful gong rings on demand when you press the pusher and chimes the hours, quarters and minutes. Its sweet melody doesn’t just play a timekeeping role but is also soft on your ear.

vacheron constantin traditionnelle repetition minutes tourbillon closeup

The hours and minutes on the Traditionnelle répétition minutes tourbillon’s decorated dial are tracked by two white gold hands slightly off-centre to give the tourbillon pride of place at 6. The tourbillon lies in an openwork Maltese cross-shape cage topped by a seconds hand and fuelled by the manual wind 2755 TMR calibre that has a low frequency (2.5Hz, 18,000 beats per hour) and brings to life the 58-hour power reserve.

This model is only available in Vacheron Constantin stores and also comes in rose gold with a shimmering silver dial.

Price: 483,000 CHF (platinum model)

By Sharmila Bertin

frederique constant classics automatic heart beat closeup



Frédérique Constant has unveiled two new seriously classic pieces fuelled by a self-winding movement.

Notched case, grooved ball crown, engine-turned dial, black Roman numerals, “vintage” hands: the Plan-les-Ouates brand whisks us back in time with two new Classics Automatic Heart Beat models inspired by early 19th century design. Two key features snap us back into the present: the so-called “Heart Beat” display on the dial that often appears in Frédérique Constant watch collections and the cutting-edge movement you can glimpse through the back of both pieces.

frederique constant classics automatic heart beat closeup

The brand founded in 2004 has made the “Heart Beat” its trademark, a visual signature that enables the watch’s owner to gaze at the escapement’s endless performance like a beating heart. The Plan-les-Ouates watchmaker also designs and makes its own movements such as the self-winding FC-312 calibre fuelling the Classics Automatic Heart Beat’s functions and 40-hour power reserve.

The 39mm case comes in steel or yellow gold-plated steel; you can see the movement fuelling the hands on the dial through the sapphire caseback. The shimmering silver dial has three different engine-turned designs. The hour rim near the chapter ring has a circular pattern whilst a pleated sunburst design radiates from the centre. The instantly recognisable pyramid-shape Clous de Paris pattern sits comfortably between both. Two black Breguet hands with openwork “pomme” tips track the hours and minutes in the centre of the dial. The gold-bevelled “Heart Beat” takes pride of place at 12.

Price: 1860 CHF (steel) – 2110 CHF (yellow gold-plated steel) /

By Sharmila Bertin



Jaeger-LeCoultre has put all its mechanical and artistic expertise into supporting an Italian architectural gem.

The Vallée de Joux watchmaker has a close bond to the fabulous Venetian city. It has sponsored the annual Venice Film Festival that began in 1932 for a decade and Jaeger-LeCoultre is a patron of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco whose renovation it is funding. The 16th century building played host to a congregation of wealthy people to protect the most destitute and combat illness such as the plague. It is now under renovation so to support the restoration of this architectural masterpiece home to an amazing collection of work by Tintoretto (1518-1594) among others, the watch brand has put its incredible artistic expertise into a unique piece: the Reverso Grande Taille Scuola Grande di San Rocco.

jaeger lecoultre reverso scuola san rocco painting

Built between 1545 and 1550, the marble staircase taking pride of place in the Scuola di San Rocco (patron saint of pilgrims and protector of man and beast against illness) inspired the stunning miniature artwork on this Reverso. The stone construction is depicted in enamel playing on incredible contrasts and nuances. The artist has used few colours and put all his talent into faithfully reproducing the marble right down to its texture on a small “canvas”. It took over 3 weeks of work, 30-odd drying and 15 firing sessions to bring to life this miniature painting using enamel, a traditional decorative art that Jaeger-LeCoultre is an expert in.

A photo of the Reverso Grande Taille Scuola Grande di San Rocco posted on the watchmaker’s Facebook page in early September raised 15,000 EUR for the building’s renovation. Every time the image got a “Like” for that week, Jaeger-LeCoultre made a donation.

This miniature painting appears on the back of a Reverso Grande Taille yellow gold 42.2x26mm case. The hours and minutes on the dial are fuelled by a manual wind JLC822 mechanical calibre.

Unique piece

By Sharmila Bertin

ulysse nardin diver chronograph monaco soldat


Ulysse Nardin, captain of the watch frigate.

The Le Locle-based watchmaker is celebrating its 8th year as official sponsor of the Monaco Yacht Club with a limited edition chronograph.

The Principality of Monaco is a city state covering barely 2.02km² with a population of over 37,000. It lies 20km from Nice on the Côte d’Azur and has been ruled by Prince Albert II of Monaco for over a decade. The monarch is passionate about sailing and supports the Monaco Yacht Show (MYS), a one-of-a-kind exhibition that has brought together over 120 yachts in the Monaco port since 1991. The next event (September 28th-October 1st 2016) is epitomised by a design by the watchmaker Ulysse Nardin, an official partner of the MYS for 8 years.

The Le-Locle brand has unveiled a limited edition watch (100 available), the Diver Chronograph Monaco, whose colours and patterns bring to mind the blue and navy Mediterranean and the white and red Monaco flag. Monaco’s coat of arms is also engraved on the sapphire crystal caseback.

ulysse nardin diver chronograph monaco soldat

The 44mm steel case is waterproof to depths of 300m making it a perfect ally for water sports fans. It’s topped by a bidirectional notched bezel whose blue rubber ring is adorned by waves and a red minute track. The screwdown crown and pushers are also in rubber-coated steel.

Navy diamonds flood the blue dial surrounded by white markers shot through with red. The openwork hour and minute hands in the centre have the same design. The chronograph features are coated in red: central seconds hand, minute counter at 3 and hour counter at 6. The blue small seconds at 9 sink into the background whilst the 12-hour counter and date display lie at 6.

The self-winding mechanical UN-150 calibre fuels the functions and 48-hour power reserve.

Price: 12,500 CHF

By Sharmila Bertin

bovet 19-thirty diamonds


From pocket to wrist, from 1930 to 2016.

The Fleurier watchmaker based in Val-de-Travers at the top of Neuchâtel has unveiled a gold version of the collection launched in 2015.

1930s Europe and America was a golden age in several industries. The interwar period was a time for post-war reconstruction and innovation despite the Wall Street Crash in 1929. The Roaring Twenties were in full swing in France and sparked a wealth of creativity and artistry. Transport, especially personal transport, underwent an unprecedented boom in the car and aviation sectors. Watchmaking changed too. Watches gradually moved from the pocket to the wrist; they got smaller, housed new complications and this primarily aesthetic modification is what the collection 19Thirty by Bovet is based on.

The Fleurier-based brand in the Neuchâtel canton brought out a steel watch collection last year. Now the range has been given a rose gold case and engine-turned dial to elevate its precious side.

bovet 19-thirty diamonds

The new 19Thirty comes in three dial colours (blue, black or brown) bearing an hour rim with a choice of three fonts (Arabic, Roman or Chinese numerals) to perfectly match the rose gold glow. Two different sized engine-turned discs coated in colourful translucent enamel seem to softly clash. The biggest at 12 features the hours and minutes with two gold Foundation-style hands and the smallest at 6 has the small seconds counter with a hand topped with gold dot. The power reserve indicator lies at 3.

The 42mm rose gold case houses Bovet’s manual wind 15BM04 calibre that brings to life the functions and 7-day power reserve.

Price: 28,500 CHF / 38,500 CHF (with diamonds on bezel)

By Sharmila Bertin

montblanc boheme exo-tourbillon slim jewellery


The perfect pairing of jewellery and fine watchmaking celebrated by Montblanc

The feminine and dazzling Bohème accessorises its dial with an ExoTourbillon and a skilful play on materials and colours

If you still think that complications are just for men then get with the programme: it’s 2016. Women can do whatever they want! Montblanc’s design means ladies no longer have to choose between technique and aesthetic with a stylish bejewelled piece oozing the Hamburg brand’s prestigious and innovative expertise. The name in itself brings to mind a sense of freedom: Bohème ExoTourbillon Slim Jewellery.

The 38mm watch looks fabulous in its rose gold gown trimmed with diamonds from the bezel to the lugs. The in-house self-winding MB M29.24 calibre fuels a 48-hour power reserve.

montblanc boheme exo-tourbillon slim jewellery

Its shimmering white mother-of-pearl dial is elevated by a central disc paved with 144 diamonds and bears two gold leaf-shape hands that glide along the floral Arabic numerals and pearlescent minute track. But the star of the show performs at 6: the famous ExoTourbillon. Montblanc’s patented innovation twirls to its heart’s content and its red arrow tracks the seconds.

The Bohème ExoTourbillon Slim Jewellery is bang on trend and its interchangeable strap means it can match any outfit. You don’t need any tools; just press a subtle button and detach the calfskin straps. The five fashionable colours are a feast for the eyes: cappuccino (melt-in-the-middle caramel), apricot orange, poppy red, island blue and turquoise.

Price upon request

By Sharmila Bertin



The legend of the oceans is back!

Corum has unveiled new takes on its famous watch intrinsic to the sailing world

Corum was founded in 1955 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the checkerboard town at the foot of the Jura hills in the Neuchâtel canton. Five years later it designed a watch that’s now a brand icon: Admiral’s Cup. Over time this square watch with a sailboat engraved on the back was redesigned in 1983 (with pennant flags on the dial and a dodecagonal bezel) and again in 2006. This same collection was chosen to celebrate Corum‘s 60th anniversary in 2015 with the unveiling of the Admiral’s Cup Legend 42 Flying Tourbillon.


This year the brand has launched a watch with the sporty collection’s signature design: Admiral Legend 42 Automatic. It comes in two dial colours, white ivory and navy, with the same applied pennant time markers painted and placed on a blue background, the famous twelve-sided bezel and geometric shape on the chapter ring. The two silver openwork dauphine-shape hour and minute hands lie in the centre whilst the current seconds appear in a counter off-centre at 6 which brings to mind a ship’s wheel. The date display lies discreetly in a pennant flag at 3.

The 42mm steel case is fuelled by a self-winding CO395 calibre that you can glimpse through the sapphire back. The movement fuels the time and date functions along with the 42-hour power reserve.

Price: 3,900 CHF

By Sharmila Bertin

zenith el primero 36000 vph close up


When the star of the Zenith collections is laid bare

The Le Locle brand has reworked the El Primero Lightweight for the iconic El Primero 36.000 VpH.

Barely 2 years have passed since Zenith unveiled a watch designed using ultra-light hi-tech materials in the first half of 2014: the limited edition El Primero Lightweight (25 available). Not only is it featherweight (25% lighter than the classic model) but the watch also has a stunning black checkerboard on the ceramicised carbon and aluminium case with an openwork dial reminiscent of stylised metal lace featuring El Primero’s signature counters.

The star-logo brand has given this fabulous piece an update, in terms of design and mechanism at least. Presenting the El Primero 36.000 VpH, a characterful and relatively affordable watch with a chronograph measuring 1/10th of a second.

zenith el primero 36000 vph close up

The 45mm steel case houses a legendary movement that you can see through the sapphire crystal back: the self-winding El Primero 400B calibre. It fuels the power reserve that lasts over 50 hours as well as the time, chronograph and date functions.

The carefully carved dial is rimmed by a gunmetal chapter ring bearing the tachymeter scale. It features the three famous overlapping counters in different colours. The silvery small seconds lies at 9 and the petrol blue minute counter at 3 stands next to the anthracite hour counter at 6. The date display has openwork numerals on a red background at 6. Three hands appear in the centre of the contemporary metallic embroidery: luminescent rhodium-plated hours and minutes and the scarlet-coated chronograph seconds hand with an openwork star-shape counterweight.

Price: 7,100 CHF

By Sharmila Bertin

closeup of the breitling navitimer gmt aurora blue


Breitling’s icon turns blue for the happy few

The watch brand specialising in pilot’s watches has brought out a bright blue limited edition of its famous timepiece.

Aurora may sound poetic but it’s actually inspired by a stealth reconnaissance plane produced by the US in the 1980s. Now you know, it makes total sense since Breitling is the contemporary pilot watch specialist due in part to the aviation slide rule around its models. The inspiration has created a blue that’s somewhere between midnight and petrol on the dial of the new Navitimer GMT Aurora Blue by the Granges-based brand (in the Swiss Soleure canton).

There are just 1000 of the chunky limited edition chronograph available making it even more precious to the brand’s fans. Its sporty version comes with a tone-on-tone blue rubber strap whose grooves bring to mind a plane’s landing gear.

closeup of the breitling navitimer gmt aurora blue

There’s a quartet of hands in the centre of the blue dial framed by an ivory chapter ring: wide, silver and luminescent for local time and minutes; metallic and red-tipped for 24-hour local time; all red for the chronograph seconds. The current seconds tick down in one of three hollowed blue counters at 9 whilst the chronograph counters lie at 3 and 6 (minutes and hours respectively). The low-key date appears in a white-on-blue display at 4.30.

The 48mm steel case is topped by a rotating bezel and houses the in-house self-winding Breitling B04 calibre. The powerful high-frequency movement is COSC-certified and fuels both the aforementioned functions and the 70-hour power reserve.

Price: 8,450 CHF (blue rubber strap)

By Sharmila Bertin

Caseback of the richard mille rm11-03


The RM 011 is gone: Long live the RM 11-03!

After ten years of loyal service, one of the stars of the Richard Mille watch collection has been replaced by the seriously sporty RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph inspired by the world of motor racing.

Any product, even the best, has more or less the same existence as us: birth, life and death. There’s no need to get all dramatic: it’s totally normal especially when it comes to this watch by Richard Mille which isn’t dead and buried. It’s been replaced by a reworked version with a more vibrant silhouette true to classic “marketing product” style. The makeover doesn’t just mean it suits modern standards and injects new life into the collections but it also stands out from so-called “lifestyle” sport models. Unsurprisingly, the RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph isn’t exactly lacking in sporty character!

Caseback of the richard mille rm11-03

The movement fuelling the 55-hour power reserve is snug inside the barrel-shape rose gold case. The case is 49.94mm long, 44.5mm wide and 16.5mm thick and divided into three parts held in place by 20 titanium spline screws.

Price: 166,500 CHF /

By Sharmila Bertin