Monthly Archives: April 2017

longines heritage 1945 closeup



The collection bringing together re-editions of past watches by the watchmaker from Saint Imier welcomes a new arrival based on a model dating from 1945.

The Longines archives are a real treasure trove. For proof, you only need to look at the aptly named Heritage collection, which is brimming with new editions of watches that have helped the watchmaking brand become what it is today. Because, without wanting to fall into the grotesque “links between tradition and modernity”, we should nonetheless note that our past has helped us construct what we now are. This observation is valid for human beings, but also for such traditional and crafted objects as timepieces. Like the rest of the collection, the new Heritage 1945 model is a recreation of a model dating from the end of the Second World War. Apart from a few details, the Longines designers have changed nothing in the original piece’s aesthetic appearance.

longines heritage 1945 closeup

But the same is not true for the manual-wind movement that powered its ancestor, since the Heritage 1945 has become an automatic, with the calibre L609 based on the ETA 2895. The mechanism runs at 28 000 vibrations an hour, while providing a power reserve of up to 42 hours, and is housed in a 40mm-wide steel case.

The dial comes in a lightly bronzed tone, half way between copper and silver, and decorated with a brushed vertical pattern. Blending black Arabic numerals and silver pearl indices, the hour rim is encircled by discreet minute markers around the chapter ring. At the centre of this fairly traditional disc, a pair of blue steel leaf-shaped hands display the hours and minutes. The seconds tick away separately in a counter with finely grooved circles at 6 o’clock.

To highlight the vintage silhouette of the Heritage 1945, Longines has provided it with a natural coloured strap that has been aged to give it the same soft feel as nubuck leather, with ivory topstitches around the lugs.

Price: 1 700 CHF

 By Sharmila Bertin

richard mille f2 charles leclerc


Charles Leclerc stands out in Formula 2, FIA’s gateway to Formula 1, during the rst leg of the championship. The current GP3 Championship titleholder and Richard Mille partner prompted a performance of Monaco’s national anthem in his first two races on the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain.

Saturday 15 April set the tone, when Charles took to the grid in pole position for his rst race with the Prema Racing team. Waging an all-out battle, he struggled against Artem Markelov and Norman Nato, both seasoned drivers in this discipline. The skill and discipline of this young prodigy allowed him to secure a third-place on the podium, but this blazing start only whet his appetite.

On Sunday 16 April, the rookie would settle for nothing less than victory.
While leading the sprint race, Charles undertook a tyre change just 9 laps before the nish. This daring move forced him to give the race his all. He proceeded to gain on the leading drivers at a rate of three to four seconds per lap, ying by his rivals to a podium position two laps before the end of the race. One lap later, and Leclerc had caught up to Rowland and Ghiotto to claim his rst triumph in Formula 2 by a 1.569-second margin. The shrewd strategist had pulled off a feat worthy of the greatest drivers
of Formula 1.

richard mille f2 charles leclerc

‘To be honest, before the last four laps, I didn’t believe it was possible for us to catch up the lost time, but Luca and Oliver fought each other for a while, and we managed to win. I have my engineer to thank for the excellent car, and my team for the brilliant strategy!’

The 19-year-old driver is off to a roaring start with a pole position and two podium nishes, one of these a victory, and now tops the Provisional Overall Ranking for the F2 Championship, with a total of 36 points.

‘I am so astonished by this performance that I’m still in shock. Charles demonstrated both tremendous daring and great skill. His feat will without a doubt remain in everyone’s mind as the exploit of this Championship. Charles is proving himself worthy of F1, and has every chance of becoming a great driver,’ shared Richard Mille.

Winning this race with brio, Charles has once again demonstrated he has all the qualities a Formula 1 driver: discipline, determination, and verve. Next up, the Barcelona-Calatunya circuit in Barcelona, Spain to support Charles on 12-14 May.

hublot classic fusion chronograph italia independent



The watchmaker from Nyon, in the canton of Vaud, unveils its third joint project since 2014 with the Italia Independent brand, founded by Lapo Elkan, dressing its Classic Fusion chronograph with precious fabrics made in Italy.

Since the great speciality of Hublot is the art of fusion, it is not surprising to see some of its watch creations spiced with absolutely original touches, especially in such a “calibrated” field – if you’ll excuse the pun – as watchmaking. After stained glass and embroidery, to mention just two of Hublot’s slightly zany creations, the watchmakers from Nyon have called in Italia Independent to dress the dial of its Classic Fusion watch.

This limited-edition collection of six watches named Classic Fusion Italia Independent is the third joint partnership between the watchmakers and the firm founded in 2007 by the Italian Lapo Elkann, the king of made-to-measure. The two previous creations from the partnership between the two brands since 2014 adorned a more rock’n’roll model, the Big Bang Unico, and now it is the turn of the Classic Fusion family to benefit from the limitless creativity of Lapo Elkann.

As the well-dressed Italian businessman, aged just 39, is famous for his elegance and unique way of matching his car with his clothes, it was quite natural for him to call in the Italian tailor, Rubinacci, whose clothes he himself wears, to complete this partnership with Hublot. Among the 60 000 m² of precious fabrics kept in the dressmaking workshops of the sortoria, Lapo Elkann and Italia Independent have chosen six tartan and check fabrics with light wool materials and often bright colours.

hublot classic fusion chronograph italia independent

Each tartan or Prince-of-Wales check fabric now adorns the dial of a new Classic Fusion Italia Independent watch. This is a painstaking and perilous exercise, since a watch dial has a relatively small disc and textiles have a tendency to slacken over time.

This textile decor is adorned with an hour rim made up of silver or gold applied indices, depending on the model. Hours and minutes are displayed in the centre with two stick-type hands matching the hour markers, while the seconds tick away in one of the two blue-black or blue counters at 3 o’clock. The chronograph function, meanwhile, includes a central second hand equipped with a counterweight featuring the watchmaker’s logo, while the minutes are shown in a counter at 9 o’clock. The date is discreet and is coloured white against a black background inside a window at 6 o’clock.

The solid case of the chronograph is 45mm in diameter and 13 mm thick, and is available in three different materials, highlighted by reinforcements on the sides made of black or blue composite resin – titanium, black ceramics or King Gold, the famous pink gold developed by Hublot. The case contains the calibre HUB1143, an automatic mechanical movement, beating at a frequency of 28 000 vibrations an hour (4Hz) and providing 42 hours of power reserve.

Each strap is, of course, made of the same fabric as the dial and reinforced with coloured rubber.

Price: 14 300 CHF (titanium) – 15 300 CHF (black ceramic) – 33 300 CHF (King Gold)

By Sharmila Bertin

frederique constant flyback chronograph manufacture closeup



A first for Frédérique Constant: the watchmaker from Plan-les-Ouates has unveiled its first automatic calibre, including a chronograph with flyback function.

In Plan-les-Ouates, in the canton of Geneva, the Frédérique Constant workshops have surpassed themselves in designing a movement equipped with one of the finest complications: a chronograph with flyback function. This specific and demanding mechanism took six years to develop, before finally seeing the light of day in 2017. First introduced at BaselWorld, four of the five model in the new Flyback Chronograph Manufacture collection are available for under 4 000 Swiss francs.

This newly launched line does indeed feature five pieces, two made of polished steel, two made of pink-gold-plated steel and one made of pink gold. The dials have also been designed to attract a wide-ranging clientele with a fairly traditional aesthetic appearance or a totally contemporary look.

frederique constant flyback chronograph manufacture closeup

At the heart of the 42mm case of the Flyback Chronograph Manufacture model is the latest movement made by Frédérique Constant. This is the calibre FC-760, an automatic mechanism that is partially visible through a sapphire glass window adorning the back of the watch. The calibre drives the hour, calendar and chronograph with flyback functions, while providing a power reserve of 38 hours.

In the most traditional version, available in a steel or pink-gold-plated case and a silver opaline dial, the central disc is decorated with a Clous de Paris pattern and encircled by an hour rim with black Roman numerals. Two central pomme-style open hands display the hours and minutes, while the seconds are shown in an offset counter at 9 o’clock. The date is indicated by a hand and is also in a counter at 6 o’clock. At the centre, the chronograph hand takes care of the seconds, which are then counted up in the minute counter at 3 o’clock.

While the visual organisation is the same in the more contemporary version, the silvered or anthracite grey dial, with a chapter ring circled by a tachymetric scale, includes a sunburst finish adorned by three azure counters. Metallic or gold applied hour indices replace the Roman numerals and two lancine-style hands coated with a luminous material show the hours and minutes in the centre.

The third version of the Flyback Chronograph Manufacture features a pink gold case and a chocolate-coloured dial with a warm tone heightened by touches of gold (on the indices and hands).

Price: 3 695 CHF (steel) – 3 995 CHF (pink gold-plated steel) – 13’995 CHF (pink gold)

By Sharmila Bertin

blancpain tribute fifty fathoms mil spec closeup



Over 50 years after the birth of the first Fifty Fathoms, Blancpain pays homage to this legendary watch by unveiling a new timepiece inspired by the original model with the famous water-tightness indicator in the lower half of the dial.

The Fifty Fathoms divers’ watch, created by Blancpain, boasts a rich and fascinating history. It is based on two events that emerged in parallel and later dovetailed. First, the projects launched by Jean-Jacques Fiechter (born in 1927), CEO of Blancpain for three decades (from 1950 to 1980) and a big fan of scuba diving, which led to three patents, and above all to the first Fifty Fathoms model. Secondly, the research carried out by the founders of the French Navy’s combat swimmers unit, set up in 1952, Robert Maloubier (1923-2015) and Claude Riffaud (1924-2016), to find a reliable diving watch, and which led to the three men meeting. The Fifty Fathoms was adopted by the French Navy in 1953. Between 1957 and 1958, the watch was provided with a water-tightness indicator, which turned from white to red when there was liquid in the case. This was the Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC 1. From 1958, the model was also adopted by the US Navy, particularly by members of such elite groups as the UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) and the Navy SEALs. This version of the Fifty Fathoms is the one that Blancpain is now celebrating, with the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC, a special limited edition with 500 pieces.

blancpain tribute fifty fathoms mil spec closeup

While this new watch borrows features from its ancestor of 1953, especially the water-rightness indicator, it also benefits from the very latest technology. Beginning with the black, notched, unidirectional revolving bezel on the case, equipped with a scratch-proof sapphire glass ring and luminous markers – essential for keeping track of time when diving. The steel case on the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC model is 40mm in diameter and waterproof down to 300m. The case back is sealed with a sapphire window revealing a solid gold rotor adorned with a platinum alloy for the calibre 1151. The automatic mechanical movement made by Blancpain includes a silicon spiral – a light and rust-resistant material that is impervious to magnetic fields – plus a double barrel providing 96 hours (or four days) of power reserve.

The dial on the Tribute to Fifty Fathoms MIL-SPEC is adorned in brushed black with rays extending to the chapter ring from the centre, where the luminous hour, minute and second hands are set. The hour markers are made up of three different geometric shapes (rectangular, round and triangular) following the aesthetic codes of the 1953 version. At the bottom of the dial, at 6 o’clock, is the water-tightness indicator with a disc split in two crosswise and showing a white lower half-moon and an orange upper half-moon. The date, meanwhile, is shown discreetly in an open window at 4.30, white against a black background.

Price: 13 200 CHF

By Sharmila Bertin

oris chronoris date nato



Bring back to life flagship models from the past – this was partly the mission of the watchmaker Oris in presenting two re-releases of older watches, one dating from the 1970s.

Like fashion (but in a less striking way), watchmaking goes through cycles. What is fashionable today will no longer be tomorrow, but will return to centre stage the day after that, if we summarise these cycles in just a few words. Typically, the XXL-sized, 45mm watch cases that were all the rage in the early 2000s have gradually given way to 40mm models, which are much easier to wear and above all unisex (yes, indeed!). Perhaps they’ll be back in fashion in 10, 20 or 30 years… Who knows? The same goes for models such as the Chronoris, created by Oris in 1970, and which has been reissued in 2017, almost 50 years later.

The original watch was the first chronograph designed by the brand from Hölstein, in the canton of Basel-Landschaft, in the north of Switzerland, and is also the watch that set up the first link – that is now very strong – between Oris and car racing. The new Chronoris Date not only takes up the highly graphic dial of its ancestor, but also the shape of its case and the strap with its many metal links.

oris chronoris date nato

With a round silhouette that almost looks oval when the lugs are added, the Chronoris Date case is made of steel and measures 39mm in diameter. Along with a screwed case back, it is equipped with two crowns, one at 2 o’clock and the other at 4 o’clock. The first is used to set the time and wind the watch up by hand, while the second serves to adjust the internal revolving bezel. The bezel, which replaces the chapter ring, is graded on a scale of 60 and has a orange-red triangular marker for the chronometer function.

This touch of colour, half way between coral and blood orange, can also be seen on the central second hand and on the squares above the white hour indices on the dial. The dial features black, grey and silver concentric rings around a grey disc. The hours and minutes are displayed with two white, stick-shaped hands coated with Super-LumiNova®. With black edging, the date is shown at 3 o’clock against an easy-to-read white background.

The power behind the Chronoris Date is the calibre Oris 733, an automatic mechanical movement based on the Sellita SW 200-1. It provides a power reserve of about 38 hours.

This reissue of the 1970s Oris model is equipped either with a vintage brown strap, perfectly matching the silver colour on the steel case, black leather or rubber. The original steel strap has 15 metal links that have been modernised to make it more flexible and comfortable to wear. But with a NATO strap in light grey material, the Chronoris Date model is quite simply magnificent!

Price: 1 600 CHF (leather or rubber strap) – 1 800 CHF (steel strap)

By Sharmila Bertin

bvlgari octo finissimo automatique closeup



The watchmaker from Rome has developed a new automatic movement with great finesse and that is now housed in a titanium version of the famous octagonal case of its Octo collection.

Ultra-flat, ultra-light, ultra-grey: the new model by Bvlgari was one of the timepieces the press, and particularly the specialised watch press, appreciated most at 2017 BaselWorld. Named the Octo Finissimo Automatique, this watch does indeed have numerous strengths. It not only features a magnificent grey colour and a fine graphic silhouette, but also houses a new automatic mechanism developed by Bvlgari.

The sanded titanium body repeats the gently angular outline of the Octo case; it is 40mm in diameter – a perfect size – and 5.15mm thick. Its lightness and slim figure make the Octo Finissimo Automatique a discreet but highly attractive companion.

bvlgari octo finissimo automatique closeup

At the heart of the delicately grained grey case, equipped with a sapphire back, is the brand-new calibre BVL138, a mechanical movement fitted with a platinum micro-rotor with a width of just 2.23mm. This mechanism designed and made by Bvlgari runs at 21 600 vibrations an hour and provides a power reserve of up to 60 hours. It drives the essential time displays, the hours, minutes and seconds.

On the Octo Finissimo Automatique dial, adorned with a grey tone matching the watch case, the black hour rim is made up of slender indices and long Arabic numerals. At the centre of the grey disc are two dauphine-style, openwork hands coated in black PVD displaying the hours and the minutes. The seconds, meanwhile, are offset in a counter at 7 o’clock.

This latest addition to the Bvlgari range is worn with a black alligator strap rounded off with a titanium ardillon buckle in a relatively traditional version. For a more sporting touch, the Octo Finissimo Automatique is also available with a titanium link strap with a folding clasp.

Price: 11 900 CHF (alligator strap) – 12 900 CHF (titanium strap)

By Sharmila Bertin

breguet classique 7147 closeup



Among the new timepieces unveiled by the watchmaker from the Joux Valley at the 2017 BaselWorld is a refined and timeless piece featuring a dial coated with “Grand Feu” enamel and equipped with an extra-flat in-house movement

In watchmaking, like in art, fashion, architecture and many other domains, taste is subject to debate. But it must be admitted that the classical systematically outclasses the trendy. It has always been and still is an essential element and an undeniable must have. Whatever happens, the classical will always please people. Fashions come and go (and come back again), but the timeless classics keep their status as the icons of time. A perfect example to illustrate these remarks is the Classique 7147 timepiece by Breguet, which includes inside and out all the rich heritage left by its founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823).

breguet classique 7147 closeup

The new watch, made in the Breguet workshops at the heart of the Joux Valley, provides an irresistibly classic allure, as its name implies. A refinement that time cannot diminish. The Classique 7147 model features a dial with an alabaster colour, a radiant pallor, with a brightness and purity expressing the use of “Grand Feu” enamel. Only the soft, melting effect produced by a technique dating from the Middle Ages can give rise to such beauty. Once the dial has been coated in enamel, the hour rim, featuring the traditional black Breguet figures, is traced on the spotless disc. A fine minute track made up of small black dots completes the black and white graphic effect. Two large open-tipped hands stretch out their long, slim bodies made of blued steel from the centre of the dial towards the chapter ring to show the hours and minutes. Set between 5 and 6 o’clock is a hollow counter displaying the seconds with a revolving blue hand.

The displays are driven by the calibre 502.3SD, an extra-flat automatic mechanical movement designed by Breguet. The calibre has a gentle frequency of 3Hz and provides a power reserve of 45 hours.

The heart of the Classique 7147 is housed in a white gold case with delicately fluted sides. Since the case back features a sapphire disc, part of the mechanism is revealed. This 40mm-diameter setting is also on offer in pink gold and is worn with a black alligator strap and a gold ardillon buckle.

Price: 20 500 CHF (pink gold) – 21 000 CHF (white gold)

By Sharmila Bertin

chopard luc lunar one 2017 closeup 2

Chopard – L.U.C Lunar One

Mastering the sky

Our calendar principles are founded on astronomical observations: a year defines the time that the Earth takes to revolve around the sun; a month is the time it takes the moon to turn around the Earth and a day the time for the Earth to rotate around its own axis. Yet, nothing is as straightforward as it seems. The Earth does not actually make a complete orbit around the sun in 365 days but, more precisely, in 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds. This variation, which distinguishes civil time from astronomical time, led Jules Caesar, back in 46 BCE, to initiate adding an extra day every four years – leap years. His Julian calendar was not totally perfect however as the difference between civil time and astronomical time totalled slightly less than four days after 400 years. And, this is why the Gregorian calendar came into being in 1582: it deducts three days every four centuries, simply by replacing three leap years by three ordinary years. These are the famous exceptions of the current Gregorian calendar (1700, 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300).

chopard luc lunar one 2017 closeup 2

It is easy to imagine then that these dating chinks have given watchmakers quite a few nail-biting moments over the years. Dates began to feature on pocket watches fairly early on – well before the minute and second hands. From the end of the 16th century, astronomical watches principally displayed the date, the day and the month. These calendars were, however, “simple” ones that had to be manually adjusted after each month containing less than 31 days. It was only at the end of the 18th century that calendars, referred to as “perpetual”, were developed, i.e. which took the varying length of months and the leap-year cycle into account.

Even nowadays, this complication is only favoured by a handful of watchmaking firms. Chopard is one of these and, through its L.U.C movement manufacturing facility in Fleurier, strives to create extremely skilfully-crafted calibres. This L.U.C Lunar One, showcased for the first time in 2005, has since become one of the brand’s great classics. Previously proposed in gold, it is now in platinum and retails in a 100-piece limited edition.

Its perpetual calendar hosts a 1,461-day mechanical memory, i.e. a four-year cycle. It does not take into account, however, the Gregorian calendar exceptions. Its mechanism must be manually adjusted, for the first time in 2100. Likewise, its lunar phase is stunningly accurate. It is not just a simple disc that rotates under the dial but a complex interplay of components that provides an exact depiction of the moon as it appears in the sky. It will take some 122 years before this display is offset by a day vis-à-vis the real moon.

By Fabrice Eschmann

jaquet droz petite heure minute seasons closeup



Following the models depicting autumn and winter, Jaquet Droz unveils two new handcrafted timepieces that exalt the beauty of spring and herald the arrival of summer.

When you leave Paris, London, or any other major European city, to come and live in Switzerland, the first thing that hits you is the change of seasons. It is much more noticeable and nature reflects each of these changes with orange hues cloaking the trees in September and the pink and lilac-tinted evening skies in summer. When you hike in the mountains or walk along the banks of a lake, you see bright and colourful flora and fauna. This blooming nature resounding to birdsong that we enjoy today, went hand in hand with Pierre Jaquet-Droz, the founder of the eponymously-named watchmaker, back in the 18th century. Nature was more than just a companion to the watchmaker, it was a muse and an inexhaustible source of inspiration. The Jaquet Droz brand pays tribute to this love of nature with two stunningly beautiful timepieces: Petite Heure Minute Seasons.

jaquet droz petite heure minute seasons closeup

These two watches are literally feats of magic and complement an existing duo that depict the two cold seasons of autumn and winter. This time, spring and summer take pride of place and to create them, Jaquet Droz has used all its craftsmanship and artistic expertise in sculpting and engraving, miniature painting on mother of pearl, stone setting and, of course, mechanical prowess. There are just 88 examples of each of these works of art, with an individual serial number engraved on the back of the case.

The Petite Heure Minutes Seasons model dedicated to spring (my favourite), is a 41mm diameter piece in white gold. Its lugs and chapter ring are highlighted in a double row set with 272 brilliant-cut white diamonds. The dial is opalescent mother of pearl dial, painted with a branch of plum blossom. Each pink corolla has green leaf buds and the meticulous nature of the work is strikingly realistic. At the bottom of the dial, the plum blossom branch forms a perch for a couple of blue tits with their wings spread. These bird appliques in pink gold have been hand-sculpted, hand-engraved and hand-painted. A domed sapphire glass display protects this painting and gives it depth by emphasising the relief offered by the plump bodies of the two birds. The hours and minutes are offset towards midday and feature two spear-shaped hands in blue stainless steel.

The summer version of this timepiece, made by Jaquet Droz, has warm, golden, chocolate hues with a bright dial, quite different to the model described above. The blue tits look the same and are in the same place, but they appear to be hopping about in a field of sunflowers with their golden petals opened up to the sun. Two spear-shaped hour and minute hands in pink gold adorn the case.

Each timepiece features a JD 2653.Si calibre self-winding mechanical movement with a silicon balance spring and double barrel, giving it a power reserve of 68 hours.

Price: 63,750 CHF (Summer) 73,450 CHF (Spring)

By Sharmila Bertin