“Switzerland is in trouble”, Jony Ive recently said when introducing Apple’s smart watch. But watch collectors have heard those words before, and the traditional wristwatch has survived — prospered even. Which is partly why non-smart watches still have nothing to fear.
Switzerland is not in trouble
Born from the sea
The contemporary IWC Portuguese is not merely a watch, but rather an entire model line within IWC’s collection, with everything from chronographs to minute repeaters and perpetual calendars counted among its ranks. It is one of the stalwarts of the Schaffhausen brand’s collection and almost universally loved by watch aficionados for the line’s clean, classic aesthetics, purity of design and fascinating history. And it all sprang from a single request from a singular watch market.
From the Archives: To refer to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak as a mere icon is to almost willfully ignore the importance of the watch, the line it inspired, or, indeed, the genre that it gave birth to. Few, if any, timepieces have so thoroughly altered the industry or impacted our conception of watchmaking as the Royal Oak, and for good reason. This timepiece didn’t just save a company. It single-handedly created an entirely new class of watch.
An Explorer's Watch at the Explorer's Club
In 1958, as numerous scientific initiatives blossomed across the globe, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced their now-legendary Geophysic chronometer, meant as a tool for scientists and explorers. Today the Geophysic 1958 has been reborn in a limited series of watches, each of which accurately replicates its forebears in design and intent.
Ripped from the dash
Our last look at Italian watch company CT Scuderia involved marveling at their race timer-inspired Corsa, which takes its design cues from vintage racing stopwatches. We’re just as enamored by their new Dashboard series ($1,495+) of automatic watches, another vintage-inspired collection; this time the muse is vintage speedometers.
The Best by Far from the Far East
When it comes to dive watches, many immediately think of iconic Swiss watches like the Rolex Submariner and the Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms. Of course, the story doesn’t stop here. In fact, there’s another country that can credibly lay claim to a long and storied history with the dive watch: Japan. If you need evidence of Japan’s dive watch prowess (or just a road map to buying yourself one), read on.
Rolex's Hip Kid Brother
The biggest news in the watch industry these days is Rolex sub-brand Tudor’s return to the U.S. marketplace after an absence of almost 14 years. While the reasons for their departure and return can be debated, it’s crystal clear that Tudor’s been consistently knocking things out of the park since the debut of their vintage-inspired Heritage Chronograph in 2010. This year Tudor returned to the Heritage Chronograph and made it over in the vein of of their vaunted 1973 Monte Carlo chronograph. The end result is a stunning piece of horological architecture and the birth of a modern-day classic: behold the Tudor Heritage Chronograph Blue ($4,425).
The SR-71 “Blackbird” reigns supreme as the highest and fastest-flying plane ever built. And we mean reigns: 32 of these pitch black wonders have patrolled the skies above hot spots for over 40 years. To honor this achievement in aeronautics, Bell & Ross is releasing the limited edition BR 126 Blackbird ($6,700), and it’s a worthy, interesting tribute.
To refer to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak as a mere icon is to almost willfully ignore the importance of the watch, the line it inspired, or, indeed, the genre that it gave birth to. Few, if any, timepieces have so thoroughly altered the industry or impacted our conception of watchmaking as the Royal Oak, and for good reason. This timepiece didn’t just save a company. It single-handedly created an entirely new class of watch.
An Enigma -- no, seriously
The boys at Bremont have done it again, this time with their limited edition Codebreaker ($18,700 in steel), honoring the UK’s Government Code and Cipher School (GC & CS) at Bletchley Park. As with their previous limited edition pieces (like the HMS Victory and the P-51), Bremont co-founders Giles and Nick English weren’t content to merely limit production and slap a number on the case back.
From Geneva with Love
Patek Philippe has a well-earned reputation as one of the premiere watch manufactures in the world, and their recent exhibition in New York City underscored this fact with what can only be described as a shock-and-awe campaign of stunning effectiveness. We would know — we were there. Read on for our photo essay of the event.
IWC’s Ingenieur is as steeped in history as any watch. First seen in 1954, and designed as both a general-purpose sport watch and for scientists who worked with strong electromagnetic fields — hence the name, “engineers” in French — it reflected a growing trend towards robustness, which was already driving the popularity of the still-nascent diving watch. We break down the reference 3239 Ingenieur Automatic, our favorite of the bunch.
Time for a timekeeping trip
New York City’s renowned Frick Collection is currently playing host to an exceptional exhibition celebrating the history of timekeeping, and of course, we’re all too happy to geek out about it. “Precision and Splendor: Clocks and Watches at the Frick Collection” is housed in their new Portico Gallery, and features notable pieces dating from the mid 14th century through the 19th century from the bequest of noted horology expert and collector Winthrop Kellogg Edey.
Good for desk-diving or otherwise
Relatively young watch manufacturer Maurice Lacroix has been generating a lot of interest of late its their new collections, and the Pontos S Diver is no exception, standing out in a crowded field of me-too pieces. At turns retro and modern, the Diver, which builds upon the success of the Pontos S Chronograph from last year, presents a uniquely attractive face to its lucky wearer.
Racing for 50 years
This year, Swiss watch manufacturer TAG-Heuer celebrates the 50th anniversary of their iconic timepiece, the Carrera, so it was only natural that they throw a party in its honor. And oh what a party is was. Think champagne, vintage Porsches and models serving hors d’oeuvres and you’re halfway there. Held in the shadow of New York City’s celebrated Highline Park at a converted art studio, the bash was a fitting tribute to an iconic timepiece that has so indelibly imprinted itself on the worlds of horology and auto racing.
The Perfect Storm
For many, Harry Winston is synonymous with stratospherically priced jewelry and awards shows, but for watch aficionados, the house of Harry Winston also brings to mind some truly ground-breaking horological masterpieces. The Histoire de Tourbillon No. 4 is a fitting tribute to the eponymous escapement, which is considered by many to represent the epitome of the watchmaking craft.
This is not your grandfather's clock
Miki Eleta debuted his latest masterpiece, the Hippocampus, at MB&F‘s M.A.D. Gallery in Geneva, Switzerland. To call the Hippocampus a mere clock, however, is to miss the forest for the trees. Yes, it tells time — quite accurately, thanks to Miki’s eponymous escapement — but its raison d’être is to inspire the soul through both sight and sound.
Back to the future
It’s that time of year: when the eyes of the watch industry turn to Geneva and the annual event known as Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH. In 2013, IWC Schaffhausen is the first across the starting line with the introduction of their entirely revamped Ingenieur family of watches. The Ingenieur’s history stretches…
A revved-up timepiece
We love Autodromo’s automotive-inspired timepieces, so we’re excited to see them expanding the line with the Monoposto ($875), their first mechanical wristwatch. As with the other pieces in their collection, the Monoposto is an unabashed homage to the Cult of the Car. It takes design cues from the bare-bones, single-seat racers of days gone by,…
A horological candy store comes to New York City
If you live in New York City and have even a passing interest in watches, then you were probably at TimeCrafters, held at the Park Avenue Armory this past weekend. If you weren’t, don’t worry. Gear Patrol dispatched photographer Jae Yoon to capture every interesting tick and tock. You can see his photos after the…
Flight of Fancy
Storied Swiss watch manufacture, International Watch Company (IWC) declared that 2012 would be the year of the pilot’s watch, and to this end they completely revamped their iconic line of pilot’s watches with new models, new materials and new complications. Of these, one watch really stood out from the rest: the Top Gun Big Pilot’s…
Omega Goes for the Gold
When most folks think of the Olympics they think of amateur athletes from around the world coming together in the spirit of good sportsmanship to pit their skills against the best-of-the-best for a shot at the gold. For die-hard watch aficionados, however, we think of OMEGA. That’s right, we think of a watch company. Why…
To say that the HMS Victory is a ship with history is akin to saying that the Dali Lama is a man with faith. Launched in 1765, she is the only remaining 18th Century ship left in the world, as well as the oldest commissioned warship. The Victory’s record at sea is the stuff of…
The sky's the limit
Just in time for their 120th anniversary, Hamilton has added a new flagship to the Aviation line of Khaki watches, the X-Patrol, and it represents a terrific value in fully-featured mechanical pilot’s watches. To this end, the X-Patrol features a functional computational bezel that allows would-be Lindberghs to calculate on-the-fly metric conversions for miles to…
Breaking stereotypes, one watch at a time
When the average Joe thinks of Swiss watchmakers he probably thinks of wizened old men with white hair and white coats, perennially hunched over workbenches assembling miniature mechanical masterpieces with impossibly small gears and screws. And you know something, he’d be right. Sort of. Yes, they wear white coats, and yes, they do spend an…
Big Pilot, Big Apple
The International Watch Company definitely didn’t pull any punches with the grand opening of their newest flagship boutique in Manhattan last Wednesday, what with the boxing greats, movie stars and supermodels present to help celebrate its long awaited debut, but the real story here lies with the watches, and the novel way that IWC has…
Not just the "poor man's Rolex"
Everybody and his grandmother knows who Rolex is. They’ve done such a wonderful job marketing their brand that even folks who couldn’t care one whit about watches will swear up and down that Rolex is not just the best watch made, it’s the only watch worth considering. Period. Well, as connoisseurs of the craft, we…
Go deep, or go home
Yes, they’re doing it again. Are we surprised? Not at all. In 1960, Rolex created the Deep Sea Special with the express purpose of joining Jacques Piccard and Lt. Don Walsh on their record-breaking descent to the bottom of Challenger Deep in their submersible, the Trieste. Unlike Mr. Piccard and Lt. Walsh, however, the Deep…
15 Moments In Time
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of their iconic Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet is presenting a multi-city exhibit that showcases 100 examples of this historic timepiece in conjunction with the creative talents of three of today’s leading contemporary artists, Sebastien Leon Agneessens, Quayola and Dan Holdsworth. The exhibit, ROYAL OAK 40 YEARS: From Avant-Garde to Icon,…
Tudor goes back to the future
Given the overwhelmingly positive reception that greeted Tudor’s Heritage Monte Carlo Chronograph at Basel 2010, it should come as little surprise that they have mined the past for inspiration once more with their latest debut. For 2012, their dive watches get the treatment in the form of the Heritage Black Bay Diver, which is an…