Friday, August 31, 2007

Decima MAS Strumento Model XZ 221-001

This is Decima MasTM Strumento Model XZ 221-001 born from a collaboration between Ennebi Company Mr. Alessandro Bettarini and Mr. Yves Odier. Decima MasTM Strumento XZ221, is a professional diving instrument and a timekeeper which derives from the 1988 concept (Subacqueo Stagno 1000 Metri, destined for Military use), designed 2003, developed 2005 and produced 2007, by Time To Time Projects (France) and Ennebi (Italy). The Decima MASTM Strumento XZ221 is born from desire and passion, and, to bring forward artisans and experts know-how in a chosen selective style. Embedded with symbols of valor of the Italian Military frogmen 'Incursori' special unit, this instrument commemorates an historical event of the past, in which a handful number of 'sommozzatori' frogmen demobilised and destabilized the enemy forces without endangering any human lives, for this heroique action, officers and sailors were officially highly decorated by both nations, (Alessandria, Egypt - December 1941)

Strumento XZ221-001 Technical Specifications.

The XZ221-001 is a water-proof instrument, produced and tested for extreme climatic conditions (high and low temperatures, atmospheric vacum and high pressures).
Proprietary design; Size: Ø47mm (Ø54mm with the winding-crown), case height 16mm; case-back, bezel, winding-crown and buckle made of grade 5 Titanium microbillé.

Proprietary auto-blocking bidirectional bezel with preset intervals of 2,5 minutes; Bezel Index at 12 o'clock made in 18K gold. Optional: pantograph engraved rotating bezel.

Proprietary dial and hands; Dial, hours and minutes hand, hand-painted and filled with luminescent coating(Super Luminova).

Organic glass(polymer PMMA), 5mm thick , mounted mechanically.

Swiss mechanical movement with automatic-winding, ETA caliber F2560; Functions: hours, minutes, sweeping center seconds; Power Reserve of 40 hours; Frequency 28800 alternations/hour; Incabloc anti-shock system; 25 rubies.

Water-Resistant to 1000 meters.

Presented in a personalized and branded exotic wooden box containing: Strumento XZ221-001, 1 replacement strap (Nato style in Italian calf), 2 screw drivers, manual/warranty/service booklet.

A total production of 1941 Strumento XZ221

Made and produced in Italy.

I think it as an exciting diver with connecting to the history of heroism of Decima MAS divers as this SE is dedicated to commemorate the heroism and valor exuded by Emilio Bianchi during that famous Alessandria port raid in 1941. IMVHO besides being a looker and a functional dive instrument I can't attest personally how very comfortable it is for it’s size in daily use.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ulysse Nardin - FREAK InnoVision


10 technological innovations united in one watch perfectly sum up Ulysse Nardin’s vision on the future of mechanical watchmaking.

Innovation 1- Barrel on ball bearings. A 96 balls, non lubricated ball bearing guides the barrel both vertically and laterally. This solution is on the market since 2005.

Innovation 2 - “Dual Ulysse” escapement.
The “Dual Ulysse” escapement does not need any lubrication. Its reduced angle of lift (31 degrees) provides a great advantage. It is on the market since 2005.

Innovation 3 - Silicium bearings.
Lubrication free bearings in silicium are fitted into the brass base plate. No oil recesses are necessary.

Innovation 4 - DRIE precision and low friction advantages put together.
The escapement bridge made in solid silicium benefits from the high precision of the process. The good friction coefficient of silicium is another advantage. The movement designer is free to design holes very close to the exterior of the bridge as no jewels are required.

Innovation 5 - The reinforced silicium bridge.
Due to the combination of 2 technologies DRIE and LIGA, Sigatec, Mimotec and Ulysse Nardin have produced a bi-material bridge which performs extremely well. The exclusive process stands for precision, silicium stands for low friction and nickel stands for mechanical toughness.

Innovation 6 - Exploiting the elasticity of silicium.
Ulysse Nardin developed the revolutionary shock absorber bearing into the balance wheel shaft which pivots in the centre of the silicium disc. The elastic spiral shaped silicium disc deforms itself when shocks arise and returns to its original position immediately after the shock has been absorbed.

Innovation 7 - Silicium spring.
The Silicium hairspring is an excellent solution and we have the know-how to produce it.

Innovation 8 - Roller and Pin.
The roller and pin are made in one precise single component in the double sided DRIE process developed by Sigatec.

Innovation 9 - Stopper fork and security pin of the “Dual Ulysse” escapement.
The” Dual Ulysse” escapement « blocker » is a multifunctional element. Similarly to the anchor of the Swiss Anchor escapement, it bares a safety-pin which must be perfectly aligned. Thanks to the double side etching process created by Sigatec, this former multi part unit can be made as a single component not requiring any assembly or touch up.

Innovation 10 - Two-level process.
The escapement wheel and pinion are made in one single piece thanks to the two level etching process created by Sigatec. This new technology will seduce many movement designers all over the world.

Ulysse Nardin has presented quite a number of “World’s Firsts“ in the past years, and many of them have used the „Freak“ as a showcase. The “Freak“ was the first watch with a silicon escapement. It was commercialized in 2001.
Some Freak prototypes housed the first hairspring made of polycrystalline diamond which showed astonishing elasticity. The “Dual Ulysse” escapement with parts made of nickel-phosphor (NiP) and silicium (2005). The first watch with an escapement made of polycrystalline diamond was commercialized in 2005. Escapement components made of silicium can be used as skeletons to “grow” on them polycrystalline diamonds.

The succession of “Freak” models illustrates the continuous technological developments at Ulysse Nardin!

News from Ulysse Nardin

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Making of Audi A5 Kite Ad -Cool!

How cool does does new Audi A5 get ... well check this commercial out!

Two Audi A5 models steer a stunt kite in the new "Kite" advert. "This is not a trick, all the images are real," says Jagoda Becic, Head of Advertising at Audi. "Authenticity," she says, "was the essential requirement. If it hadn't been possible to navigate the kite by car in reality, then we wouldn't have implemented the idea."

It was indeed possible - and led to spectacular images. They were filmed in the Namibian desert which showcases the Audi A5's highly accurate driving characteristics in a striking manner.

got to get me one of those! ;-)

Friday, August 10, 2007

My Summer Delight: Rosé Champagne

Rosé Champagne is a veritable newborn among wines, having only been around since the 1960's. The good stuff is made by the saignée method, where the must, or juice, is left in contact with the skins of Pinot Noir grapes for several hours during the initial fermentation process in order to allow the color to develop. The method Champenoise is followed thereafter.

I really can't enjoy Louis Roederer Cristal or Dom Pérignon Rosé lightly enough to quaff them liberally at $200 and up a bottle. Although expensive, yet considerably more affordable is Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé ($50). Very dry and full bodied, with red fruit and citrus flavors and a creamy-yeasty finish.

Also worth considering is the best selling rosé in the world, and my perennial favorite every time I am in Europe- Paris especially, Laurent-Perrier NV Brut Rosé ($75). It's bright and fresh, with notes of strawberries, raspberries and black cherries.

Something else to consider for those very special occasion you should definitely try to find Nicolas Feuillatte's 1999 Rosé. A little less than $200 (yup 2 bills USD) when you are lucky to find it in obscure places after relishing in its delight will make you daydream to liquidating your longterm portfolio to acquire all you can find to ensure same lifetime joy until your last days in this lifetime.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Flight of the Conchords - &ucking Brilliant!

Absolutely different, weird , original yet absolutely hilarious comedy. These two uncomfortably misplaced Kiwis in the Big Apple really do grow under your skin and soon enough you can't help not to laugh not only at their silly accents, but also at their numerous brilliant musical vignettes. Thanks HBO for bringing something out on TV's that one can look forward to watching besides all the crappy reality shows that seem to occupy the collective viewers minds constantly. Here are more then a few of them to enjoy anytime:

"Mother Uckers"

"Leggie Blonde"

"Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros"

"Bret you got it Going On"

"She's So Hot - Boom"

"Sello Tape"

"Bowie's in Space"

more Jemaine as Bowie ... Ziggy era ... freaky funny ...

... 1980's Ashes Bowie ...

Interview from NZ TV.

Friday, August 3, 2007

New Ulysee Nardin - Perpetual GMT Picciones’ 60 years Anniversary Edition

No secret here that I am an avid Ulysee Nardin fan especially when talking about my favorite GMT - the UN Perpetual GMT. So when I got the word that they are coming out with a variation of this model as an exclusive unique LE I was instantly intrigued.

This LE model is Perpetual GMT Picciones’ 60 years Anniversary Edition. As the name implies this piece is done in cooperation with Dave Piccione an US Ohio based authorized watch dealer for a number of other exclusive brands in addition to Ulysse Nardin. As the Piccione family have been in business for some time now in preparation of their 60th anniversary celebration, Dave contacted Ulysse Nardin about creating a exclusive limited special edition.

In words of Dave:”The timepiece was designed with UN’s input. We wanted something that was very unique and totally different from what UN has done in the past. The dial was conceived by our entire staff here at Picciones’. We wanted it to be striking with large exploding Roman markers. These markers against the high gloss black dial make this piece very rich and elegant.” This all resulted in this particular piece seen here.

The Piccones’ LE ([UN reference 320-60[) comes in the instantly recognizable and absolutely gorgeous if I might add 42mm 18 K WG Sonata case.

In addition to the high gloss piano lacquer dial there are the UN’s unique teardrop hands which are in this case matching to case and dial WG accents.

This dial is extremely polished and in unison with expanding WG Roman numerals creating a very sleek, instantly legible and elegant overall styling. Due to this choice of styling the black arm of the GMT indicator creates an appearance of “free floating” arrow which is always good for another point on the coolness factor scale.

First look at the back of it displays another very specific feature – an engraved Picciones’ shop logo on the sapphire crystal.

The nice aspect of this unique personalization is that a special care was taken positioning the engraving so that it doesn’t obstruct the view of the UN-32 sweet in-house movement especially when looked from farther away.

This is all wrapped up in nicely in a color coordinated special box, which UN created especially for this piece, again created in high shine black lacquer. As the celebration of the LE name suggest there will be only 60 of this select pieces available.

IMHO this makes for an interesting and unique authorized dealer edition that certainly qualifies it for a genuine and bonified special LE. Great job again by the folks from Ulysee Nardin as well as thanks for bringing us this wonderful & unique peace.

My sincere congratulations for this milestone go out to Mr. Dave Piaccone and the rest of the Picciones’ family.

Daily thoughts, musings & interests about anything (mostly horology) that currently makes my soul & grey matter tick.