Monday, March 31, 2008

Cartier joins a select group of watch manufactures to display the Geneva Seal

Article published by: JCK-Jewelers Circular Keystone

The House of Cartier has joined a select group of watch manufactures certified to display the Geneva Seal. This stamp seals the installation of Cartier Watch-Making in Geneva, where its master craftsmen have developed and crafted the caliber 9452 MC* that now bears this certification.

Created in the 19th century by a guild plagued by counterfeit products, the Geneva Seal is currently considered to be the symbol of watch-making perfection.

Enacted into law in 1886, the Geneva Seal is probably one of the oldest professional labels, recognized both as an indication of independent origin and a guarantee of superior quality.

Three prerequisites determine the award of the Geneva Seal:

* The movement must be mechanical and, at a minimum, assembled and adjusted in the canton of Geneva.

* Each caliber must meet twelve technical and aesthetic criteria outlined in the regulations, which have a bearing on its design and characteristics as well as the quality of the manufacture and finishes.

* The caliber must be approved and officially recognized by the Office for the Voluntary Inspection of Watches from Geneva (Bureau de Contrôle Facultatif des Montres de l'Etat de Genève). This Office is supervised by a sworn-in commission composed of members that have been appointed by the government of the canton.

"For Cartier, winning the Geneva Seal certification for this new caliber confirms its priority to uphold the most prestigious watch-making tradition of all," the company said in a statement.

Friday, March 28, 2008

2008 SIHH Preview: JLC Polaris

Press file provided by MJLC.

The 1968 Polaris

Memovox Tribute to Polaris, renaissance of a legendary watch.

For 175 years, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been tirelessly inventing and discovering new technical and aesthetic horizons, thus renewing the grand Swiss watchmaking traditions. Both reflecting and perpetuating this vocation, the Memovox Polaris represents an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the creative talents at work in the Manufacture. Regarded as the epitome of the sports watch for the past four decades, the Memovox is an extremely rare timepiece that is fiercely coveted by collectors. Its powerful design, dynamic form and blend of performance and energy continue to pervade all the Jaeger-LeCoultre sporting models to this day: from the Master Compressor Memovox to the AMVOX, as well as the all-new Master Compressor Diving watches. It was therefore high time for the Manufacture to express its gratitude to a watch that has become an icon. And what better tribute could it pay than by opting for faithful replicas equipped with the latest technical innovations inherent to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 21st century automatic movements?

The two models that made the most lasting impact on their era were chosen for the 2008 re-editions, presented under the title of Memovox Tribute to Polaris. The first corresponds to the original Memovox Polaris, as it was launched in 1965. The second is the most famous model of all, created in 1968.

History of a legend

Almost half a century ago, Jaeger-LeCoultre had already left an indelible imprint on the history of diving. The Memovox Deep Sea launched in 1959 was the very first diver’s watch to be equipped with an alarm. The latter served to remind the diver that it was time to return to the surface. It was driven by a Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 815, the first movement in watchmaking history to feature both automatic winding and an alarm function.

Six years later, the Memovox Polaris was born. Representing a new breakthrough in technological history, its triple-back case enabled optimal diffusion of sound under water. Since water resistance is the cornerstone of any diver’s watch, the new model featured the patented Piquerez Compressor system, as well as three super-sealed crowns.

Powered by the automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 825, with a balance performing 18,800 vibrations per hour, the Memovox Polar also showed the date through a window at 3 o’clock. In harmony with the size of the case itself, the movement was remarkably large for a wristwatch: 14 lignes, meaning 31.6 mm in diameter, and 7.6 mm thick. In order to meet the specific demands of the American market, the first to show an interest, the Memovox was christened Polaris after the famous American missiles symbolising the Western strike force during the Cold War. But this name mostly echoed the adventurous spirit of the 1960s, distinguished by a determination to travel ever faster and further, in an era when the public at large was fascinated by the space race, ocean discoveries and polar exploration..

Research work began on the Memovox Polaris in 1962, and 1,714 of these watches were made between 1965 and 1970. They were equipped with several types of dial and hands, according to the markets for which they were intended; today, the slightest variations of numerals, hour markers and signatures generates passionate interest among fervent contemporary collectors.

In 2008, Jaeger-LeCoultre honors this legendary model by creating two Memovox Tribute to Polaris replicas. Each is a nod to one of the milestones in the history of this icon watch: the first corresponds to the original Memovox Polaris as launched in 1965; while the second is the most famous of them all, created in 1968.

A 21st century watch that is faithful to the original

To the delight of collectors and avid followers of the emblematic Polaris watch, the two Memovox Tribute to Polaris models faithfully reproduce the 1965 and 1968 models, while featuring their essential characteristics.
First of all, the large round 42 mm-diameter case with polished finishing and no visible bezel, equipped with three crowns featuring a chequered motif. Just as when this model was first introduced, the watchmakers of the Manufacture have inserted the rotating bezel beneath the dial, with its famous central triangle serving as an index for dive times. To facilitate handling, the case is equipped with a crown at 3 o’clock, framed by the two distinctive Memovox crowns. The one at 2 o’clock enables the user to adjust, wind and start or stop the alarm function, which has its own independent barrel. The other one at 4 o’clock services to set and wind the movement.

The alarm time indicator is immediately recognizable by means of a luminescent triangle in the dial centre. Controlled by the alarm crown, the central disc turns to line up the triangle with the desired alarm time.
Loyal to the black dial of their predecessors, each replica bears its own signature features. The 1965 re-edition has nickel-plated and polished straight hour-markers, Arabic numerals, luminescent rhodium-plated dauphine hands, and the Automatic Alarm Calendar inscriptions.

Meanwhile, the main indications on the re-edition of the most famous 1968 model are luminescent. This star model is also distinguished by its open worked baton-type hands and its large trapeze-shaped hour-markers. On both versions, the Jaeger-LeCoultre logo at 12 o’clock embodies this reassuring presence that asserts its mastery over time.

The sapphire crystal – a must in contemporary watchmaking – is exceptionally replaced on these models by a synthetic material forming the original domed shape of the Polaris watch. Purists will certainly concur with this deliberate infringement of current industry rules.

A new movement in the Memovox line

While the Memovox Tribute to Polaris watches are faithful to the spirit and aesthetics of their forerunners, they nonetheless naturally deserved to be equipped with the latest technical innovations by Jaeger-LeCoultre, in order to meet modern demands for precision, sturdiness and reliability.

As the latest interpretation of the automatic Memovox movement, the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 956 houses the striking mechanism, featuring a gong hanging at the back of the case, along with central seconds and instant-jump date-change system. Measuring 7.45 mm thick, it provides a 45-hour power reserve and a level of precision guaranteed by 28,800 vibrations per hour. Its oscillating weight is equipped with ceramic ball-bearings that require no maintenance or lubrication.

A double-back case guaranteeing water resistance to 200 meters

The historical Memovox Polaris was distinguished by its three-part case. The first element was an inside back in bronze that enhanced the resonance of the alarm sound. The second was a sealed back that protected the precious mechanism from any water seeping in, down to depths of 200 meters. The last was a third back drilled with 16 holes, which prevented the sound being muffled by the watch being squeezed against its owner’s diving suit.

The back of the Memovox Tribute to Polaris models features an inner sealed back that maintains its role as a resonance chamber (an additional bronze back is no longer necessary with a hanging gong), and an outer back with 16 round openings, secured to the water resistance back in harmony with the original design. The latter is adorned with an engraving inspired by the original ‘compressor’ diving helmet and a set of technical information provided inside the case of the original model to symbolize its exceptional water tightness.

A tribute encompassing the smallest details

The Memovox Tribute to Polaris is available in two limited series equipped with a black leather strap and small pin buckle. The 1965 model is issued in a limited edition of 65 in 950 platinum; while the steel 1968 model comes in a limited edition of 768. The two replicas are accompanied by a presentation box inspired by its vintage equivalent, complete with a certificate of origin and a booklet telling the story of the now legendary watch.

Jaeger-LeCoultre has revisited one of the landmarks in its history in order to train the spotlight on a creation embodying a degree of aesthetic and technical perfection that has consistently fired collectors’ enthusiasm and inspired the designers of the Manufacture over the past four decades.

2008 SIHH Preview: JLC AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT

Press file provided by MJLC.

AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT the watch with the dual mechanical heritage.

Born from the partnership between Aston Martin and Jaeger-LeCoultre, the AMVOX line has asserted itself within just a few years as the ultimate expression of the imaginary world of these two legends. Loyal to the sporting and elegant nature of the collection, the new AMVOX3 immediately proclaims its membership of the most select fine watchmaking circles. Its round ceramic case is the first ever made in this material by the Grande Maison in the Vallée de Joux. It houses the automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 988 tourbillon movement, driving two time-zone displays and a date making a larger jump between the 31st and the 1st of each month so as not to obstruct the full view of the tourbillon mechanism.
The extraordinary open worked dial enables one to admire the ruthenium-coated bridges and base plate, as well as the blackened central bridge of the AP/PM indicator. As befits such supreme quality, the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT will be produced in a limited edition reflecting that of Aston Martin cars, also issued in small series so as to remain a luxury reserved for a privileged few.

Revolutionary form and content

The AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT strikes an undeniably perfect balance between strength and performance. In making its ceramic case, the Grande Maison in the Vallée de Joux opted for a cutting-edge process designed to ensure that the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT meets the quality criteria expected of an Haute Horlogerie model. A mixture of zirconium and yttrium oxides is heated at high pressure to a temperature of over 2000 degrees so as to combine the two
components into strongly cohesive blocks. To avoid any risk of porosity, the homogeneity of the material is also subjected to radioscopic scrutiny. This material is then ground in order to shape the case. This process is the only way of guaranteeing the correct machining of high-end ceramics and to achieve extremely precise contours of the watch. This final stage calls for the use of special tools coated in diamond crystals as well as diamond powders for polishing. The type of ceramics used by Jaeger-LeCoultre features peerless resistance and stability, for a material that is barely harder than titanium, as well as far lighter and twice as hard as steel.

Just as a sports watch is equipped with an engine on a par with its ambitions, the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT houses a high-performance movement that enjoys the privilege of incorporating the patented oscillating weight of Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 988C, the movement powering the Master Compressor Extreme LAB. This 21st century automatic movement is distinguished by the presence of a new oscillating weight featuring redesigned geometrical shape and affording a considerable improvement in winding performances. Its weight is 28% lower
than classic rotors, since it is made from an alloy of platinum and iridium, the densest non-toxic physical body currently machinable. The use of avant-garde materials also serves to slim down the construction and achieve a far thinner result. Its arms are made from carbon fibers so as to make them lighter and more rigid. Friction is further reduced by mounting the oscillating weight on tiny ceramic ball-bearings. The design of the parts and the nature of the materials used in making them further enhance their shock-resistance and their durability.

The natural harmonies between fine mechanical engineering and Haute Horlogerie

What would be the point of technical inventions if they were not accompanied by an aesthetic quest capable of nurturing emotions and reams? Likewise, the seductive appeal that Aston Martin cars have for decades exercised on demanding drivers stems from their unique blend of sport and style, of cutting-edge technology and classical design references. Faced with the rough gem represented by the splendid high-tech case with its intense black sheen, Jaeger-LeCoultre designers decided to cultivate the natural harmonies between fine mechanical engineering and Haute Horlogerie, between noble materials and contemporary technologies, by associating ceramics with the classic beauty of 18-carat gold in its most exquisite shade. The black hue of the case, the numerals and the dial echoing the characteristic structure of car radiator grids,
makes a striking contrast with the 18-carat pink gold of the polished crown, the back bezel and the double folding clasp, as well as with the gilded accents of the luminescent broad pointers including a delicately openworked minute hand.

The fascination of complications: tourbillon and dual time zone

Since the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT is intended for devotees of mechanical engineering, whether dedicated to automobiles or to precision timekeeping, it naturally sought to provide an ample view of the exceptional capacities of its revolutionary mechanism – starting at 6 o’clock, with a clear vision of the fascinating motion of the tourbillon. This brilliant mechanism that emerged during the first golden age of watchmaking two centuries ago has retained the original
operating principle while improving its efficiency by the choice of state-of-the-art materials. Its grade 5 titanium carriage features ruthenium-coated bevelled, drawn and polished edges and weighs no less than 280 mg. The 4N gold-plated upper bridge features a splendid openworked design vividly evoking of the finest hours of automobile sports. The tourbillon is equipped with a variable-inertia balance oscillating at a cadence of 28,800 vibrations per hour.

Imbued with an inimitably British touch of elegance, this newcomer to the realm of sports watches, naturally could not forego the indispensable dual time-zone display, indicated by an additional hour hand and complemented by the ever useful AM/PM indication at 12 o’clock. The main hour hand is adjustable in one-hour backward or forward increments by rotating the crown. Finally, to ensure that the tourbillon is visible at all times, the slender date hand pointing to the monthly calendar inscribed around the inner dial ring, in a classic 270° sweep reminiscent of vintage speedometers, has been “trained” to jump between the 31st and the 1st of each month: an exceptional accomplishment for which patent has been duly registered.

Further revealing the feats achieved by Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 988, the central dial opening affords fascinating glimpses of the ruthenium-coated bridges and baseplate, as well as of the central AM/PM indicator blackened with a PVD coating.

The first AMVOX model with sapphire crystal case-back

And since everyone knows that enthusiasts of fine English cars love to lift up the hood to admire the running of the engine, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s designers have fitted the case of the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT with a glareproofed sapphire crystal case-back.

Power and elegance

The AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT testifies to a powerful spirit that vividly reflects its dual heritage. It embodies the power, style and performance of sports cars, as well as the technical innovation, reliability and artistic sophistication of a Manufacture uniting over 40 professions under one roof. Its appearance echoes that of the Aston Martin world through its avant-garde movement, its generous black ceramic case measuring 44 mm in diameter – a cutting-edge achievement in its own right – and aesthetic reminders relating to the signature codes of prestige automobiles, such as the driver’s strap in perforated black calfskin with white overstitching and the winged Aston Martin logo appearing at 6 o’clock on the dial and admirably matching the brand’s emblematic J and L capital letters at 12 o’clock. Issued in a limited, numbered series of 300, the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT combines admirable strength and elegance, entirely dedicated to the masters of speed and of time.

2008 SIHH Preview: JLC Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph

Press file provided by MJLC.

Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph

Extreme design, ceramic case; the technical watch par excellence

Square, masculine, assertive: the Reverso Squadra asserted itself right from its launch as the ultimate in technical watches. It immediately earned its place on men’s wrists thanks to its design and performances. For the first time in its history, a Reverso sports a black ceramic case, a concentrated blend of avant-garde technologies, which naturally frames the traditional double face required to display additional functions. This tour de force combines with prodigious
mechanical complexity to meet the needs of elite sportsmen competing on polo fields the world over: a chronograph with perfectly readable indications to precisely measure the time of each chukka, as well as a large date display. The back is dedicated to an indication that is vital to those whose passion leads them to travel the globe: the world-time function, instantly showing the time in each time zone. Audacious, elegant and sturdy: a watch designed for these
exceptional sportsmen who must be able to rely at all times on an unfailingly reliable timepiece.

Ceramics enters the realm of the Reverso

Undoubtedly only such an exceptional model as the Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields chronograph could justify the entry of ceramics into the Reverso range. Extremely technical, incredibly resistant and ultra-sporty, only such a unique watch could display this extreme design featuring an envelope made up of a swivel case in black ceramics resting on a pink gold or titanium carrier. To achieve this extraordinary aesthetic accomplishment, it was essential to
supersede the constraints generally imposed by the use of ceramics and to develop a machining technology superior to those used thus far. The production of ceramic parts is generally based on injection moulding of two components: the ceramic powder as such, along with a plastic binding agent designed to facilitate agglomeration. The subsequent firing in a kiln serves to weld the ceramic grains and evaporate the binding substance. The mass is then subjected to progressive shrinkages until it reaches the final size. This process is however not impeccable,
since it may lead to the formation of bubbles or porosities liable to spoil the aesthetics of the surface, and above all to weaken the structure as a whole. Moreover, it results in somewhat imprecise geometrical dimensions that are incompatible with the demands of a Jaeger- LeCoultre case.

There was obviously no question of Jaeger-LeCoultre accepting such disadvantages on a watch designed to face up to extreme wearing conditions. Here too, the concept had to be entirely rethought, starting with the composition of ceramic powders. After lengthy research, the Manufacture chose a blend of zirconium oxide and yttrium. In the absence of a binding agent, the two parts are pressed before being heated to 2500 degrees to form solid blocks that are thus extremely homogeneous by nature. Nonetheless, the remarkable hardness of this high-end ceramics requires specific tools to machine it, in the form of grinding-wheels coated with diamond crystals, as well as fine diamond powders to polish it. To make things even more difficult, it is important to remember that the case of the Reverso comprises over 50 parts and is therefore one of the most complex to make due to its swivelling principle. The result of this long and meticulous task is an exceptional degree of hardness equivalent to 1200 Vickers –compared with 600 Vickers for hardened steel. The extremely compact and homogeneous case of the Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph is a state-of-the-art achievement in its own right, endowed with exceptional characteristics that guarantee it amazing resistance to scratches and extremely long-term durability and stability.

An automatic movement by Jaeger-LeCoultre

Specially designed for the Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph, the twin-barrel Calibre 753 appears through the transparent city disc that reveals the oscillating weight of this superb 39-jewel movement beating at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour. A mechanical masterpiece, it embodies all the genius of a movement capable of displaying the different indications on each of the faces of the reversible case thanks to a gear transmission system that circumvents the oscillating weight. Its two barrels also guarantee a comfortable 65-hour power

100% Squadra design and functions

The exceptional quality of black ceramics has also opened up original prospects for the designers of the Manufacture, who play brilliantly on the powerful contrasts between gold or titanium and the black shade of the case. The superbly treated black dials are lit up by white numerals in the inimitable Reverso style, while certain essential signature features such as the seconds hand or the movement operating indicator appear in red so as to enable instant reading of the important information. On the back, the spectacular world-time function
indicates the entire set of time zones on a transparent disc subdivided into 24 hours and offering a glimpse of the complexity of the automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 753. It even features a delicately shaded zone that serves as a day/night indication in order to avoid any confusion in reading world time. The Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph has nonetheless taken the liberty of “replacing” some capitals by the locations of the major polo grounds where aficionados meet up around the world: Palm Beach Florida; Palermo, Argentina;
Ham London in the United Kingdom, Sotogrande in Spain and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Clarity, legibility and high technology are the keynotes of this model with a swivel case that continues to turns heads.

In the heat of action, readability is the supreme criterion and the Reverso Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph wins this particular contest by several lengths. Located at 9 and 3 o’clock, the chronograph minute and hour counters also adopt a “squarely” determined attitude, whereas the red seconds hand makes a striking contrast with the black and white elements. The large date at 12 o’clock boasts a crystal-clear display through twin apertures, while the movement running indicator at 6 o’clock provides constant proof that the watch is indeed operating smoothly. Finally, elegance and functionality also combine on the case middle, where the streamlined crown and push pieces in pink gold or titanium accentuate the stylistic power of a case whose unique appearance is further highlighted by the articulated rubber strap with a metal core. This sophisticated wristband is equipped with a steel folding clasp featuring a safety button
device that prevents any accidental opening. As a watch entirely dedicated to speed and precision, it is also water-resistant to 50 meters, another indispensable feature of any self-respecting sports model.

When deciding which material to associate with the high-tech ceramics, devotees of polo and of Jaeger-LeCoultre will have to choose between two aesthetic options to accompany the absolute black of the case: the gentle warmth of pink gold, or the intense grey of titanium for a tone-on-tone contrast. The grade 5 titanium used by the Manufacture is an alloy that also comprises a small proportion of aluminum and vanadium. This material is widely used in aeronautics due to its high level of mechanical resistance, as well as in orthopedic surgery because of its biocompatibility that ensures it is perfectly tolerated inside the human body. Moreover, it is sufficiently hard to enable polishing, contrary to pure titanium. In a perfect high-tech alliance with ceramics, it will prove equally stainless and stable over the long term. And to make an innately difficult choice even tougher, one should also mention that the pink gold edition will be produced in a limited edition of 500.

Playing its role as the Reverso of extremes to the full, the Squadra WWT Polo Fields Chronograph is ultimate in all respects, right down to the smallest details. It successfully manages to remain entirely true to the genetic heritage of the Reverso, which it nonetheless transcends by its exceptional character. More Reverso than ever, it returns 77 years later to the polo fields where its illustrious forerunner was born, while sporting a powerful personality that makes it even more attractive.

2008 SIHH Preview: JLC Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2

Press file provided by MJLC.

Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2

The ethereal revolutions of the spherical tourbillon within a swiveling case

After the stunning revelation of the Gyrotourbillon I, Jaeger-LeCoultre is offering the spherical tourbillon a stage-setting worthy of its technically innovative nature: the swiveling case of the Reverso. Presented in a decorative expression inspired by the finest Haute Horlogerie achievements, this extraordinary watch mechanism overturns long-established principles, since it represents the first time that a wristwatch houses a cylinder-shaped balance-spring. Representing a splendid approach to the quest for absolute precision, the three-dimensional motion of the spherical tourbillon fascinates observers by the exceptional speed of rotation of its two carriages, with the inner one completing a full turn in 18.75 seconds, while the outer one performs a more conventional one-minute turn. Universally acclaimed at the time of its launch barely four years ago, this revolution in the tourbillon world now finds an entirely natural aesthetic expression in the Reverso, with its distinctive shape that further highlights the absolute beauty of this peerless technical accomplishment.

When the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre first unveiled this avant-garde innovation in 2004, the Gyrotourbillon I took the watch industry by storm as the first-ever spherical tourbillon. Composed of two carriages mounted on axes set at a 90° angle, this horological microcosm is still the only mechanical device enabling a wristwatch to break completely free from the detrimental effects of gravity on its timekeeping precision.

A tribute to Fine Watchmaking, paid by an outstanding mechanical innovation

Embodying a mechanical marvel in its own right, the spherical tourbillon and the hundred or so parts composing it exercise an irresistible fascination by the complexity, speed and beauty of its three-dimensional motion. Eager to enliven still further the entrancing vision provided by this unparalleled watch mechanism, the designers of the Manufacture decided to enhance its already remarkable visual appeal by adding a touch of colour. To achieve this, they suggested that the technicians perform a daring thermal treatment on one of the most delicate parts of the mechanism, the now famous cylindrical balance-spring with end curves, in order to give it a bluish tint similar to that of the hour, minute and power-reserve hands. And since Jaeger-LeCoultre’s choices are always simultaneously dictated by both functional and aesthetic criteria, the arms of the balance were meticulously open-worked to create a slender elegance that also implies a considerable reduction in weight.

The barrel itself is fitted with a cover and a sapphire crystal so as to reduce friction on the mainspring. The energy it stores is thus entirely available for the movement in order to ensure a respectable 50-hour power reserve. Meanwhile, a subtle device placed on the barrel avoids any risks related to excess or insufficient tension. This means that when the watch is being wound, the system blocks the winding process before the spring becomes overly taut. Conversely, the movement stops before the progressive unwinding is liable to adversely affect the watch’s rating precision.
The extraordinary manually-decorated Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 174 is composed of 371 parts. Connoisseurs of fine watchmaking will appreciate the hand-raised and polished interior angles as well as the exquisite rounding off the intermediate carriage bridge. The German silver bridges and mainplate feature file-drawn edges, as well as hand-raised and polished angles. The surfaces are adorned with Clous de Paris, Côtes de Genève, circular graining or satin brushing, all serving to accentuate the graphic strength of this splendid rectangular movement. These ornamental touches create splendid contrasts with the steel mechanisms and the gear wheels coated in yellow gold. Finally, the plate features a screw of which the purpose is liable to remain a mystery for generations of watchmakers, since it will reveal the secret of its function only to micromechanical adventurers prepared to take the time required to grasp the enigma behind the running of this matchless mechanical calibre.

A key feature of the Gyrotourbilon 2: the cylindrical balance-spring with end curves

The second version of the Gyrotourbillon is distinguished by an essential organ: the presence of a cylinder-shaped balance-spring with end curves. This component was invented by English watchmaker John Arnold, who had it patented in 1782. Due to the complexity involved in its production and the difficulties implied by attempts to miniaturise it, this ingenious discovery which guarantees a regular and perfectly isochronous development of the balance-spring was reserved exclusively for marine chronometers and a few generously sized pocket-watches. It thus appeared doomed never to drive a wrist worn mechanism. Innovative watchmakers chafed at this regrettable situation, since its rating characteristics are unanimously considered to be
infinitely better than those of a flat balance-spring.
Nonetheless, all obstacles and pitfalls, however insurmountable they might appear, inevitably spur the engineers and watchmakers of the Manufacture to decisive action. The latter were able to grasp the opportunity represented by the spherical tourbillon and to present a cylindrical balance-spring nestling at the heart of a wristwatch. Combined with the specific advantages of the spherical tourbillon, this innovation represents a breakthrough in the field of accuracy and paves the way for a level of rating precision that is simply unprecedented on a timepiece designed to follow its wearer’s arm movements.

The extraordinary complexity of the spherical tourbillon

Embodying a major step forward in the history of mechanical horology, the spherical tourbillon offers wristwatches the same advantages that the classic Breguet tourbillon had brought to pocket-watches. Since the late 18th century, the tourbillon mechanism has freed watch movements from the influence of gravity on the regulating organ and its adverse effects on precision. This prodigiously designed mechanism serves its true purpose in a pocket-watch, which generally sits upright in a waistcoat pocket. However, the usefulness of a traditional tourbillon is far less obvious in a wristwatch, which is usually worn in a horizontal position. This particular situation requires the watchmaker to perform adjustments in several positions in order to determine a satisfactory average rate. Through its conception and its construction built on two axes set at a 90° angle, the spherical tourbillon is the only device that compensates for the effects of gravity in all positions. Nonetheless, actually producing it called for the use of ultra-light high-tech materials in order to create a mechanism able to simultaneously drive the rotation of both carriages. Their speeds of rotation are so fast – one turn per minute for the outer carriage and one revolution in just 18.75 seconds for the inner carriage – that the balance maintains constant amplitude, whichever way it is oriented. For the first time in watchmaking history, the exactness of a watch is thus entirely independent of the position of the timepiece itself. Loyal to the uncompromising principles that govern each of its decisions, Jaeger-LeCoultre refused to take the easy path to achieving this result by reducing the size of the balance or the frequency of its oscillations. In
order to guarantee infallible accuracy, the Reveros Gyrotourbillon 2 is equipped with a large gold balance that is fairly insensitive to vibrations or shocks, has an inertia of 12.5 mgxcm2 and imperturbably oscillates at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour. In an ultimate touch of luxury and in order to avoid any alteration in the rating in case of impacts, adjustments are made by means of gold inertia-blocks arranged around the rim of the balance.

An absolute Reverso, for a new dimension in time measurements

In terms of its horological functions, the Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2 displays the time by means of two flame-blued steel hands moving over an off-centred sapphire subdial. A fine engraving on the wheel to the left of the dial enables one to read off the time on a 24-hour scale. Meanwhile, the seconds are indicated by a blue index that is actually part of the outer tourbillon carriage. On the back, a hand integrated within the movement indicates the power reserve on a sector-shaped bridge.

Nonetheless, at the very moment when a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch appears to have revealed its essential characteristics, a new element consistently overturns the global view that an attentive observer is struggling to gain. For this particular model, in order to house the manually-wound Calibre 174, the engineers of the Manufacture had to design an entirely new swivel case that nonetheless complied with the inimitable DNA of the Reverso. By the very nature of its operating principle, the spherical tourbillon calls for a thicker type of envelope in order to operate in perfect freedom and security. After making countless prototypes based on highly complex crystals and spheres cut from sapphires, technicians and designers finally managed to accommodate the thickness of the tourbillon within an apparently classic case and sapphire crystal. Representing the height of refinement, this case is even equipped with a bolt inspired by the system used on the Reverso grande complication à triptyque, in order to prevent any inadvertent opening of the watch. The case is water-resistant to 30 metres and fitted with an
integrated leather strap ensuring exceptional comfort on the wrist. As befits such a prestigious watch, the Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2 will be issued in a strictly limited platinum edition of 75.

Nonetheless, any watchmaking devotee will soon forget the subsidiary features of the Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2 and simply turn his gaze over and over to the extraordinary vision afforded by Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 174 and the captivating revolutions of the spherical tourbillon as it exercises its truly irresistible force of attraction. As the absolute Reverso, the Gyrotourbillon 2 embodies a unique accomplishment that could only emerge from a Manufacture that has allied traditional know-how with an indomitable spirit of innovation for the past 175 years. This timepiece, boasting a degree of precision on the wrist that breaks entirely free of the power of gravity, illustrates the creative strength that nurtures the countless transformations of the Reverso, the watchmaking icon appearing in consistently reinvented and perpetually fascinating new forms of expression.

2008 SIHH Preview: JLC Reverso Squadra Lady

Press file provided by MJLC.

Reverso Squadra Lady, a multi-faceted feminine universe.

Two years after the advent of the Reverso Squadra for men, Jaeger-LeCoultre presents a collection dedicated to women. The boldly determined appearance of the Reverso Squadra Lady reflects a multi-faceted feminine universe: two faces, a fast and clever strap-change
system, a stunning array of materials, a classic design and the sparkle of diamonds. Equipped with the latest generation of Jaeger-LeCoultre movements, these models combine the signature Reverso Squadra features with a degree of refinement reserved exclusively for feminine wrists.

Reverso Squadra Lady – the many faces of an obvious choice

Jaeger-LeCoultre wanted to offer women a Reverso Squadra collection embodying the fundamentals of the iconic Reverso and its unique swivel, while also bearing the distinctive characteristics of the Reverso Squadra line: a square case and resolute character, along with a powerful and immediately recognizable design.

Designers, watchmakers and engineers set to work on creating a line perfectly tailored to the specific demands of women fully prepared to use masculine “weapons of mass seduction”. Nonetheless, they soon realized that a single model could barely hope to satisfy such a broad spectrum of expectations. This naturally led to the decision to offer two lines with two case sizes: a small size intended to delicately but firmly match the typical feminine way of wearing a
watch; and a more generously proportioned model that will appeal to women wishing to sport a watch that catches the eye at first glance.

The aesthetics of the Reverso Squadra Lady dial are imbued with a rich diversity: straight transferred numerals standing out against a silver-coloured dial base in order to preserve the sporting spirit of the Reverso Squadra; or floral numerals set against a sunburst guilloché motif and underscored by two rows of diamonds allying a taste for performance with the secret aspirations of the feminine heart, driven by the conviction that only the sparkle of stones is worthy to illuminate the passing of time.

And since the Grande Maison in the Vallée de Joux wishes to provide women fascinated by the Reverso Squadra with a comprehensive range of refined models, each version comes in a broad variety of materials, featuring a number of variations on a theme in yellow gold, pink gold or steel, either polished or exquisitely adorned with diamonds.

Reverso Squadra Classique and Reverso Squadra Lady: for those who like to forget time

A sports watch, however feminine and distinctive and especially if it bears the Jaeger-LeCoultre signature, must offer a choice among various movements, according to the wishes and lifestyle of each of its future owners. Jaeger-lecoultre Calibre 657 provides the user-friendliness of a quartz movement, as well as a second face left free for an engraving that makes each timepiece a personalized gem.

Reverso Squadra Lady automatic: a refined watch movement

Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 966, a mechanical automatic model, is distinguished by a 42-hour power reserve and a date display cleverly inserted within the number 6. All the automatic models feature a sapphire crystal caseback enabling women who appreciate fine watchmaking to admire the smooth working of its intricate mechanism.

Reverso Squadra Lady Duetto : two times, one movement

And finally, since each Reverso Squadra is first and foremost a swivel watch, how could the makers deprive the new collection of the fabulous Duetto concept, which simultaneously reveals two faces of time? The principle is the same as ever, with one face set with diamonds and featuring a date display and an exquisite day/night disc adorned with sun and moon symbols. The back, which is devoted to a straightforward hour and minute display, also pays tribute to Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 968, through a discreet aperture in the centre of the guilloché-patterned dial that reveals the movement’s oscillating weight. Once again, Reverso Squadra enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice, since the new Duetto is available in steel with gem setting on the front along with white and black dials, or in a pink gold version with gem-setting on both sides, along with white and black dials.

Regal apparel

The innovative Reverso Squadra Lady is also distinguished by its novel interchangeable strap system. This clever device enables one to change strap in a flash without any tool whatsoever. Thus, when changing out of daywear for a smarter evening look, it becomes as easy as anything to remove the practical articulated rubber strap and replace it with an elegant leather strap. This gesture will soon become as familiar to the lucky owner of a Reverso Squadra as swiveling the case to reveal the gem-set face, as the stars begin to twinkle in the sky above.

The pink gold version of the Reverso Squadra Lady Duetto associates the glowing precious metal with a black leather or rubber strap. On the steel version, white is the keynote for the leather straps, or black for the rubber strap. In the other versions, yellow gold and steel are married with white leather or rubber. This vast array of choices, colors and materials gives rise to fascinating matches such as steel and diamonds or pink gold and leather, forming a whirling
carousel of happy whims and fancies.

The Reverso Squadra is thus successfully interpreted in the feminine mode while betraying nothing of its masculine and sporting roots. It is as practical as ever and well suited to life’s many circumstances thanks to its clarity, its reliability and its sturdiness. Indeed, choosing the Reverso Squadra betokens a bold determination to wear a sporting watch with a highly distinctive style and genuine technical and horological substance. Women now also speak men’s language. Their exclusive preserve remains a unique aura of elegance imbued with unmistakable refinement, but they now also share the masculine prerogatives of strength and boldness.


The reversible case is a Jaeger-LeCoultre creation that has remained unique in the world since 1931. A timeless symbol of the Art Deco movement, the Reverso is the most classic of all rectangular watches. It was born from a challenge set by British colonial army officers in India, who wanted to have a watch capable of withstanding the inevitable hard knocks endured during a polo match. On one side, it displays the time with unerring precision, while the other either conceals or gives time an entirely new face in the shape of a second time zone, a sapphire
crystal revealing the movement, a monogram, or a gem-set motif. The two faces of the Reverso watch comprise countless different facets.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

2008 SIHH Preview: IWC Vintage Collection Jubilee Edition 1868-2008

At this years SIHH IWC will be celebrating 140 years by introducing six “Vintage” series watches as renditions of their past venerable models: the Portuguese, Ingenieur, Pilot’s Watch, Da Vinci, Aquatimer, Portofino. All legends of IWC in their own right they are being reintroduced as modernized new models with careful respect to their vintage roots.

Some are introduced with current series produced models
automatic IWC movements and some with hand-wound pocket watch movements based on the legendary Jones 98-calibre. The evolution of the aesthetic is surely inspired by the original pieces with some updated changes although still very closely mirroring their forefathers. The main distinguishing change in wrist presence and appearance is displayed in increased case sizes over vintage models.

The collection of six watches
is available in stainless steel with a black dial as a regular production and limited numbers in platinum with a silverized dial. First 140 platinum pieces are reserved as a special collectors set of six watches, each collectively numbered, and set in beautiful leather custom case.

Here are the individual pieces specifications from the IWC press file:

Pilot’s Watch Hand-Wound
Ref. IW3254


Homage to IWC’s first watch specifically for pilots from 1936, with hand-wound pocket watch movement and rotating bezel, platinum model limited to 500 watches

Caliber 98300
Vibrations 18,000/ h / 2.5 Hz
Jewels: 18
Power reserve: 46 h
Winding: Manual

Materials: platinum, stainless steel.
Glass: sapphire, convex, anti reflective
Back: sapphire glass
Dial: silver-plated, black
Water-resistant: 6 bar
Diameter: 44mm
Height: 12mm

Watch in platinum with black calf leather strap 145 g
Watch in stainless steel with black calf leather strap 89 g

Portuguese Hand-wound:
Ref: IW5445


Homage to the first IWC Portuguese watch of 1939, hand-wound pocket watch movement, platinum model limited to 500 watches.

Caliber 98295
Vibrations 18,000/ h / 2.5 Hz
Jewels: 18
Power reserve: 46 h
Winding manual:

Materials: platinum, stainless steel
Glass: sapphire, crossed out, anti reflective
Back: sapphire glass
Dial: silver-plated, black
Water-resistant: 3 bar
Diameter: 44mm
Height: 10mm

Watch in platinum with black crocodile leather strap 103 g
Watch in stainless steel with black crocodile leather strap 77 g

Ingenieur Automatic
Ref. IW3233


Homage to the first Ingenieur with automatic movement from 1955, with the 0111-calibre
movement successor with Pellaton winding system, platinum model limited to 500 watches

Caliber 80111
Vibrations 28,800/h / 4 Hz
Jewels: 28
Power reserve: 44 h
Winding: automatic

Materials: platinum, stainless steel
Glass: sapphire, crossed out, anti reflective
Back: sapphire glass
Dial: silver-plated, black
Water-resistant: 12 bar
Diameter: 42.5mm
Height: 14.5mm

Watch in platinum with black crocodile leather strap 163 g
Watch in stainless steel with black crocodile leather strap 99 g

Aquatimer Automatic
Ref. IW3231


Homage to the first IWC diver’s watch, the Aquatimer from 1967, with an inner rotating
bezel and the current 80111-calibre automatic movement with Pellaton winding system,
platinum model limited to 500 watches.

Caliber 80111
Vibrations 28,800/h / 4 Hz
Jewels: 28
Power reserve: 44 h
Winding: automatic

Materials: platinum, stainless steel
Glass: sapphire, convex, antireflective
Back: sapphire glass
Dial: silver-plated, black
Water-resistant: 12 bar
Diameter: 44mm
Height: 14.5mm

Watch in platinum with black crocodile leather strap 193 g
Watch in stainless steel with black rubber strap 122 g

DaVinci Automatic
Ref. IW5461


Homage to the first (electronic) Da Vinci, but with the 80111-calibre automatic movement with Pellaton winding system, platinum model limited to 500 watches.

Caliber: 80111
Vibrations 28,800/h / 4 Hz
Jewels: 28
Power reserve: 44 h
Winding: automatic

Materials: platinum, stainless steel
Glass: sapphire, convex, anti reflective
Back: sapphire glass
Dial: silver-plated, black
Water-resistant: 3 bar
Diameter: 42mm
Height: 13.5mm

Watch in platinum with black crocodile leather strap 166 g
Watch in stainless steel with black crocodile leather strap 115 g

Portofino Hand-Wound
Ref. IW5448


Homage to the original Portofino Reference 5251, with pocket watch movement and extremely precise moon phase display, platinum model limited to 500 watches

Caliber: 98800
Vibrations 18,000/ h / 2.5 Hz
Jewels: 18
Power reserve: 46 h
Winding: manual

Materials: platinum, stainless steel
Glass: sapphire, crossed out, antireflective
Back: sapphire glass
Dial: silver-plated, black
Water-resistant: 3 bar
Diameter: 46mm
Height: 11mm

Watch in platinum with black crocodile leather strap 121g
Watch in stainless steel with black crocodile leather strap 85 g

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Antiquorum's "Rolex Revolution" Auction

Looks like this is going to be another milestone auction for Rolex vintage watches (to be held in on Thursday, 17 April, Antiquorum NY). There is a great preview of what to expect in terms of amazing quality and completeness of pieces that will be offered, spanning the whole history of Rolex, in this link Antiquorum's "Rolex Revolution" Auction from Timezone Rolex Vintage forum by Paul Boutros. There will be also hardcover auction catalog available ($75) as well as a free online PDF file(available here for download - Warning it is HUGE!) which will cover all these pieces in detail which could be a nice reference to own. There are many spectacular and quite rare pristine examples on the auction so even if you can't compete in the auction it would a real pleasure to at least make it to the preview and be able to see them in person. Unfortunately I will not be able to make the auction as I will be returning from my SIHH/Geneva trip, but I guess it's a fair trade off. ;-)

I also consider this to be an important auction that will definitely establish where does the current market for vintage Rolex stand and where will it go from now on. It's no secret to anyone who follows the vintage market that Rolex has been the single continuously overachieving superstar breaking all records in the secondary markets in the last half of this decade. Moreover every time the market was predicted to be overly exuberant or even simply overpriced (with fears of bubble bursting announced monthly and looming continuously in the eyes of collectors) to the bewilderment of all this market insatiable and seemingly limitless demand for quality vintage Rolex is simply unstoppable. I believe that with so many new flush entrants in the vintage Rolex market (especially those with New Money from the oil rich and new market economy superstars from places like far East, Russia, etc.) these prices can be sustained due to the fairly limited supply especially when considering that with the passage of time the relative lack of supply (I even dare say rarity) of top conditioned, complete and proven provenance pieces available. Despite the slowdown in majority of worldwide economies, especially the very real crisis looming in the US with expected slowdown in luxury spending which has detracted many of the "local" US based spending, the added weak dollar has just acted as opposite draw and attracted overseas buyers as more then ample replacements for all the "FX created bargains" to be plucked "overseas".

As with everything Crème de la Crème in life, in this case top prices of fine vintage timepieces, are not only sustainable, but are certain to always demand and receive willing buyers who want nothing but the very best - no matter does the asking price seem, for a lack of a better word, reasonable (at least to most of us mere mortals). IMO this one auction, for us vintage Rolex aficionados, will be the one to watch and closely analyze for future clues to the direction of this crazy thing that makes us tick with so much joy.

Rolex 2008 BaselWorld Rumors

Supposedly there are rampant rumors of some breakthrough novelties to be introed at this year BaselWorld by Rolex. As with every year these are just that rumors so many times I really don't take for much or at least with considerable grain of salt. This time the difference is that they seem to be coming from few different sources (All supposed to be from official Rolex insiders and/or legitimate employees with such knowledge). Although all of these could be a complete disinformation or just plain internet scuttlebutt I wanted to have them compiled and noted ahead of the unveiling just to be able to revisit to see what was indeed true or not. So not to beat too much around the bush there should be "up to 10 new novelties" introduced:

1. New Seadweller with doomed glass, maxi dial and ceramic bezel ala the new GMT-II.

2. New Seadweller case size, bracelet and movement.

3. New Sports watch (either the larger Seadweller or modified case).

4. Daytona modified (Pink gold and/or PVD?).

5. New Submersible (see points #1, #2 and #3 above).

6. All gold Sub introduced this year.

7. New larger (44/43/42mm) then current 40mm model (an update of either Sub or Seadweller).

8. GMT II with two color ceramic bezel in red and blue.

9. Re-endition of the legendary Jean Claude Killy.

10. Re-endition of the Dato Compax.

2008 Horology fairs: BaselWorld And SIHH

Again April rolls around and same as the changing seasons the time of the watch fairs is upon us again. Halleluiah! is the proverbial shout from all the horology aficionados.

Last year was a great time at the fairs. Especially in Geneva which was such a treat to revisit all over again. Geneva should really be crowned as a sort of Disneyland for the WIS, well actually for any bon vivant, and should be at minimum of one time must see for any WIS (once a year for me that is).

This year unfortunately I will not be able to make BaselWorld, but I am happy to report that I have just confirmed my traveling plans for this year SIHH. I should have sufficient time to cover all the exhibitors at SIHH as well some other brands not present at either BaselWorld or SIHH so you will have my in depth report just like last year.

What am I expecting this year? Well to be honest a lot! I know of a few things that have been in the works for the past year (or in some cases even more) from a few brands I like. I am hoping to see the final unveilings and outcomes of so many talented watchmakers/designers hard work. There should be some pretty groundbreaking stories to report: from vintage icons of old being reborn for a new generation, to novel applications of hi-tech materials (actual improvements to horology instead of just marketing ploys), to positive changes in attitudes of approach (listening to their consumers desires) of some old time brands, to some pretty innovative and bespoke finished complications to collectively amaze us all.

I am also hoping for no more clichés of years past and repetitive additions of yet another (un)special/(un)limited editions which are IMHO just plain useless to the true horology aficionados. As much as I like larger size watches and think they need to be realistically represented in the market not every single model or brand needs to follow the bigger is better mantra. As well let’s please not get overly excited with emblazoning too many diamonds and all sort of varied array of colored precious stone on bezels, dials and bracelets. Lastly and notably keep the prices honest – the great horology renaissance was immense for all brands (some deservedly so, some which got a new lease on life and some that merely rode the big kahunas wave) but do NOT make the mistake like an overindulgent hotshot and overplay your hand. The times are changing (so are economic situations) so let’s not have an experience of a big bust so soon after the big bang. In the end a lot of good was created during this horology renaissance and it would be a great shame if we would wind up loosing this momentum (seeing as in the end we would all end up loosing en masse).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Seven Deadliest ….

No not the seven deadly sins rather the magnificent horological seven. Seven Wonders of the World a very interesting article featuring a comparison of today’s horological cream of the crop Grand Complications.

Featuring the following watches:

Audemars Piguet 'Grand Complication'
Blancpain '1735'
Franck Muller 'Mega'
I.W.C. 'Grand Complication'
Jaeger-LeCoultre 'Tryptych'
Patek Philippe 'Sky Moon Tourbillon'
Vacheron Constatin 'Tour de L'ile'

From Spring 2008 Vox Magazine / Antiquorum
Brandon Thomas (Director, Horological Expert) - Geneva Office

I have to concur with Brandon’s findings especially his astute conclusion as to the ultimate “winner” (perhaps better to say the preferred choice) in this great company of the magnificent seven achievements of the utmost horological scale. As unattainable to mere mortals are they all - they are non the less, if not even more, impressive to experts and collectors alike. Hope you enjoy the reading.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Habanos Regional Edition (Edición Regional) Series.

Habanos Regional Edition (Edición Regional) Series.

Since 2005, Habanos SA has released the Regional Edition (Edición Regional) Series. The phenomenal success of the German 5th Avenue Gold Medal release in 2004 is considered by many as the real initiating factor to the Regional Release series.

Initially, the worldwide Global & Niche brands were excluded from this series, but in 2007 a "Montecristo" was released in Mexico under the Edmundo Dante brand name.

The Regional Edition (ER) cigars are special limited-production cigars made for specific regional markets on a (normally) once-off basis and are available for a 1 or 2 year period. After this, the cigar can be considered by Habanos for inclusion in the current production range. Each release is initiated by the Regional Distributor, who underwrites the setup costs. Some distributors elect to reissue in the second year. Reissue cigars are identical but the box leaflet has a statement "Its great acceptance encourages us to present this edition again.....".

The cigars may be new vitolas or reinstated old vitolas. The cigars normally have two bands. The main band is normally standard production but can be a modified or old replica band. The second band is a uniform regional edition band (red & silver) printed with the word "Exclusivo" and the Region Name (in Spanish). The 2005 UK release only had a single band.

The Spanish region names are as follows: (incomplete)
• Alemania - Germany
• Asia Pacifico - Asia Pacific
• Benelux - Belgium
• Canadá - Canada
• España - Spain
• Francia - France
• Medio Oriente - Middle East
• Mexico- Mexico
• Reino Unido - United Kingdom

Chronological Regional Edition (Edición Regional) series releases:

2005 RE This first year had 5 releases.
• Italy - Punch - Superfinos
• Italy - Ramon Allones - Seleccion Suprema
• Switzerland - Ramon Allones - Eminencia
• Switzerland - Punch - Robustos
• UK - Ramon Allones - Belicoso
2006 RE This year had 6 new releases.
• Asia Pacific - Punch - Super Robusto
• Asia Pacific - Ramon Allones - Estupendo
• France - Bolivar - Libertadores
• France - Juan Lopez - Obus
• Germany - Por Larranaga - Lonsdales
• Germany - Bolivar - Colosales
2007 RE This year had 8 new releases.
• Asia Pacific - Por Larranaga - Robusto
• Baltic States - El Rey del Mundo - Vikingos
• Belgium - Ramon Allones - Specially Selected Gran Robusto
• Canada - Bolivar - Simones
• Middle East - Bolivar - Double Coronas
• Spain - Vegas Robaina - Maestros
• UK - Por Larranaga - Magnificos
• Mexico - Montecristo Edmundo Dantes - El Conde 109
2008 RE This year 17 new releases are proposed.
• Arab Emirates - Punch - Robusto
• Asia Pacific - Bolivar - Shorts
• Asia Pacific - Por Larranaga - Belicosos Extra
• Caribbean - Juan Lopez - Petit Piramides
• Caribbean - La Gloria Cubana - Marshall
• France - Bolivar - Petit Libertador
• France - Ramon Allones - Especial
• Hong Kong - Bolivar - Harmony
• Italy - El Rey del Mundo - Especiales
• Italy - Punch - Diadema
• Middle East - Ramon Allones - Phoenicios
• Portugal - Vegas Robaina - Petit Robusto
• Spain - Ramon Allones - Grandes
• Switzerland - Bolivar - Legendarios
• Switzerland - Juan Lopez - Maximo
• United Kingdom - Punch - Piramides
• United Kingdom - La Gloria Cubana - Gloriosos

Information from

Habanos Edición Limitada - Limited Edition Series

Habanos Edición Limitada - Limited Edition Series

Since 2000, Habanos SA has released the Limited Edition (Edición Limitada aka EL) series from within their premium brands. The EL series distinguishes itself by the release of cigars that are not part of the current production range. Initially, the cigars were manufactured using a selection of two-year old aged wrappers from the upper level of the plant, to produce a unique darker color. From 2007 on, the binder and filler leaves were also aged for two years. The EL’s are produced for that year only and being highly sought after they typically fetch a higher premium on the retail market. Selective series if they are hugely successful more often than not are reproduced a few years later as a regular series.

Chronological Limited Edition (Edición Limitada) series releases:

2000 LE The first release of this series involved four brands.
• Hoyo de Monterrey - Particulars
• Montecristo - Robustos
• Partagas - Piramides
• Romeo y Julieta - Exhibicion No.2
2001 LE These cigars were not released until mid 2002, but have 2001 limited edition bands.
• Cohiba - Piramides
• Hoyo de Monterrey - Particulars
• Montecristo - Double Corona
• Partagas - Serie D No.3
• Romeo y Julieta - Robustos
2002 LE No releases this year due to the late release of the 2001 LE cigars.
2003 LE This release involved five brands.
• Cohiba - Double Coronas
• Hoyo de Monterrey - Piramides
• Montecristo - Montecristo C
• Partagas - Serie D No.2
• Romeo y Julieta - Hermoso No.1
2004 LE This release involved four brands.
• Cohiba - Sublimes
• Hoyo de Monterrey - Epicure Especial
• Partagas - Serie D No.1
• Romeo y Julieta - Hermoso No.2
2005 LE This release involved three brands.
• H Upmann - Magnum 50
• Montecristo - Montecristo D
• Romeo y Julieta - Petit Piramides

2006 LE This is the Fifth Anniversary of the Limited edition Series. It involved a re-issue of three of the most popular LE cigars to date.
• Cohiba - Piramides
• Montecristo - Robustos
• Partagas - Serie D No.3
2007 LE This release involves three brands. This was the first release where all the tobacco (wrapper, binder, & filler) has been aged two years.
• Hoyo de Monterrey - Regalos
• Romeo y Julieta - Escudos
• Trinidad - Ingenio
2008 LE This release will involve three brands.
• Cuaba - Piramides
• Montecristo - Sublimes
• Partagas - Serie D No.5

Information from

It's again that great forbidden smoking time of the year – 10th Habanos Festival

From 25th to 29th February, La Habana, was a venue of the 10th Habanos Festival which is a center point of the distributors, specialists and lovers of the best cigar in the world. During that time the presentation were held of all of the novelties to be incorporated to the Habanos portfolio in 2008, to the cigar aficionados world .
Inside the Habanos Festival besides the novelties for 2008 the most pleasurable experience must be the local of Havana which create a unique atmosphere to fully enjoy the unique aroma, flavors and texture of the Habanos, the true celebrated stars of the Festival.

Habanos Novelties

There are three new Limitadas officially announced for the 2008 that will debut during the Habanos Festival, including the Partagas Serie D No. 5, Cuaba Piramid, and the Montecristo Sublimes. The great news is that also the H. Upmann Magnum 50 (which was a Limitada a few years back) will become a regular line, as will something from Hoyo de Monterrey the line extension to Epicure which would be Epicure Especial, which was as well a 2004 EL.
Another thing worth of a note is the addition of few new Tubos (like the super cool black on red Partagas Serie P No. 2) to the market, as with the previous few years that saw the intro of the hugely successful Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill, Cohiba Siglo II, VI, etc.

CA’s James Suckling tasting of the Habanos 2008 Edición Limitadas:

Cuaba Piramides
6 1/8 by 52 ring
This is the same size as the popular Montecristo No. 2. It is super refined and long with light coffee and nutty character. Full flavored with a long finish. Gorgeous and fresh. All is in balance. Perfect draw.
93 points (non blind)

Montecristo Sublimes
6 1/2 by 54 ring
The strongest of the three, it shows lots of espresso bean, roasted meat and earth under the tobacco. Full and rich. Long and flavorful. Full throttle.
92 points (non blind)

Partagas Serie D No. 5
4 1/3 by 50 ring
This is essentially a Serie D No. 4 but short. However, it has a different flavor profile and is more spicy. The cigar comes across a little herbal at first but turns to dried flowers. Full and balanced with a spicy finish. I smoked three yesterday. The more I smoke them, the more I like them.
91 points (non blind)

All of these sound very tasty and they should be available in a few month so hopefully I will have a chance to sample all of them and report with my personal impressions.

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