Friday, November 14, 2008

Watch News: The prize-winners of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2008

The prize-giving ceremony of the 8th Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix took place on November 13, at the Grand Théâtre of Geneva, illuminated by Gerry Hostetter.

The most prestigious prize, the “Aiguille d’Or” (“Golden Hand”), was given this year to the watch by F.P. Journe: The Centigraph Souverain. This new chronograph conquered the hearts and minds of the jury.

With a dozen different prize categories, the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix honors the most creative watchmaking brands every year. Officially supported by the City and State of Geneva, the ceremony attracted the leading managers, journalists and aficionados of the watchmaking world. Presided by Pierre-François Unger in front of a crowd of more than 1500 guests, it was a not-to-be-missed event for international horology.

Adjudged by an international jury of recognized professionals (see the list on, the prizes consecrate the winners in various categories noted below as well as the Best Watchmaker Prize, the Jury’s Prize, the Public Prize and the “Golden Hand” Grand Prix.

The winning watches, in addition to all the other preselected timepieces, can be viewed until the 21st of November in the UBS Corraterie branch office in the centre of Geneva.

List of the prize-winners of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2008

Grand Prix « l’Aiguille d’or » (Golden Hand Prize)- F.P. Journe, Centigraphe Souverain

Best Watchmaker Prize - Giulio Papi

Special Jury Prize - Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie

Favourite Ladies Watch - Piaget, Limelight Magic Hour

Favourite Men’s Watch - Vacheron Constantin, Quai de l’Ile

Favourite Design Watch - Concord, C1 Tourbillon Gravity

Favourite Jewellery Watch - Audemars Piguet, Millenary Pianoforte

Favourite Watch with complication - Jaeger-LeCoultre, Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2

Favourite Sports Watch - TAG Heuer, Grande Carrera Calibre 36 RS Caliper Chronographe

Favourite Full Calendar Watch - Audemars Piguet, Equation du Temps Squelette Jules Audemars

Public Prize - Maurice Lacroix, Starside Eternal Moo

Congratulations to all the winners as most selections like the JLC's Gyrotourbillon 2 & F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain seem to validate further the exceptional mastery of hi end watchmaking as well as the hard work being presented in today's horological industry although some of the other category winner choices remain to leave me befuddled.

Info via

Saturday, November 8, 2008

News: United States President elect Barack Obama and his watches

I don't get to political on this blog, but this week historical Presidential elections here in the US captured mine as well the global attention thus they need to be mentioned even if it is just in the context of watches.

The junior United States Senator from Chicago, Illinois Barack Obama made history and is the first African American to be elected as the 44th President of the United States. This besides sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics electing him with ease in many ways it signifies change and new hope for the citizens of this country as well the US image abroad in these difficult economic times.

So in the words of my President elect "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America." All I can say Thank you Mr. President.

So enough of my mumbling about politics I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at the man of the moment from a different aspect and a more personal horological insight in this fantastic article Obama's watches by Jeff Stein. Enjoy!

Watch News: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Survivor Chronograph

Over the last year much has been speculated by AP's ferment ROO aficionados about the final design and name of yet another very much talked about AP Special Edition ROO. Well the time has come and it's finally here! On November 6th the day of the Global Launch (sounds so sinister) all of the AP ROO faithful have gather around the world to be finally introduced to a finished product they debated about for so long.

Overall I find the finishing and many of the design cues to be very interesting and well executed in particular my surprise that I'm for once a fan of the execution of the dial which with ROO's can be IMHO very cluttered and dare I say colorfully confusing. The open worked hands and vertical grooved ceramic bezel are another two aesthetically successful details tying up the whole "sinister" design. I also liked that they successful carried on the wider non-tappered vulcanized rubber style strap first introduced on the Team Ainghi LE.

On the other hand what I don't like is cartoonish elements such as these crown guards, notched "gun barrel" rim of the crown, as well as the ratcheted case edge. Then its the usual complaint of YET another LE ROO (number 69 and counting LOL), yet another PVD'd black watch (I thought only Hublot was the company that still thinks that is something innovative) and of course lets not forget the very lame name. No secret here that I am no fanboy of ROO's altogether but c'mon AP how long can you continue following the same old ROO LE thing.

“Survivor” mission:

- Readability, functionality and high precision, the wearer is liable to find himself confronted with an unknown and hostile environment – overpopulated megalopolis, urban jungle cosmic construction sites, etc.
- High-tech architecture: ultra-light, high-resistance materials that adjust to body temperature.
- Design: ergonomic and sophisticated, genetic markers of the Royal Oak Offshore collection pushed to extremes.
- Mechanical performance: exclusive chronograph movement.

Technical specifications:

Follow this link to see the SURVIVOR MOVIE

High-tech materials:

Blackened titanium plays the starring role. This ultra-light material has been chosen for the case and the surrounding elements: studs, push pieces and guards, crown and oversize strap buckle. The same goes for the medallion back featuring a special non-slip texture.

Titanium also shows up on the lower part of the octagonal bezel, while its upper part opts for ceramics. The latter is distinguished by clearly marked vertical grooves reminiscent of the characteristic satin finish of the Royal Oak Offshore collection.

The strap is made from vulcanized rubber, an indispensable part of the extreme sports universe. Its matte black granular surface accentuates the adventurous camouflage-type look of this chronograph issued in a limited edition of 1000.

Shapes and ergonomics:

Each detail is meticulously designed to ensure a blend of efficiency and lightness. The perforations on the bezel lighten up the structure without compromising its sturdiness. The hollowed push pieces equipped with a security look ensure user-friendly handling. In a similar vein, the generous size and notched rim of the crown, as well as the ratcheted case edge, facilitate getting a quick and sure grip on this exceptional instrument. The conical shape of the push pieces guarantees instant activation of the chronograph function, while the skeleton hands, luminescent hour-markers and silver-colored small seconds counter guarantee optimal readability by day or night. And finally, since nothing is left to chance, a careful observer will note the apertures on the case middle and studs.

The Royal Oak Offshore signature features:

- Strongbox-type case water-resistant to 100 meters, with anti magnetic system designed to protect the mechanism from any hostile element
- Hexagonal socket-head screws echoing the legendary hexagonal screws of the Royal Oak Offshore models
- Exclusive “Mega Tapisserie” guilloché pattern on the dial, matched on this model by the checkered motif on the strap
- Strap perfectly integrated with the case

High-precision instrument

The Royal Oak Offshore Survivor houses the exclusive Audemars Piguet self-winding Calibre 3126/3840, guaranteeing sturdiness, reliability and precision rating:
- up to 60 hours’ power reserve thanks to a mainspring which, by supplying constant force over a longer time-span, ensures enhanced rating accuracy;
- a cross-through balance-cock reinforcing the stability of the movement;
- a balance-stop mechanism serving to immobilize the seconds hand and thus enabling time-setting to the nearest second;
- a variable-inertia balance equipped with eight inertia-blocks enabling precise and stable adjustment;
- fast date correction with an integrated security system avoiding any risk of date disc blockage when the adjustment occurs at midnight;
- bidirectional automatic winding of the mainspring by means of a 22-carat gold rotor mounted on a ball-bearing mechanism;

Technical Specifications
Royal Oak Offshore Survivor Chronograph

Limited series of 1000

Calibre: 3126/3840, self winding
Total diameter : 26 mm (11 ½ lignes)
Thickness : 7.16 mm
59 jewels
365 parts
Up to 60-hour power reserve
Cadence of the balance: 21,600 vibrations per hour
Variable-inertia type balance with eight inertia-blocks and a flag balance-spring
Geneva-type mobile balance-spring stud-holder
Three-position winding crown
Finishing: all parts decorated by hand; main plate rhodium-plated, bevelled and stippled; bridges adorned with Côtes de Genève motif

Strongbox-type case with anti magnetic system, cone-shaped pushpieces, hollowed pushpiece guards, crown, crown guard and studs in blackened titanium
Perforated ceramic bezel
Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 1.565 mm
Water resistance: 100 metres
Medallion back in blackened titanium with non-slip motif, titanium zone engraved with the inscription Royal Oak Offshore Survivor – Limited Edition

Matt black, exclusive “Mega Tapisserie” guilloché motif
Snailed hour circle
Luminescent open worked hour and minute hands
Luminescent applied hour-markers


Vulcanized rubber with chequered motifs and oversized buckle in blackened titanium

Hours and minutes
Small seconds
Chronograph with central sweep seconds hand, 30-minute and 12-hour counters
Tachometer scale around the flange

For more real world photos of the watch as well some excellent coverage of the Survivor launch follow the link posted by TZ's Paul Boutros of the AP NY Boutique event

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

News: Jaeger-LeCoultre signed a Partnership agreement with the U.S. Navy SEALs!

Yup exciting news for all vintage, military and especially JLC aficionados report by the great Stephan Ciejka from LaRevuedesMontre

Translated: "The Swiss Manufacture Jaeger LeCoultre has signed a cooperation agreement with the special forces command of the U.S. Navy, and becomes the partner of the famous watchmaker Navy SEALs, commandos and combat swimmers of the Navy of the United States. This collaboration is expected to last several years, and will lead to the production of special series, and more limited, which will be tested by operators of the unit during the coming months. The activity of this elite unit made a test laboratory particularly valuable."

In short the announcement of the cooperation with JLC and U.S. Navy SEALs resulting in development of some very cool diving watches over the next few years. The only other thing I can disclose is that we might see some sooner then the summer is expected ;-)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Independent watchmakers News: Great artickle about new brand from Ludwig Oeschslin - "Ochs und Junior"

A great report by Timm Delfs brought us by Ian Skellern at Horomundi. If you are fan of the simplistic genius work that Ludwig Oeschslin has been doing over the years you will definitely love to hear more about this collaboration with Paul Gerber. Both the "Settimana Junior" and "Anno" feature innovative and simple display such as the one seen on Settimana - semicircle of dots that indicate what day of the week it is.

"Anno" a more "serious" piece features a new Paul Gerber automatic caliber and Ludwig's specialty of annual calendar. All this and being in such minimalist design yet on the other hand quite complicated and impeccably finished. I love news like this thus I am quite intrigued and can't wait to hear more.

Info and photo via and

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