Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Marqueterie - The Kiss

During the 2012 SIHH Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced another masterpiece Atmos Marqueterie ‘The Kiss’.  A work of art clock which hankers back to life the famous piece of work by Gustav Klimt (limited to10 pieces).

 Way back in 1904, Belgian financer Adolphe Stoclet had commissioned Gustav Klimt to create a piece of art that would build on what his core strength would be; mosaics. Out of that tryst in destiny was born the Kiss, which gave Klimt much of the fame he is now known for. It is also later found, that the artist used 1,200 pieces of wood, each covered individually with gold leaf to create this master piece, especially the marquetry on the exterior. After all these years, it comes alive in this form, where exotic wood varieties such as maple, walnut, Ceylon lemon, pear, madrona burl and ash burl create a cabinet to house this horological masterpiece.

The automatic responsive cabinet open up to show the crystal sapphire covered dial, which is again an example of the Jaeger-LeCoultre brilliance which cleverly hides the very button operating this function.  Speaking of the dial, it features generous use of handcrafted mother of pearl on the main dial, where as the built in moon phase indicator uses gold, diamonds and petrified wooden varieties. The interior lining of the cabinet however, is rhodium and crystal glass.

Speaking of the technicals, there is a Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 582 movement at the center of the watch function. It comprises of 386 handcrafted components, each put together individually. The beating rate for the movement is pegged at 120 vibrations per hour. As for the different functions there is the hour, minutes, 24-hour indicator, month and also the moon phase tracker. As for the official pricing there is none communicated to the public (rumored to be around +$200K) which is very fitting to the limited nature of this masterpiece and the work of art it represents.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tudor Heritage Big Crown Ref. 79220R

The return of the Big Crown ... even if it's on a Tudor

One of the few (unofficial or sponsored you decide) leaks for the upcoming BaselWorld 2012 comes to us from no other then Tudor.  I could have just chalked this one up to the prevailing trend of other companies digging into their history coffers for ideas to bring yet another Tribute unless I was so excited to see an old friend coming back. (Again kudos to Jaeger-LeCoultre for starting this trend & always doing it the right way but then again I am biased)

So what's the lowdown on this new Tudor Heritage aka Black Bay Ref. 79220R.  The specs reported are as follows: larger 41mm steel case (I'm fine with slight increase), 8mm Big Crown (anything Big Crown is Godly in my book), Gilt dial(looks lovely on the rendering), Snowflake (not at all period correct as they are from 1970's Tudors and God awful style wise) hands, Convex glass (I hope this means its not sapphire cause Plexi is Sexy), automatic mechanical movement, on bracelet or leather strap with folding clasp, additional fabric strap with buckle.  OK so not everything is executed and as period correct to call it a proper Tribute as I would have liked (namely those garish snowflake hands which would be first to go then that red bezel insert which is unknown in vintage world), but all in all from what I see here it looks OK.  Also compared to Rolex recent re-designs of their staple classics I would say I prefer this exercise in revisiting this old vintage friend (faults and all).  

Comparing this Heritage to a true Vintage (as apples to apples) we simply can't do in all seriousness, especially when considering that last years Tudor Heritage Chrono was a very nice modern update of vintage Monte Carlo all while being priced at extremely affordable 3,000 Euro. I am expecting pretty much the same strategy with this Reference 79220R.

The earliest Submariner found in the Tudor family is the Reference 7922. The 7922 is a special watch as it would seem that both the Tudor Ref. 7922 Submariner and the Rolex Ref 6538 Submariner were introduced at the same time and indicate a simultaneous roll-out of the two models side by side. Also note that the Rolex and Tudor serial # ranges of the mid 1950's are almost identical.

The 7922 sports a 8mm Brevet "+" crown as does the Rolex 6538. The dial layout and hands are similar in styling, fonts and shape, to that of the Rolex 6538. Note the 100m dial vs. 200m dials is a difference between them but most likely the dials started out as 100m dials and in the late 1950's the 200m dials were introduced. The bezels are usually fitted as bi-directional bezels with red triangle - similar to the Rolex variation.  The movement is a cal. 390 Tudor movement. Originally produced by Fleurier.

This all brings us to an excuse to point out that they all are closely related to the vintage legend that is Rolex 6538 aka Big Crown. 

Truly a collectors dream piece.  Today one of the most desired, exclusive & highly valued timepieces of Rolex Submariner fame.  The extreme similarity to Rolex 6538 only helped make Tudor 7922 a legend in its own right and soon we will be able to own a small piece of it in Tribute to that Heritage piece the new Tudor 79220R.       

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Vintage Heuer Obsession - well get your fix

What became a chance discovery while scouring the Internets for some vintage Heuer fix I kept coming across this amazing site/forum/blog & since it has become my go to site for anything related to vintage Heuer. 

An absolute collectors dream for any kind of information & amazing reference on this wonderful vintage gems.  One could only wish we had resources like this for other brands and vintage timepieces.  

Today is celebrating its 9th Anniversary and I urge you to visit the best vintage Heuer resource in the Internets.   

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rare Jaeger-LeCoultre Timepieces Highlight Antiquorum’s February Hong Kong Sale

Rare Jaeger-LeCoultre Timepieces Highlight Antiquorum’s February Hong Kong Sale

Antiquorum Auctioneers will present its’ auction of “Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces” to be held on February 26th at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong.  Collectors will have the opportunity to bid on 452 exceptional modern and vintage timepieces including a collection of extremely rare and highly complicated Jaeger LeCoultre masterpieces and a rare Patek Philippe ref. 3939 in pink gold.  Previews will be held in cities across the globe including Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore as well as Hong Kong.

Amongst the highlights of the sale are three outstanding Jaeger LeCoultre timepieces to be sold individually originally sold as a set named “Hybris Mecanique,” the collection, produced in 2009 will be offered at auction for the first time. The trifecta set clad in 18K White Gold and sold exclusively as a package includes the following:

Gyrotourbillon One, No.02/20. The one that started this all a perpetual calendar bi-retrograde date spherical tourbillon wristwatch with equation of time and leap year calendar. It is accompanied by a fitted box and magnifying glass.
Estimate: HKD 1,900,000 – 2,300,000

Gyrotourbillon Two, No. 02/20. This extraordinary Reverso (and still my favorite out of all the Gyro's) contain mesmerising spherical tourbillon and is offered with a fitted box, guarantee certificate, instruction booklet and magnifying glass.
Estimate: HKD 1,400,000 – 1,700,000

Last but not least Reverso ‘Triptyque’ Grand Complication No. 02/20. This used to be the most complicated timepiece made by the Grand Maison with perpetual calendar retrograde date, triple-dial reversible tourbillon wristwatch with equation of time, civil time, sidereal time and sky chart also accompanied by the original fitted box, guarantee certificate, instruction booklet and magnifying glass.   

Don't know exactly how I feel about breaking up this collectors package.  I heard before of some collectors buying the trio and then splitting them up which actually made sense at the time as they only existed before in platinum LE which was sold out by then. Will the values rise or will they level off with additional units produce aftewards as a part of Hybris Mechanica we shall see.  Lastly this is how the Trifecta package looked during the presentation during the 2009 SIHH.

Watch the Throne

Inspired by the totally awesome Hodinkee post about Jay-Z wearing Jaeger-LeCoultre ReversoTribute to 1931 I decided to get my saritorial swag on so I got totally overdressed for a lunch & decided to rock my JLC Reverso Grand Reserve 8 Jours in Pink Gold.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Polaris forever

Three and a half years later still my favorite & most unique alarm complication - never duplicated, always admired staying a classic forever. So glad it was brought back from the depths back into the rightfully earned spotlight. Pretty much the one that started the whole vintage tribute trend these days seen across the horology industry ... more to come.

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