The “Oscars” of watchmaking is held every year in Geneva, an event known as the GPHG. This event is not largely known nor followed outside of watchmaking circles, but it is a big deal for all within the industry. Each year a “Jury” is selected to judge a number of watch entries in various categories. I was really happy and nicely surprised to see that Ben Clymer of Hodinkee has been selected to sit on the GPHG jury this year. Yes, a blogger, judging the 2013 Grand Prix. John Mayer (you know him as the heartthrob musician, but he is also a Hodinkee columnist) is also on the GPHG jury.
For anyone, sitting on the GPHG is a true honor, but for someone like Clymer who started out as a blogger, it is a really big deal. It is first and foremost an affirmation that what Hodinkee is doing matters, what Hodinkee is doing is resonating across the industry. Beyond this, it is also a sign that digital media is finally gaining respect as a legitimate media outlet in the watch world. Although there is still ambivalence from the industry toward blogs and forums in general (and more so towards all the shady online grey market dealers), the general level of respect given to today’s higher quality online watch media sites simply did not exist five years ago.
Although there is a huge range of quality in the online world (it’s the nature of the beast), I think that the emergence of a handful of high quality blogs within the last five or so years — curating high quality content and providing informed, independent opinions of value to watch enthusiasts and collectors — not only raised the bar on the quality of forum content (which itself still varies widely) but really legitimized digital media coverage of the watchmaking industry. It is nice to see that those who rise to the top given their due respect.
From one “blogger” to another — Congrats Ben, congrats Hodinkee. Keep up the good work.
Christophe Claret’s unique piece for the Only Watch 2013 auction is definitely among the more eye-catching. The “Pinball” is an evolution on the X-TREM-1 which debuted last year; new of course is the gaming theme. We of course know that Christophe Claret likes his gambling — he has has turned a lot of heads with his casino-themed pieces (21-Blackjack, Baccara). The X-TREM-1 Pinball is along these lines.
On the new X-Trem-1 there are now two metal cages (pinball style!) which contain the magentically maneuvered balls that mark the hours and minutes. The rectangular “dial” of the watch also plays on the pinball theme with whimsically decorated gear wheels, and there is even a “Tilt” marker at the top of the case. Like the original X-TREM-1, the winding and setting of the watch is done from the back of the case.
The watch has a flying tourbillon inclined at a 30° angle, mounted on a three-dimensional curved mainplate. Check out my original article to see how it all works (including one of Claret’s dramatic though informative videos).
X for eXperimental
T for Time
R for Research
E for Engineering
M for Mechanism
Of the 24 or so unique pieces that I have seen thus far for Only Watch 2013, this piece from Christophe Claret is certainly among the more interesting and will fetch among the highest of prices, easily into the triple digits and I’d guess upwards of $500,000 (the Only Watch unique pieces go for a premium by virtue of them being unique pieces and also for a charitable cause). However I still believe that the titanium Patek Philippe Ref. 5004 that I showed you last week — also a very intriguing piece — is still likely to be the top seller.
Just over a month ago I introduced you two Linde Werdelin’s newest pieces, the “Tech Green” and “Tech Gold”. These new watches are part of the SpidoLite II family and feature a forged carbon case in combination with a proprietary ultra-light alloy inner case. I think that the term “Carbon Tech” is a better and more exciting descriptor of this watch, but that’s just me. Anyway, as I said in my initial introduction of the SpidoLite carbon tech, the materials innovation here is a perfect fit for LW’s already high-tech, modern sport watches. My favorable impression of these watches was reinforced when I met with Linde Werdelin a few weeks ago at Baselworld. Below are some hands on pics along with a bit of commentary and ordering information.
click through for hands on look at the SpidoLite II with carbon case
Perpetuelle readers know that I am a fan of Dodane (see my earlier reviews here), the little known but promising watchmaker from the Besançon region of France (right by the Swiss border). In fact, the more I see from the brand the more I like it. For those of you in the Baltimore / Washington DC / Annapolis area, a special event is being hosted at Little Treasury Jewelers this coming Wednesday, May 22, 2013. If you are in the area and can make the event, it would be totally worth your time.
The U.S. distributor for Dodane (and friend of Perpetuelle) Totally Worth It will also be on hand. The event will feature, among other pieces, Dodane’s new Type 23 chronograph with yellow dial, #1 of the series. I absolutely love their yellow dial, specifically done to increase readability by a pilot — and striking enough to wear around town.
I met with the Dodane family at Baselworld and was very impressed by their entire collection, this piece in particular (several photos below).
caliber is by Dubois Depraz and is very accurate
The first watch we are previewing for the September 2013 Only Watch event is this Patek Philippe Ref 5004T. The Patek Philippe Ref 5004 is a split-seconds chronograph + perpetual calendar; it was produced for about six years, until being replaced by the Patek Ref 5204 in 2011. The piece you see here is the first and likely only time that the Patek Ref 5004 will be created in a titanium case. More broadly, however, is that this is the fourth Patek Philippe EVER to be cased in titanium, according to my research. I revealed two of them here on Perpetuelle a couple years ago — the Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref5180T and the Calatrava Ref 6000T (see Two Titanium Patek Philippe’s You Didn’t Know Existed); and my knowledgeable friends at Monochrome also pointed out that the Patek Nautilus, Ref 5712T, was also cased in titanium — made for Only Watch 2007, fittingly.
Patek trivia aside, let’s take a closer look at this 5004T.
Click through for more looks and discussion
“Only Watch” is a biennial charity auction of one-of-a-kind watches created by many of the most renowned watch brands in Switzerland. This exceptional event is held every two years in Monaco during the Monaco Yacht Show and is under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II. All the proceeds from Only Watch go to support Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research which is why many of these watches go extraordinarily high prices. This year’s event is September 28, 2013, and the auction will be conducted by Antiquorum.
Starting today Perpetuelle will begin its coverage of Only Watch 2013 — now the third year in which we have covered this noble event (review my Only Watch 2011 coverage here, and my limited coverage from the 2009 event here, or view my Only Watch stream ordered by date, here). For 2013, 38 of the world’s leading watch manufactures will each donate a timepiece specially created for the occasion. As is the tradition, each piece that is donate is one-of-a-kind.
Stay tuned in because over the next few months, you will get to see some superb “unique” watches from each of the participating brands for the 2013 event. The master list will be posted here and updated regularly.
You can also read more at http://www.onlywatch.com/
Hands On w/ Video…
Introduced in 2012 at SIHH, this exceptional Roger Dubuis Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon (Ref RDDBEX0364) timepiece has a “full black” titanium case with a 45 mm diameter. The hand-wound mechanical skeleton movement (RD01SQ) has 319 parts including the double flying tourbillons, and a power reserve of 48 hours.
Limited to just 88 pieces, I recently happened upon one at the Roman Times watch boutique located @ The Forum shops in Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas.
Price? A cool $252,000. One hell of a watch, though!
More looks and some quick video of the double flying tourbillons, on the click
At Baselworld 2013, Blancpain introduced an intriguing watch which includes both a tourbillon and a carrousel. What makes this interesting is that both complications play a similar role in a watch — that is, to average out the effects of gravity on the watch. The tourbillon is of course the more famous and commonly seen complication of the two, but both complications require great expertise to create and as such you rarely see pieces with either complication for less than six figures. Let alone seeing both in one watch – this is, as far as I know, the first time this has been done.
Click through for video of the Blancpain Tourbillon Carrousel
Due to my travel schedule it’s been a little quiet around here in recent days. I’ve been en route to a remote location for some outdoor adventuring. Of course every good adventure needs a good and able companion — which is why I decided to bring along a titanium Linde Werdelin SpidoLite II. And, although it is designed for skiing, I’ve decided to test the versatility of a LW Rock which has (among other features) a 3-axis compass, chronograph and barometer function, all of which should be of use.
My Kind of Adventure
Nowhere to go but Up — Waterfall!
1500 ft ascent, success. Views are always nice up top.
Down and out now…
Little help on the way down is always nice…
As best as I am able (i.e. communications signals are available and my hands are free), I’m posting views into the action through @Perpetuelle’s Twitter feed.
Since I first learned about Clerc a few years ago I’ve been a fan of the brand. I’ve reviewed a couple of the Geneva-based brand’s watches over the years (Hydroscaph Titanium 1000m and one soon to be published), and I’ve always been impressed with their quality and strong identity code. Last week I finally had a chance to meet the man behind the brand, the fourth generation family man carrying on the Clerc legacy, Mr. Gerald Clerc. Team Clerc was most generous to sit down with me and discuss their 2013 pieces. Being a small brand, Clerc does not release a lot of new models, maybe one per year.
Click through for more photos and video
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