Piaget Altiplano Skeleton Enamel Cal 1200E angleview

It’s no secret that I am fan of Piaget’s Altiplano Skeleton with Caliber 1200 — I blogged about this watch on numerous occasions last year, including my detailed reflections on the watch.  As such, I was happy to see the Altiplano Skeleton recently introduced in a black “enamel-skeleton” dial.   To my knowledge, the ultra-thin automatic Calibre 1200E is the first ever “enamel-skeleton” movement.  It is the same as the Piaget Caliber 1200S (“S” as in skeleton), but of course with enamel, hence the modified identifier (“E”) on the caliber name (perhaps “ES” would have been more appropriate).  Nomenclature aside, to see an openworked dial embellished with enamel on what little is left of its surface area is an intriguing look; I find it to be an attractive addition to the overall aesthetic of the contemporary Altiplano Skeleton.
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Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde SW Steel
by Adam Soshnick on October 17, 2014

jaquet droz grande seconde SW blue gray

Unveiled with three new dial colors earlier this year, Jaquet Droz describes the Grande Seconde SW Steel as a “subtle mix of cool elegance.”   Looking at the watch, however, you’d be hard pressed to find that subtleness, as the dial pops with a gadget-y tech look that recalls a robot’s face and everything other than the understated praise that Jaquet Droz showers the design with.

On the other hand, at 45mm (41mm also available), the watch is a big chunk of steel and has the appropriate looks to go with it. The striped, Omega Aqua Terra-like dial glistens as light strikes it from different angles, and the peculiar shape of the case—especially when viewed from the rear—works better than expected with the rest of the design. Frankly, there’s nothing elegant about it, either, but that’s not the point—the watch is a rare instance where a mishmash of elements come together to form something surprisingly coherent.   So yes, although Kyle briefly previewed this watch back in February, I am here to offer a different take on it today, now that it is available in the marketplace.


Jaquet Droz_GRANDE-SECONDE-SW_STEEL_movement

Powering the watch is Jaquet Droz’ own 2263A-S automatic movement with an 18-karat gold rotor and 68 hours of power reserve; meaning the timepiece will survive a weekend off the wrist and still be churning along when the work week starts back up. And that’s a smart move on Jaquet Droz’ part because power reserves keep increasing as companies release new watches. Competition fosters excellent movements such as this, and we can expect many more in the future, not only from Jaquet Droz, but across the high-end watch industry.

Ultimately, the Grande Seconde SW Steel is an odd bird for company primarily known for elegant timepieces like the Grande Seconde Quantieme Ivory Enamel and the Bird Repeater. But somehow—just somehow—the watch works within Jaquet Droz’ design nomenclature despite being the ugly duckling of the bunch. It’s equally appealing and unattractive at the same time. It’s impossible to look just once.

For more information, head over to Jaquet Droz’ website.


Zenith Logo

Zenith Christophe Colombe Felix Baumgartner watch detail

In what I would describe as a spectacular fusion of materials, mechanics, and adventure, Zenith pays tribute to one of the great explorers of this century and a true champion of extreme challenges, Felix Baumgartner, with the this new Academy Christophe Colomb .  You may recall the Baumgartner, an experienced parachutist and base jumper, and his historic jump from a stratospheric capsule in 2012. This epic and unprecedented project was known as the Red Bull Stratos Mission.  Baumgartner jumped from an altitude of 128,100 feet above earth, and reached a top speed of 833.9 miles per hour (Mach 1.29!) — and he did it wearing a Zenith watch.  So it is only fitting that Zenith pays tribute to this man in a an exceptional ten-piece DLC-coated platinum limited edition of the Academy Christophe Colomb model.  What an incredible timepiece this is — I’ve got some great high-res close-ups and full details for y0u, below.
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Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback Ocean Committment

Well it’s been a big week (the new Patek Grandmaster Chime grand comp, and the similarly impressive Vacheron Constantin I showed you before that), but believe me there are many more watches in my queue to show you.  Like this one.  So let’s switch gears a bit and look at this new release from Blancpain.   It has a mouthful of a name — officially the “Blancpain Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph” — and there’s a reason for that, as I will explain in more detail below.   But the other exciting there here is that this watch is yet another piece with Blancpain’s new high-frequency, in-house chronograph, the F385.  I really like this caliber.

Aesthetically, the Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Flyback is housed in a satin brushed gray ceramic case, with a ceramic crown and ceramic chronograph pushers and a unidirectional blue ceramic rotating bezel marked with liquidmetal indexes.  The blue color theme is carried over to the dial, which offers three subdials for the chronograph counters and small seconds display. On the back of the watch, the movement and winding rotor are visible through the clear case back. The winding this limited series bearing the logo for the Ocean Commitment.

This watch is beautifully designed and proportioned in every way.  And it is a limited, numbered edition of only 250 pieces, the first in a series of LE’s as part of the Ocean Commitment initiative.  More looks and det’s below.
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