by Kyle Stults on July 31, 2009
570 horsepower and 398 lb/ft torque = over 186 mph = AWESOME!
For the third Super Trofeo competition, Blancpain brought its high-speed Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium. Blancpain (title sponsor of the series) President and CEO Marc A. Hayek, racing in the company of co-driver Peter Kox from The Netherlands took third place in the 1st race of this leg.
Here at First In Watches we think pictures are nice, but video is nicer – and so we turned to our friends and partner TheTimeTV.com for their super-sweet video production of the event – which puts you behind the VIP tents and then right in the middle of the high horsepower action! $20 if you can avoid wincing when you see a couple of these super-sweet Lambo’s sideswipe the wall and spin out!!
Next up? The fourth of the six competitions scheduled for 2009 will take place on the Silverstone racing track in UK on August 15th. Stay tuned!
Advantage? You decide (leave a comment below)
Check it out – a Rolex DEEPSEA, and the new Oris ProDiver, both at work in the North Sea! I am pretty sure these are two separate occasions, or else we might have seen the clash of these 2 titans unfold before our very eyes
First, here is a video of what purports to be “The First Rolex deepsea to undergo an operational commercial saturation dive. 2000 hrs gmt 25 Nov 2008 from dive support vessel Technip Wellservicer working for British Petroleum. Working depth 125 Meters North Sea” WARNING: aside from having a Rolex DEEPSEA in it, this movie is extremely boring. Even the footage in which the diver shows off his Rolex (I think that is an official “Rolex #1” diver’s hand signal, right?) is rather lackluster – so just watch between minutes 1:00 and 2:00 - And use your imagination people, this is the North Sea they’re in!
Next we have the new Oris Pro Diver, as worn by Oris “Ambassador” (a perfectly fitting description of this rugged looking fellow) Roman Frischknecht. In these few pictures, Roman is 200km of the north east coast of Scotland – in the 10 degree North Sea – at work as an underwater welder. You can see the massive size of the ProDiver -51mm- but it is probably surprisingly light as it is made of Titanium metal.
There is also a video by Oris – a bit more interesting than the Rolex production above, but you’ll have to visit the Oris website to view it (click here to watch).
Tale of the Tape
|Rolex DEEPSEA||Oris ProDiver|
|Case: 43mm 904L steel
Water resistance: 3,900 meters
|Case: 51mm Titanium case
Water resistance: 1,000 meters
LVMH, a world leader in luxury goods, recently reported its results for the first half of 2009. In keeping our savvy readers here at First In Watches informed on all things watches (leading luxury and/or high-end watches, that is), we offer here our quick review and analysis of LVMH’s watch division performance.
As a quick refresher, LVMH is owner of the following watch brands: Tag Heuer, Hublot, and Zenith. It also received very limited watch revenue contribution from its jewelry brands, Dior and Chaumet.
First let’s allow the figures to speak for themselves:
LVMH ”Watches and Jewelery” Division Results
Ouch! LVMH attributes the sales decline primarily to destocking across the retail sector – which is not surprising as all retail has experienced this. Softer demand is also a factor – remember, Swiss watch exports were -37% in the 1H, with the U.S. market down 57%. Profit margins are also (and not surprisingly) being crunched. According to Jean-Jacques Guiony, LVMH CFO, this was in part a result of order cancellations. Double ouch!
A closer examination of the figures indicates that some of LVMH’s brands are faring better than others. LVMH reports (and we read between the lines):
- Market share gain at TAG Heuer – “successful Aquaracer 500 launch; success of 40th Anniversary Monaco” (read: although our sales are down we are doing better than our competitors)
- Good resilience at Hublot – “success of Big Bang line; new manufacture in Nyon” (read: Hublot is faring much better than most in this environment; there are high hopes on Hublot’s new movement coming in 2010 (as JC Biver revealed to us in our Baselworld Interview))
- Zenith – refocus on classic lines (read: Zenith has completely lost its way and it’s time to get back to basics)
The outlook for the remainder of 2009 was also very cautious – consumer deman is uncertain, and inventory de-stocking at the retail level is still stabilizing.
If you have any thoughts of your own on LVMH watch brands, feel free to leave a comment.
by Kyle Stults on July 29, 2009
Question is Not If, but How Perriard & Team Will Remake The TechnoMarine Brand
TechnoMarine is not a brand that interests me. Mid-range, sometimes tacky, fake-bling, quartz watches. Right or wrong, that’s what I think of.
Yawn*** Blink***Yawn. But wait, what’s this? A new sheriff (cowboy?) rides into town?
His name is Vincent Perriard – you may know him from his former transformation of the Concord brand – and he certainly has the grand ambition and vision to do something for TechnoMarine. But what will he do? Surely you remember most recently the Concord C1 Quantum Gravity – a watch with Perriard’s ambitions all over it – and a watch not without some controversy for its radical concepts (love it or hate it, I think) – but a watch that seemed to boldly deliver the icing on the cake of Perriard’s swift, bold remake of Concord. All in all, his track record speaks of great success; there was the Grand Prix of Geneva award for the C1 Tourbillon Gravity, for example!
One thing is for sure – Mr. Perriard has hinted at GUARANTEED a new era for TechnoMarine. One of disruptive, innovative and creative watchmaking. He tells us to “Expect the unexpected.” He sees that the worldwide crisis brings new opportunities and promises to deliver a surprising brand positioning within the next few months. There will be new momentum, a new mission as well as a strong vision.
You have my attention, Mr. Perriard. I’m most certain you don’t plan to move down market – only one way to go, and that is up, right? For sure-this is the only way to live life! Good luck.
Drug Lords Like Hublot, DeWitt, Cartier – or Anything Diamond Bezeled and Ostentatious!
The Wall Street Journal reporter John Lyons ran an interesting story last week about the odd items seized by Mexican authorities from drug lords. Of course my interest here is the watches, and I found this picture of a tray of seized watches rather fascinating – unless I am mistaken (which is entirely possible!), there looks to be 2 Hublot Big Bangs, a DeWitt, a Cartier, a Breitling, a Corum Golden Bridge, a Panerai for Ferrari, and a Jacob & Co. in that tray, among others! Read the entire curious article here, and watch the video here, or see a slideshow here (all part of the WSJ story). CRAZY!
Feel free to weigh-in with a comment if you can identify any more of the watches.
Photo credit John Lyons/The Wall Street Journal.
by Kyle Stults on July 28, 2009
Five different finishes for an ultra-sophisticated new dial
A new beauty from Vacheron Constantin – the Malte Moon Phase and Power-Reserve is available with a case in 18-carat white gold or 5N pink gold, both pictured below.
The generously sized, (39x49mm) tonneau-shaped case frames a magnificently harmonious dial in silvered gold, striking a perfect balance between technical and traditional watchmaking. It is adorned with five different finishes, all of them involving highly skilled craftsmanship. The inner zone features a silvered, finely hand-guilloché “Clous de Paris” or hobnail motif. The outer zone is decorated with a vertical satin-brushed finish, also silvered. The minute circle, the power-reserve display as well as the inscriptions Vacheron Constantin Genève and Swiss Made are all transferred, while the seconds subdial at 6 o’clock is circular satin-brushed. And finally, the minute-circle and power-reserve zones are screen-printed in white.
The moon-phase display embodies a clever blend of technology and expertise, composed of a disc with a galvanised base and a moon face in 18-carat white gold or pink gold depending on the model. The extremely broad dial ensuring user-friendly readability is punctuated by nine hour-markers, two Roman numerals and a Maltese cross, all in 18-carat white or pink gold, depending on the version.
The watch houses a new manual-winding 1410 calibre – a movement entirely developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin, with the Hallmark of Geneva. In addition to hour and minute hand and 40 hour power reserve, the Calibre 1410 drives a precision moon-phase display which will not require any setting for more than 100 years.
One element I am not such a fan of is use of both Roman numerals and Arabic numerals (one or the other!), but the dial does look pretty amazing with all the different finishes utilized in it.
What do you think of this watch?
by Kyle Stults on July 25, 2009
Hublot’s Red Devil Special Edition Comes in Rose Gold this year
New for 2009, after a committed season of cooperation and partnership, Hublot and the Red Devils find themselves in China to unveil a new edition of the Big Bang in the colours of the reigning English champions. With a 44.5mm case, 100m water resistance, 45 minute counter at 9 o’clock, the “Red Devil” logo at 3 o’clock, and a new rose gold case fitted on a rubber (or “gummy” as Hublot refers to it) Alligator strap, the series is limited to just 99 pieces.
Which one do you like better Red Devil Bang I or Red Devil Bang II?
Hublot Red Devil Bang II (2009)
Hublot Red Devil Bang I (2008)
Hublot’s Jean-Claude Biver and Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson sporting their Hublot Watches in 2008
Which one do you like better Red Devil Bang I or Red Devil Bang II? Post your vote below!
A sharp looking piece from a brand that “gets it”
Check out Linde Werdlin‘s “Hard Black DLC II” below. Looks good, eh? I love the yellow stitching on the strap and the look of the DLC case with yellow accents is well, awesome! Of course this watch is fully compatible with Linde Werdelin’s instruments – the Rock (for you Alpinists and other extreme-adventurists) and the Reef (for you Divers), making it full on ready for all out adventure. If you like this watch I would recommend that you get your order in fast (supposedly the watch is available for pre-order on LindeWerdelin.com, but I do not see the link!!) because LW does seem to have a strong following and it produces limited quantities of each of its watches (in fact there will only be 88 of the Hard Black DLC II watches made). One thing that would make this watch better is if it had a manufacture movement in it rather than an ETA 2892 (what can I say — I’m a sucker for independents who produce their own movments!).
Linde Werdelin’s Hard Black DLC II
(That’s DLC as in “diamond like carbon” for all you watch newbies – it makes the watch more scratch resistant and it looks cool)
46mm x 49mm case, 300m water resistance
I think it is also time to say that Linde Werdelin is a brand on the rise, and for all the right reasons. First and foremost, the brand’s namesake founders, Morten Linde and Jorn Werdelin, are producing some very exciting watches that are harmonized with specialized instruments for the adventurous. The watches have their own unique look and are designed with function in mind as well. Form and function – 2 things any watch enthusiast should appreciate – particularly when they come together.
Another reason that Linde Werdelin excites me is that they “get it” when it comes to online and social media – something that very few watch brands do today. They are actively engaged on Twitter (follow @aphroditek) and Facebook, they publish their own blog, and they also have a fairly functional website. And finally, you can buy their watches online (direct through their website) or through an authorized dealer, and they have a really cool “try before buy” program in which you can test one of their watches and instruments risk free for 5 days (something I hope to do myself). Bottom line: they are positioned well for the watch world in which we now live, and have the hallmarks of a brand that exudes “customer first”. If you operate a smaller/lower volume, independent watch brand today, these things are essential, in my view. Keep up the good work, Linde Werdelin, and keep those watches coming!
If you have any first-hand experience with Linde Werdelin watches, leave a comment below with your thoughts!
by Kyle Stults on July 24, 2009
Limited edition of 88 pieces with Meteorite Dial
Here is a new watch from ultra-exclusive Spanish watchmaker Franc Vila – the “FVa15 Column Regulator Automatique”. I tend to find Franc Vila’s watches as interesting as his watch names. As with many watchmakers who defy the conventional, Franc Vila’s watches do not win the hearts of every watch enthusiast. But there is no denying the uniqueness of this watch and its reflection of the Franc Vila style, right down to his signature “espirit unique” shaped watch case. Also neat about this watch is the use of meteorite and sapphire glass in the dial – perhaps a reflection of Mr Vila’s education in chemistry and thus a unique perspective and understanding of materials such as these.
The timekeeper is equipped with the FRANC VILA FV15 automatic calibre, which features regulator function indicating hours, minutes and seconds, and the additional indication of date in a window in the dial.
Case: Bezel in DieHard Extreme Steel. Carrure in titanium. Special “Esprit Unique” shape with elliptic and circular bezel. Crystal and caseback both in sapphire with double sided anti-glare treatment. Water resistant to 100 meters.
Movement: High Grade Mechanical Self-Winding hand finished complicated movement Caliber FV15. FRANC VILA Exclusive “Gold Concept Rotor”. Power reserve of 42 hours.
Dial: Meteorite, brushed metal, and sapphire glass. Date indication at 3′.
Straps: Rubber sport straps with DieHard Extreme Steel deployant buckle. Crocodile leather straps also included.
source: Franc Vila.
by Kyle Stults on July 22, 2009
A cool video about a cool watch store in a cool watch city!
L’Heure AscH is a boutique of which contains some of the finest watches in the world. Many of the watches that Mr. Denis Asch carries are not the “household names” that many are familiar with today. But, they are representative of some of the finest watches and watchmakers in the world – names like Chronarte, Chronoswiss, Eberhard, Elie Bleu, Erwin Sattler, Greubel Forsey, Haldimann, H. Moser and Cie, Hautulence, Jean Dunand, Richard Mille, Vianney Halter (a personal favorite of mine), and Vulcain. These names are emblematic of the pinnacle of haute horlogerie. I can only how exciting it must be to set foot in Mr. Asch’s boutique Geneva – if only to dream!
Here is a short video “commercial” I stumbled upon – further piquing my interest in paying a visit to Mr. Asch in Geneva!
I invite you to learn more about Denis Asch and check out his one-of-a-kind watch boutique, l’Heure AscH, at http://www.heure-asch.com/
Any readers who have been to Denis Asch’s store, please feel free to post a comment below and let us know if it lives up to expectations!
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