by Kyle Stults on September 17, 2011
In my first look just a couple days ago, I noted that the redesigned Breitling Colt models (“Breitling Colt II” ) seemed a bit lacking in personality — at least based on the first images I saw. Here’s a few more looks at the Breitling Colt Chronograph II — you can see what a difference a change in dial color(s) and/or strap can make. The white dial with black sub-dials looks the best to me. But in general I’m lukewarm on the entire lineup (though I do like this bezel better than the old bezel (which had rider tabs)). What do you think?
Breitling Colt Chronograph II
blue dial / steel bracelet
white dial / steel bracelet
white dial / leather strap
black dial / rubber strap
black dial/steel bracelet
A few more angles of the black dial/steel bracelet model:
by Kyle Stults on September 16, 2011
My ONLY Watch 2011 previews roll on with the one-of-a-kind Montblanc Villeret 1858 Pulsograph watch. I’ve written about various Pulsograph watches over the years, including the Montblanc Villeret 1858 Pulsograph watch (debuted at SIHH 2011) and my personal favorite the Eterna Heritage Pulsometer watch (pulsometer being a synonym for pulsograph). The aforementioned rose gold Montblanc Pulsographe has a black enamel dial – but this “piece unique” definitely looks better and more legible with its unique white enamel dial. Note also that the movement on this watch is a monopusher chronograph — what a beautifully sculpted movement!
Montblanc Villeret 1858 Pulsograph for ONLY WATCH 2011
39.5mm red gold case, white “Grand Feu” enamel dial, red gold hands,
Did You Know?
Eighty years ago, artillery officers and physicians numbered among the first users of wristwatch chronographs: the soldiers relied on their timepieces to perform ballistic calculations, while the doctors used theirs to measure patients’ pulse rates without having to continue feeling the pulse for a full minute. A physician wearing a wristwatch with a pulsograph’s scale could start his timepiece’s chronograph function the moment he began to palpate the patient’s pulse. If the scale was calibrated for thirty pulse beats, he would continue counting the throbs until he had felt the thirtieth pulsation, whereupon he would stop his chronograph: the tip of the designated hand would indicate the point along the pulsograph scale corresponding to the patient’s pulse rate per minute. This saved between thirty and forty seconds per patient and was a convincing reason to own such a watch, especially if the physician’s ward rounds required him to measure the pulse rates of fifty or more patients. Wristwatches with pulsograph scales soon earned fame as so-called “doctor’s watches.”
While their functionality has been seriously surpassed by modern technology (in fact couldn’t the same be said of most any modern mechanical watch?), I really like “pulosgraph” or “pulsometer” watches for the benefit they provided to Physician’s back in the day.
by Kyle Stults on September 15, 2011
Feast your eyes on the new Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Mérite Handwerkskunst , a stunning 15-piece limited edition from elite German manufacture A. Lange & Sohne. A. Lange diehards will recognize this as a special edition of the fourth “Pour le Mérite” that was introduced at SIHH 2011 (itself one of Lange’s most prestigious models). The case of this special watch is crafted of Lange’s beautiful honey-gold” alloy that is more than twice as hard as normal gold. The dial is likewise made of solid gold and features exquisite decoration in the form of three dimensional relief-style lettering and a delicate granular texture similar. Mechnically impressive as well, the watch demonstrates a beautiful tourbillon and an intricate “chain-and-fusee transmission”. Check it out below!
A. Lange Tourbillon Pour le Mérite “Handwerkskunst”
41.9mm honey-gold case (12.2mm thick), manual-wind Lange manufacture calibre L072.1 with chain-and-fusee transmission
On the movement, the three-quarter plate made of untreated German silver, which can be admired through the sapphire-crystal case-back. The watch exhibits two complications – a fusée-and-chain transmission and a tourbillon (visible through the dial):
The fourth-wheel bridge is embellished with an elaborate relief engraving. Contrary to the more common method of engraving, the technique used for this piece sculpts the motif out of the material, in effect raising it from the background.
This extraordinary collector’s item is limited to 15 pieces that are available exclusively at the five A. Lange & Söhne boutiques in Dresden, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong.
Commensurate with the kick-off of the 2011 Reno Air Races, Breitling announces that it has entirely redesigned its Colt model. Several variations of the redesigned model (chronograph, different straps) are shown below. My first impression was “ho-hum” — the new designs seems a bit generic — but perhaps after seeing the watch in person my opinion will change. The Colt redesign kinda reminds me of when IWC redesigned its iconic Aquatimer watch in 2009 — the new design just seemed awkward, but over time I have come to like the new Aquatimer. The “new” Colt is available in three versions, including a chronograph and a ladies’ watch, and all models are equipped with SuperQuartz movements. Gone are the bezel “rider tabs” in favor of a brushed bezel with stamped numerals.
The New Breitling Colt Collection
water resistance to 300 meters (1,000 ft) or 500 meters (1,650 ft), bezel featuring stamped numerals, dials adorned with new rounded numerals exclusively designed for this model
by Kyle Stults on September 14, 2011
Designed for the southpaw…
Just about a week to go until ONLY Watch 2011 and my previews continue. Today we look at Zenith and the two unique pieces that they have created for the event. Both these watches are what are known as “destro” style (Italian word), meaning that the crown and chronograph pushers are located on the left side of the case (usually they are on the right side) which makes the watches are suitable for a left-hander to wear on his right wrist. Zenith says that “Like Leonardo da Vinci, one in ten people are left-handed, and the proportion varies considerably between various countries, reaching as much as one-quarter of the population in some cases. It is for them that these two models are specifically designed.” Both models house the legendary El Primero calibre which was launched by Zenith in 1969 and is now one of the most famous movement families in horological history.
Zenith “Captain Chronograph”
42mm gold case, automatic mechanical El Primero 400B chronograph caliber,
Zenith “Pilot Chronograph”
42mm stainless steel case, inverted bezel, automatic mechanical El Primero 4002 chronograph caliber
Just 2 days and 2 weeks away, I am eagerly awaiting the ONLY Watch 2011 event. As readers know I have previewed the majority of the one-of-a-kind pieces to be offered for auction in Geneva — you can see them all here — but there are still more to be seen! Today we look at the Vacheron Constantin “Dove” watch. Inspired by famous graphic artist M.C. Escher, Vacheron Constantin’s “piece unique” for the ONLY Watch 2011 auction is a real beauty. The watch’s gold, enamelled and diamond-set dial depicts the flight of red and white doves, but of course it is not so simple. The dial adopts concepts such as geometry, symbolism and motion, subtly nesting and layering them in order to generate a beautiful dial that is sure to please anyone who might want to spend countless hours pondering the meaning of it all — a perfect homage to Escher!
Vacheron Constantin “Dove” for ONLY WATCH 2011
40mm white gold case, automatic mechanical movement (Vacheron Caliber 2460 SC)
This timepiece is inspired by a drawing by M.C. Escher – a Dutch engraver and graphic artist (1898-1972) whose work was based on a subtle play on architecture, perspective and space. The red and white doves – symbols of hope and love – are exquisitely interlocking like jigsaw puzzle parts, creating a truly stunning decorative motif.
Within the case beats high-precision mechanical self-winding Vacheron Constantin Calibre 2460, bearing the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva.
While the Harry Winston Opus 11 grabbed the spotlight at Baselworld 2011, the Harry Winston Midnight Big Date watch seemed content to sit quietly in the shadows. This new piece has all the classic Harry Winston elements and refinements, including a brilliant-cut diamond which tops the “Big Date” window. Though in many ways, though, it is a rather humble watch — it is only a two-handed timekeeper (i.e. hours & minutes only — no seconds hand) and as the name implies the attention is given to the double-window big date on the lower half of the dial. I guess if you like “big dates”, then maybe this watch is your thing — as for me, though, I’d prefer something else from Harry Winston. Price: $30,700 in rose or white gold case.
Harry Winston Midnight Big Date
42mm white gold case (10.2mm thick), automatic mechanical movement (F. Piguet caliber) silver or black dial with circular guilloche decoration and double-window big date set with brilliant cut diamond,
Getting back to my ONLY Watch 2011 previews (see all my watch previews here), today we look at the Ulysse Nardin Freak Diavolo “Only Watch 2011″ edition. This watch is another evolution of the iconic “Freak” that was first introduced by Ulysse Nardin in 2001. The originally Freak was revolutionary at the time in that it possessed no true dial, crown or hands, and was the first timepiece to successfully present escapement wheels constructed of silicium. The Freak Diavolo “Only Watch” pays tribute to — and advances upon — the original Freak’s pioneering spirit. Silicum is used throughout most of the escapement, and the watch also features a flying tourbillon that indicates the seconds, among other technical advancements. Note also the lack of a crown — the Freak Diavolo is wound by turning the lower bezel, and the time is adjusted by turning the upper bezel.
Ulysse Nardin Freak Diavolo for ONLY WATCH 2011
44.5mm stainless steel case, 60-second tourbillon
The two specially conceived ball bearing systems enable the “flying” function of the minute movement and of the seconds-indicator tourbillon without the need for a supporting bridge.
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