The new Villeret Perpetual Calendar from Blancpain is an extraordinary watch, and perhaps the finest achievement in an already impressive set of of new introductions this year. The new self-winding Blanpcain Calibre 5939A comprises 379 parts and measures 7.25 mm thick, with an impressive 8-day power reserve. It is offered in choice of red gold, or a limited edition platinum model, and comes in a dedicated box equipped with a winder serving to keep the watch on time even when not in use. The box cleverly designed solid wooden box doubles as a cigar humidor if the interior is removed.
First launched in 2009, the L.U.C Lunar Big Date is presented this year in white gold with a handful of enhancing design changes. Though the L.U.C Calibre 96.20-L with micro-rotor remains the same, the rest of the changes greatly enhance the overall look of the watch as compared to prior year models. Among the changes I like most are the is that the silver-toned subrust dial is now set with Roman numerals (Arabic numerals on prior versions), and the subdials are more balanced as well. All in all, this is a Chopard L.U.C. Lunar Big Date I could at last see myself wearing, which is something I could not say about prior versions.
by Kyle Stults on April 08, 2014
Before we get to the last of Blancpain’s new additions to the 2014 Villeret collection, let’s switch it up with a look at the new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape Chronograph. The Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe line debuted last year in basic 3-handed models & steel cases. This year the line is really stepped up with a satin-brushed black ceramic case and ceramic bezel. On top of this, Blancpain has fitted this watch with a new automatic mechanical manufacture caliber — the Blancpain Cal. F385. The Cal. F385 is a column wheel chronograph with vertical clutch; it has a silicon balance spring and beats at 36,000 vph. Moreover, this is a water-resistant chronograph — the pushers are constructed to enable use underwater to depths of 300 meters. Exceptional features for a chronograph watch.
Similar to last year’s first ever combination of a tourbillon and a carrousel in one caliber, the new Blancpain 225L movement unites a carrousel, a moon phase and a date for the very first time. Joining the Villeret 8 Days and the Villeret 12 day Flying Tourbillon, his piece is the third of four new pieces launched this year in the brand’s flagship Villeret collection.
by Kyle Stults on April 07, 2014
Platinum case…enamel dial…flying tourbillon…
Not a lot of pomp and circumstance out of Blancpain this year, but as usual the manufacture from Le Brassus does not disappoint with its new year lineup. This is the second of five new pieces from Blancpain this year, and believe it or not it is not the most complicated of the Le Brassus manufacture’s new pieces this year. This is not to say it is not an impressive watch, because it is. The new Villeret Tourbillon is set in a 42mm platinum case and is distinguished by a dial-side 60-second flying tourbillon with silicon balance-spring and a gorgeously decorated caliber on the back side.
WOW. What. A. Watch. With the release of the Armin Strom One Week Skeleton Collection, the Armin Strom manufacture has realized the dream of its founder – to create a skeleton entirely manufactured in-house. While there is no doubt that Armin Strom is quite proud to marry the tradition for which its namesake represents with its modern day in-house caliber capabilities, this is also very exciting to a skeleton fan like me and others. Especially as I am in particular a fan of Mr. Armin Strom himself, a (now retired) modern day legend of the skeleton art.
You can see how incredible this watch looks. Even the going barrel springs are visible through the winding wheels. An amazing combination of form and function. The watch exudes hand craftmanship, leaving behind the feel of many of today’s mass-produced, industrial calibers and dials.
Baselworld 2014…ceramic coated aluminum…
The “skull” theme continues to find its way around the watch world, but in keeping with its spirit of materials innovation this year, Hublot has a rather unique take on this particular skull. Hublot’s Classic Fusion Tourbillon Skull is distinguished by its ceramic-coated aluminium case, crown and dial components which give this piece a rather striking appearance. The material, new to Hublot, is twice as light as ceramic but with comparable hardness. The 45mm case also has a distressed finish to it and pairs quite nicely with the distressed calfskin strap.
Stained glass, skulls and rare metal osmium dials aside, here is a solid addition to Hublot’s Classic Fusion collection. The Classic Fusion 8-days is a refined watch with an ultra-thin caliber visible through sapphire display back. At just 4.40 mm thick (209 components, 3Hz), the hand-wound Hublot manufacture caliber HUB1601 is among the flattest in the industry. The dial is accented with a power reserve indicator along with date window and small second. The 45mm case and bezel have a nice balance of brushed and polished surfaces.
Hublot Classic Fusion 8-day Power Reserve
45 mm titanium or King gold (gold +5% platinum) case, black dial with a sunray satin finish, baton indexes, gold- or rhodium-plated hands
by Kyle Stults on April 02, 2014
Baselworld 2014…rare metal osmium dial…
Its dial is made from osmium crystal – osmium is among the rarest metals on our planet. With a clear emphasis on materials innovation based on this year’s Baselworld releases – from red and blue stained glass dials to blue carbon fiber bezels and now this — Hublot introduces another world first. Here is a watch with a dial made from osmium crystal (oh and it has a tourbillon, too).
by Kyle Stults on April 02, 2014
Here is an interesting take on Hublot and its “Art of Fusion”! The inspiration behind this watch was simple: a stained glass window – essentially it’s a series of frames filled with colored glass. Take this concept and apply to a skeleton watch. In this watch there are about 15 small spaces housing a sliver of (Swiss-made) stained glass (“Vitrail” tranlsates to English as “stained glass” by the way). The pieces are secured with O-rings which grip the glass, ensuring that it does not break through heat expansion.
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