At Sotheby’s auction “Important Watches”, held in Geneva on 14th May 2014, the all-time record for sale of a Panerai watch was set. An extremely rare example of a stainless steel Luminor from 1955 was acquired by a Panerai enthusiast who bid the record sum of CHF 425,000 (approx. $478,000 / €348,000). This extremely rare and historical reference 6152/1 — distinguished by its transparent, removable polycarbonate bezel and Rolex caliber 618 — was unknown until recently when it was rediscovered by scholars and especially through the research of Dino Zei, ex -Chairman of Panerai SPA, before the Florence based company was bought by the Richemont Group. It was owned by descendants of an accomplished Italian Navy Admiral.
The big release for Clerc this year was undoubtedly the new Clerc Hydroscaph Carbon. Less noticed and “headline grabbing” was the introduction of a distinctive bracelet for the Hydroscaph H1 Chronometer (in addition to new dial colors). Previously only offered on an integrated rubber strap, the new bracelet looks quite nice. Priced around $6,600 on the new bracelet, which is about $700 more than the rubber-strapped versions. If you are looking for more details about the Hydroscaphe Chronometer H1 you can check out my prior comments and hands-on review here.
Girard-Perregaux presents its Sea Hawk dive watch in new hues for 2014. The cobalt blue dial is accented with coral orange hands and coral orange 15-min diver’s scale on the bezel. As a reminder, the Sea Hawk received a major design upgrade in 2012 which brought new life to the iconic diver’s line. Save for the new color-set, this 2014 model carries forward the characteristc design elements including the “honeycomb” textured dial, luminescent three dimensional hour markers, and a sloping outer flange which bridges the dial with the case/bezel. The case remains 44mm x 17.1mm in stainless steel, with 1,000m water resistance rating, helium escape valve, and meeting all of the other ISO 6425 dive watch standards. Offered on blue rubber strap (Ref 49960-19-431-FK4A) and bracelet (Ref 49960-19-431-11A), too.
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.