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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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.
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.
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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Yes, it is Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary, and yes, we’ve all been waiting for the commemorative watches to be unveiled. Well, today, October 13th is the day that makes Patek 175 yrs old. So wait no more. There are several new watches I’ll get to in due course, but for now let’s start with this, the flagship of the 175th anniversary collection: the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175. This is a 1,366-part grand complication including a grand and petite sonnerie, perpetual calendar and more — 20 complications in all. Oh, and thanks to its swiveling, ornately engraved case, the watch is fully reversible — you can wear either side up. 7 pieces will be made, and 6 of them will be sold — at a price of 2.5 million Swiss Francs apiece. Believe it. The Grandmaster Chime is a watch unlike any in existence.
The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 175th Anniversary Watch, presented by Philippe and Thierry Stern