First Look: TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Phantom

#Baselworld 2015…

TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Phantom Carbon Fiber detail - Perpetuelle

The TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Phantom, with full black carbon composite case (41mm x 41mm) and just about everything else, joins prior V4 models in platinum, rose gold, and titanium. The movement is mechanically the same – belt driven, with linear winding mass, though some aesthetic properties are obviously different. The carbon case is what TAG calls CMC Carbon Matrix Composite and some bridges (7, to be exact) are constructed of the material as well. The particularly smooth and refined finish is, as I understand, the result of a “directed” production process wherein the carbon fiber are oriented in the mold and then blasted. The rest of the components — hands, dial, et al — are given a titanium carbide coating to complete the “phantom” look.

TAG Heuer Research & Development director Guy Semon indicates that the first run of the Monaco V4 Phantom will 50 pieces, priced at 45,000 Swiss Francs apiece. Ref WAW2091.FC6369

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TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Phantom Carbon Fiber - Perpetuelle

 

A Stunning New Minute Repeater Tourbillon from Breguet, the Tradition 7087

The minute-repeater stands alone, even among the more coveted horological complications, and Breguet’s tourbillons are also in a class all their own.    In the new 7087 Minute Repeater Tourbillon Breguet’s watchmakers and engineers made a clean sweep of the usual methods to design their exceptional timepiece around the sound it produces.   Unfortunately Breguet’s tedious press release has not done this watch the praise it deserves (the bland description of the mechanics of this new watch and in such laborious detail is a bit annoying, frankly).  But basically, the 7087 represents all the company’s latest innovations for watch like this including the extensive research and development effort that leads up to it.   You can immediately see, for example, the nontraditional shape of the repeater gongs which sit on top of the dial, struck by hammers in an upward motion.  This novel and pioneering approach enabled Breguet to design a product that has exceptional purity of sound and an original tone.

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A Comprehensive Guide to the New Rolex Caliber 3255 (and a look at the new Day-Date 40)

Rolex Caliber 3255 Cover

Rolex Calibre 3255 - Perpetuelle

Rolex introduces the new Calibre  3255, a new-generation mechanical movement with 14 patents.  Among many noteworthy items, Rolex is quick to point out that the Calibre 3255 sets a new level of chronometric precision with criteria surpassing those of COSC (the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute).   Rolex has developed a new methodology and high-technology equipment to test the precision of its Superlative Chronometers with tolerances that are twice as exacting as those for official certification, and under conditions that simulate the wearer’s real-life experience.   Somewhat analogous to the “Patek Philippe developing its own in-house “Seal”, these exclusive Rolex chronometer tests complement the official COSC certification, to which all Rolex movements continue to be submitted systematically, and are carried out not on the movements alone, but on the assembled watches after the movements have been cased.

Rolex Caliber 3255 Key Figures - Perpetuelle

The 3255 incorporates the new Chronergy escapement patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability.  The oscillator has an optimized blue Parachrom hairspring, which is also up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks.  Thanks to a new barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of calibre 3255 extends to three days, which means a Rolex watch with the Cal 3255 can easily handle some weekend off-wrist time.  The first watch to receive the new Calibre 3255 is the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40, featuring a modernized design with a 40mm case, available in a range of emblematic new dials.  Here is the Day-Date 40 in platinum case, with very attractive, laser-etched blue dial:

Rolex Day-Date 40 images - Perpetuelle

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First Look: Patek Philippe Ref 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time

Patek Philippe Ref 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time watch - Perpetuelle

Well, Baselworld 2015 has officially begun, and I often like to start with Patek Philippe.  There are some exciting pieces in the Patek 2015 lineup (you are gonna love the 5370 Split-Seconds Chronograph), but let’s start with a piece that I think will be controversial…the new Ref 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time.  No doubt this one’s going to catch a lot of folks off-guard.  At first glance, one might be inclined to think that this watch does not even look like a Patek Philippe.  Indeed it is a pilot’s watch, as the brand seems to be trying to reclaim its association with aviator’s watches.   It features a dual zone-time mechanism, with local and home day/night indication in apertures on either side of the dial, and a date sub-dial at 6 o’clock.   The blue varnished dial has white gold applied numerals that are luminous (they hands are luminous as well).  There is a crown at 3 o’clock and two pump pushers on the other side of the case.  The watch is fitted on a brown calf leather strap with what Patek calls a “clevis prong” buckle.  The contrarian in me likes this watch, but I think that most Patek fans will pan it on account of it not having that special, distinctive look that a Patek Philippe watch should.

Hmmm…how about you?

Patek Philippe Reference 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time

40.5mm white gold case, automatic mechanical PP Cal CH 28-520 C FUS (sapphire case back)

Price 42,000 CHF

Patek Philippe Ref 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time front back - Perpetuelle

Patek Philippe Ref 5524 Calatrava Pilot Travel Time  - Perpetuelle

The caliber CH 28-520 C FUS movement is also found in the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Ref. 5990/1A.

I’ll be back with more details soon.