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
Today we will look at the Maître Cabinotier Astronomica, a superlative timepiece from Vacheron Constantin. Like the elaborately engraved Traditionnelle “L’empreinte Du Dragon” that I showed you last week, this is also a one-of-a-kind creation. But first let me say that there’s more to the Astronomica (as I will refer to it here) than it being a 1/1 piece with an 15-complications. A fact that seems lost on other watch media out there is that this watch is “the very first representative of a new and highly exclusive range of models” crafted in the spirit of Vacheron’s Atelier Cabinotiers. This is important, because by evoking Atelier Cabinotiers, Vacheron Constantin tells those of us in the know (and now you, Perpetuelle readers), that the Astronomica is by definition a veeeeerrrrry special piece.
As I extensively wrote about a couple years ago, the Atelier Cabinotiers is essentially Vacheron’s “special order” department, where exceptional watches are conceived according to the wishes of a private client and nothing more. In other words, among the most ambitious and exclusive timepieces made by Vacheron, period. Bespoke watchmaking at its finest.
OMEGA’s new Speedmaster “Grey Side of the Moon”, bearing reference number 3188.8.131.52.99.001, is hitting stores soon. This piece is a follow-on to 2013’s highly-demanded Speedmaster “Dark Side of the Moon” (see our “making of the Dark Side of the Moon” video here), and while it shares some similarities, it also features several design elements that distinguish it from any other model the brand has ever introduced, such as grey ceramic case, luminous ceramic bezel, and a sand-blasted platinum dial.
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I’ve been very interested in enamel-dialed watches lately, but when I saw Lancaster, PA-based RGM Watch Company’s new baseball-themed enamel dial watch, I was captivated. Not only does this watch have an enamel dial depicting American’s past time on it, but the dial is inspired by another similarly-dialed — and extremely rare — watch made by one of American’s great watchmaker’s way back in 1892. Oh, and it also has an American made caliber in it. The simple fact is, you just don’t see watches like this. Which makes very this “American” watch, of which only 10 will be made, a wonderful collector’s piece as far as I am concerned.
To top it all off, there’s a great story about how it all came to be.