ARMIN STROM Gravity is the first watch from the Biel-based Manufacture to feature an automatic winding mechanism with micro rotor, aka the manufacture’s new AMR13 calibre. The Armin Strom Gravity collection is available in four color-sets each representing one of four elements: FIRE, EARTH, WATER and AIR. The Armin Strom Gravity collection boasts the same exceptional level of finishing that has contributed to the reputation of the brand and of its eponymous founder, a man whose handiwork I have praised lavishly over the years, including in my review of the Armin Strom Blue Chip Skeleton watch from a few years ago. Below are a few looks at the Gravity series, including some of my hands-on pics from my visit with the Armin Strom team at Baselworld earlier this year.
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Exemplifying the white hot collectors market right now, a superb example of a second series pink gold Patek Philipee Reference 2499 sold at the Christie’s “Important Watches” sale this week in Geneva for a cool $2.2 million, well beyond pre-sale estimates. This was the headline piece of the sale, outselling a rare Patek Ref 1563 which sold for a whopping $1.57 million. To many elite collectors of vintage Patek Philippe wristwatches, reference 2499 represents the pinnacle, beautifully combining aesthetics, complications, and rarity. Indeed, a Patek reference 2499 cased in platinum and formerly owned by Eric Clapton sold at this same sale last year year for $3.6 million. Even without the star power of someone like Clapton behind it, it quite simply does not get any better than this pink gold 2499.
On November 10th and 11th 2013, Christie’s Geneva three-session auction of important watches realized an unprecedented combined total of $43,985,467 (€32,823,824) with 370 watches sold, the highest result for a series of watch sales ever held. On November 11th alone, the various-owner Important Watches sale totalled $30,737,300 (€22,956,887), with 92% of all lots sold. A quick review of the auction results clear shows that Patek Philippe and Rolex were the stars, confirming their ongoing dominance as the marks of choice for most high-end collectors.
For just a few specific examples you can turn to the Patek Ref 2499 in pink gold that sold for $2.2 million, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6263 “Paul Newman” that sold for $1.1 million a couple days ago, as well as the rare Patek Philippe “Duke Ellington” Ref 1563 that sold for $1.6 million just yesterday, all as I profiled here on Perpetuelle. This is not an isolated trend — watch prices have been super strong across the board this year.
So, should we thank Ben Bernanke and his global counterparts for all of the “stimulus” these past many years, or is this supremely strong demand and rising watch prices merely a reflection of sustainable gains in wealth? I wonder.
Here’s a piece for your Bell & Ross fans — a 50-piece limited edition BR03 GMT, made exclusively for UK-based The Watch Gallery. Each piece has black PVD case with a numbered case back. There is a two-handed GMT dial at 6 o’clock; the double-date window up top and large luminous hands with blue accents (The Watch Gallery’s signature color) complete the dial. Below is a nice, brief hands-on video review of the watch produced by The Watch Gallery team.
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SOLD! Rolex Daytona Record…$1,089,186…
Some might call it Rolex passion, perhaps others may call it Rolex insanity. Whatever your view on yesterday’s Christies “Lesson One” sale which featured 50 exception examples of the Rolex Daytonas, it was a whopper of an event. In particular, this new record-setting Ref 6263 Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman”, a steel-cased mechanical chronograph which sold for a cool $1.1 million. An absolute record price for any Rolex Daytona ever sold at auction. Two other examples, one a Ref 6263 and one a white dial/black register 6239, sold for more than $800,000 apiece. The entire 50-piece sale netted approximately $13.25 million, which equates to an average sales price of $240,000 per Daytona– talk about Rolex madness!!!!
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The Hollywoodland is a special, though not limited, edition of Girard-Perregaux’s new Chrono Hawk line which debuted about this time last year. The Chrono Hawk Hollywoodland was born out of Girard-Perregaux’s role as “Exclusive Timekeeper” and a Founding Supporter of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. Decent looking watch for the two-tone fan, even if the name is a bit dopey. Price on this piece is $21,400. More at http://www.girard-perregaux.com/home-en.aspx
Girard-Perregaux Chrono Hawk Hollywoodland
44mm black ceramic case with pink gold bezel, silver or anthracite dial, automatic mechanical caliber GP 3300 with a chronograph module on top, black alligator strap with rubber lining
First Look at Xetum’s newest LE…
Today Xetum is announcing its second Limited Edition timepiece, the Xetum Carbon Fiber PVD Tyndall, priced at $1,695. I had the chance to go hands-on with this piece in advance of today’s launch; my thoughts are encapsulated in the video review and photo essay below. The watch comes as part of a limited, numbered series of 300 pieces, with a specially engraved rotor bearing the individual numbering of the watch. The last Xetum limited edition was just 100 pieces (the Xetum Tyndall LE, as I reviewed hands-on in 2011), so I would judge it as a sign of continued success for the young brand that it is not only doing its second LE, but in a slightly larger production run. In any case, this is a great watch. Keep up the good work Jeff and team!
Video Review and lots of great pics, on the click
This new piece from ultra high-end watchmaker Greubel Forsey features a movement crafted of titanium and is available in a choice of red or white gold case, with production limited to just 33 pieces of each. The “Tourbillon 24 Secondes Contemporain with natural titanium movement” has a sober architecture while putting on display Greubel Forsey’s third invention, the Tourbillon 24 Secondes mechanism (see Did You Know? below). The mechanism is supported at 6 o’clock by a barely detectable transparent sapphire bridge (close-up photo below).
There is a striking sense of depth to the dial as emanated by the arrangement of various components: the twelve o’clock stands out for being not only the sole numeral (in red or white gold) but also for being raised, descending separately from the raised sapphire chapter ring; the ‘floating’ tourbillon; and the long central tripod for the hour and minute hands.
Color elements also play an important design role — darker details on the display such as the power reserve indicator at 4 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock or the 24 seconds tourbillon at 6 o’clock contrast with the light grey of the natural titanium movement and integrated titanium bridges.
On the back of the watch, three NAC-treated anthracite bridges can be seen through the sapphire crystal display back. Greubel Forsey’s expertise in extremely fine hand-finishing should not go unnoticed: mirror-polished bevels (many of which feature internal angles), mirror-polished countersinks, straight-graining and snailed decoration on the mainspring barrel. GF also points out that there are also discrete nods to tradition on this contemporary timepiece, for example the domed olive jewels and heat blued screws, which pay elegant homage to master watchmakers of the nineteenth century.
In this closeup, you can see the movement bridges in nickel silver with ruthenium plating which gives them a much darker shade of grey:
Fine specimens of high watchmaking, no doubt! Price will about $450,000, give or take.
More at http://www.greubelforsey.com/
Did You Know?
The Tourbillon 24 Secondes is Greubel Forsey’s third fundamental invention, a highly-efficient, fast‐rotating – 24‐second revolution – tourbillon cage inclined at 25°, which minimises negative effects of gravity on the oscillator, particularly in stable positions.
Now this is something you don’t often see! The bold color selections in these interpretations of the Chopard L.U.C XPS are champagne, cognac and burgundy (dials + matching straps) — offered as a trio in a special presentation box, they might remind you of something you’d find in a fine wine cellar — could this be the perfect set for the connoisseur of fine watches and fine spirits?!
See the L.U.C XPS in Champagne, Burgundy and Cognac Up Close on the jump
The Chopard Mille Miglia Zagato stems from the partnership between Chopard and a design legend: the Milan-based bodywork specialist Zagato. Zagato is known for its distinctive designs brought to some of the world’s most prestigious auto brands, just one example being the Aston Martin V12 Zagato (see Did You Know? below for more). Chopard has been the official timekeeper and sponsor of the Mille Miglia road race for 25 years and every year as far back as I can recall it has produced a new limited edition piece to commemorate the race. In fact it was along the route of the legendary Mille Miglia that Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the Co-President of Chopard, met with Andrea Zagato, the third generation in his family to head the Milan-based automobile body design firm — the genesis of this collaboration.
Lots more looks, on the click
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