Well it’s been a big week (the new Patek Grandmaster Chime grand comp, and the similarly impressive Vacheron Constantin I showed you before that), but believe me there are many more watches in my queue to show you. Like this one. So let’s switch gears a bit and look at this new release from Blancpain. It has a mouthful of a name — officially the “Blancpain Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph” — and there’s a reason for that, as I will explain in more detail below. But the other exciting there here is that this watch is yet another piece with Blancpain’s new high-frequency, in-house chronograph, the F385. I really like this caliber.
Aesthetically, the Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Flyback is housed in a satin brushed gray ceramic case, with a ceramic crown and ceramic chronograph pushers and a unidirectional blue ceramic rotating bezel marked with liquidmetal indexes. The blue color theme is carried over to the dial, which offers three subdials for the chronograph counters and small seconds display. On the back of the watch, the movement and winding rotor are visible through the clear case back. The winding this limited series bearing the logo for the Ocean Commitment.
This watch is beautifully designed and proportioned in every way. And it is a limited, numbered edition of only 250 pieces, the first in a series of LE’s as part of the Ocean Commitment initiative. More looks and det’s 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
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.
In 1901, the “Antikythera” treasure was discovered in Greek waters, where the remains of what is probably the oldest “astronomical calculator” in the world were uncovered. Hublot became involved with the Antikythera project in 2011 first by lending support to an exhibition at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, then by partnering a major project at the Archaeological Museum of Athens which created a special Antikythera room with a giant armoured, earthquake-resistant display case, manufactured in Switzerland to Hublot’s order, to showcase the remains of the mechanism. And of course there is also Hublot’s wrist-sized recreation of the Antikythera mechanism, the Hublot “Tribute to Antikythera.” Whether you like Hublot or not, you gotta admit that they are involved in some rather special projects, the Antikythera here is case in point. Check out more, below.
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