At Baselworld 2013, Christophe Claret hosted me for a hands-on look at their new striking chronograph with constant force escapement, the Kantharos. Christophe Claret (the man) is among watchmaking’s elite, behind many of the world’s most unique and complicated watches made in the last 25 years. In 2010 he launched his brand under his own name. Claret has a particular aptitude and passion for striking mechanisms and repeaters. The Kantharos is his first watch to be offered at a price under 100,000 Swiss Francs. As well as having a constant force escapement, it chimes upon each push of the chronograph (start/stop/reset). Very impressive.
Case is 45mm round x 15.83 thick, in various combinations:
1) titanium (rhodiumed dial with black PVD and red hands) (pictured), 2) black PVD titanium (anthracite rhodiumed dial with black PVD and blue hands), 3) pink gold and grey PVD titanium (pink dial with black ceramic and grey PVD hands), 4) pink gold and grey PVD titanium (anthracite rhodiumed dial with black PVD and red hands), 5) white gold and grey PVD titanium (black PVD and red hands, anthracite rhodiumed dial)
The constant force escapement is visible beneath a sapphire bridge:
The caliber has an astounding 558 components. It is automatic winding, with chiming chronograph and constant force escapement.
Dimensions: 31.6 x 10.56 mm (without gong) & 37.6 x 10.56 mm (with gong) Number of jewels: 75 Power reserve: 48 hours (approx.) Escapement: Swiss lever-type, 3 Hz (21,600 vib/h), constant force
Distinctive features: Anthracite rhodium-plated main plate and bridges, white or pink gold gears, depending on the version Sapphire bridge with gold chatons
The numerals, hand tips, and chrono counters are luminous (blue).
Views from Baselworld 2013…
For my Hublot friend in Canada, especially for you, enjoy.
As an aside, the “quick change” push-button strap system Hublot has developed is beyond compare. Really impressive.
Views from Baselworld 2013…
First time “Mille Miglia” on the dial…and nicely placed with the date window…
Good looking piece.
This is not a Baselworld piece (RM presents at SIHH in Geneva), but a nice piece for the ladies that Mille recently unveiled. Limited edition 30 pieces in each of red or white gold. The watch is based on the RM26 tourbillon, first introduced in 2011. I’d love to see one of these in the wild. A real panda, that is.
OK, so my first reaction to the 2013 Rolex lineup was admittedly not a pleasant one. And while I still hold the sentiments expressed earlier, I will be breaking down each of the new pieces on their own merits. I’ve already taken a closer look at the platinum Daytona (why oh why couldn’t they have made something accessible to more Rolex fans?!), now let’s see the GMT-Master II with ceramic bezel.
The new Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II is presented in a 40mm 904L steel case, with a rotatable bezel featuring for the first time a two-colour ceramic Cerachrom bezel insert in blue and black representing day and night. Price will be just under $9,000.
The ceramic bezel (Rolex’s trademarked term is Cerachrom) is certainly an achievement — the ceramic component with two distinct colors is actually produced as a single piece of ceramic. So while it echoes the traditional two-colour bezel of the original GMT-Master and GMT-Master II models, this is a very high-tech bezel.The Cerachrom insert was first introduced in 2005. It is virtually scratchproof, highly corrosion resistant, and its color is unaffected by ultraviolet rays. One thing I recently learned is that the engraved 24-hour graduations are coated with a thin layer of platinum via a PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) process.
And there you have it. Rolex fans, rejoice.
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first diving piece, Blancpain this year presents the new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaph. Created in 1953, the Fifty Fathoms by Blancpain has become among the most famous diver’s watches. The vintage-inspired Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe presented in a 2013 includes men’s and women’s versions. This is a very distinct and great looking watch, with some excellent strap pairings, and a ceramic bezel with graduated scale in Liquidmetal® (a high-tech metal that first popped up in the Omega SMPO in 2009, but has also been used in Breguet and now Blancpain — all Swatch Group brands).
Read the rest of this entry »
Not a fan of diamond-decked watches, but must say this one goes well in a baguette-set. There are even diamonds on the satellites. Time on the UR-202 is displayed using telescopic minute hands operating through the middle of three orbiting and revolving hour satellites. The UR-202 is also the first to feature an innovative new winding system regulated utilizing miniature, adjustable turbines which are coupled with the rotor to absorb shock and reduce wear. Check ‘em out at http://www.urwerk.com/
Urwerk UR-202 Baguette
Master watchmaker to the stars-turned-independent Christophe Claret is unveilling his new Kantharos, a mono-pusher automatic chronograph with sonnerie/striking mechanism and constant force escapement. A cathedral gong, visible at 10 o’clock, audibly chimes with each change of function (e.g. start, stop, reset), which I believe is a first. The concept is entirely in line with Christophe Claret, who has repeatedly distinguished himself with innovative striking mechanisms featuring cathedral gongs.
The Kantharos constant-force escapement is visible on the dial side at the 6 o’clock position. The chrono counters are reportedly inspired by the aviation altitude indicator, but for me they seem a bit overcomplicated. This watch seems to exude the attitude that it is complicated for complicated’s sake; some may like this, many will not.
The case is 45mm x 15.83mm, available in a variety of metals: Titanium, PVD Titanium, Pink Gold + PVD Ti, White Gold + PVD Ti.
The red lines are inspired by the touches of neon that illuminate the vehicles in the movie Tron: Legacy.
Hop on over to http://www.christopheclaret.com/en/collection-kantharos-c10.php for full technical details and discussion.
As you do every year, you were waiting for this one, and here it is: Harry Winston Opus XIII. And yes, it is as crazy as it looks. The Opus XIII has only one thing in common with any other watch and that is its balance and escapement; the rest of the mechanism is the brainchild of independent watchmaker Ludovic Ballouard. Honestly it is next to impossible to understand this watch just by looking at it — be sure to watch the video below to help you out.
Opus XIII once again defies the conventional rules of watchmaking. Fifty-nine pivoting minutes hands, eleven rotating triangles for the hours, and a sliding trapdoor perform a magic show where minutes and hours appear or vanish instantly — and, of course, tell the time. Harry Winston believes nothing in watchmaking is beyond human ingenuity, and Opus XIII invariably proves it right.
Harry Winston Opus XIII
in collaboration with Ludovic Ballouard
Limited Edition 130 Pieces
44.25mm x 13.6mm white gold case.
Instantaneous hours and minutes; Cumulative display of minutes via a peripheral, jumping retrograde system with fifty-nine hands; Successive display of hours via a peripheral, jumping system with eleven hands; Sliding shutter revealing the “HW” logo every twelve hours
Minutes accumulate around a track, each five minutes in red, withdrawing in unison when they complete the circle of the hour. Silver triangles spring in turn from a faceted dome to show the hours, rotating back when their duty’s done. Every twelve hours, Harry Winston’s logo is revealed on the dial, only to vanish sixty minutes later.
The fifty-nine minutes hands pivot on a ring of as many steel shafts, each held between two ruby bearings, bringing the number of jewels in the timepiece to 242. No other timepiece ever made has as many functional jewels. The ruby ball bearings for the sliding shutter are so tiny that the package had to be opened in a non-static environment lest they fly off.
Beneath a smoked sapphire crystal you catch a glimpse of what looks like the fan of a jet engine. This is an extraordinary component, comprising fifty-nine jumper springs — one for each minutes hand — carved from a single piece of steel using LIGA technology (lithography, electroplating and molding).
How It Works
The display is produced by two separate power sources working as a team. One mainspring barrel drives the escapement through the going train and keeps the balance swinging at a steady 21’600 vibrations an hour. The other barrel provides the energy for the display of minutes, triggered every 60 seconds by the center wheel of the going train.
The key element is an outer minutes ring driven by the second barrel. Every minute, it jumps forward a step, released then locked by a rocking lever with two pallet stones, controlled by a cam working off the center wheel. A peg on the advancing ring flips each minutes hand forty degrees in turn, revealing them in succession around the dial. At the end of the 59th minute, a second outer ring comes into play, its crenelated rim simultaneously rotating the fifty-nine minutes hands back into their hiding places.
The mechanism for the hours is no less ingenious. Here again it relies on an outer ring that jumps forward every sixty minutes, turning the triangle of the old hour 180° so that it disappears beneath the faceted dome on the dial, and simultaneously turning up the next hour. At the heart of this mechanism is a snail cam that rotates once an hour. A lever drops off the edge of the cam, pulling a rack to turn a pinion that advances the hours ring. At the 12th hour, instead of turning up a triangular hour hand, the hours ring rotates a wheel attached to a connecting rod that pulls open a sliding shutter to reveal the Harry Winston logo in the center of the faceted dome.
Both mainspring barrels are wound by turning the crown back and forth. A rocking pinion engages the barrel for the going train when the crown is turned in one direction and shifts over to engage the other barrel when the crown is turned in the opposite direction. Similarly, when setting the time, the crown is pulled out and turned one way to advance the minutes and the other to advance the hours.
All of this packaged in a modest 44.25mm x 13.6mm white gold case, Harry Winston style.
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