Narco Bling: Top 6 Watches of Mexican Drug Lords

A redux of a topic I published on nearly six years ago (see: Narco Bling: The Watches of Mexican Drug Kingpins, July 10, 2009), self-proclaimed citizen investigative journalist website bellingcat.com recently published a review of the reach of Swiss luxury brands among the Mexican drug lords by analyzing social network profiles of three high ranking members of the infamous Sinaoloa drug cartel:  Ivan and Alfredo Guzmán, two of the most influential sons of El Chapo Guzmán, and José Rodrigo Aréchiga-Gamboa, alias “El Chino Ántrax” (who was arrested in Netherlands at the request of the US authorities in late 2013). The Top 6 Watches of Mexican drug lords, according the bellingcat.com’s analysis, are as follows:

      1. Richard Mille
      2. Hublot
      3. Rolex
      4. Audemars Piguet
      5. Urwerk
      6. Romain Jerome

While the top four brands are perhaps not surprisingly given the narco’s penchant for watches that are large, expensive and/or ostentatious, interesting occupants of the #5 and #6 slots were the more obscure independent brands Urwerk and Romain Jerome.  

There is disheartening commentary in the report as well.  The bellingcat author notes, “in times of economic hardship, the flamboyant lives of drug barons are appealing to millions of young and poor Mexicans abandoned by the state…”

Screen-Shot-2015-07-29-at-11.31.14-AM1

 

I must note that the quality of bellingcat’s analysis may be subject to scrutiny, particularly as the author notes that the authenticity of the social media accounts could not be verified (though, perhaps for obvious reasons).  And also, we all know how easy it is to make oneself look richer than one really on social media simply by taking photos from other accounts and claiming them as one’s own.  Bellingcat.com was launched via a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 and has been no stranger to controversial articles.  Even so, I think the analysis is worth a read.

Please click here to see the full story (including many more pics, commentary “Tracking Swiss Watches in Sinaloa: Top 6 Luxury Brands Among Mexican Drug Lords” over at Bellingcat>>>

Rolex Import Restrictions for U.S. Lifted

Rolex Daytona 6263 Paul Newman Coffee Dial

Thought this was interesting, in an email I received (in late May — yes I’m clearly late to this story!) from the folks over at Crown & Caliber:

…After speaking with two different U.S. Customs officials, we have received confirmation that Rolex watches, both new and pre-owned, can now be shipped into the United States and the company no longer possesses “Gray Market Patent Protections.” The lift of these Rolex importation restrictions can also be confirmed on the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol website. Notice that the page says “NO” to “Gray Market Importations Restricted.” While the officials offered no details and did not elaborate on the matter, it is clear that the restrictions are no longer in place, which means that Rolex watches can now be imported into the United States. We will continue to update this post as more information is presented to us.

You can read their entire article — “How Do You Import a Rolex Watch Into the United States?” — right here>>>

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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The Silicon Flying Anchor Escapement: An In-Depth Look At Ulysse Nardin’s Latest Innovation

Ulysse Nardin LogoUlysse Flying Anchor Escapement Silicon

What you see here is perhaps the most important watchmaking innovation revealed this year.  Seriously.  And I’m about to tell you why, with plenty of photo and videos to back me up.   With an official — though somewhat quiet — debut at Baselworld 2014, Ulysse Nardin’s silicon flying anchor escapement is one of those innovations which could very well change how certain things are done at high-end, cutting-edge horological landscape over the coming years and decades.  Though the exact long-term influence will only be determined over time, this kinda reminds me of that time, about 15 years ago, when Ulysse Nardin rolled out a little ‘ole watch called The Freak.  The Freak of course showcased — for the first time — a silicon escapement (among other niceties).  This seminal launch in 2001 also ushered in the era of silicon components and high-tech materials innovation, which continues apace yet today.

Yea, Rolex’s Syloxi Hairspring is a pretty big deal (quietly announced at Baselworld this year, too), and yes I recently went “In-Depth” on that too, you know— but it was certainly not the first time a silicon hairspring has been used in watchmaking.  Come to think of it, that honor also belongs to Ulysse Nardin.  But I digress.

From Perpetuelle’s point of view, Ulysse Nardin’s flying silicon anchor escapement carries the gravitas more along the lines of Girard-Perregaux’s revolutionary constant escapement which debuted in 2013.  In fact the two share a common principle in that they rely upon the elasticity of precision engineered silicon components.  Though still in prototype phase, Ulysse Nardin’s flying anchor escapement has been under development for seven years, and I predict that in due course this new innovation will really start to make waves in how things are done in the high-end watchmaking segment.   Follow along as Perpetuelle goes in-depth on this new innovation from Ulysse Nardin.

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