World Time elegance

This elegant model is from Louis Vuitton and is the Heures du Monde which is apparently in honour of the company’s roots as a travel-trunk manufacturer.

Louis Vitton "Heures du Monde" Automatic

Louis Vuitton “Heures du Monde” Automatic

The case is in fine finished stainless steel at 44mm diameter, with interesting lug shapes.  It features a Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating under which lies the satin gray dial, which with the offset world map certainly has a different look.  24 City abbreviations/time zones are in yellow and white alternately around the globe and a GMT function allows the traveler to check time in two time zones simultaneously.
Note the two Date apertures – the one on the right of the standard Date window is actually a “jump” hour display which indicates the current hour in the tracked time zone and differentiating from day and night in white or gray.  Time zone selection is by use of the pusher @2 and a small corrector is located @4 for daylight-saying compensation.  Note too the small yellow zone indicator within the globe track index.
The analog hour and minute hands are infilled with Superluminova and the long yellow sweep center seconds hand adds good contrast.  There is also an exhibition back through which you can see the automatic movement and rotor, which of course is engraved with the LV logo.  The watch incidentally is also water Resistant to 50m.

Movement wise this model features a Swiss in-house Cal. LV101 21 jewel Automatic with a 40 hours power reserve.

Finally this model features a very stylish gray alligator and black calf leather bi-material strap with yellow stitching, which reflects the iconic Louis Vuitton luggage look.

So what price fashion ?

Whilst I’m quite taken with this model especially from a Fashion House rather than a traditional watch Brand, my concern has to be the Price which is around $9500.  I assume the high mark up is due to the position Louis Vuitton commands within the fashion world, but from a watch value viewpoint? 
It’s a nicely designed and finished watch, looks good, with decent quality features, sapphire crystal, reasonable movement (though no details), a neat World Time function, but no more than that.  It is without added value precious metal or jewellery decoration, so basically is a good mid range stainless steel watch, albeit with that stylish “fashion” design, but £6000?

It is a fact today that many of the Fashion Houses are coming up with excellent watches, both in terms of quality and technically and with good features, which often display an elegance that some of the mainstream Watch manufacturers are lacking, but the pricing for me is just too inflated.

However if you are a lover of and value “Fashion”and you’re prepared to pay for it, on the lookout for an elegant and dressy watch which has some practicality, then this one could easily be for you.

I’m admit to being tempted myself as I actually like it . . . but I have my eye on a pre-owned Vacheron Constantin and a vintage Rolex and I’m hoping to have change out of £6000 for the two – if successful, so I’ll pass . . .  😉

The Elegant Watch (10)

A classic watch Company I never get tired of is Blancpain and their models old or new always make me want to buy.

Blancpain Villeret

Blancpain Villeret 8 Jours 2014

It is a personal problem to which my Doctor is in full agreement and advised me that with JBs it’s probably incurable – and he should know as he owns 4 of them!

This is the 2014 Villeret 8 Jours with it’s marvelous grand feu dial.  For those not au fait with this term, it is a process involving successive layers of enamel, each fired at very high temperatures (over 1000°C).  This process ensures the enamel doesn’t crack over time and Blancpain enamel exudes a wonderful milk whiteness and sheen that never seems to fade – at all.  The figures on the slightly curved dial are also in enamel which is incredibly difficult to manage.  Added to this is the fact in certain light conditions on the grand feu enamel dial you might just be able to see faintly the logo “JB” engraved between numbers 4 and 5, 7 and 8.  The initials of the company’s founder, Jehan-Jacques Blancpain.

Côtes de Genève on movement and Honeycomb finish.

Côtes de Genève on movement and Honeycomb finish.

The in-house movement is the Cal.1335 which is self winding and has an amazing 8 day power reserve.  To cap it all the movement and Côtes de Genève decoration and honeycomb rotor finish can be seen clearly via the back crystal window.

It’s also a perfect size at 42mm diameter and it comes complete with a chocolate alligator strap and overall is the most elegant watch.

I understand prices start around $29,000, so IF I want one – and I do – I’ll not only have to have consultation with my Doctor but also my Bank manager!

Note – Took a little longer this time to continue with “The elegant watch” theme and have no option but to restrict each Post to just one model, as frankly it’s becoming more difficult to find true elegance in many of the new offerings today.  Perhaps Christmas may generate something special and I’m hopeful of 2015.

 

Citizen making waves

Took me a little while, but at last I’ve got round to looking at the Brand that gave me the Attesa, which I seem to recall I called the “ultimate”, and which to my regret I succumbed to a crazy bout of downsizing my collection and sold it on – yes – sold on!  Madness I know but with the proceeds managed to finance a vintage grail watch – so I’m happy enough (maybe!)

So what has piqued my interest again?  Well it’s the next generation Citizen F100 Satellite Wave GPS CC2006-53E, which is so Attesa like I’m surprised they didn’t just call it the Attesa Wave, but they didn’t, instead calling it after their Wave 100 technology the F100 Satellite.

Citizen Satellite Wave F100 Model: CC2006-61E

Citizen Satellite Wave F100
Model: CC2006-53E

But I can’t complain as this is one of those models that comes up every so often that hits the spot.   Citizen have managed to squeeze into one of the sleekest DLC (diamond like Carbon) faceted Titanium cases I’ve seen, all the updated components to make the world’s thinnest light-powered satellite synchronized watch there is.   It also receives satellite signals faster than any other model (3 seconds!) and keeps +/- 5 seconds per month accuracy anywhere on Earth.

The crystal is anti-reflective Sapphire and the case has a Water Resistance of 100m.  Citizen’s Eco-Drive (solar) means no battery issues ever and the Wave technology gives accuracy with it’s World wide Satellite Timekeeping System, covering a whopping 40 Time Zones.   The Seconds hand doubles as the indicating pointer for various functions (Month, Time Zone, Signal reception etc).  A Perpetual Calendar to 2100 and luminous hands and markers, a Light Level Indicator and a Power Reserve Indicator more or less rounds up the features.   The bracelet is Duratec coated Titanium and fits to small spring bars, so unfortunately is bespoke, but it IS an excellent and tapered Titanium one and if anything like my old Attesa, then I’m happy with that.

Ashampoo_Snap_2014.11.26_16h59m16s_015_But what I really like about this model is that they’ve managed to incorporate this technology behind a simple, clear and very easy to read dial and in my opinion superior to all competition – and as you well know by now this is a particular bugbear of mine.  Date is in a conventional Date aperture @3 and the sub dial @8 shows the Day, Power Reserve and Daylight Saving Time.  Previous incarnations of this technology tended to be oversize with dial clutter the likes of which even your Optometrist could not fix, no matter how many pairs of glasses he recommended!

Note that the watch is remarkably light weighing just 108 g and assisted by the hollowed out skeletal pushers.  It is also a slim case at just 12.4mm thick and 45.4mm wide (I’d swear this was my old Attesa) and it’s a delight to wear and looks great on the wrist.

It basically comes in 3 variations, two for mainstream sales and one Limited Edition, but my preference is as shown here – the 53E.

So another gift idea for Christmas?  or something that you might just drool after yourself – I know I could . . . . maybe this model is truly the “ultimate”.  Basically because you put it on and that’s it!  No battery changing, no time or date adjustments, no location time alterations, swim in it, slip a shirt over it and easily read it in the dark.

The price of the F100 Satellite Wave is just over £1000.

There is of course competition in the GPS stakes, basically from Seiko, but the Citizen is generally smaller, sleeker and as far as the dial is concerned and regardless of Seiko version (they have a few) the Citizen is less cluttered in my opinion in use.  It should also be noted that the Citizen shown here does not automatically receive satellite signals, rather it is manually carried out.  And that’s fine by me as unless the watch is in a sky view position, such reception won’t happen anyway.  The Seiko model I compared it to, does receive automatically, though if unsuccessful for any reason, it will not attempt receive again automatically until the next day, so a manual receive would probably have to be done anyway.

However a word of caution
A collector might regard this as a milestone model, where Citizen  and indeed Seiko have refined the technology such to now produce fine GPS examples and that’s good.  But as a practical Time Zone watch, unless you really do travel all over the world and very often, it begs the question – and also as the only advantage over current Word Timer models is that you don’t have to know the time wherever you are – the watch will find that our during reception – so do they really represent value for money? 
For example I already have the Citizen A-T CB0020-09E with a neat World Time Zone feature (26 zones) which is incredibly easy to set (crown out, turn to city, crown in – job done), it also has Eco-Drive and it’s Radio Controlled.  So it’s a super simple to operate, wear and forget model, great world traveler and it cost me about a 1/4th of the F100 Satellite Wave.

Note – Remember technology comes at a price and not just cash wise – this is still a complicated watch and you will certainly have to read the instruction booklet when you first set up the watch.  Once done it’s pretty much plain sailing – but being a pessimistic sort of guy – don’t lose the booklet!  That’s all I’m saying . . . . . 😉 OK

But this video is absolutely the best! – as it makes everything very clear and better than any instruction booklet!  In fact it shows that Citizen have actually done a fine job in making the operation of the F100 about as simple as you could hope for.

And if I ever decided to buy this watch – I’d stick this video on my iPhone!  Oh yes!

Something different

Just a brief look at something different, seeing Xmas is just around the corner are the two watches I’ve selected for this Post –

First is the wonderfully colored 666 Under Pressure 11 – in Blue from Barcelona.

The 666 Under Pressure 11 - Blue

The 666 Under Pressure 11 – Blue

Striking looking model from 666 of Barcelona reflects the industrial pressure gauge look and with this incredible blue dial with a large Seconds analog hand, it really is a “mobile” watch indeed.

Size wise diameter is 48mm and lug to lug the same.  The watch case is 14mm thick and the strap 24mm.  The digital display shows the time and there’s no doubt this will certainly catch the eye of your friends.

At around $100 not bad for style I’d say . . .

Next up is the equally eye catching Vestal GDEDP01 ABC model,

Also 48mm diameter (ex crown), made of 316L stainless steel with a K1 Scratch Resistance crystal.  With the usual ABC features such as Altimeter, Barometric Pressure and a digital Compass, plus World Time and Alarms and so on it’s quite well specified.  10ATM Water Resistance so no worries getting it wet on your travels.

Vestal GDEDP01 ABC model

Vestal GDEDP01 ABC model

The large bi-directional bezel with the large pointer with the compass feature assists in the calculation and indication of your bearings.  A Polyurethane 22mm strap and a patent pending, modified OKTOLOCK system with stainless steel buckle.  Note this has a 100hr Countdown Timer plus a Weather Forecast feature and in fact very Suunto like in regards the functions.

It also has great presence on the wrist and price wise is around $270 or so . . . . and here are another option on this model –

A more outdoor option

A more outdoor option

Solid performer and nylon strap

Solid performer and nylon strap

As I say, just a thought for Christmas to add a bit of style to the guy in your life.

Now the time is?

Yes it’s that time again (if you can read it that is) where I have a look at the perennial geek designer from the amazing people at – TokyoFlash.  The model is the BASIK Watch by José Manuel Otero and here it is.

So let’s “at a glance” check the time . . . .

Basik - new time concept - if you can read it!

Basik – new time concept – if you can read it!

Noooo, I’m not quite seeing what the actual time is here, but I’m sure I can work it out given time!  Which for me is not quite the name of the game.  I confess I like to wear on my wrist something beginning with W!   Yes you guessed it – a Watch!  and one that when I give it a quick glance immediately tells me the time and maybe even the day and the date!  Now is that too much to ask?

Well it seems to me that at TokyoFlash they are always attempting to challenge the old round dial concept clock face idea for showing the time, which like the original QWERTY keyboard worked for all sorts of very good reasons (and even that’s been challenged these days) and every time I see one of their new creations I start to get one of my awful migraines again!

Now I don’t really mind them doing this as it’s great potty training and probably really mentally challenging for the young designer, but sometimes a reality check might be in order here.  Because I and most of us I suspect want a gadget that simply, easily and clearly shows the time – no more – no less.  It’s a bit like re-inventing the wheel I suppose.
Why is it round? –  I can even hear the new recruit to the Design Guild of Pointless Ideas, question.  Would it not be better to make it square? And Oh of course we can round off the pointed bits to make it smoother yes and maybe – no maybe . . . an oval?  But we’d maybe have to alter the suspension to compensate I suppose if it’s used as a vehicle . . .? And then there’s . . . .

Enough! enough!

Now – where was I – Oh yes – the Basik Watch . . . . Well it’s not really difficult when you study it for a while – something you can do with your time I suppose 😉 and this is the same image with the time disclosed at image top left.

The Basik new concept time watch.  Have you got it?

The Basik new concept time watch. Have you got it?

Well the dial has 2 index rings – the Inner which is for the Hours and the Outer for the Minutes.  These are in light grey unless activated as markers.  You can see on the inner index a dark marker – at 3 (hours).  Another dark marker is showing on the outer index indicating 7 (minutes) and the very outer continuous moving line thing which goes round the entire dial perimeter is showing at 27 – this is the seconds.  Hence the time is 03.07 and 27 secs.  And how do we know it’s 03 am and not 3 pm?  well apparently it’s indicated by the changing colour of the dial – if it’s light colored then it’s PM and if it’s dark is AM – or perhaps the other way around – sorry but this migraine!

Also you can move the outer bezel which in turn moves the entire dial around, so that if the watch is off your wrist and sitting on it’s side, you can move the 12 o’clock position to the top and the watch reads as if it was sitting upright – get it?

Utterly fascinating and brilliant I am absolutely sure – but is it for me?

Well sadly I am equally and absolutely sure it’s NOT . . . !

Anyway if you want to check it out HERE is where it’s at . .  Now – I’ve taken so long with this Post that I’d better check the time myself!

Well I can see Mickeys long gloved hand is pointing at 5 and his shorter open glove hand is pointing at 6 . . . .  Goodness it’s 5.30 – it’s time for my dinner!  😉 😉

 

Addendum –

Seriously this is quite an unusual watch and one of the best of the alternative time readers out there in my opinion.  The idea of using inner and outer indexes is not particularly new, though the dark indication markers are quite novel.  Personally I would prefer the dark markers to be very much darker so that I could more easily see the time in less than ideal light.  I like the large Date window which is easy to read and the Seconds animation perimeter is both novel and a very good indicator, firstly showing the watch is running and secondly a rather good seconds countdown timer too.

As I said in the Post, which I admit to being a little tongue in cheek, it still is not really the watch for me.   But I can see certainly see the attraction for many (possibly younger than I) who like something that little bit different.  In fact I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to get used to to it and that “quick glance” might well be all you need.

Anyway, hats off to José Manuel Otero for a pretty smart and different take on the more usual watch idea and congratulations – for it seems to work!

J P Journe ( just perfect? )

The creations of J P Journe are some of the finest you will ever see and this from a man that some think should be called a Supplier rather than a brand in his own right.

J P Journe - masterpiece of design

J P Journe – masterpiece of design

This because he assembles his watches from parts he has some 40 suppliers manufacture and finish to his exacting  specifications.  In house these are assembled, adjusted and tested.  The watch dials are the start of any new model – he designs it first and then has the inner workings made to work the dial as it were, which is highly unusual.
I think personally the detractors are missing the point as J P Journe models are really something to be treasured and admired.  And as such you don’t see them too often coming up as pre-owned and for sale or auction . . .

Maverick? –

For JP to infer that the global watch timing authority COSC is out of touch and hardly a challenge because he says the standards are too low being originally designed for pocket watches and somewhat meaningless for today’s wrist watches – are the words of a man very confident in himself and his product.  He describes them as Chronometers without being COSC certificated and regardless of his critics.  This must have upset the heavyweight movers and shakers of the industry somewhat – and who knows, maybe it needed or indeed needs such a challenge every once in a while to retain it’s relevancy.

I have been fortunate enough to have seen a few of his models close up and in my hand so to speak – and for me they are utterly brilliant.  So when one comes up for auction you can bet that I and a good few more folks beside, will be very interested indeed.  I have added such a one to the Auction News page with a note of the estimate and will be very interested in the final hammer price.  Detractors or not I see it doing rather well.

The model is the Octa Calendrier.

It’s a Cal.1300 Automatic with 22ct Gold Rotor in an 18ct Rose Gold 38mm diameter case – just like this one – and there’s not many of these around.  I think in 2007 it cost  around £16,000 perhaps?

See the actual watch which is in the Auction HERE

 

Nixon Baha Compass

Further to my last Post where I looked at some Military style models.  I mentioned in passing the Nixon Unit 40 which I thought might be a consideration IF the digits and dial contrast was readable in all light situations.  I liked the fact it was a 40mm diameter model as this would fit the smaller wrist comfortably, but I still have reservations on that display.

However I also spotted the relatively new Dixon Baha which is a varient of the Nixon SS and 40 series, specially outfitted for the outdoor enthusiast, so I though I’d better check it out.

Nixon Bah - Torch & Compass with velcro fast wrap strap

Nixon Baha – Torch & Compass with nylon & velcro fast wrap strap

I have to say right away that I do like the look of it, though somewhat disappointed by the physical size of this model – at 50mm diameter it is one BIG watch!  However there is a trade off in that one of the added functions over the SS or 40 series is the inclusion of a Digital Compass.  It also has an LED flashlight at the lower left of the dial, which is a surprisingly useful gadget.  The other main difference is the strap which is a heavy duty nylon & velcro fast wrap strap, a type I’ve always liked as it’s so easy to use and usually very comfortable.

24mm Heavy duty nylon & velcro fast wrap strap

24mm Heavy duty nylon & velcro fast wrap strap

I’m also informed that this model has an increased contrast digital dial array, and that does interest me as this was my major concern on the previous models, so it may be that my concern could be solved, though I would still have to see one on my wrist to tell.
The complete function set as follows – positive or negative digital (high contrast stated on the spec), Time of Day (12 hour or 24 hour), Seconds, Day/Date, Calendar range from 2005-2105, Dual time, Alarm, Chronograph, Timer and Thermometer with an external sensor (in Fahrenheit or Celsius), LED flashlight and Compass.

The case is polycarbonate which is as tough as anything and the stainless pushers are well shrouded to prevent damage.  A domed hardened mineral crystal, 100m Water Resistance and a brushed stainless steel case back.  The strap is 24mm wide on a 32mm wrist cuff held with stainless steel screw pins and it has a solid stainless steel roll bar buckle, so very outdoorsy, all of which I like.

The fast wrap

The fast wrap

The Compass is the type that points to the arrow @12 on the molded fixed bezel and gives you the bearing angle in degrees (in 1° segments) on the main dial area and on the upper display area it gives the Cardinal direction NNW, ENE  and so on.  The compass also has a declination setting so you can set for your area and there is a Compass calibration sequence similar to most of these digital compass models.  Note that it’s not the most accurate of compasses at +/- 10° but it’s useful and in practice is perhaps more accurate than the error allowance would indicate.  I have other compass models that are quoted with error allowances of around +/- 5° and generally manage around 2° offset at most in actual use, so I would expect somewhere in the same range.

The LED flashlight is a great idea and very similar to those tiny little plastic push button jobs you might have on your keyring – it’s just bright enough and perfect for those times looking through your bag or trying to get your key in the lock at night – very useful and a neat addition (it’s not trying to be a military signal light or anything like that) and I like it.

So on the face of it this appears to be another digital model that might well meet the “military” style criteria as case and function wise it looks pretty good.  And the strap looks good and overall the watch should be as tough as old boots.  Also the addition of the Compass and flashlight is a real bonus.

But – I have reservations ?

1) IS the digital legibility, high contrast or whatever, good enough to be easily seen?

2) IS this model just too big at 50mm diameter, for my 170mm wrist?

3) IS the strap long enough (I have heard reports)? Though not a deal breaker as the strap can be easily changed.

If my reservation questions are answered satisfactorily and I can wear it without looking like a complete lemon – it has to be a consideration.  So a visit to a Nixon Dealer is the only option and then we’ll see (or not if the digits are faint!).  The price is around £125 in the UK.

Note – The difficulty of choosing a military style watch is compounded by the fact that there are many “divers” models out there that are tough, highly Water Resistant, great readability day and night and very tough indeed, as long as you avoid the highly colored strap or dial, they too are an option worth considering.  Just makes the task that much more difficult.  Ah well . . . .