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The 2016 Tudor models were probably amongst the top three most interesting watches released this year. The whole range of the Black Bay series were updated with the new in-house MT5601 and MT5602 calibers capable of 70 hours of power reserve. Late last year the Black Bay Black was launched to complement the Red and Blue bezelled versions of the series. This updated model (with the new Caliber) continues to interest vintage enthusiasts. 

There are a few new variants, the first being the Black Bay Dark (not shown here). Featuring blackened PVD for the case and bracelet. One can forgive Tudor for coming out with this variant to meet the market demand for blackened watches - although the practicality is questionable as PVD coatings are not known to stand the test of time. 

It is the new Black Bay Bronze that was the most welcomed new Tudor model - clearly was the talk of the industry and collectors. At a new size of 43mm that encases the new MT5601 the watch on wrist wears very comfortably and handsomely. For some reason it does not appear much bigger on wrist than its sports counterpart at Rolex (it's sibling company) such as the Submariner that measures in at 40mm. 

The new Caliber fits the 43mm case without any fillers - is COSC certified. Critically, it features a non-magnetic silicon balance spring running at 28,000 beats per hour. One of the most common complaints of watches is that the mechanical movement loses or gains time. This is usually the result of the movement becoming magnetised - something that will occur even more with so much circuitry and micro speakers on mobiles and tablets all around us. Using a silicon balance spring reduces dramatically the risk of inaccuracy due to magnetism.  

The Bronze has a real vintage look and feel to it. The metal will inevitably patina and oxide to dark brown. Certainly very close to the colour of the dial. The brown dial and brown bezel lends itself an old school look yet matching nicely with the bronze tone. Matched with distressed brown leather and a brown fabric strap (both comes as standard) the whole package is an exciting vintage looking watch with a very modern and capable movement. The Tudor Black Bay are divers watches made to survive the depth of 200m (or 660 ft) which is more than adequate for hobby snorkelling and open sea divers. 

The retail pricing of the Black Bay watches had always been very competitive (all models sit below S$5500 - sitting just below the price bracket of Rolex diving watches) makes for a serious proposition deserving consideration. Even the use of the new calibers have not significantly raise the prices of the watches beyond reason. If the Red, Blue or Black bezelled models of Black Bay had not excited you, surely the Brown Bezelled Bronze Black Bay will. 


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The MB&F Legacy Perpetual arrived in Singapore this week and it was shown to collectors and media this week. Apparently it took four years to develop and Stephen McDonnnell was the young master watchmaker who worked on developing an all new caliber that allows for the user to independently adjust the day, date, month and year using push buttons - without risk of damage to the movement that other perpetual calendars suffer. A fully integrated complication (not an add on module to a standard movement) the watch features two mainspring barrels that allows for 72 hours of power reserve. The subdial design makes for easier legibility as compared to other perpetuals. Retail at approx S$270,000. Only 25 will be made.


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The handsome Omega 300 Spectre Limited Edition (7007 pieces at S$9800 list). Comes with satin finished steel bracelet and the Bond NATO strap. It features the lollipop second hand and 12 hour bidirectional bezel. It is a master co-axial which features the 15000 gauss anti magnetic properties. On the wrist this watch on the NATO strap looks unique and comfortable. A handsome timepiece with a classical ageless dial design.


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The Tudor North Flag (2015 Collection) was launched with a pop up store along Orchard Road at the portico of Wisma Atria. Situated along the Orchard sidewalk, the pop up store has a giant poster of the new watches. The new watch is designed to be a tool watch with the power reserve indicator at 9 o'clock. The design has strong yellow contrast details on the dial and when matched with its integrated strap, it looks distinctive. 


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Dietrich is a small independent brand that has been around for less than two years, old based in Zug, Switzerland. Although the brand has only been around for a short time, it has made a big impression at tradeshows and demand for the watches had resulted in their need to increase production output to meet the growing worldwide demand. 
While it is a mechanical watch featuring an automatic movement, it is essentially a Japanese designed Miyota reworked into an unusual dial and watch case. The design for the watch is the brainchild of Emmanuel Dietrich. A cleverly designed case featuring lugs that allows for very easy change of straps. The curved six sided case shape resembles nothing else in the market. The dial is psuedo skeleton with two toned metals in an arrangement that shows off three stepped levels. The overall quality of finish and assembly belies the list price of the watch. The current three models OT-1, 2 and 3 are identical save for colour of the hands and case material. 
On the wrist below is OT-1 where the bezel is in stainless steel and the case is in PVD black held together with four black screws. The hands appear to be leaf inspired and the OT-1 have them in luminous green.   

The OT-2 is an all black PVD case seen below in the middle with unique rubber straps. The hands however are in all red. The three watches sit on top of a wide selection of straps available for those who want different colours and materials. 

The OT-3 below features an all steel look but with the tips of the hands in bright yellow. Note that the watches feature a 24 hour counter at the 10 oçlock mark. The gold star is a functional second hand pointing at markings for 10 seconds. 

On the wrist the watch sits very nicely (see below). It is not a small watch but it does not feel big in any way. The back of the watch curves nicely on the wrist. 

The watch however is not without its faults. It is waterproof only to 50m which essentially mean it should not be worn while swimming but sufficient to be wet under the faucet. Further, even though the watch comes with sapphire crystal it lacks any anti reflective coating, resulting in the crystal having light distracting reflections. Also, the Hour and Minute markers are etched on to the underside of the crystal tends to crowd the dial unnecessarily and it is not sharp or clear enough to be helpful. 

Notwithstanding the shortcomings, the watch is a positive proposition for watch collectors who are inclined towards good or clever design. It is handsome yet distinctive. While the movement is ordinary, it is reliable. Dietrich has successfully created something handsome on the wrist, yet clever - the capability to allow its owner to acquire a slew of different colour straps to easily swap out whenever needed. 
Dietrich is the second known Swiss based brand - after SevenFriday - that has found success in reaching out to a segment of buyers who are interested in designs and willing to accept Miyota movements. Have these brands opened the door for consumers to accept non-swiss movements or did they succeed in making Chinese made movements acceptable? 
All the watches come with 2 year warranty and prices start at S$1650 available both online and in stores locally. Check the Dietrich homepage for a store near you. 
For more about Emmanuel Dietrich and his watches visit their official video and website.

- HT


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So it begins....

Some months ago the lower tiered brands had announced the possibility of adapting new electronic tech into their watch development but it seems even the premium luxury (or wannabes) are looking to enhance their current range of timepieces with the use of connected devices to their current models.

Whether it will succeed will largely depend on the functions provided by these connected devices - and how it will impact on the aesthetics of the mechanical watch.

The question is, are luxury brands expanding into this arena because they believe it is an evolutionary step forward in watch making - or is it as a result of running out of ideas within the brand itself?

Check out the teaser video released by IWC this afternoon.


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One of the impressive aspects of the new Tudor watches today is its wonderful NATO style fabric strap supplied with its sports watches. The quality of materials and manufacture is top notch unlike other NATO straps I have had. The quality of the metal runners and buckle are details that shows up nicely.
To appreciate the TUDOR straps, have a look at the video at this website.


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APPLE, SAMSUNG, SONY etc... Please, if you really want your product to succeed, start by marketing your new product as SMART WRIST DEVICE. Stop calling it a watch just because the device tells the time - amongst the many functions it is designed for. My iPhone or any smartphone also tells the time too and it spends a lot of its time in my trouser pocket but its not called a pocketwatch. 
On the same logic, why is the iPhone still called a "Phone"?  In reality, it spends less than 2% of its time in use as being a phone but more of a connected device to access data, information and messaging etc. 
For the same reason, realise the market you are selling to is a market that wants a connected smart device. Not another watch. Just because it's on a wrist does not require it to be a watch. 
So do yourself a favour and sell them as "Smart Wrist Device". Design the device to be different and look different from a watch. That would be a start.


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Apple is finally delivering on the watches it launched some months back. It was a historical launch as it was the first major new Apple product line since the passing of Steve Jobs. Much has been published about this new product line and even Jony Ives (chief designer and others at Apple) had intimated that the new Apple watch will seriously challenge the Swiss watch industry. 
The last time the Swiss watch industry went through an unprecedented sea change was when the Quartz movement was developed and made into mainstream watch designs, brands and marketing. In the beginning the first generation of quartz was astronomically expensive but as production cost of the movement was reduced, the pricing dropped dramatically. In the 70s the quartz movement sold extremely well because not only was it affordable but it was far more accurate than the mechanical watches sold back then. Due to the quartz development, many Swiss brands suffered huge losses over time. Some even had to cut their losses by reducing production and move over to quartz movement to remain viable. 
Will the new Smart Watches have the same impact on the watch industry as the quartz movement? Smart watch developers, it seems, hope it will. 
The premise of such hope depends on the market having remained unchanged between 70s all through to 2015.
What has changed in the course of the past four decades? Watch buyers today buy watches with a different decision matrix - i.e. statements of fashion, functional devices, status symbols or statements of personality. No longer is the main premise to be absolute accuracy. Most have discovered too that quartz movements have a limited lifetime, not just having to replace the batteries but that there are real wear and tear issues and quartz movements cannot be repaired (unless at an exorbitant rate) and usually replaced. Replacement is only possible when that quartz movement is still in production or at least available. As a result, most brands today market their quartz watches as low cost, disposable items unlikely to last no more than 5-10 years. Even though the quartz movement remains today with many brands, it has seen its zenith of popularity and importance many years ago. It has its place in the Watch Industry but no longer considered desirable as a preferred movement. 
From the mid 90s the Swiss mechanical watch industry saw a renaissance due to the growth of the internet. The new electronic communications environment introduced a means for people to learn about mechanical watch movements and to appreciate good quality timepieces - especially those of vintage pedigree quality. With the popularity of forums and growth in numbers of enthusiasts, the fuel was lit and the growth of understanding, appreciation and demand for good quality, well made, beautifully designed timepieces has not abated until recently. Since early years of this decade, many observers had bemoaned the inflating prices of luxury watches had gotten out of hand (maybe this timing is perfect for Apple!). Nevertheless, the essence of the growth of the Swiss luxury watches was mainly from informed consumers who not only wanted and demanded for quality mechanical timepieces, but was willing to pay a premium for them - hence the ''luxury" segment.    
Even non collectors today when considering buying a timepiece, they will default into a common decision making process. Buyers generally do not need a watch because almost everyone carries a phone or a smartphone that not only tells the time but a lot more information provided by the calendar function. Yet, buyers of watches have specific needs. e.g. need for a dress watch to compliment dinner wear; a sports watch for outdoor activity or lifesytle (whether a Casio G Shock or a Steel Mechanical Diver); or a gift that is expected to last a lifetime. 
Mechanical watches - when made well - promises to last a long time. In most cases, more than a lifetime. It does one thing and one thing well but often not worn just for that one thing - to tell time - but to convey a sense of well being of ownership to the wearer. Whether it was a gift, or a purchase to commemorate a milestone, or even as mundane as wanting to be associated with a status. Mechanical watches today represent a value of a time long gone. When things were made with love, attention to great detail, and reparable. Most buyers who are ready to spend large amounts of their hard earned money hope to buy a product with the characteristics that reflects the price paid. The Design, Quality of Materials, Quality of Finishing. For many, an additional factor is branding value (sometimes its their primary factor). 
Accordingly, for Smart Watches to become the new deriguer of wrist wear, these current purchasing behaviour has to evolve to different purchasing decision processes. The most primary factor pundits failed to understand about mechanical watch market is that buyers often do not buy watches for functionality.  
Fortunately, the Smart Watch success will not be at the cost of Swiss Mechanical Watch industry. While there may be some issue at the entry level market for luxury Swiss mechanical watches, those who are in the market for mid to top tier luxury brands will not see any impact.     
Smart Watches by their description are multifunction devices. Unfortunately, today's smartwatches are predominantly designed to work in conjunction with a smart phones to enhance its use rather than being devices capable with it's own independent functions. This may effectively be its main problem. Why would a consumer who has a mechanical watch on his wrist with a smartphone in his pocket need or wish to have another watch to simply make his smartphone easier to use? Add on to the problem of short battery power life of a smartwatch requiring daily recharge to the current tedium of recharging smartphones. Smart tech consumers already know that each new smart tech technology is not upgradeable and will have a fixed limited life of no longer than 2 years.
However, Smart Watches have the capacity to become the product of this decade. It's true success will be it becoming the first true wearable technology. But Apple's Smartwatch future is not assured. The failure of Google Glass as a mainstream wearable tech product has shown that the promise of functionality must be delivered with products that not only work but will work seemlessly and be reliable. 
In the long term, the best case scenario for Smart Watches (as it stands today), is that it will be like quartz watches - i.e.  part of the solar system of watches (and even possibly replace the segment in the market covered by quartz movement). 
In the long term worst case scenario, it will become redundant and product failure (as was the Newton was for Apple until they figured out iPhone) because it merely provided features that only a small segment wanted or desired. 

But the future may look far more positive if the wearable tech developers refrain from marketing their wearable tech as Watches - because technically they are not watches. They are multifunction devices that happen to tell time. They should design wearable technology and have them marketed as Smart Wrist Wear or Smart Wrist Device that compliments mechanical watches on the other wrist. New tech should not displace what is important to the customer. It should enhance it or compliment it.


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The growth of appreciation of Independent watches from AHCI (association of independent watch makers) over the past decade in the region of South East Asia had been largely due to the staunch support of The Hour Glass management who understood the sophistication of the market of collectors here as well as the value proposition of the independent brands over the mainstream. The mainstream are predominantly represented within large conglomerates like LVMH, Swatch Group and Richemont. All are leading houses in the world of luxury goods. Within each group there will be a spectrum of different brands reaching out to different strata of the market. Independent Watchmakers clearly do not have the capital nor the capacity to produce to a wider market and as such often design and manufacture to a very narrow corner of the market. Independents generally offer to astute collectors degrees of the three following components of value. Design, Quality and Rarity. The most respected Independent Watchmakers have arguably achieved a high level yet balanced in these three components. 
At the very top of the pecking order of Independent Watchmakers, the most important differentiating component that distinguishes each of them from others is Design. Not just aesthetic design but design of its component parts. It is the design or a specific look that creates the identity of each Independent that will draw fans or turn them away. 
The three brands featured at this event represents different design philosophies from different parts of the spectrum. All three approach Design of their watches differently. 

The invitation card, menu and dinner placement:

The Cocktails

The Dinner and Forum Discussion:

The enthusiastic fans of the brands looking over the new 2015 collections:


The MB&F

The DeBethunes

The Dinner......


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Blancpain has for awhile been involved with efforts to conserve the Oceans and several of its projects while low key, are important as part of the overall effort worldwide to bring attention to the public why the Oceans needs to be saved.

At the evening where Blancpain launched its new limited edition Bathyscape Chrono, they took pains to show case through a small exhibition, the various Ocean conservation projects they were supporting.

Several renowned conservationists were guests of honour who presented and shared their life's work.

Ernest Brooks an adventurer and diver for many decades working with Blancpain on the Fifty Fathoms Award.

Laurent Ballesta who works with National Geographic and Blanpain shared his work on filming and photographing the extremely rare Coelacanthe in difficult conditions. His wonderful photographs for the Coelacanthe Project were published as a coffee table book.

Ai Futaki and Gianluca Genoni are world record freedivers. They swim in open sea diving for long distances and holding their breathe for extraordinarily long time. A dangerous sport that had taken many lives.

For more information about Blanpain and their commitment to Ocean Conservation, visit:


Welcome to
Watching Horology


  • This is a personal blog of Harry SK Tan on all things pertaining to Horology - from watch collecting, horolography, news and developments from all over the world particularly Singapore.
  • ©HarrySKTan2005

Horolography - noun, the art of photographing timepieces

Horolographer - Harry SK Tan

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