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I have just posted a short review of the Sinn U1 All Black limited edition made for Tempus. Harry Tan kindly contributed to the review as well. Click here to see it.

- SJX

 


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I often receive comments that WatchingHorology.com needed a search engine that visitors could use to locate specific watches or topics so that visitors could quickly locate them without trolling through the archive. As of today, the site is proud to provide users with such a facility on the right column of the page. Do have a go with it and let me have your feedback as to its functionality.

 


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It has finally happened. The Chinese are firmly entrenched and will be making serious impact on the Swiss watch industry. It was reported in LeTemps.ch that the Peace Mark Group from Hong Kong had acquired STM group of companies - the world no.3 in watch movement supplier (both in quartz and mechanical movements). The amount of the buyout transaction was not be disclosed but the 1500 employees will be taken over, namely 154 in Sion (VS), around 70 on the site of Les Reusilles (BE) and the 1200 based in China.
The STM group comprised of Soprod (who supplied to some well known brands such as Richard Mille) Swiss Ebauche and Indtec. Soprod is the jewel in the crown as it provides ETA type/based ebauches to various brands. They provided customisation service to fit the movements to the brands. The Peace Mark Group already owns the Swiss brand Milus and now will be able to reposition itself in the Swiss watch heirarchy both for Milus as well as any other brands in its stable.
For some years there had been debates and discussion in the Swiss industry how it would meet the challenge of Chinese made watches esp. its ever improving quality in finishing and even the Chinese tourbillons. It seems that the Swiss had miscalculated the financial clout of the Chinese and their desire to control the lucrative watch market. With the control and access to these important Swiss movement manufacturers, it appears that the Swiss industry is in danger of losing its competitive edge. Will the movements still be Swiss Made? Will the Chinese movements have the right to be called Swiss Made?
The Swiss industry appears to be in for an interesting and rough ride over the next few years.
Check out the French report HERE.
So - will it be called CHWISS or SWISSESE watches?

 


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The Breguet Tradition 7047 Tourbillon Fusee is a tourbillon coveted by collectors because of its rare complication - the chain & fusee. Coupled with a power reserve indicator at 10 o'clock the watch features a two mainsprings. The fusee transmission mechanism improves the rate regularity by guaranteeing the movement a constant torque whatever the tension is on the mainsprings. The tourbillon cage balance wheel and the bridge are made of titanium. This is probably the first wrist watch that has a fusee design that is exposed for the viewing pleasure of the wearer.

The proportions of this watch makes it a reasonably large watch but not extraordinarily so by today's standards. The immediate impression when first handling this watch is the sapphire crystal. It rises from the case much more dramatically than ordinary watches making it a tall watch. However almost immediately after, one cannot mistake this for any other watch as the fusee chain peeks clearly out from the gear train.

Clearly a watch made to the highest standards as one would expect from Breguet. When the La Tradition was first released, it made a huge impact on the watch world by redefining the model which hails from Breguet's history books. Now with the Fusee Tourbillon, this watch is not another 'me too tourbillon'. Breguet makes wonderfully beautiful tourbys but this one is for the record books. It will certainly enhance the standing of Breguet further in the growing competition for accolades in high horology.

To see the photomontage of the images of this monumental watch - CLICK HERE.
Postscript - Jack Forster of Horomundi posted a detailed report on Breguet Tourbillons that covers the Fusee Tourbillon as well. For those interested in this watch, this report is well worth reading. You can find it HERE.

 


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This monumental timepiece was on top of my list of watches to photograph during Tempus II. A watch with a special grand complication that is reserved to only a very small handful of capable watch houses. The only other known in current production is the Lange's Chain & Fusee.
Even though it was shot at the Tempus Breguet booth itself, I was relieved that my images turned out better than I had dared expect. I am still in the process of refining the list of images of the watch for the photomontage but I am glad to share my cover shot that I published online at ThePurists.com. Come back soon to see the montage. In the meantime, enjoy this image of this soon to be an iconic Breguet.

For those who are interested to see the Photo Forum thread and comments on the photography of this image (by many top amateur photographers whom I have the highest respect) CLICK HERE.

 


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This 30 second video was my first effort to bring about a funky style to present the watch. I think its fun and exciting in a new kind of way. Hope its in the character of the watch!
Click on the link and see if you enjoy it.

CLICK HERE to view the video

 


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One of the rare timepieces that I photographed during the Tempus II event was the Roger Smith Series II. This handmade timepiece by one of the few British watchmakers today is a handsome watch. Have a look at the photomontage and see why there is a growing following of this brand.


CLICK HERE to see the photomontage of the Roger Smith Series 2.

 


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The plenary session at Tempus that I moderated was to be a panel discussion of the state of British Horology with the great achievement of John Harrison who solved the longitude navigation problem.

I attach here our combined slides but much of our conversation during the session is not represented here. Both Roger Smith and McGonigle's current work as independents are getting international acclaim and following - esp. many of their pieces are being ordered from overseas in particular Asia and North America.

It is unfortunate that over the few hundred years since John Harrison that the grand watch making industry in Britain has come down to a mere handful of independents but there appears to be a possible revival through new houses such as Dent - a resurrected brand that will soon make its mark with its launch. I managed to see a prototype on the wrist of a British watch journalist and it looks like the face of Big Ben with a slate grey matt case. Lets hope the revival will bring good fortune for all in the British watch industry.

For those interested in reading the powerpoint file on the Longitude Act achievements, CLICK HERE.

 


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I met John the first time at TEMPUS II. But he made me felt relaxed with his Irish charm and straight talk. My conversations with both John and Roger Smith in preparation to our Tempus Plenary Session on British Horology, both men shared with me their passions and plans for their future. I had a great sense of their passion and look forward to their future enterprise. John impressed me as a genuine and down to earth watchmaker who was happy to make new friends and share about his watches.
John also allowed me to photograph his gold tourbillon with him modeling it - as I always preferred - a watch maker with his ware.
In addition to the portrait, I have here a sample of one of my images of his watch. A photomontage should follow in quite soon (when time permits!).



 


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Kong, the new but very able Chopard Moderator on ThePurists.com had covered the TEMPUS II in great detail by photographing each of the brand booths as well as podcasted several streams of video at the event.
If you were not able to be at the Tempus this year, Kong's report must not be missed. He succeeded in catching the atmosphere of Tempus which is both palpable and addictive. Be prepared to spend hours going through his reports and do note that the report will require quite a fair bit of bandwidth. I would suggest that when you hit the page, select the brand links and enjoy them in leisure one by one.

Check out his report HERE.

 


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Tempus II came to an end today. Sadly as with all good things. It was a festival of watches that makes all other regular events including Basel and SIHH look pedestrian - at least from the collector's point of view. This Tempus predictably was a hit with local collectors but it was great to see collectors from all over the world making friends and enjoy the varied seminars, workshops and plenary sessions. Now for the cold turkey to go without this infusion of quality horological nirvana that included meeting and listening to industry leaders and hallowed master watch makers.

Fortunately, I have succeeded to capture some images of Tempus both of watches and events that will be published here over the days that follow - including the series of I photographed today of the independent McGonigle tourbillon.

I will also put up links to the various forum reports of Tempus by my fellow collectors. So do come back soon to find out what happened at TEMPUS II.

 


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Horological information and sensory overload.
Day 4 of the Tempus was again a full day for me, photographing at Breguet's champagne brunch then later spending a hour photographing the exqusite and monumental LaTradition Chain & Fusee Tourbillon (will publish both the brunch and watch images here on watchinghorology later but I can already assure you that the images of this famed complication will be a real eye opener).
Later in the day, I photographed the Series 2 Roger Smith WG with Mr R Smith himself keeping me company helping me out with the photography equipment. Yet another beautiful timepiece waiting for the world to see it.
Despite the huge Saturday human traffic that had grown to a foreboding level and with massive traffic jams and full car park at Raffles City, the crowd continued to grow. I was told by the Hour Glass organiser that this Tempus had more new collectors signing up for talks by Dr Bernard Cheong on How to Buy and Invest in Watches than the last Tempus.
The day ended in a Hour Glass Party at Raffles City for all those who had participated and helped with the Tempus. The party ended late and this post is made past midnight with no likelihood of me keeping my eyes open much longer so I would not be able to process and publish the images I took today.
I am very sure however, that many if not all will enjoy the images I will be sharing in the near future on the watches photographed at Tempus II.

 


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Here are several video clips for all to get a sense of what Tempus II was like for those who cannot be here. There are seven parts as the exhibition hall is enormous.

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Second day at Tempus was a great one for me. I had two masterclasses on watch making first by Glashuette Original and second by JLC. I was able to learnt to appreciate some of the intricate craft of polishing, assembling of parts for watches as well as learning how to dissemble and assemble a JLC Reverso 8 day movement. But reports on these two events later. For today, I want to share the wonderful collection of watches featured at the Museum of Contemporary Horological Art created by Hour Glass.

Check out the link HERE to see the slideshow of the huge collection of wonderful and rare complications shown at the MOCHA. (n.b. due to the watches being shot in the glass cases, the images here are not optimum quality but these rare pieces must be seen to be appreciated nonetheless)

 


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After much anticipation by the watch industry and collectors alike, Tempus is finally underway. With its grand opening this morning, press releases and horological news about various watches were made. I was very pleased to learn on my arrival in the afternoon that I was awarded the first prize for my one of my Vianney Halter image at the Photohorology Competition and another of the Opus V was finalist. Both will be featured in the next edition of the Revolution Magazine.

This year's Tempus is even bigger and grander than the first with interesting displays of animated mechanical art and the MOCHA (Musuem of Contemporary Horological Art) exhibition of rare fine timepieces. Also, a majority of the booths had on display workstations of various craftsmen demonstrating their craft.
To view my pictorial report of the Tempus, CLICK HERE to see the Flikr slideshow. Comeback tomorrow for more detailed report of various brands and the programme here at Tempus.

 





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