The Star Trek franchise is able to lay claim for inspiring many special and highly desirable watches. Many of the MB&F had featured several design elements and most notable was the Klingon battle axe on its rotor. The most recent is the Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon which was inspired by the design of the Deep Space Nine space station.
Here is one influence that some would probably conclude as purely coincidental. The Federation logo on the DeBethune open dial.
Is there any resemblance or do you think there was subtle influence that even David Zanetta (founder and CEO) and Denis Flagollet (chief designer) did not realise? You decide.
Parmigiani is one of those brands that had been flying under the radar of collectors and forums. However, for those who in the know and serious collectors, they would be familiar with the name and know the long history that the brand enjoys. While it had not been as aggressive as some brands with its marketing, Parmigiani has nonetheless endeavoured to focus on its core strengths and reaching out to its customers who know what it does. However with its partnership with their Singapore authorised dealer, The Hour Glass, it seems that the brand is now making a stronger and more effective step towards marketing and raising its profile in Singapore and Asia.
On 14th November, Parmigiani and The Hour Glass celebrated the grand opening of a new boutique at the Marina Bay Sands.
The evening included a grand dinner at the Science Museum where guests were treated to aerial performances and some beautiful arias while enjoying a wonderful dinner.
Parmigiani appears to have found a retailer that understands its market position and knows how to help it fulfil its future plans.
Martin Braun the founder of Antoine Martin was this week in Singapore to launch the brand's partnership with Yafriro as its local authorised dealer. Hosting a small dinner for collectors and media at St Regis Hotel, Martin Braun spoke at length how the new company was formed in 2011 and showcased at Baselworld 2013 the Slow Runner. The food served was impressive as expected from the six star hotel whose reputation for quality is thoroughly deserved.
The function room hosted the 20 guests and representatives of the authorised dealer and Antoine Martin. It was a congenial event where many who are unfamiliar to each other and to the brand found themselves enjoying the music food and the watches laid out for guests to inspect.
Martin Braun seen here in this collage speaking passionately about how after creating the brand Martin Braun, he partnered with a backer to create the new brand Antoine Martin for the purpose of creating watches not previously featured in the market. This was the motivation for the creation of the Slow Runner which has the largest balance wheel ever seen in a wrist watch. Running at only 7200 beats per hour the balance wheel is somewhat hypnotic to look at.
The watch seen here in stainless steel is priced in excess of SGD 30,000. The aesthetic novelty of the large movement would be attractive for those who are enamoured by mechanical movements. The simplicity of this large balance wheel belies the difficult engineering problems that had to be solved.
Notably there are large rubies at the end of each spoke of the balance wheel which are probably to assist in dealing with the potential friction.
The delivery of this model is expected very soon. While the style and design of the new balance wheel may not be universally popular, there are some who liked the novel idea of a large pulsating balance wheel.
Please click on the images to view the higher resolution versions.
Here is a desktop wallpaper of the Wempe Chronometerwerke for fans of this watch. Taken with a simple single lighting setup.
Tudor had its grand opening of its new boutique in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands last weekend with a large reception of guests and customers. The new boutique is the first among many being launched by the brand which has since 2009 with the appointment of Mr Philippe Peverelli as their CEO, taken a different direction away from the shadow of Rolex.
Tudor being wholly owned by Rolex had for many decades offered similar looking models but with a different movements making them seen by many as the poor man's Rolex. However under the leadership of Mr Peverelli, Tudor has retained Rolex's demanding quality of materials and assembly but changed its design direction. It now offers some very interesting models from 2011-2013 featuring reissue of its historically special models with small changes yet made with today's new method of production and materials. An example is the Heritage Chrono Blue (reported here previously).
The Ducati Blackshield motorcycle was also featured at the boutique opening.
At the boutique opening the new Blackshield chronograph watches were showcased. Both the black and red and black and brown versions. Made with ceramic, the Blackshield is reputedly scratch proof. At a list price at S$6500 the Blackshield will probably prove to be a sellout.
The second offering from Omega at the Baselworld 2013 that has the attention from collectors and magazine editors is the new Titanium Speedmaster '57. The new '57 is a throwback to some 50 years ago when the first speedmasters were made (even before the Moonwatch). It still feature the straight lugs of the original which makes the watch look and feel bigger than its 41.5mm case size. Seen here side by side with the Darkside of the Moon, it is imperceptible visually that there is a difference of 3mm. While it features the same Calibre 9300 found in the Darkside, the Grade 5 Titanium with polished and brush finishing looks quite dramatically different from other Speedmasters due to the unique blue grey dial.
For those with smaller wrists or those preferring the mainstream case dimension of under 42mm, the '57 is a wonderful option. While it many not have the visual uniqueness of the black ceramic of the Darkside, the Grade 5 Titanium is a material not easy to come by. It is understated yet bristling with Omega's cutting edge technological achievements - such as polished Titanium and the wonderful calibre 9300 (silicium balance spring that has inherently antimagnetic properties).
Most importantly however, must be how it looks and feel on the wrist. Without a doubt the most impressive visual aspect of this model is how the dial looks. The tone of the blue grey changes with every angle. This model stands out as one with a strong character and look.
This year's Baselworld 2013 offerings from Omega had been a positive surprise with a handful of timepieces deserving serious attention from both seasoned collectors and novices. The first is a watch that had been the talk of the town - is the new all black Speedmaster named Darkside of the Moon.
The Speedmaster series has been an important collection for Omega as it reflects its continued technical prowess that few other brands can even lay claim to. Being the first and still the only official timepiece of NASA Astronauts since the 60s, the Speedmaster has had many variants and limited editions over the decades past but none so enticing as this model which features the famed Calibre 9300 coaxial Chronograph movement with a silicon balance spring. Easily recognisable with its two symmetrical sub-dials. Unlike the original Speedmaster (and other Chronographs) that features three sub-dials, the hour counter is located in the right subdial together with the 60 minute counter.
The Darkside is probably the only watch in the market today that features a full ceramic case and dial. Measuring a hefty 44.25mm, it is the largest Speedmaster and will most certainly please many who enjoy large timepieces.
This watch is visually stunning. Black ceramic cases are not new but Omega has seemingly borrowed the experience and material sciences from its fellow stable of brands at Swatch Group to present one of the best looking black watches ever seen. Personally I have gravitated away from big watches and later, all black watches - but this is one model that is making me change my mind. It feels better on the wrist than the Speedmaster '57 which has a 41.5mm case - probably due to how the lugs are designed (more about the '57 later).
It is retailing at SGD$15,500 and a few pieces are just arriving into the market as this report is being published. With so much going for it - the famed look of Speedmaster; the new ceramic materials and most of all the Calibre 9300 co-axial chronograph. Chances are, these pieces will not stay long in the shops.