On the 30th May 2014, Omega Singapore hosted a small intimate dinner at OTTO Ristorante for a small handful of watch bloggers and journalists to show case the Baselworld 2014 Omega collection. The guests in attendance were Cheng Yaw (Jaw) and Zach Toh, Ralphael Too, Bernard Cheong (& Dolly Cheong), Peter Chong and Su Jia Xian.
The kind and warm hosts were Mr David Ponzo, Ms Pauline Tang, Ms Maria Kong and Ms Fiona Lim.
The dinner was a sumptous affair of mostly great dishes and wine (although the fish was somewhat dry which remained unfinished). The White Asparagas starter was wonderful and the Pork was delicious. The Foie Gras was a little underdone but the dessert was divine. So in all a culinary mixed performance.
Guests and hosts were seated along a long table where the food, drink and conversations were conducted until midnight. All the while the new 2014 Novelties sat on 5 plinths in the middle of the table. Mr David Ponzo welcomed us formally in his short opening that included the review of the past year of events, launches and developments at Omega. He proceeded to the main event - where he provided detailed information about the new 2014 pieces that included new pieces in all the ranges at Omega.
The ladies watches for 2014 featured a new dial design of engraved butterflies using an age old method.
This year's mens watches included some quite special and handsome pieces in a bumper crop of new models. Most interesting of which are featured in the collage below. The blue seamaster aquaterra with blue crocodile strap is an understated daily wearer quite handsome on the wrist. Featuring a brand new Master Co-Axial movement - which means that the whole watch has the capability to resist up to 15000 gaus of magnetism (in point of fact, it probably could be higher but the measuring device could only go that high) using silcium in place of metal parts that are at risk of being affected by magnetism. This watch will be sized at 42mm list price at S$7600.
The much wrote about Seamaster 300 which is a throwback and a reissue of the original issued in the 70s. It features all the new component movements and materials but in the guise of a 70s watch and even with the 70s type aged luminova. The size reflects the return to sanity eschewing the larger 44mm and 45mm for the 42mm case. On the wrist, the new Seamaster has a nice presence and at a price point not far away from sanity.
The Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Mark2 using the self winding calibre 1861 features a titanium case and sedna gold accents on the bezel. The brown dial and brown NATO strap gives this watch a new presence. It is a handsome watch with an altogether new look. Did I mention it looks great on the wrist? The one piece that could easily become either a dress or workday watch is the new Tresor Deville - a favorite of Mr David Ponzo. Unfortunately this model comes only in precious metals which means they will retail over S$20k.
The final new piece is the 2014 Darkside of the Moon was not available at the dinner but was shown in the presentation (see the above pic). It still features the ceramic case but instead of the original all black version, the ceramic is superheated and treated with plasmatic process to create that grey look. Its going to be available later in the year but like the black original, it will be a low production model. If the demand for the black Darkside of the Moon is anything to go by, the 2014 is going to be a much sought after piece.
Overall, the 2014 range has several pieces that warrant serious consideration from collectors. Omega is clearly listening to its customers and bringing back historical pieces of interest using modern materials and movements while pushing the envelope in developing the mainstay series of the constellation, deville, seamaster and speedmaster.
Now, if only they heard me asking for a reissue of the Flightmaster.
The MB&F Legacy Machine watch series garnered a lot of interest from collectors because it heralded an interesting development in Swiss watchmaking. While it is not the first brand to attempt at merging old world classical watch building with modern design and approach that is able to give the character of a old watch yet using modern materials and production methods. The Legacy Machine No.1 brought dual time concept one step ahead with a single movement that allows two time zones to adjust not just the hours but the minutes as well. The Legacy Machine No.2 brought in production the old grail concept of double balance wheel to compensate for the effects of gravity (recently seen in the Dufour Duality timepiece )- instead of the more commonly seen tourbillon method.
The LM101 is MB&F's effort to bring a simpler model to its fans delivering a suspended balance wheel as before but this time with no complications. A watch with more modest intent and measurements. The beauty of this watch is in its overall character that clearly has its roots in the LM1 & 2. The high dome crystal provides the same sense of a miniature environment for the large oscillating balance wheel. Sized at 40mm wide and 16mm high, this case is much more modest than its elder model (see the side by side below with the LM2) and just about capable of being a daily watch or even dress for evening wear.
The new MB&F Calibre was jointly developed with Kari Voutilainen, bringing together the best influences creating a watch that is truly distinctive from other watchmakers. One would even conclude the LM series is far removed from the design philosophy of the earlier MB&F watches. The movement finishing is of the standard collectors have come to expect from Kari Voutilainen.
The LM101 will probably be one of the most exciting watches of 2014 for collectors and fans of the brand as production numbers will probably be higher and pricing considerably lower than LM1 and 2.
If you were in the market for a high horology three handed time only watch, should you consider this model? The answer would be, if you had been considering a Kari Voutilanen's own three handed watch, the LM101 is in the same price bracket and this model comes with one of the most interesting designed movement with a central floating balance wheel. Note however, the LM101 is expected to have the retail pricing of USD75,000.
However, if you are ever so fortunate to be able to consider acquiring the LM2, do not let the LM101 distract you. The LM2 is currently the only dual balance spring watch still available in the market today. Dufour only made a small hand full and FP Journe is not producing his dual balance wheel model. The dual balance wheel is a high complication that exists in these brands only. The only downside to the LM2 is that it is an enormous 44mm.
(Please click on the images above to view them in higher resolution)