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Having made their way from the other side on their global tour, the Devon team arrived in New York to launch their new brand with Tourneau at 5th Avenue. I had expected a small low key cheese and wine event but in New York, such things do not exist. An event clearly for the upper crust clientele of Tourneau - all dressed up in cocktail dresses and Armani suits - right in the middle of the week. Tourneau is a huge boutique of three floors that seems to carry almost all the known Swiss brands - including some lesser ones as well.

Devon brought along a Devon designed Ducatti that was displayed at the entrance of the retail store which seemed to be incomplete and clearly a raw looking beast - parked just outside its main doors. Intimidating yet clearly bespoke and thoroughly mean looking.

There were several variants of the Tread 1 on hand (essentially all steel, all black, ss lugs with black case and black lugs with steel case). The pair of fashion models each wore the standard pieces one with black coated case and the other the standard stainless steel version that has been shown on the web.

As I had expected the watch looked huge. Possibly the largest watch I have seen to date. But because of its new movement requiring large batteries to power the moving belts, one can almost forgive the need for such dimensions. The first piece I photographed belonged to the wrist of Scott Devon - who told me later that his was the first prototype which has all the wear and tear as well as the lack of finishing as one would expect of a luxury watch. Later on Ehren - one of the staffers at Devon lent me his piece with better finishing to photograph. The clues are shown in the emblem in the crown and the case back material and the relative case polish finishing as well.

Surprisingly despite its sheer size the watch wore comfortably on the wrist. However, due to its overall size it does appear to be at a higher risk of being hit by stationary objects. I found the seconds belt to be mesmerising which seems much more intriguing to the eye than watching the sweep of the traditional second hand.Fortunately for those who are endowed with smaller wrist, Scott mentioned that the Tread 2 will be a smaller watch. It will however do away with the seconds belt in order to lower its power demands to allow for a smaller case. No known date for that model is yet expected. In any case, this huge watch can be carried off by women with small wrists as well. It will work well for the woman who likes chunky wrist fashion items. (N.B. the images here were captured with Canon G9 using the EX480 strobe)


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In an incredible bit of bad luck, while I was processing my images on the Canon DPP software of the images I took that evening, all the files disappeared from my hard disk. A most unfortunate turn of events with several captures of watch personalities in addition to Francois Paul, many of the collectors from TimeZone was there to join the celebrations. I nevertheless had a few captures from my iPhone which I used when I arrived at the boutique to capture panoramas of Journe enclave. Pardon the quality but at least these images showed how the boutque was set up for the evening when guests were arriving.


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This watch has been the talk of many watch related sites and the brand is now on a global tour to showcase the Tread 1 to collectors and agents - taking the challenge to the established brands today. Judging by the immediate responses to the photos then to the launch itself, it seems that this very large watch has made some positive impact on the collecting community everywhere. Does the Tread 1 deserve all the attention it is receiving? I have not seen the watch - yet (soon it will be the launch here in New York later this month) but based on the ad campaign and the images I have seen so far, its daring in its concept - micro rotors with capacitors plugged into the wall for recharging every two weeks. It has an old worldly feel of mechanical moving and whirring parts yet, designed in a manner that looks industrial yet clever in its execution challenging even the high six figure sum models from brands that has attempted to deliver digital dials with mechanical innards. Retailing at USD$15k - it is by no means a watch for the masses but it will raise the eyebrow of collectors more accustomed to price tags of $100k for rare and clever designs.

My immediate concern is the size of this watch. It is near gargantuan but I suspect even if it were made smaller, it would still not be a timepiece for the wrist shy. I will report more of this watch when I have the opportunity to study and photograph it in greater detail. Meanwhile enjoy the already widely published video of this new brand.


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Its a rewarding piece of news, to learn that someone would rank my blog so highly amongst so many outstanding blogs on horology. Check out the report by a non profit resource website:

The 50 Most Interesting Watch Blogs

- HT

POSTSCRIPT - I just found this page called blogrank. In this particular site, it ranks watch sites in terms of various flavours of hit rates from different methodologies.  Its interesting that my humble site is able to be the Top 25 and in most of the various methods mentioned.

PostScript - 1 Dec 2013 - The original article "50 Most Interesting Watch Blogs" have since been taken off the Internet. The BLOGRANK still exists and being updated.


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Following on the earlier post about photographing the Dufour Simplicity with the use of two iPhones (*using the free TORCHLIGHT app). At the dinner gathering of Los Angeles TimeZone collectors, I tried out this method as a variation of the idea. This time round, I used just one iPhone (again with the Torchlight app) and a restaurant napkin. The image above is the product of the method. The napkin functions as a means to cut out ambient light (and provide a nice graduated background) and also provide reflective properties to bounce light from a single source.

Peter Chong (Lange Moderator) was with me captured the following steps while I attempted this capture.

STEP 1 - Set the white restaurant cloth napkin on the table with the watch and camera on it. Point one corner of the napkin towards you so it looks like a diamond shape to you.  Set the camera in Macro Mode. Adjust and move the camera as close as possible so that the watch takes up at least 3/4 of the frame. Most consumer point and shoot camera macros operate from the wideangle end of the zoom. Set the camera to Aperture Priority and set it to the widest available. This results in only the dial being in focus. Turn on the self timer (so that you will not shake the camera when you press the shutter button). Position the iPhone above the camera and the watch as shown below.

STEP 2 - Start with folding the left and right corners onto the back of the iPhone as shown below. Then the top corner. Leave the bottom corner to the last. Fold the bottom corner only after completing all the adjustments as you are viewing the watch through the LCD panel.

STEP 3 - Once you have completely adjusted and satisfied with the set up, fire the shutter and keep very still as you wait for the self timer to trigger.

Hopefully with practice, anyone with a point and shoot and a iPhone camera is able to photograph with some sharpness and detail in a dark environment. Happy shooting!

- HT

(*Addendum - The lightbox effect from the iPhone 4 works because the source is the whole LCD panel emitting pure white light. The screen quality is superior to the previous iPhones and probably has a discernibly improved quality of light. When such light is directed at subjects smaller than the screen itself, the light 'wraps' around the subject thus providing a softer light. Avoid using the LED light that is next to the camera lens on the iPhone 4. This can be very bright but will not serve its purpose as a diffused light source. It is also possible to use the same method of shooting using the iPad. Being a larger light source, the watch would be bathed in light from nearly all directions when held close to the iPad.

Also, the use of the white restaurant napkin is intended to cut out the ambient light. In this case, it was a low lit dining room with candles and low watt incandescent bulbs. These sources of light are yellowish - red. The white napkin was able to block these sufficiently while it helped reflect back a lot of the light from the iPhone onto the watch)


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Work related pressures in recent months have taken me away from my passion and opportunities for photographing exquisite used pieces. However, now being on academic sabbatical, travelling for some time in the North American cContinent visiting academic institutions, I enjoyed not only photographing amazing collections of private collectors but the generous hospitality of those who hosted gatherings in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Understandably, all the renowned collectors had asked to remain anonymous and accordingly I can only share glimpses of the horological time I had in the East Coast in Sept this year.

First, was a gathering of collectors in Palo Alto at a very quaint and grand restaurant. Realising that such an establishment will not look too kindly at my using of a DSLR with a full array of lighting strobes, I resisted the temptation to bring my photographic equipment to dinner. Nevertheless, I did bring along my old and trusty Canon Powershot G9.

While the collectors shared their musing about their watches and their views of current developments over very tasty courses, all of them brought along their precious timepieces to play with. Interestingly and probably in honour of Peter Chong - the Timezone Forum moderator - there was a rather comprehensive collection of Lange & Sohne watches. To view this extensive collection from all those there, have a look at this thread.

Unfortunately as those who will see in that link - the restaurant was exceeding dark and as such we started using all kinds of contraption to light up the watches so we could study them with a loupe or magnifier. There it dawned upon me that I could possibly try to photograph the watches with the use of iPhones as continuous light sources. Fortunately I had one with me and there was also another iPhone that I could use to create a V shaped light source.

Here are the images of my new found technique. (Click on the images to view them in high resolution). The watch here is the very desirable Dufour Simplicity. It's a very understated watch. Only the discerning can appreciate the level of detail that goes into the watch. A simple (hence the name) watch yet executed at a level of detail that I dare say no other watch can match its refined its extremely detailed finish. Unfortunately this watch is no longer available for sale or order. Philippe Dufour is no longer taking orders for it and currently finishing his current pieces to deliver to his very lucky customers.

The movement capture -

Note that the camera was stabilised on the table, taken on aperture priority but due to the dark surroundings the exposure was longer than most hand held shots could manage. However shooting on a self timer and keeping the camera as still as possible on the table, this quality is possible. Hopefully such a technique could be made widespread so that others may be able to photograph watches in their best possible light - even in dark rooms. All it takes is a pair of iPhones with a Torchlight app.

This should be chalked up as making do out of necessity - or is it necessity the mother of invention?

- HT


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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