Monthly Archives: March 2017

Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date

When it comes to watches from Glashütte, the vast majority of them are either classical pieces in precious metal cases or Bauhaus-inspired designs. In this, the steel Senator Chronograph Panorama Date by Glashütte Original stands apart in more than one way.

It begins with its movement. First released in 2014, Calibre 37 is an integrated chronograph which Glashütte Original developed and makes entirely in-house. Integrated means that it is not a base movement with a chronograph module mounted on top of it, but rather a movement that was made to be a chronograph from the beginning. Because of this, you can admire all the parts that support the chronograph through the sapphire glass case back, this includes the column-wheel.

The movement is fitted with a central rotor which is skeletonized and has a 21K gold segment screwed into it for added weight. A swan neck regulator and blued screws complement the typical Glashütte finish of this in-house caliber. The power reserve is 70 hours, which is quite generous and helps to further set this watch apart in the highly contested field of high-end chronographs.

As important as it is, the movement is only part of the equation. It is the 42mm steel case that puts this chronograph right into the sweet spot. Although precious metal chronographs are still in demand, steel versions are often the hot-sellers of many brands. It is an interesting part of the market of which any Haute Horlogerie brand wants a slice.

The case of the Senator Chronograph Panorama Date surrounds the black dial which is a satisfying mix of vintage and modern elements. The two Roman numerals give it a slightly classic look, but by filling this, as well as the other hour markers and the hands, with luminova, they get a modern edge. The sub dials are spaced out perfectly, and the panorama date (which sounds so much better than big or large date) is well positioned at six o’clock. A power reserve indicator is integrated into the subdial for the seconds at nine o’clock.

Although available on a metal bracelet and a leather strap, I thought that it looked especially good on the rubber strap with herringbone motive. The result is a very enticing chronograph that gives you that legendary Glashütte design and build quality in a very competitive package.

F.P. Journe Centigraphe Sport Titane

A titanium chronograph doesn’t sound like something François-Paul Journe would make, yet he does, but of course, it is not just any titanium chronograph. The Centigraphe Sport was initially launched in 2011 in aluminum. Although very light, it is also quite soft, and that is not always an advantage when you are making watches. Eventually, Journe switched over to titanium, renaming the watch Centigraphe Sport Titane.

Light weight was important in the creation of this watch. The lighter it is, the more comfortable it wears, and that is especially important when you are doing activities for which a sports watch is created. That is why the movement inside the Centigraphe Sport doesn’t feature the usual gold main plate and bridges but are they instead made of an aluminum alloy.

This is not the only focus on active use that Journe put into the watch. The chronograph is not operated by the usual pushers on the side of the case, but rather by a patented rocker. Allowing for easy operation, while at the same time it keeps the design of the watch more ergonomic. When you start the chronograph, you will notice how special it is, as the hand on the subdial between nine and eleven o’clock makes a full rotation in one second. This allows the owner to measure up to 1/100th of a second. Even with the chronograph continuously running does the Centigraphe Sport Titane have a power reserve of 24 hours. With the chronograph off it is 80 hours.

Because functionality was the aim when designing this watch, it is only 34.4 mm in diameter. This is rather small for a sports chronograph, but again it will greatly improve wearing comfort as well as the maneuverability of the wrist. This is also why the case and all the bracelet segments are polished smooth, and the dial is very easy to read despite providing the owner with quite some information. Even there Journe found space to make it extra special, by leaving a small opening in each subdial so that you have a sneak peak into the movement underneath.

However, what makes the F.P. Journe Centigraphe Sport really so special is that you get in essence a very serious sports watch, yet with that famed Journe craftsmanship and finish. Just like any other of his watches is also the Centigraphe Sport made by hand in his manufacture in Geneva.

The Death of Two-Tone

The latest edition of Baselworld confirmed the obvious: two-tone is dead! Where generally at least a few brand carry the steel-gold variety, now there were no prominent watches offered in this combination. The exception to this rule is, however, Rolex, who introduced the Sky-Dweller not only in steel but also in steel-gold.

So why did Rolex launch one of their most complicated, and may we say landmark, new models in a combination of metal’s that seems to be out of fashion? Because for Rolex steel-gold has traditionally been an important part of the brand identity. They even have a name of their own for it: Rolesor. In a way, Two-Tone watches represent what Rolex is standing for. On the steel-side, they are robust, with their waterproof Oyster-cases and overengineered movements. On the gold-side, they are probably the most recognized watch in the world, and with the exception of the sports models, they always have this well-dressed look about them.

Two-Tone is also a bridge between the steel and full-gold models. They offer a more luxurious look over steel, yet with a far more friendlier price tag than the all gold model. It is a watch for people who want the best of both worlds, as well as a look that has become almost synonymous with Rolex.

Traditionally Rolex offers their Rolesor models with a champagne colored dial (although there are most certainly other options available). This enhances the gold-look of the watch, and quite frankly, also the Rolex-factor. It has a velvet look to it, and the ring for the second time zone is made in the same color. The date is kept in a lighter color so it is easy to read, although I would have loved to see it with the same champagne background as Rolex used to do with this type of dial. That being said, it adds a little bit of a more sportive feel to it, as it corresponds with the luminova filled hour indexes, as well as the white indicators of the annual calendar.

Rolex also has always been disconnected with fashion, and rather creates it own. That is why it seemingly pays very little attention to what other brands are doing, but rather focusses on their own customers. These customers have long been pleased by a brand that might be called conservative, yet shows time and time again how well in touch it is with its own DNA. And that DNA includes two-tone watches, even when this category is more of less dead to the rest of the industry.

Having A Ball With Dior Timepieces

When Christian Dior presented his first haute couture collection in Paris on February 12 1947, he revolutionised taste and style in the world of ladies’ fashion. The planet was recovering from the Second World War and the predominant austere, masculine look that came with it. With the New Look collection, and the Bar Suit in particular with tight-fitting waist and padded hips, Dior brought back a blatant return to femininity that was both seductive and distinguished. Luxurious fabrics were reintroduced, and the ball gown came back as part of the celebrations.

At Baselworld 2017, Dior Timepieces enchanted us with their latest watches from the Dior Grand Bal collection, presented amid a charming display of 22 reduced models of real ball gowns created by the House of Dior, from Monsieur Dior until Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection this year.
Each timepiece comes in a 36 mm case equipped with the automatic movement “Dior Inversé 11 ½” calibre, with functions of hours and minutes and a power reserve of 42 hours. The remarkable 360° functional oscillating weight placed on top of the dial is reminiscent of the swirling of a ball gown.

The two pieces shown above are part of the Dior Grand Bal Plume (Feather) collection, with, on the left, the Dior Grand Bal Plume Aventurine in steel and pink gold. Diamonds set the bezel while pink sapphires set the centre of the gorgeous blue aventurine dial. Note the oscillating weight made of real feathers! A strap in shiny blue alligator with diamond-set steel prong buckle completes this timepiece that carries a total of 137 diamonds and 83 pink sapphires.
Next to it, the Dior Grand Bal Plume Malachite in steel and yellow gold, is set with 137 diamonds and 83 tsavorite garnets, this time on a malachite dial with feather oscillating weight. The matching strap is in shiny green alligator.
In limited editions of 88 pieces each, priced at EUR25,000 for the aventurine version and EUR28,000 for the malachite, you will have to wait until June 2017 to see them in stores.
Here’s a close-up of the aventurine dial and feather weight:

The three timepieces below have fascinating, unique dials made of Australian white opal marquetry with polished, metallized and hand-engraved gold. With diamond-set crowns, bezels, and prong buckles on their straps, their casebacks are engraved and also diamond-set. Each is a one-of-a-kind piece from the Dior Grand Bal Galaxie collection, and comes with an extra black satin strap.

On the left, the Dior Grand Bal Galaxie Cygnus Gold is made of palladium, white and pink gold, and set with 401 diamonds and 115 pink sapphires. A pink to black-shaded patent calfskin strap complements the dial.
In the middle, the Dior Grand Bal Galaxie Dorado comes in yellow and pink gold, set with 256 diamonds. The matching strap is in yellow to black-shaded patent calfskin.
And on the right, the Dior Grand Bal Galaxie Draco is in palladium, white gold and pink gold, set with 235 diamonds and enhanced with a fushia to black-shaded patent calfskin strap.
These pieces are available now, with prices on request.

Dior Timepieces are designed in Paris to be at the centre of Dior creativity, and developed and manufactured at Les Ateliers Dior SA in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. CEO of Dior Timepieces and Jewellery Laurence Nicolas once told me it took Les Ateliers in Switzerland 6 months to find the right feathers from the right roosters to create the feather-made oscillating weight for the Grand Bal Plumes. “That’s French inspiration with Swiss precision!” she smiled.