Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Basel Favorites and Unfortunates (Ouch!)

Using Timezone as a launching pad for my critiques, I'm happy to present what I plan to have on my wrist, what I would love to have on my wrist and what I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.

First off, from Jaeger-LeCoultre, a lovely and brilliant new chrono named the Duometre a Chronographe:

Featuring a hand decorated and built mechanical Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 380 movement, this chrono displays a power reserve for the time function, as well as for the chronograph function, both displaying the power in each of the two barrels. Also, the chronograph function features a minute-unit indicator, so you don't have to guess whether the chrono reads 32 minutes, or 33 minutes; it's in there!


Next up, one that's going on the wish list, the Glashutte original "Sixties". A lovely self-winding model using the wonderful GO 39 movement, cased inside steel and precious metal cases and featuring a no-nonsense dial, with alternating Arabic and index hour markers, a domed sapphire crystal, (I'm not too hot for this feature, but I don't hate it either) and an extra-plat case.


From Vianny Halter is a tower clock for your wrist. Designed and crafted in 1788 by Antide Janvier, that clock and this particular watch presents the solar time and lunar cycle in a housing that won't crush you like your name was Wicked Witch of the East. Oh! What a world, what a world! The clock may be sitting in the Musée du Temps in Besançon, but this watch can be sitting on your wrist courtesy of Manufacture Janvier (well...not "courtesy", you have to pay for it.)


From F.P. Journe, comes the Octa Moonphase and Power Reserve. That pretty much sums it all up, natch. Hey, it's from Journe, what else you need to know? What? You writin' a book? Fine. The movement is the Octa 1300-3, with a 120 hour power reserve (woof!) and a new rotor that winds in one direction. Using a ball bearing system, ceramic balls allow the rotor to move in one direction and block it in the other. Apparently, when the wearer is sitting on his lazy...er, chair, the rotor moves back to it's original position and apparently, "...every infinitesimal movement is maximally exploited for an optimized winding of the watch." Now don't you feel useless? Your watch works harder than you do, you slob.


From another independent maker, the Sea-Gull Tourbillon. Made by a Chinese maker, the case is rose gold, with a hand wind tourbillon movement displaying the time, sub seconds via a dagger on the tourb cage, power reserve, moon phase, date and 24 hour indication. Wow! Even the Asian watches work harder than us shiftless North Americans! Lazy Timex.


Now, Rolex. I won't go into too much detail, except to say that much like Cadillac, Rolex hasn't made a good-looking product since 1996. However, the new Air-Kings with COSC and heavier cases look sharp. I'll let James Dowling tell you about the Yacht-Master II.



From the Omega Museum Collection, we have a rebuild of the famous 1932 divers watch. This case-in-a-case watch was conceived as an elegant designer watch, that was robust enough to withstand the harsh reality of moisture. It flopped. Oh, it worked perfectly, but no one wanted it. Which had the JLC Reverso talking trash about it at all the cool parties. Snap! However, aside from being a snappy little number, it has been updated with modern materials and can be yours. The inner case of rose gold, slides inside the outer case of white gold, living in moisture free sin upon the wearer's wrist. The only unfortunate issue is, Omega decided to enlarge the watch to 33.05 mm wide by 50.50 mm long. I guess size does matter.


Also from Omega, yet another limited series Speedmaster Pro, this time limited to 57 pieces in precious metal and featuring a hand wind Co-Axial movement. A steel version will also be available in 1957 pieces in a handsome wood box, with ugly dial doodads. But it's still going on my wish list. Ugly watches need love too.


And now, the one I'll be shopping for, the Longines Legend Diver. It's a re-issue of a 1960 diving watch and damned pretty. With a self-winding Longines caliber L633--ETA 2824-2--25 jewels, a 28,800 beat, a power reserve of 38 hours all inside a 42mm steel case. Although about 4mm bigger than I like my watch to be, (I'm not a size queen,) it's beauty outweighs it's size.


And lastly, from the bottom of whatever barrel would have them, Paris Hilton has made a punitive foray into watch design. "Paris Hilton timepieces are creative designs with sensual cases and colorful straps." In other words, tarted up timepieces. Much like their "designer", they'll be cheap and easily had for $85-$200 by anyone with more cash than taste. Hey, I'll cut the
lady some slack. She hasn't done anything that all of us haven't done too. The only diff is we don't have video evidence of our debauchery. Most of us don't. Ok, I do. But I didn't know cameras could tape in the dark. Night vision, what the hell is that? What is this, "Mission Impossible"? Mission impossible getting that damn tape back. No copies? Yeah, right. I won't fall for that one a third time.



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