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The watch is called the Black Sea Chronograph and as a diver, it is water resistant to 200 meters with a rotating diver's bezel. While few people actually go underwater with a watch like this, the dial does represent its utilitarian theme with bold hands and hour indicator. One thing that surprisingly seems to work are the skeletonized hands. Lately I have noticed a huge personal dislike of skeletonized hands. Mainly because they often serve no purpose other than to make reading the dial more difficult. Designers use them for two reasons. First for the practical reason to make seeing dial underneath the hands more visible. That makes sense, and is often a balance of trading off legibility for being able to see dial information more of the time. The second reason is purely for design. This I hate. This is when designers think skeletonized hands look cool in CAD drawings and computer renders. They could care less that it takes the utility level of an actual watch down a few steps - not knowing that the materials used to make the dials and hands drastically effect what it looks like in real life as compared to the computer images. This is especially bad when there is nothing under the hands on the dial you need to see. Keep away from those watches. In this case, Ulysse Nardin takes a much more practical approach. The hands are skeletonized in order to make viewing the chronograph subdials possible more of the time. This is because the hands are really fat. So while they are skeletonized, the fat lume-coated tips are large enough to see easily. So this is a case when someone actually put time into the dial design to consider the right balance as best they could.
One reason for this was cost. A parent wanting to get their child a good Swiss watch was running out of options. Sure there was Swatch – but that is hardly a way to promote a youngster into being a serious watch lover. With the mechanical watch industry reinventing itself as a luxury lifestyle product, many of the items that parents might have bought for their children 10 or 15 years earlier were simply being priced out of the “I would get it for a 12 year old” segment. That is certainly the truth more than ever today. Buying an Omega or Rolex for a youngster in your life is more expensive than getting them a computer, mobile phone, and audio device – combined.
If Habring² was a mathematical equation I think the result would be Germanic mechanical sentiments times nouveau design classicism equals whatever you see here. That makes sense right? I never did very well in abstract math. With highly limited production numbers, the best pieces are watches like this Doppel 2.0 (redundant) chronograph watch with what I believe is an in-house movement and slick design.
Parents also stopped wearing as many watches for many of the same reasons. Disposable income went more to gadgets and other emerging electronic items that seemed more important or relevant. With casual Friday turning into casual every day, even the status requirements of wearing a fine timepiece for business purposes started to erode – especially in America. Bill Clinton famously campaigned and served in office as the US President wearing a Timex Triathlon – in order to connect better with the common person. His choice of wearing the inexpensive plastic digital sports watch was especially ironic because Clinton himself is and was a major high-end watch collector. Even politics were marginalizing the perceived excess of traditional watches now seen as fodder for the wealthy, and akin to status symbols like clothing from Hermes, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana. It just started seeming less and less like something to buy for a kid.
There is no way that Jaquet Droz could replicate anything like the Writer in wrist watch form. This year they will release an automaton minute repeater watch – but it is a mere novelty compared to the theatrics of a life-like writing or drawing android powered by springs and gears. A few years ago, Jaquet Droz did attempt to recreate the magic of the automata in a machine called the Time Writer. Never released for sale of any type, the Time Writer was completed and it does work. The Time Writer machine had a Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde clock, and when activated would write out the time on a piece of paper. As many people have described it, “it is incredibly useless and incredibly cool.”
The aBlogtoRead.com/HourTime Show Watch Podcast/WristWatchReview.com reader/listener meet-up event is tonight, May 2nd, 2012 in New York City at:
On the back of the watch is a deeply set sapphire caseback window. The movement finishing is unlike anything else I have seen before. Gerald Genta called it a "potter" finishing. I call it "micro perlage" and it covers the entire surface of the movement and the automatic rotor. Most movements have different finishes to highlight the different parts of the mechanism. Here, the viewable areas are pretty much all covered in the same polish. It is a unique look and offers something quite different.
The steel case is cleverly designed. I like the shape and the brushed finishing as well as the design of the pushers. The case is also available in PVD black if you prefer. The pusher design consists of a rubberized ring around the entire case. On there are the four pushers (two on each side). It makes none of them stick out, but they are easy to see and press. The strap design is a bit strange with the strap being cut and then reattached with the metal pieces. I don't know how durable it is, but it does make the piece look a bit more cool. I think it is also to help the strap wrap around your wrist better. I've seen i-Gucci watches with a ton of strap styles. Some even seem to be in alligator printed latent leather. On these watches are rubber straps with a perforation style texture to them. They end with a push-button butterfly style deployant.
My favorite models in the Burberry Britain collection are the 43m wide Britain Automatic models. With three-hand Swiss ETA 2824 automatic movements and clean looking dials, these are rather handsome timepieces on their own. The brushed steel cases come matched with a strap or fine looking metal bracelet. My top pick is the Britain Automatic with a black dial matched to the steel bracelet. A nice piece and I don't even care that it is a fashion watch. Prices for the watches start at ,795 for the Burberry Britain Automatic (which isn't too bad actually). That goes up to a very lofty ,995 for the Britain Automatic Power Reserve, and ,995 for the Britain Quartz because of the diamonds.
It just wouldn't be a Speedmaster without a tachymeter (tachymetre) scale bezel. Not that I would ever use it, but it is good to know that some things don't change. The bezel does help frame the design of the watch well, and offers a little piece of utility that people might have once used "back in the day". A little retro love never hurt anyone.
A few years ago they came out with their pretty cool high-end digital watch collection called the I-Gucci that I will review hands-on soon. It was released right about when it was really trendy to place "i" in front of almost every word. iJoke... no I don't. This G-Timeless Sport is analog, but contains a Swiss ETA quartz movement. For most people that is a deal breaker, but then again, those people aren't people who buy "fashion watches." I actually first wrote about the Gucci G-Timeless collection here a while ago before some of these new styles came out. Once again I find myself interested in the collection. Is it just me or do these pieces beg to be worn with a colorful polo shirt that has a pulled up collar?
If you fancy yourself as much a Gearhead as a Watchnerd, you may already be aware of Autodromo. They are a recently formed watch brand which seeks to combine modern and affordable watch making practices with an aesthetic taken directly from classic motoring and ready to be paired with your Italian driving slippers and finest driving gloves for that perfect top-down experience. This isn't a unique concept, but it is worth mentioning again in this brand's case. Autodromo makes a number of quartz-powered watches that have been designed to be reminiscent of the gauges seen in vintage race and sports cars of the 1960's and 70's. Autodromo says they make "Instruments for Motoring" and it seems that they have the product styling to back up that claim and to catch the interest of any ardent car fan or motorsport maven. They certainly aren't the only ones to do so, but they might be one of the best options for those on a budget.
A reader sent in a picture of his limited edition aBlogtoRead.com watch winder by Wolf Designs (that looks lovely on soft carpeting!). You can see how the name personalization plaque came out nicely on the top of the winder. Thanks for the picture and note on your happy experience. We make Breitlings happy everywhere apparently.
Trains also needed to be on time. Brands like Ball and Hamilton like to discuss their heritage in making "railroad" watches that were used to reliably keep trains running on schedule. Aside from train tracks, the second most important type of fixture in a station are the clocks. Time is inherently linked to train stations, and checking your watch to make sure you don't miss your train is part of the experience.
One of the challenges that has always faced chronograph designers is preventing the chronograph’s operation from disrupting watch operation. The Mikrograph of 2011 contained two independent “kinematic chains” (I think that’s TAG speak for “trains”), one for the watch and one for the chronograph, but integrated into the same movement. This also applies to the MikrotourbillonS.
So what do I like? Well first of all legibility is pretty good overall. Though I have to add that universally the hands are too short. Nevertheless, for the price, the dial quality and materials are good. I would put the quality up there with a brand like Skagen, which offers pretty decent stuff for around the same price. I have certainly seen watches that are much more expensive with much crappier looking dials. Sad but true. It just goes to show that a lot of the time in the watch world, what you get isn't just about the price, but about the quality of the suppliers that the brands work with. I have seen watches that have excellent cases and dials, only to be matched with craptastic straps. Why? Simply because the brand (for whatever reason), works with a supplier that isn't doing their best. With the Cross watches, you seem to feel like you are getting the most out of a couple of hundred bucks.
While Bovet does make some of their own movements, the Cambiano uses a base ETA movement that has been highly modified and enhanced. I am not totally sure what the base is, but it does have some Valjoux 7750 architecture. Bovet claims that the movement uses something like 70-90% unique parts from anything offered by ETA, and there is of course that big date complication. I found the operation and reliability of the movements to be very good, and had no issues.