2014 Watch Collector

Overview

From This Issue

Meaningful Developments

There is never a shortage of theories as to why watch designers make the choices they do in bringing us the most recent crop of timepieces. Asian tastes, say the harder heads among us, are responsible for the moderation in the size of our wristwatches. Likewise tighter budgets, or the overproliferation of tourbillons, are blamed […]

2014 Collectors’ Showcase

Architecturally Significant After a top-to-bottom reorganization, Arnold & Son has explosively relaunched a range of new models that build on the English watchmaking style of its namesake, John Arnold. Thanks to the technical capacity of La Joux Perret, the movement maker that owns the brand, these models also explore the possibilities of novel movement architecture. […]

Ahead of the Curves

When Vacheron Constantin set out to update its tonneau-shaped Malte collection from 2000, design director Vincent Kauffmann took an unexpected approach to the redesign. Rather than scour the brand’s extensive archives searching for an inspirational vintage piece—as tempting as that must have been, given that Vacheron Constantin has produced tonneau wristwatches since 1912—Kauffmann and his […]

Breaking All The Rules

King George III was an amateur horologist. When he wasn’t busy ruling England or levying taxes on his American colonies, he passed the time by dismantling and reassembling watches. Even by the standards of 18th-century royalty, he was a connoisseur of rare expertise. For a young watchmaker of exceptional talent, the urge to impress the […]

Chiseled Features

There are conservative engravers, and there are crazy engravers like me who try to find the edge of what is aesthetically pleasing,” says Kees Engelbarts. The Geneva-based, Dutch-born artisan has developed a freeform skeletonization technique that he describes as “organic” because it evokes the curvilinear, geometric structures of coral or actual skeletons. “I start off […]

Coal Mine Canary

In 18th-century Europe, stylish aristocrats taught their pet canaries to sing tunes with a device called a serinette. An automated pipe organ, the serinette repeatedly cranked out the same sequence of notes until the canary memorized them. The Swiss watchmaker Pierre Jaquet Droz had a better idea. Starting in the 1770s, he built serinettes housing […]

Love Interest

As the new CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Daniel Riedo has wasted no time in tackling important questions, yet perhaps none is as bewildering as “What do women want?” “Women today are asking for more artistic pieces, more handmade pieces, in short, more watchmaking content,” observes Riedo. “They are asking for legitimacy from watch brands as they […]

Details 2014

Pressure Situation It was only a matter of time before some enterprising Swiss exploited the mechanical aneroid barometer concept and turned it into a modern, display-oriented wristwatch. The Génie 01 ($150,000 in red gold) from the new watch company Breva is precisely such a timepiece. The centerpiece of the watch’s open-works movement is a pair […]

Modern Rock

Taking a seat at the bench in the workshop of Bunter SA, one of the watch industry’s most renowned gem-setting specialists, it is easy to understand how in Switzerland, the setting of diamonds is as technical and precise an art as the crafting of the watches themselves. While some stones are set with hand tools […]

Full Tilt

The layout of the movement is not just for aesthetic reasons,” says watchmaker Stephen Forsey, holding one of his latest pieces. “It is actually quite strategic.” Forsey’s new watch, the Double Balancier 35°, looks strange with its two inclined timekeeping elements beating steadily underneath the crystal. But by the standards of Greubel Forsey, the boutique […]

Purpose Built

François-paul journe resists attempts to label his watchmaking techniques with descriptors such as “contemporary.” “I’m simply creating my own style,” he insists, “not doing things for the sake of another style.” In fact, Journe has remained as individualistic as ever, because in many ways the leaders in watchmaking have come around to his methods. Journe […]

Stellar Aspirations

Among the lesser-known facets of the famous rivalry between 1920s-era industrialists James Ward Packard and Henry Graves Jr.—two avid collectors who each ordered successively more complicated pocket watches from Patek Philippe—is that both men set their sights on a highly personal complication: They each wanted their nec plus ultra timepiece to feature celestial time with […]

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Regulator

The clarity of purpose with which the Germans like to construct their watches is a prime reason why pieces like the Senator Chronometer Regulator ($33,300) is increasingly relevant to collectors looking to escape excesses in design and function. The watch is built to maintain a constant rate in the simple style of traditional chronometers, while […]

De Bethune DB 16

It may have the look of De Bethune’s first completely original watch, the DB 15 perpetual calendar with moon phase, but the new DB 16 ($388,000) is made for pure chronometric performance. The brand claims the movement is the most accurate regulating organ it has ever built: a titanium and silicium tourbillon carriage beating at […]

Ulysse Nardin Skeleton Tourbillon Manufacture

While the words “skeleton tourbillon” seem to symbolize the watchmaking of a decade past, such a description does not fit Ulysse Nardin’s latest Skeleton Tourbillon Manufacture ($85,000), which eschews design excess in favor of clarity in layout and finishing. The bridges are relatively Spartan in the modern skeleton style, offering just a touch of traditional […]

Laurent Ferrier Galet Micro-Rotor

Laurent Ferrier, a tiny boutique brand whose output is in the very low hundreds of watches, has an influence that is vastly disproportionate to its size. The svelte, clean design and precision-conscious movement of its Galet Micro-Rotor ($48,500) established an early reference for collectors looking for something new. While the watch essentially only reads the […]

Breguet Classique Tourbillon 5377

Breguet has had a significant head start on the postmodernist watchmaking movement; the broad and thin dimensions of its original 200-year-old pocket watches are once again avant-garde. Seeking to create a simple tourbillon to emphasize these lines, the company has placed a modern titanium cage with a silicium hairspring and escapement into a new, modernly […]

Christophe Claret Kantharos

While the timepieces produced by Christophe Claret have more to do with the complication maestro’s abundance of imagination than any reckoning of the outside environment, his most recent piece, Kantharos ($128,000), has somehow emerged in perfect step with the times. Although the piece has multiple features, they are individually subdued, and most importantly they support […]

Postmodern Manifesto: Energy Resource

The idea behind girard-Perregaux’s latest showpiece, the Constant Escapement, is neither a new one, nor is it, strictly speaking, original. The company’s engineering and construction, however, qualify the piece as an exceptional example of postmodern watchmaking. A constant force escapement is meant to solve a problem endemic to mechanical watches as they are currently constructed. […]

Postmodern Manifesto: Homing Instinct

If you had lived in the Swiss town of Les Bois in the year 1900, you or your neighbors would probably have been watchmakers. Nearly half the area’s 1,400 inhabitants were involved in the trade, producing some 30,000 timepieces per year, many for the most illustrious brands in Geneva. The hardscrabble farms of Les Bois […]

Postmodern Manifesto: Match Point

Facing the biggest timing-related event on his company’s calendar—the 30th anniversary of the Louis Vuitton Cup sailing regatta—Hamdi Chatti, Louis Vuitton’s vice president of watches and jewelry, was profoundly dissatisfied at the way mechanical wristwatches could handle the task. There are only three important facts in the match race deciding which yacht becomes the official […]