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Pierre Kunz

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									march 2003 • number 65   w w

                         Kunz  Cultivates His
                                  Own Style

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CONTENTS                                                           MARCH 2003
                                                                   NUMBER 65

   Pierre Kunz Cultivates His Own Style

    FEATURES                                    28
38 Patek Philippe’s Twenty~4
42 TAG Heuer 2000 Aquagraph
46 Sirtoli Shows a Little Skin
50 Corum’s Mechanical Marvels
54 Breitling Pays Tribute to Flight
                                                      86 New from Cyma
58 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi
                                                      88 Mido Is All Dial
64 GB Enigma
                                                      92 Ventura’s Electronic Manufacture
68 New Vintage Breitlings
                                                      96 Robert Lighton’s Vintage Styles
72 Around the Track with Chase-Durer
                                                     102 Waldan’s Blue Moons
74 blu-source du temps
                                                     107 Maddaloni Celebrates 25 years
80 Michele Watches Takes America by Storm
                                                     114 American Watch Schools
                                                     132 A Visit to the RGM Facility
                                                     142 Minute Repeaters for Beginners
                                            50       152 The Art of Engraving
                                                     160 Thomas Prescher’s Torkel Tourbillon


                                                      10 News
                                                      20 Market
                                                     124 Buying Time: Alpha Omega Jewelers

                                                                    MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH



            Cultivates His Own Style
                                     The latest watchmaking
                                     innovations from this young

                                     BY   MEGAN    LIVOLSI

                                                    aking a name for oneself
                                                    in this often impenetrable
                                                    watchmaking industry
                                     is no simple task. Master watchmaker
                                     Pierre Kunz has not only succeeded in
                                     launching his very own brand of compli-
                                     cated timepieces…he has even made it
                                     look easy.
                                          Born in Berne, Switzerland, in
                                     1959, Pierre Kunz has been involved
                                     in the watchmaking industry for more
                                     than twenty years. After completing his
                                     studies at the celebrated Vallee de Joux
                                     watchmaking school, he worked for a
                                     number of years in the workshops of Vic-
                                     torin Piguet where he constructed a vari-
                                     ety of grande complications from start to
                                     finish. Though he would later open his
                                     own business restoring antique clocks, it
                                     was not long before he returned to some
                                     of Switzerland’s leading brands to make
                                     more grande complications—his first
                                          Kunz was given the opportunity of
                                     a lifetime when Franck Muller offered
                                     him the chance to create his own models

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                          29

Top left: Housed in an 18-karat rose gold case, this retrograde seconds watch is powered by an automatic movement.
Bottom left: This retrograde perpetual calendar features day, date, month, moon phase and leap year indicators.
Right: Crafted in 18-karat rose gold, this retrograde equation of time watch displays the date and month on two lower subdials.

at the famous Watchland Park at                conglomerate of haute horlogerie                     “With all the years I have
Genthod, a location perpetually as-            brands.                                        spent in watchmaking and the ex-
sociated with creativity. Overlooking               Kunz accepted the challenge               perience I have gained, I gathered
the shores of Lake Geneva directly             head-on, launching himself on to               and put together everything that I
opposite Montblanc, Watchland is               the market of the great innovations            considered to be aesthetically and
home to a host of master craftsmen             of Haute Horlogerie. His determina-            mechanically the best, to which I
and talented young artisans dedi-              tion and expertise soon enabled him            added my own fantasy to create my
cated to maintaining Switzerland’s             to add life to complicated watches by          first collection,” says Kunz.
time-honored watchmaking tradi-                adding one or more retrograde func-                  After its initial launch at Franck
tions. Taking a leaf from the big              tions and his remarkable achieve-              Muller’s World Presentation of
watchmakers’ book, the Watchland               ments in this field have helped to             Haute Horlogerie 2002 ( wphh ),
Group is quickly becoming a mini-              distinguish him as a true pioneer.             Pierre Kunz’s impressive collection

30                                                                                             MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

of timepieces has already gained        new approach to reading the hours        minutes, retrograde seconds and
international recognition for suc-      and minutes.                             moon phase indicator on a matte
cessfully blending some of the most          The caliber PKA 2001-1521           black dial with silver outer zone.
complicated watchmaking mecha-          automatic movement is housed in          The hour and minute hands are
nisms with bold aesthetic appeal.       a satinized platinum case that is        in chromium-plated stainless steel
Over the last year, Kunz has been       water-resistant to 30 meters. The        while the retrograde seconds hand
busy designing and manufacturing        matte black dial with blued steel        is in blued steel. The satinized
his now-famed timepieces while          hands and moon phase indicator           18-karat white gold case is water-
simultaneously managing his own         at 6 o’clock features a raised retro-    resistant to 30 meters and is offered
brand.                                  grade guilloché minutes sector at 2      on a black crocodile-skin strap.
     When asked how he balances         o’clock.                                      Kunz’s functional SDR model
being a talented designer with               Powered by the caliber PKA          is a blend of technical and aesthet-
managing his own company, Kunz          2001-2304 automatic movement,            ic innovation, displaying a central
explains, “You always find a free       the 007 SRL from the Retrograde          date and a retrograde seconds sector
moment to think and create,             collection displays the hours and        at 6 o’clock. The satinized 18-karat
even if you are keeping an eye on
the production, following the op-
erations or dealing with suppliers.
When you have a real passion for
something, your mind never turns
off. Every experience is enriching.
Just meeting and listening to dif-
ferent people brings completely
wild ideas. There are opportunities
for dreaming and creating every-
     With large, easy-to-read dials
and multiple retrograde functions
inserted into the movement, Pierre
Kunz revolutionizes the reading of
the time. His watches are modern
and classical, complicated yet clear.
Ranging from minute repeaters
and tourbillons to perpetual calen-
dars and equation of time models,
Kunz’s watches push the limits of
watchmaking time and time again.
     Equipped with high-quality
calibers featuring Côtes de Genève
decoration on the bridges and sun-
burst guilloché rotors, the watches
are housed in fluted “Empire” cases
that boast polished crowns and
sapphire crystals and are fitted
with hand-stitched crocodile-skin
     The masterpiece of the Grande          Pierre Kunz’s new square-shaped
Retrograde line is the 004 hmrl             watch features a triple retrograde
with retrograde hours and minutes           seconds display in addition to
and moon phase indicator. With              the hours and minutes.
this watch, Kunz has developed a

32                                                                               MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

white gold case is water-resistant to   is powered by a mechanical PKA           endar. The mechanical PKA 3010-
30 meters and features a satinized      2100-3201 caliber. The 18-karat          7.1 caliber is housed in a satinized
bezel with engraved Arabic numer-       rose gold case surrounds the matte       platinum case that is fitted with a
als, two chronograph push buttons       black dial which displays a guil-        hand-stitched black crocodile-skin
and a large, easy-to-grip crown.        loché retrograde days sector at 10       strap. The matte, sanded white dial
The matte, sanded white dial with       o’clock, a guilloché retrograde date     reveals blued steel hands, a month
blued steel hands and black Roman       sector at 2 o’clock and a tourbillon     counter with leap years at 12
numerals displays a raised minute       on the upper bridge of the cage at       o’clock, a guilloché retrograde date
counter with guilloché zone at          6. The black appliqué Roman nu-          sector at 3 o’clock, a guilloché ret-
12 o’clock, a guilloché retrograde      merals on the dial’s silvered outer      rograde day sector at 9 o’clock and
seconds sector at 8 o’clock, a ret-     zone are nicely complemented by          a moon phase indicator at 6.
rograde date indicator at 4 o’clock     the hand-stitched black crocodile-            The latest introduction from
and a moon phase indicator at 6.        skin strap.                              Pierre Kunz is a square-shaped wrist-
     One of the most difficult com-          Kunz has remarkably incorpo-        watch that features an innovative
plications to construct, the tourbil-   rated three grande complications in      triple retrograde seconds display. A
lon serves to cancel out deviations     a single wristwatch with the 1501        segment from 12 to 4 o’clock dis-
in timekeeping accuracy caused by       RM T QPR. Epitomizing his mas-           plays the retrograde seconds from 0
the earth’s gravitational pull when     tery of watchmaking complications,       to 20, at which point the first hand
the watch is in a vertical position.    it features a minute repeater, tour-     springs back to zero and passes the
Kunz’s model 701 tjdr tourbillon        billon and retrograde perpetual cal-     responsibility on to the next ret-
                                                                                 rograde display. When the second

                  International Wristwatch Gets Up Close and Personal with

                                        What do you think about your             still a little in the background. And
                                        extraordinary rise from master           my personality has not changed
                                        watchmaker to designer? What             nor will it change.
                                        has happened to your teammates               As for the teammates I started
                                        with whom you started out?               out with, they are still at their
                                        Actually, I can’t believe that I have    workbenches but I haven’t lost
                                        changed jobs; it’s still the same for    touch with them and they give
                                        me. I’m not shocked at seeing my         me a lot of support, both moral
                                        name on a watch or over a shop.          and professional.
                                        Life goes on completely normally.
                                            In the end, it’s a logical out-      Have you fulfilled all of your ambi-
                                        come for me, although I must             tions?
                                        admit it was a fast opening and          My main goal was, and still is, to
                                        suddenly I was in a different world.     always enjoy working on the in-
                                        It’s true that people’s attitudes        ner mechanisms of complicated
                                        change, but I find it difficult to ac-   watches. I never want to find my
                                        cept this reputation as a big de-        work monotonous and the com-
                                        signer. So, without meaning to, I’m      plications make sure of this; they

34                                                                               MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

are always a problem and I love
racking my brain to create a mech-
anism that works.

Why do you think Franck Muller
gave you this opportunity?
In order to create Watchland,
Franck Muller chose designers
who would strengthen his posi-
tion and he saw in me a new po-
tential designer who could give
an additional boost to the group
without competing with its own
brand names. Furthermore, my
creations complement Franck              keeping with contemporary fash-
Muller’s extraordinary collection.       ion.                                      What is the price range of your
                                             For example, I’m still looking        complicated watches?
How does Watchland affect your           for a new dial design for the ret-        The price doesn’t matter; people
watchmaking ideas and endeav-            rogrades. Once I have it, I design        won’t buy my watches because
ors?                                     the mechanism according to the            of the price but because they like
What makes Watchland a mythical          aspect of the watch. Finally, with        them and they represent a dream.
place is the freedom of expression       all these ideas for complications,        It’s a question of falling in love
and creation that the watchmak-          I try to arrange the components           with them.
ers have. Every idea or project is       differently while maintaining an
studied and the reaction time is         image that stands out from the            How many components are there
immediate, whereas in some oth-          other watch names. Although               in a typical Pierre Kunz move-
er places, projects are left to rot in   I don’t take particular notice of         ment?
the drawers.                             the others’ designs, I know that          Between 150 and 500 or even
                                         where the jumping-hour watches            more, depending on the model.
What are your targets for the next       are concerned, all the displays
few years?                               are similar. The day I create one         How long does it take to make a
My current target is to satisfy          of these models, I have already           complicated watch?
everyone who has trusted me,             found a brand new design to               It’s difficult to say. Taking every-
to honor the many orders I have          adapt to the mechanism.                   thing into account, the actual time
received from around the world,                                                    is variable.
and to innovate, to continue             Your watches are a combination of             The time involved from the de-
breaking new ground.                     mechanics and aesthetics, moder-          sign of the complicated mecha-
                                         nity and classicism. How do you           nism through the various stages
How do you manage to continue            explain this paradox?                     to completion and attaching the
finding and designing new me-            What is classical never goes out of       bracelet, can be anything from a
chanical and aesthet-ically pleas-       fashion. In painting and furniture,       few months to several years.
ing timepieces while breaking            anything that is classic survives
new ground?                              the years and Pierre Kunz watches         Have you applied for any patents?
As far as I’m concerned, my mind         must survive the test of time.            Yes, on several items…
never stops designing and coming            Be that as it may, the image
up with new ideas. Then, these in-       must always be progressive and
ventions have to be provided with        have a dynamic touch. The classi-
new mechanisms to obtain an              cal side is a safe bet but it shouldn’t
attractive, complicated watch in         lead to complacency.

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                                   35

                                                             B Y   R O B E R T A    N A A S

                Legends in Time
                                            P a t e k P h i l i p p e ’s
                                                  Tw e n t y ~ 4

                                 I   t was just about
                                     five years ago that
                                     Philippe Stern, head
                          of the legendary Patek Philippe
                         firm, decided to make a change:
                                                             designed its first ladies’ timepiece,
                                                             generally the women’s watches
                                                             had been design extensions of the
                                                             men’s collections. Indeed, since its
                                                             inception in 1839, Patek Philippe
                        to shift the predominantly male      has mainly catered to men with
                       product mix from 70/30 (men’s to      its rich heritage of complicated
                      women’s) to a 60/40 split, by creat-   watchmaking.
                      ing a watch specifically for women.         Nonetheless, Stern—with a
                      It was a bold decision, an important   determination characteristic of the
                      move and, in typical Patek Philippe    venerable company—embarked on
                      style, a tremendous success.           a campaign to develop, design and
                            While there have been wo-        bring to fruition the perfect Patek
                      men’s watches in the Patek Philippe    Philippe for women. Stern was ada-
                      mix since 1868 when the company        mant that the new timepiece not be

38                                                           MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

an extension of a men’s watch—it
had to have a character and per-
sonality all its own, and it had to
be marketed directly to women.
The ultimate goal, of course, was
to have women appreciate Patek
Philippe like men do.
     Stern not only turned to his
team of watchmaking experts, but
he also smartly brought in outside
talent. In a brilliant move, Stern
found a creative Italian designer to
develop the styling of the watch.
There were very few criteria set—
the watch had to be a bracelet
watch because it had to be a piece
of jewelry, and it had to be available
at an accessible price. Indeed, one
of the hallmarks of Patek Philippe
is its inherent ability to always
offer great value for exceptional
watches. The new timepiece col-
lection would be no exception. As
such, it was decided that the first
watches to be unveiled would be
made in steel rather than in gold,
and would naturally be dressed
with diamonds.
     It was in 1999 that the first
now-famed Twenty~4 watch was
unveiled to the world. With all
the elements of success—superb
styling, creative marketing con-          the advertising for the watch as it       she is a hundred different people
cept and the fine Patek Philippe          did with the design of the watch.         in twenty-four hours,” says Tania
name—the Twenty~4 was des-                The company knew it had to speak          Edwards, vice president of Patek
tined to be a winner. However,            to women in a way that would suit         Philippe in America. “She has
none could know to what extent.           their lifestyles. The watch had to        to go to work, maybe the gym, be
In fact, the world not only accept-       take a woman through the twenty-          with the kids and maybe even go
ed the Twenty~4 but clamored for          four hours of her day—fitting into        for cocktails. The Twenty~4 fits
it. In the first year of its existence,   all her different roles. In fact, it is   into the flow, and feels comfortable
the Twenty~4 amassed incredible           from this concept that the watch          in all situations.”
attention, and Patek Philippe was         takes its name. From there, the                And, judging by the numbers,
inundated with orders, resulting in       advertising program fell into place.      it must be the perfect watch for all
a waiting list of 2,000 people in the     With an ingenious tag line—               twenty-four hours. Just three and a
United States alone!                      “Who will you be in the next 24           half years later, the Twenty~4 has
     The exceptional design of the        hours?”—the ad campaign took              achieved staggering success. Per-
Twenty~4 was accompanied by an            off. Marked by a young, modern,           haps no other brand has reached
equally alluring marketing pro-           sexy appeal, the image campaign           such phenomenal numbers in such
gram. Indeed, Patek Philippe had          embodied emotion.                         a short time with one watch. Not
spent nearly as much time creating             “Every woman knows that              only did Patek Philippe achieve

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                                   39

its goal of a 60/40 split between       provoking “Who will you be in the      graphed by world-famous photog-
men’s and women’s watches, but          next 24 hours?” tag, the ads will      rapher Peter Lindberg.
it also brought the brand to new        feature a beautiful twentysome-             Today, the Twenty~4 col-
heights never before imagined. As       thing model whose image will not       lection consists of a multitude
expected, the Twenty~4 attracted        be airbrushed at all. While this may   of models, each with varying de-
established customers (men buying       seem insignificant, it is virtually    grees of diamonds. The Twenty~4
it for women), but it also attracted    unheard of in the world of image       ranges in price from $6,800 retail
new customers—women ages thirty         advertising. Even the most stun-       for a steel model with diamonds to
and older were buying it for them-      ning supermodels are airbrushed in     approximately $20,000 for the 18-
selves.                                 the final advertising presentation.    karat gold versions, and on up to
     In the first year that the Twen-   However, Patek Philippe wants          $85,000 for the entirely diamond
ty~4 was launched, Patek Philippe’s     to appeal to real women—women          pavéd watch.
sales of ladies’ watches increased      who aren’t airbrushed in the end.           As of press time, the 2003 in-
by more than 130 percent and has        The new ads are being photo-           troductions were still under wraps.
enjoyed phenomenal growth ever
since. In fact, the company proudly
acknowledges that this was the sin-
gle most successful product launch
in the brand’s illustrious history.
This maker of complicated men’s
watches did it right every step of
the way, from the decision to cre-
ate a ladies’ watch, to the annual
new product unveilings.
     In 2000, Patek Philippe launch-
ed the rose gold Twenty~4 and the
scintillating Chocolate Dream (the
rose gold watch with a rich choco-
late dial). The following year, the
company unveiled the Twenty~4 in
18-karat white gold and revealed a
new petite-size Twenty~4. In 2002,
Patek Philippe unleashed exquisite
diamond pieces, including a model
entirely adorned with 10 carats of
flawless diamonds.
     Four years into its life, the
Twenty~4 is receiving its second-
generation marketing campaign.
Following the lead of the first
campaign—depicting a woman in
a situation where one is not sure
what she is doing or where she is
going, donning beautiful shoes at
the side of the bed, or simply look-
ing over her shoulder in an elegant
home setting—the campaign leaves
something to the imagination.
     Still utilizing the thought-

40                                                                             MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                              Tag Heuer
     revolutionizes the Diver’s Watch
                              THe New 2000 AquAgRApH

                                               BY   PA U L   LEDKE

          n expert in luxury sports
          watches and chronographs     sional divers. The watch is powered    tion). When moving through the
          since 1860, TAG Heuer        by TAG Heuer’s Caliber 60, an au-      different decompression levels, the
has become internationally rec-        tomatic movement that displays the     diver can set the chronograph and,
ognized for its ability to combine     chronograph minute hand in the         thanks to the push buttons that are
sophisticated design and durable       center of the dial and not on a sub-   functional to depths of 500 meters,
materials with precision and reli-     dial, thus enabling instant read-off   can view at a glance the number
ability. Over the years, the company   of the minutes—a key asset to any      of minutes elapsed.
has drawn inspiration from sports      diver’s watch. Based on the ETA             Another remarkable feature of
when designing and manufactur-         2892-A2 caliber with Dubois De-        the 2000 Aquagraph is the ultra-
ing timepieces that are consistently   praz module 2073, specially made       secure unidirectional rotating bezel.
more functional and efficient, from                                           To ensure maximum security when
the first modern Olympic Games                                                diving, TAG Heuer has developed
in the 1920s to today’s Formula 1                                             a unique and patented auto-lock
World Championships.                                                          rotating bezel system which avoids
     First launched in 1982, the                                              any risk of the diver turning it ac-
2000 Series asserted itself as a                                              cidentally in either direction. Even
new reference among luxury sports                                             if his arm hits a rock, the reference
watches with its powerful design,                                             points will not be thrown out and
unidirectional rotating bezel,                                                the diver can enjoy unrestricted
scratch-resistant sapphire crystal,                                           freedom of movement. Water-
screw-in crown, water resistance                                              resistant to 500 meters, the watch
to 200 meters, luminous hands and                                             also includes a screw-locked crown
hour-markers and bracelet with                                                with safety indicator and an auto-
double safety clasp.                                                          matic helium valve.
     Today, twenty years after the     for TAG Heuer, the 46-jewel Cali-           Fitted with a steel bracelet or
introduction of the 2000 Series,       ber 60 boasts a frequency of 28,800    rubber strap, the 2000 Aquagraph
TAG Heuer has unveiled the 2000        bph and a 42-hour power reserve.       is available with a full kit of acces-
Aquagraph, an innovative and                The 2000 Aquagraph is truly       sories, including a rubber exten-
functional high-tech chronograph       exceptional in that it allows the      sion for wear over a wet suit, spare
designed for professional diving.      wearer to utilize the chronograph      wristband bars, tools for changing
     Created to meet the most          function under water (most diver’s     the strap/bracelet and a padi diving
extreme underwater demands, the        chronographs should not be acti-       card. Suggested retail is $2,800. C
2000 Aquagraph was conceived           vated under water because of po-
and developed by and for profes-       tentially harmful water penetra-

42                                                                            MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

Sirtoli Shows a Little Skin
                           Quality straps keep your wristwatch in style

I   ntricately involved in the
    leather industry since the
    1800s, Sirtoli ventured into
the business of watch straps just
four years ago. Remarkably, this
                                                                                  of the three are very small fam-
                                                                                  ily-owned and operated shops
                                                                                  that have been around since the
young brand has quickly made a                                                         All of the alligator and
name for itself in replacement                                                    crocodile skins Sirtoli uses are
watch straps.                                                                     carefully hand-selected from
     “We provide our customers                                                    among the best in the world.
with a wide variety of straps in                                                       After the delicate procedure
different styles, colors and sizes,                                               of tanning the skins is complete,
concentrating on replacement                                                      the actual production can begin.
straps for finer timepieces,” ex-                                                 The first step is agate polishing,
plains Sirtoli owner Lou Amag-                                                    which lets the scales be polished
nostopolous. “For example, our                                                    and pressed naturally with only
popular Angelo model comes in                                                     an agate sphere. (Because of its
five different lug widths, from 16                                                toxicity, varnish cracks the skin
mm to 20 mm. There are seven                                                      and can ruin the grain of the
different combinations of lug/                                                    leather.)
buckle width. When that is mul-                                                        After the skins are polished,
tiplied by five colors that makes                                                 they are cut by highly skilled ex-
for thirty-five combinations. And                                                 perts. When dealing with croco-
when shorts and longs are added                                                   dile skin, it is very important to
in, another twenty combinations                                                   choose the position carefully,
are available. From there, we can                                                 since the pattern of the grain
add the fifteen combinations of-                                                  needs to be consistent from one
fered with curved ends. Finally,                                                  side of the strap to the other.
later this year we will offer this                                                     During the stripping phase,
model in a choice of matching or         BY    GREG      KINKEAD                  the thickness of the skin is re-
contrasting stitching making for                                                  duced significantly in order to
a total of 125 possible combina-                                                  create a well-balanced strap.
tions available just for the Angelo.   according to Amagnostopolous),          This is an extremely delicate opera-
And if that’s not enough, it is also   crocodile, ostrich, shark, and it has   tion and must be carried out with
offered in custom sizes, stitching,    just recently added a few calfskin      expert skill.
lengths and anything else the cus-     models. The company currently                The edges of the straps are
tomer may want!”                       employs three different manufac-        then colored by hand using only
     Sirtoli offers straps made of     turers: one in Italy, another in Ger-   nontoxic dyes. This procedure al-
alligator (by far the most popular     many and a third in Barcelona. Two      lows the surfaces and lining to be

46                                                                             MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

joined correctly so that the edge of            exclusive online retailer, we believe   strap model, size and color and let
the strap becomes more compact,                 that customer service must consis-      the customer have the final say in
thus adding to longevity.                       tently be above and beyond what         the actual strap they are getting.
     Another painstaking procedure              it is in a typical brick and mortar     Since we are strictly an Internet
involves matching the long and                  store.”                                 provider of straps we cannot let a
short ends of the straps. Every skin                 “I would say half of the emails    customer go through our inven-
takes color differently, and scale size         we receive go something like, ‘I        tory to pick the exact strap he has
and type vary considerably, even                have an xyz watch with a stainless      in mind, so it’s important that we
within an inch or two on any given              steel case and white dial… what do      offer all of these options. Along
skin. To deliver a consistent prod-             you recommend?’ This customer           with making recommendations, we
uct, every piece that bears the Sirtoli         never gets an answer like, ‘go with     also have an extremely liberal re-
name is sorted and matched by hand              an Angelo in black.’ Instead, we        turn policy where any strap can be
for scale continuity and color.                 ask important questions: What           returned at any time providing it is
     The final step in Sirtoli’s pro-           color are the markers and hands?        in unworn condition.”
duction process is quality control.             How will the watch be worn, ca-              With prices ranging from
Not a single strap is sent to market            sually or for dressier occasions? Do    $29.95 for the calfskin Carlo strap to
before the final quality inspection             you prefer a matte, satin or shiny      $162.50 for the new Nikos alligator
to ensure that every watch strap is             finish? What straps have you had        skin strap, the Sirtoli collection of-
consistent with the original design             on the watch in the past and why        fers consumers a great value for their
using incredibly strict tolerances.             did you like or dislike them? On an     money. “We offer the best value in
     “The number one reason Sirtoli             alligator strap, do you like the ap-    high-end watch straps,” says Amag-
has been so well received is our                pearance of large or small scales? In   nostopolous. “Very few straps can be
attention to customer service,” ex-             many cases we scan and send several     compared in quality to our upper-
plains Amagnostopolous. “As an                  examples from stock of the same         end straps at any price. Our market
                                                                                        research has consistently shown that
Extra stitching on the ends and keepers make for a more durable strap.                  when straps of similar quality can be
                                                                                        found, they are priced at 40 percent
                                                                                        to 60 percent more. Most shops
                                                                                        seem to carry black and brown in
                                                                                        18 mm and 20 mm of the really
                                                                                        expensive straps. Shorts and longs
                                                                                        can be difficult if not impossible to
                                                                                        find in local retailers—let alone a
                                                                                        19-mm short with curved ends and
                                                                                        white stitching in burgundy!”
                                                                                             Interestingly enough, the most
                                                                                        viewed section of the company’s
                                                                                        website is the customer-submitted
                                                                                        photos of their watches with Sirtoli
                                                                                        straps attached. “We have received
                                                                                        countless emails saying that they
                                                                                        based their purchase on the photo
                                                                                        of a certain watch in the gallery,
                                                                                        many explaining that they would
                                                                                        have never thought of that combi-
                                                                                        nation but fell in love with it when
                                                                                        they saw it,” says Amagnostopolous.

48                                                                                      MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH
   CoRuM’s             MeCHAniCAl MARvels
                                                                    The innovative brand
                                                                  wows the watchmaking
                                                                          world yet again

                                                                              BY    MEGAN   LIVOLSI

                                     w i t h                         each new           horological
                                     c r e -                        ation, Corum seems to amaze
                                     the                           watchmaking world with its
                                                                   daring and unconventional
                                                                   designs.        Consumers   and
                                                                   retailers alike have come to
                                                                  expect the unexpected from
                                                                  this young, innovative brand,
                                                                 and its latest creations do not
                                                                  Corum’s new Hand-Painted
                                                             Floral Heure sautante (or Jumping
                                                           Hour) watch is a beautiful piece of art
                                                         in its own right. inspired by the deco-
                                                       rative art of the eighteenth century, the
                                                     colorful flower pattern on the dial is hand-
                                                  painted lacquer in the same meticulous tech-
                                               niques used by accomplished Russian miniature
                                     painters. no two dials are exactly alike, ensuring that each
                                     wearer owns a truly unique timepiece.

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                               51

     On the dial of the Floral Heure
Sautante, a single hand turns to
show the passing minutes while the
instantaneous jump hour appears
through an aperture at 12 o’clock
and a small seconds hand is dis-
played at 6 o’clock.
     Produced in a limited edition of
ten white gold and ten yellow gold
pieces, the Floral Heure Sautante
is a member of Corum’s oversized
                                                                                    Corum’s magnificent Tourbillon
Classical line, measuring a bold                                                    saphir is equipped with a
42 mm and featuring a curved case-                                                  manual-wind movement entirely
back and a domed sapphire crystal.                                                  crafted in sapphire. The brand’s first
     Inside the watch beats Corum’s                                                 foray into transparent timekeeping
unique “jumping hour” movement,                                                     was the la Mystériuse (inset), which
                                                                                    was introduced in 1998.
a tonneau Jaquet J7370 automatic
movement with a 42-hour power
reserve that was specially crafted
by Corum’s expert watchmakers.
     Fitted with a full-grain croco-
dile-skin strap, the Floral Heure
Sautante is set with sixty-nine              Sapphire bridges and plates,       1000, without the slightest addition
diamonds (totaling 2.087 carats)        which have been reduced to a mere       of other metals. The meticulous ma-
and retails for $31,250 in 18-karat     0.3 mm, are mounted on metal pil-       chining process called for special bu-
yellow gold and for $36,250 in 18-      lars. Polished, beveled and circular-   rins in micro-crystalline diamonds,
karat white gold.                       grained by hand in the finest Swiss     since no metal tool could have stood
     In 1998, Corum wowed the           watchmaking tradition, each com-        up to the task.
watchmaking world with the in-          ponent of the mechanism is open-             Featuring a transparent sap-
troduction of La Mystériuse (fea-       worked and strategically positioned     phire dial with blued steel hands,
tured in IWW #43). This transpar-       to enable light to illuminate the       the Tourbillon Saphir boasts an ex-
ent tourbillon, featuring plate and     moving parts, all of which appear       hibition caseback and is fitted with
bridges carved in sapphire, was a       as if suspended in midair. With an      a full-grain crocodile-skin strap
world first in the Haute Horlogerie     impressive 110-hour power reserve       with platinum folding clasp.
sector. Driven by creative passion      (truly exceptional for such a com-           On special request, the Tour-
and the perpetual quest for new         plex mechanism), the movement           billon Saphir may be clad in any
challenges, company president           boasts a frequency of 21,600 bph        number of Haute Joaillerie ver-
Severin Wunderman and his expert        and features blued steel screws.        sions. Watches set with diamonds,
watchmakers recently took their              The Tourbillon Saphir’s 40-mm      rubies, sapphires or emeralds can be
exploration of transparent time-        case is crafted in 1000 platinum,       matched with a movement in the
keeping to even greater heights         marking another impressive accom-       same color as the precious stones,
with the unveiling of the magnifi-      plishment from Corum since only         thereby personalizing all facets of
cent platinum Tourbillon Saphir.        950 platinum had thus far been used     this exceptional watch.
     This extraordinary technical       in order to meet the demands of ma-          A true marvel in transparency,
and aesthetic accomplishment is         chining. Alloyed with other metals,     the Tourbillon Saphir is produced
equipped with a 20-jewel manual-        950 platinum was easier to “tame”,      in a limited series of just twenty-
wind Caliber 372.1.2 movement           but now Corum has succeeded in          five pieces each year. Suggested
entirely crafted in sapphire.           mastering this mineral at 999.99 of     retail is $100,000.                 C

52                                                                              MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                             Breitling Pays
                            tribute to flight
        BY   JORDAN    A.   ROTHACKER

T      he advent of flight has af-
       fected the lives of everyone
       in the world in some way.
Most people living right now were
born and raised with the concept
                                      of piloting a heavier-than-air ma-
                                      chine across the sky as a given and
                                      not just some dream of scientists
                                      and artists. It has brought some de-
                                      gree of change to the lives of every-
                                                                              one even if they have never flown.
                                                                              The ability to travel great distances
                                                                              swiftly through the air has helped
                                                                              link the world, making our planet
                                                                              a global community in ways that

54                                                                            MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

mere sea or land travel never
could. With the magnitude that
this innovation has brought to
the lives of all comes the memory
of the two men that embody the
spirit of invention that made flight
possible, the Wright Brothers.
This coming December marks the         tieth century with the style of this    airplane Flyer I, along with the
centennial anniversary of Orville      watch.                                  words “100 Years of Aviation” in
and Wilbur Wright’s triumphant              The steel case of the Montbril-    French followed by 1903-2003.
flight, and it is an opportunity for   lant 1903 has a beaded rotating be-          While the captivating appear-
all to celebrate.                      zel controlling a circular slide rule   ance of the Montbrillant 1903 grabs
     Taking strides to lead the cel-   as used on the first chronographs a     the eye, the chronograph movement
ebration in its own distinct way       half century ago, an essential tool     entices the mind. Assembled in the
is Breitling, a company that has       for pilots until electronics were em-   Breitling Chronometrie workshops,
made it its mission since the rise     ployed. Beneath the cambered sap-       the brand-exclusive Caliber 35
of air travel to provide timepieces    phire crystal, which is glare-proofed   is a self-winding, high-frequency
to assist in flight. They have used    on both sides, is a two-toned dial      (28,800 bph), 38-jewel, chronom-
their ultraprecise skill and crafts-   that clearly demarcates between the     eter-certified movement. The chro-
manship and put their appreciation     inner timekeeping circle and the        nograph mechanism has a flyback
of aviation into one magnificent       outer logarithmic scales. The Ara-      function and subdials for ten-minute
timepiece, appropriately named         bic indexes are luminescent along       totalizing, in the 9 o’clock position,
the Montbrillant 1903. At first        with the hour, minutes and fly-         and quarter-second measurements
glance, the Montbrillant 1903 is a     back hands. A grooved screw-down        in the 3 o’clock position.
watch that makes visual reference      crown, which keeps the case wa-              Available in a limited series
to a not-so-distant past where the     ter-resistant to 30 meters, bears the   of 100 pieces, the watch comes in
newly tapped potential of air travel   Breitling symbol and is found be-       steel, and 18-karat yellow, rose or
was exciting and dangerous work.       tween the chronograph buttons. On       white gold. At press time, the pric-
Breitling captures the aesthetic       the back of the case can be found a     es had not yet been determined for
common in the middle of the twen-      silhouette of the Wright Brother’s      this handsome, functional and wor-

56                                                                             MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                        Setting Sail With
                        Setting Sail With
                        Audemars Piguet
                        Audemars Piguet
                                                             BY   MEGAN    LIVOLSI

                The Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi 2003
               Commemorative Edition

              E      stablished in 1851, Ameri-
                     ca’s Cup is the world’s most
                     prestigious sailing event,
              combining a strong sense of tradi-
              tion with technological innovation
                                                      perienced skipper Russell Coutts,
                                                      Bertarelli has built up a 100-strong
                                                      team of yachtsmen, constructors
                                                      and scientists who are among the
              and expert sportsmanship.               finest in their respective fields of
                  Faithful to its passion for sail-   expertise.
              ing, Audemars Piguet has chosen              “Audemars Piguet and the
              once again to associate with Team       America’s Cup share common val-
              Alinghi of Switzerland for the sec-     ues, especially this expert blend
              ond year in a row. Under the lead-      of tradition and innovation,” says
              ership of young Swiss entrepreneur      Audemars Piguet president Georg-
              Ernesto Bertarelli, Team Alinghi is     es-Henri Meylan.
              currently competing against reign-           To commemorate this unique
              ing defender Team New Zealand           sponsorship, Audemars Piguet has
              in the America’s Cup 2003, being        introduced the Royal Oak Offshore
              held in the Hauraki Gulf off the        Alinghi, which not only perpetuates
              coast of New Zealand. Around ex-        the values on which the Royal Oak

58                                                    MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

has built its success but also gives   sistant to 100 meters. The case and
it the extreme sports dimension        bracelet are crafted in titanium, an
characteristic of the Offshore col-    extremely durable metal that is
lection.                               both lightweight and corrosion-
     Designed to stand up to the       resistant while the octagonal
toughest conditions, the Royal         bezel is fashioned in 950 plati-
Oak Offshore Alinghi is water-re-      num, which is stainless, stable

                                                                                 This highly decorated automatic
                                                                                 movement powers the new Royal Oak
                                                                                 Offshore Alinghi.

                                                                                 touch of elegance, the Alinghi logo
                                                                                 and the inscription “Alinghi Com-
                                                                                 memorative Edition America’s Cup
                                                                                 2003” are stamped on the caseback,
                                                                                 which is secured with eight screws.
                                                                                      Produced in a limited edition of
                                                                                 750 pieces, the watch is equipped
                                                                                 with the 37-jewel 2229/2845 auto-
                                                                                 matic movement. Composed of no
                                                                                 less that 257 parts and measuring 26
                                                                                 mm in diameter and 4.85 mm thick,
                                                                                 the movement boasts a frequency
                                                                                 of 28,800 bph and a 40-hour power
                                       and more resistant than gold.             reserve. All parts are decorated by
                                            The functions of the Offshore        hand, with circular graining on the
                                       Alinghi have been designed to en-         plate and Côtes de Genève decora-
                                       sure optimal readability. The hands       tion on the bridges and bars.
                                       and hour-markers are luminous and              Created in 1875 by Jules-Louis
                                       their sizes have been enlarged to         Audemars and Edward-Auguste
                                       enhance visibility in low-light situ-     Piguet in the Swiss village of Le
                                        ations. With its extra-large tapestry    Brassus, Audemars Piguet is one of
                                         pattern, the dial plays on the con-     the most prestigious brands in the
                                          trasts between black, white and        watchmaking industry, currently
                                           the flaming-red Alinghi logo on       holding a record number of world
                                           the calendar subdial.                 firsts in the field of complex watch
                                                 In addition to revealing the    mechanisms.
                                            hours and minutes, the Royal              At the time this article went
                                         Oak Offshore Alinghi displays a         to press, Team Alinghi had won
                                       second time-zone on a subdial at          the first three races (there are nine
                                       6 o’clock in addition to a date display   races altogether) and had a total of
                                       at 2 o’clock and a power-reserve          3 points.                          C
                                       indicator at 9 o’clock. For an added

60                                                                               MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

        GB Enigma                                                                   BY JACKIE L . DIETZ

         Gianni Bvlgari ’s innovative brand introduces its latest creations

H         aving grown up in the
          luxury industry, Gianni
          Bvlgari knew firsthand
what it takes to launch a new watch
brand. So in 1986, the former CEO
                                        Geneva in accordance with the rig-
                                        orous standards of the Swiss watch-
                                        making industry, and each piece
                                        carries its own production number
                                        engraved on the side of the case.
                                                                                Gianni Bvlgari
                                                                                introduced the
                                                                                Enigma brand
and chief designer of the world- re-         “Our biggest markets are pre-      in 1989 with the
nowned Bvlgari Corporation re-          sently Spain, Italy and the Middle      launch of his
                                                                                jump-hour BiTime
leased his shareholdings to his two     East,” says Patrick Sieff, Enigma’s
                                                                                watches (above).
brothers in order to pursue his own     director of marketing. “However, we
creative endeavors. In 1989, he         are looking seriously toward other
founded the Enigma brand in Neu-        markets and are making plans to         four sizes (27, 33, 38 and 42 mm);
châtel, Switzerland, and introduced     augment our distribution.”              all are available with leather, alliga-
his mechanical BiTime watches,               Enigma’s current watch collec-     tor, rubber or steel bracelets.
which combined innovative design        tion comprises three distinct lines:         The 27- and 33-mm versions
with the jumping-hour feature.          C’Pillar, Spyder and Bezel Manual       are powered by a Swiss ETA quartz
    Today, Enigma remains an in-        Winder. The core of the Enigma          movement with date function.
dependent watch and jewelry com-        collection is centered around the       Crafted in stainless steel or 18-karat
pany that has gained international      C’Pillar line. Characterized by a       gold, they can be set with diamonds
acclaim in just fourteen short years.   bracelet that inspired its name         for an added touch of elegance.
All Enigma watches are made in          (Caterpillar), C’Pillar is offered in   An antireflective sapphire crystal

64                                                                              MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                                                                                                    Equipped with a special
                                                                                                    winding system patented
                                                                                                    by Enigma, Bezel Manual
                                                                                                    Winder is one of the few
                                                                                                    watches in the world that
                                                                                                    is wound by rotating the

                                                protects the minimalist dial that       available, limited to 100 numbered
                                                features luminous hands and index-      pieces. Featuring a screw-down
                                                es, and a date display at 3 o’clock.    crown and ensured water resistance
                                                Water-resistant to 100 meters, each     to 100 meters, the C’Pillar 42 boasts
                                                case is individually numbered.          a luminous, easy-to-read dial under
                                                     C’Pillar’s 38-mm model is          an antireflective sapphire crystal.
                                                offered with either a Swiss ETA              Spyder II is one of Enigma’s
                                                quartz or automatic mechanical          classic ladies’ collections. Today it
                                                movement. Available in a number         is enhanced by a new dial to com-
                                                of different versions, including a      plement the steel and diamond-
These three C’Pillar models include (from       quartz-powered model with date,         set case that houses a Swiss ETA
top) a GMT automatic, a 42-mm automatic         an automatic chronograph, an            quartz movement and is fitted with
with date display and a functional chrono-      automatic with date, and a GMT          a matching steel bracelet or a fine
graph version. The ladies’ Spyder II (below)    automatic, the watch is offered in      leather strap.
is available with or without diamonds and
is fitted with a steel bracelet or a colorful
                                                stainless steel or 18-karat gold and         Bezel Manual Winder is one of
leather strap.                                  also has the option of being set        the few watches in the world that
                                                with diamonds. Water-resistant to       is wound by rotating the bezel. In-
                                                100 meters, the C’Pillar 38 features    troduced in 1998, this innovative
                                                a screw-down crown, antireflective      watch is equipped with a special-
                                                sapphire crystals front and back        ized winding system patented by
                                                (for mechanical models) and a lu-       Enigma and features a power re-
                                                minous, highly legible dial.            serve indicator at 3 o’clock and a
                                                     C’Pillar’s imposing 42-mm          small seconds hand at 6 o’clock.
                                                model is crafted in stainless steel          Next up for Enigma is the
                                                and is powered by a Swiss ETA au-       highly anticipated Gropius watch,
                                                tomatic mechanical movement,            which will be launched at the Basel
                                                visible through the sapphire exhibi-    Fair 2003. Look for Enigma’s latest
                                                tion caseback. A special edition of     creation in IWW’s Basel Review
                                                this watch in blackened steel is also   this summer.                      C

66                                                                                      MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                New Vintage

T        he world of watch collect-
         ing, like many other fields
         of collecting, has its eye
constantly on the future. Wrist-
watch collectors are often not even
thought of as possessors but as cus-
todians of something that is to be
held for future generations. A qual-
ity wristwatch is easily considered
an investment, manufactured with
care and precision to stand the test
of time. As time passes and watch
companies rise and fall and watch
lines evolve, the individual watch-
es carry on a life of their own and
their values develop accordingly.
It is up to the collector to have a
mind for such possibilities and to
feel out the market as to where oth-
ers have made such preparations,
with present day auctions the final
proving ground for value.
     In a brilliant act of faith for the
future of watch collecting, Willy
Breitling had saved 3,000 watches
from a public auction and had put
them away in a time capsule to wait
out the quartz revolution. What
follows is a watch collector’s dream
come true.
     Five years ago (IWW #37) we
told the world that Ron Geweni-
ger of Old World Jewelers, in Oak          A sampling of Geweniger’s new vintage Breitlings. Bottom right: These three watches
Brook, Illinois, purchased 1,500           (which never made it to market) represent Breitling’s experiments with lacquered
Breitling watches from the estate          finishes and different case treatments.

68                                                                                    MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

The Breitling Chronomatic models (above) feature an unusual placement of the chronograph coun-
ters. Below are three more pieces from Geweniger’s latest acquisition.

of Joseph Iten of Zurich. Mr. Iten                                                       opportunity like no other. After
was the owner of 1,500 of the 3,000                                                      all, how often does a modern col-
Breitling watches that had been                                                          lector get the chance to own a new,
stowed away by Willy Breitling                                                           authentic Breitling, with factory
before his death in 1996 (and the                                                        stickers, produced over thirty years
temporary closing of the company                                                         ago? And another fine side effect
in 1979). An unnamed German                                                              of this fortuitous occurrence is that
buyer bought the balance of the                                                          all of the watches have a great retro
watches.                                                                                 1970’s style to them, a look that has
     Ron Geweniger has recently                                                          made a remarkable comeback in
purchased the remaining 1,500               Geweniger and Old World Jewelers,            recent years.
watches from the German buyer,              these long-lost Breitling watches are             If you want a thirty-year head
and he is now the sole owner of the         available to interested collectors.          start on collecting a big name
entire original collection of the Bre-      Billed as “New Old Stock,” this is           mechanical watch, these New Old
itling watches that Willy Breitling         truly an unprecedented event in              Stock Breitlings represent a once in
stashed away. In the hands of Mr.           the international watch industry, an         a lifetime opportunity.            C

70                                                                                       MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

At Home on the Track and
Underwater with Chase-Durer

W            hen it comes to in-
             tense situations and
             extreme sports, Chase-
Durer makes watches for every
occasion. Known for extensive pro-
duction and design in the highly
competitive field of pilot’s watches,
this young company has also held
its own in the creation of wrist-
watches for deep-sea diving and
high-speed racing. At this year’s
upcoming Basel Fair, Chase-Durer
will be presenting its newest mod-      stunning design and extreme func-      signed bidirectional rotating bezel
els in both of these high-intensity     tionality. In a blackened stainless    surrounding the bold watch face
fields. These watches work well as      steel case measuring 44 mm, the        displays a tachymetric scale. A sap-
professional equipment or as an ac-     Trackmaster has a formidable ap-       phire crystal reveals a black dial
cessory for enthusiasts of any level.   pearance. Inside is an ETA 251.262     with large indexes, large hands and
     For those interested in racing     quartz chronograph move-ment to        three subdials, the top two bright-
comes the F-1 Trackmaster Pro, a        power the multiple functions nec-      ened by a yellow perimeter like the
chronograph wristwatch offering a       essary for racing. The specially de-   one around the dial. Arabic numer-

72                                                                             MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

als in the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock      an engraved rotor representing
positions, rectangular hour indexes     the Chase-Durer logo. Details on
and the hour and minute hands           the Abyss 1000 Professional, along
are all illuminated by SuperLumi-       with a serial number, are engraved
nova, which, along with their size,     around the back display window.
allow them to be more readable          Equipped with a Chase-Durer five-
for the split-second glances while      year limited international warranty,
driving. The top two subdials are       the Abyss 1000 Professional has a
for 12-hour elapsed time readings       suggested retail price of $795. C
and readings down to one tenth
of a second respectively, while the
bottom subdial is for running sec-
onds. The blackened stainless steel
bracelet is fitted with a double
security deployment buckle. The
Chase-Durer logo is embossed on
the caseback along with indication
that the watch is water-resistant to
a depth of 660 feet. Each numbered
piece comes with a Chase-Durer
five-year limited international war-
ranty. The F-1 Trackmaster Pro can
be purchased for the suggested retail
price of $750.
      In the realm of diving watches
Chase-Durer is now taking its cus-
tomers down deep in style with
the Abyss 1000 Professional, the
most recent successor to the popu-
lar Abyss 1000. The namesake is
derived from this timepiece’s abil-
ity to stay water-resistant down to
depths of 1000 feet. This watch is
also 44 mm in stainless steel and
is fitted with a double security de-
ployment buckle, useful for wear
over a wet suit. A state-of-the-art
bezel, with large embossed and pol-
ished Arabic numerals, surrounds a
sapphire crystal over the black dial
with equally large Arabic numerals
in the 12, 6 and 9 o’clock positions.
The numerals and indexes on the
dial along with the large hands
are covered in SuperLuminova for
greater deep-sea readability. The
back of the case is see-through re-
vealing the 25-jewel, Swiss ETA
2428 automatic movement with

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                        73

Out of the blu
                                                  BY   ELIZABETH      DOERR

 B e R N H A R d L e d e R e R ’S tA k e O N M e C H A N i C A L wAtC H M A k i N g

C         orcelles is a sleepy little
          Swiss village nestled in the
          hills overlooking the very
picturesque Lake Neuchâtel. The
next village over is Peseux, once
                                                                                        Perhaps we can shed some light
                                                                                   on these mysterious questions by
                                                                                   taking a look at Lederer’s history.
                                                                                   Born near Stuttgart, Germany, in
                                                                                   1958, Lederer developed an intense
the home of the famous manually                                                    interest in all things mechanical as
wound mechanisms of the same                                                       a boy. A pair of pocket watches
name now manufactured by move-                                                     from his grandfathers and a wall
ment giant ETA.                                                                    clock that he dared to dismantle led
     The atelier on the upper floor                                                to a certain frustration that egged
of a historical building bearing                                                   him on to study all of the literature
the name Chottière on Corcelles’s                                                  on watchmaking that was avail-
main street overlooks the lake. In                                                 able to him. This in turn led to an
warm weather the moon reflects                                                     apprenticeship at the Museum of
upon the smooth mirror of the wa-        Bernhard Lederer at work in blu’s work-   Historical Watches and Clocks in
ter’s surface with a dazzling clarity.   shop located in Corcelles, a suburb of    Wuppertal, Germany, where he
In the winter this charming body of      Neuchâtel, Switzerland.                   learned to restore and reconstruct
water turns secretive, enveloped in                                                historical clocks and watches.
a mysterious shroud of fog typical                                                 Much of this work involved his
of this region.                          Rather, they represent the culmi-         self-taught ability for producing a
     These environmental opposites       nation of a distinct philosophy and       missing or irreparable component
also describe blu–source du temps’s      accompanying technology in perfec-        for a timepiece as needed by hand.
timepieces (and their creator) to a      tion.                                     Soon he was using his talent to cre-
tee. Sometimes transparent, some-            What is time? What does it            ate his own interpretations of time.
times furtive, always emotional,         personally mean to each one of us?        Merely reproducing someone else’s
these timepieces are the product of      These are the type of questions blu       interpretations, regardless how
a lifetime of reflection and intense     owner Bernhard Lederer has asked          masterful, was no longer satisfying.
horological study. Despite their         himself all his life. The watches he           Upon becoming a master watch-
unique design, blu’s products are no     creates are a graphic representation      maker in 1984, Lederer opened a
Johnnies-come-lately, and they are       of his take on the answer to these        small shop near Frankfurt that
by no means trendy fashion pieces.       questions.                                specialized in the restoration and

74                                                                                 MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH
blu Moonlight, from the Planet col-
lection, is exquisitely executed with a
graphite-colored mother-of-pearl dial, a
diamond-set subdial and a sapphire-set
“hand.” the time on the watch reads
exactly 2 o’clock.

repair of vintage watches and                 inarguably contains many of the         sion that could not be produced
clocks. But he also realized his own          industry’s most creative minds          elsewhere. He brought in parts that
constructions during this period.             producing some of the world’s most      he could not make himself, such as
All of Lederer’s early clocks have            amazing timepieces.                     crystals and straps. The experience
one characteristic in common: The                  But soon destiny stepped in,       and frustration borne of working
movements are completely visible,             causing Lederer to step out for a       with the few suppliers needed for
protected from intrusions only by             while and examine his true com-         the Time Dimension would prove
a transparent pane. One great ex-             mitment to watchmaking and his          key in his work with blu almost a
ample of this is 1986’s Perpetual,            ideals. On the way to exhibiting        decade later.
a table clock with a moon phase               with the ahci at the Basel Fair in            Hans Donner would also prove
display so ingeniously constructed            1993, Lederer was involved in a         to be an important connection for
that it will only visibly deviate             car accident that severely damaged      Lederer, complementing him per-
from the actual phase of the moon             some and completely destroyed           fectly with his modern design ca-
several centuries from now. Or put            others of the precious masterpieces     pabilities and excellent contacts
another way: The Perpetual is five            in the automobile. These master-        within his adopted country. Don-
times as precise as the world-fa-             pieces had taken years and all of       ner came to Brazil from his home-
mous astronomic clock located in              his financial resources to create.      land of Austria with a multitude of
the Strasbourg cathedral.                     Inwardly crushed and in financial       ideas and talent. Shortly thereafter
     Propelled by this creative en-           disarray, he gave up his workshop,      he began designing for the fourth-
ergy, Lederer joined the Academie             selling all of his machines but one,    largest television company in the
Horlogere Des Createurs Indepen-              and reorienting himself. Some           world at the time, Globo TV.
dants (ahci) at its founding in 1985.         time later, purely by chance, he        Globo, Brazil’s largest entertain-
Called to life by an Italian and              was flipping through the German         ment corporation, also happened
a Danish watchmaker living in                 watch magazine ArmbandUhren             to be the main promoter of the
Switzerland, this prestigious group           at a friend’s house when he hap-        South American country’s 500th
                                              pened upon an article describing        anniversary of discovery. One of
                                              Austrian/Brazilian designer Hans        the company’s celebratory projects
                                              Donner and his watch, the Time          consisted of a set of twenty-seven
                                              Dimension. Sensing that the disks       clocks that measured over fourteen
                                              used to tell the time on the dial       yards in height and eight yards in
                                              were displaced, and feeling the old     width, strategically placed in Bra-
                                              flame of horological invention re-      zil’s state capitals as well as the na-
                                              turn, he contacted Hans Donner,         tional capital, Brasilia. Hans Don-
                                              and a historical cooperation was        ner designed these monumental
                                              born. Lederer made a prototype for      clocks, reaching out to his partner
                                              Donner using the one machine he         in mechanics Bernhard Lederer to
                                              had saved from his shop.                take over the direction of this truly
                                                   That very same year, Lederer       gigantic project. The clocks spent
                                              opened a new workshop in the            three years counting down the time
                                              German city of Aschaffenburg. Al-       until the celebration on April 22,
                                              though he continued to restore and      2000. Lederer spent this time jet-
                                              rebuild antique horological treasures   ting between Germany and Brazil,
                                              there, his main task was producing      overseeing the horological projects
                                              the Time Dimension, something he        he had going in both countries.
                                              did by hand. And it was here that             As the Brazilian project was
the 1986 Perpetual was a table clock with     he got a first taste of working with    drawing to a close for him in 1998,
a moon phase display so ingeniously con-
structed by Lederer that it would only vis-
                                              suppliers, an undertaking almost as     Lederer had also begun to define
ibly deviate from the actual phase of the     difficult as making watches com-        the reflections on time that had
moon several centuries from now.              pletely by hand. Lederer personally     begun for him with the fateful car
                                              made the parts for the Time Dimen-      accident of 1993. He began to see

76                                                                                    MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

that, while his ideals and concepts                                                   a company employee, this was the
were leading him in the direction                                                     compromise he felt he must enter
he wanted to be going, the way that                                                   into in order to achieve the results
his workshop was set up was hinder-                                                   he required for the completion of
ing his actual creativity. Personally                                                 his ideas.
producing every piece by hand,                                                             Lederer embodies the magical
though praiseworthy, was not the                                                      rainbow bridge between produc-
way to create what he needed.                                                         tion and design, two areas of man-
      As Lederer was beginning to                                                     ufacturing that have never gotten
realize these thoughts for himself,                                                   along well in any watch company.
they became concrete for him                                                          The art is in the communication,
through outside sources. To start                                                     and since he is strongly involved
the new millennium and his new                                                        in both departments, this aspect
independence of thought, Leder-                                                       runs smoothly—resulting in a har-
er became involved in two very                                                        mony between design and technol-
important projects. One was the                                                       ogy that is almost unachievable for
founding of the Goldpfeil collec-                                                     others, and a face that unmistak-
tion, and the other was to become                                                     ably represents this company, both
                                          blu’s galaxy model utilizes a disk sys-
the center of his life: The founding      tem to rotate the diamond-set “hands.”      human and mechanical.
of blu–source du temps.                   the unusually attractive dial is made of         Lederer’s concept of time is dif-
      The Goldpfeil collection (fea-      an equally unusual material: goldstone, a   ferent from most people’s. Most gra-
tured in IWW #54) celebrated the          type of aventurine glass.                   phic representations of time are a
creativity of seven ahci members,                                                     never-ending straight line. He, on
each producing works in their own                                                     the other hand, sees time as a never-
style, yet united under the roof of one   Swiss watch industry for sometime,          ending circle.
collection. Each of the seven mem-        became blu’s marketing director.                 As Lederer rightly points out,
bers created an individual watch as       The two work exceptionally well             watches no longer need to fulfill
part of the standing collection and       together, complementing each other          the original goal of watchmaking:
one unique piece to be auctioned          with ideas and flowing communica-           absolute precision. Today we have
off after traveling the world as an       tion. Blu has become their passion,         this type of precision everywhere
exhibition. This collection marked        an exceptionally emotional part of          we look—on quartz and radio-con-
Bernhard Lederer’s first wristwatch       their lives, and the result of a great      trolled watches as well as on our
to be produced in series, and also the    deal of very hard work.                     cellphones and computers. “Today
first wristwatch produced completely           At this time blu–source du             mechanical watches are more or
according to his own ideas.               temps’s extraordinary products are          less frivolities. Time no longer has
      But the most radical change in      being introduced to twelve differ-          anything to do with what watch-
Lederer’s vocation occurred when          ent markets spanning the globe.             making contemporarily tries to
he established blu–source du temps        It goes without saying that the             sell us. Time is emotional. Time
in Switzerland in the year 2000.          quality is exceptional—Bernhard             has nothing to do with what is dis-
The company’s founding was based          Lederer would never settle for less.        played on a watch.”
on his ideas and his recognition of       But even more extraordinary is                   For Lederer, time is personal
the fact that a one-man show just         the philosophy behind these time-           and intimate. “Time passes as quick-
wasn’t the appropriate method for         pieces, a philosophy that Lederer           ly as the mood I am currently in.
him. At this point, Lederer agreed        has pondered for most of his adult          With my timepieces, I try to restore
to become the company’s techni-           life. “I’ve been here for about two         a piece of this beauty for others.”
cal director and move to Switzer-         and a half years now. I almost feel              In the second part of our in-
land together with his Polish-born        like I was locked in a box before           depth story on blu–source du
wife, Ewa Pietal Lederer. Ewa, who        blu.” Even though he has given              temps in the May issue of Interna-
had already been working in the           up his independence in becoming             tional Wristwatch, we will discover

78                                                                                    MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

 Michele Watches
This young,
family-run brand
is taking America
by storm

T         hree years ago, second-
          generation watch vet-
          eran Jack Barouh and
his two children brought a new
timepiece—and a strong new con-
                                                        stormed onto the U.S. watch
                                                        scene with a gusto. Based on
                                                        the concept that a timepiece
                                                        is an expression of an indi-
cept—to America. Offering bold,                        vidual’s place in life—hobbies,
fashion-forward watches bedecked                      status and dreams—Michele
in diamonds reaped its rewards.                      Watches offered futuristic styling
Today, MW by Michele Watches          CSX Petite   and sophisticated appeal.
is one of the top-selling brands of                      Crafted of steel and intermixed
diamond fashion watches sold by                    with diamonds, the timepieces in
leading American luxury retailers.                 the collection feature interchange-
     The son of a European watch-                  able straps, offering versatility and
maker, Barouh was raised in the                    a sense of marked difference. In-
diamond and watch industry—and,                    fused with cutting-edge fashion
like most brought up in this arena,                appeal and definitive attitude, the
he caught the fever. In 1985, he                   MW by Michele brand brought
moved his family to Miami and                      a new level of worldliness to the
established Michele Watches—                       American market.
named for his daughter. He be-                           The first collection was the CSX
gan selling his collection of inno-                Diamond collection of sporty round
vative timepieces in Latin Ameri-                  watches crafted in steel with a full
ca and later developed a branding                  diamond bezel. The interchangeable
and marketing strategy to bring the                straps and the ability of the watch to
collection to the U.S. market.                     go from day to night, from tennis
     It was in the autumn of 2000                  courts to board rooms made it a hit.
that Barouh, along with his son,                   Within the first year of business in
Jeremy, and daughter, Michele,                     the United States, Michele Watches

80                                                 MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH
                                                                                 These exciting new Coquette Color
                                                                                 watches, with an elongated
                                                                                 rectangular shape, are set with
                                                                                 sapphires and black diamonds for
                                                                                 stunning appeal.

garnered enormous attention, and      brand by selecting it to be in the     marketing strategy. Together, this
embarked on expanding its sales to    2002 Presenter’s Gift Box for the      trio has built a highly successful
leading retail jewelers.              Golden Globe Awards.                   program.
    By 2002, the MW by Michele             Today, Jack Barouh is president        All Michele watches are de-
Watches could be found in such        of the successful fledgling firm and   signed with the strictest atten-
prestigious stores as Nordstrom,      Michele Barouh acts as the direc-      tion to detail of craftsmanship
Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s,        tor of creative development for        and quality. Only the finest grade
Sak’s Fifth Avenue and Barneys. It    the brand. In addition to working      of surgical steel is used and when
was also chocking the display cases   with retailers in all of the brand’s   gold-plating is involved, Michele
of numerous leading independent       key markets around the world, Mi-      Watches uses only 24-karat rose
jewelry stores in America, Latin      chele has worked tirelessly with       or yellow gold. The interchange-
America, Europe and the Middle        her father and brother to develop      able straps are offered in a variety
East. The Hollywood Foreign Press     an ingenious product line and a        of materials, including farmed liz-
Association even honored the          comprehensive merchandising and        ard, Louisiana crocodile, lacquered

82                                                                           MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH
calfskins, ostrich and rubber. Of-
ten the soft grain leather straps are   is water-resistant to 30 meters.           As a matter of fact, MW by Mi-
embellished with silk or horsehair          Another new watch is the           chele is always evolving and, while
accents for creative flair.             CSX Petite series of sports watches.   the company regularly moves for-
     Color plays a vital role in the    Offered in a 26-mm case, this col-     ward in design and styling, it none-
timepieces, as they are meant to        lection evolved from the brand’s       theless continues in the stylish,
evoke a broad array of expressions,     very first watch launch.               individualistic inspiration venue
moods and personalities. Straps
are offered in bright tones, pastel
hues and basic colors. Dials are of-
ten mother-of-pearl in a painter’s      Michele’s Deco Winter Trio
pa-lette of colors or are enameled      watches are rich with
                                        winter warmth, thanks to
in a colorful array of etched or em-    the natural-colored straps.
bossed patterns.
     Round, square, tonneau, bar-
rel, elongated rectangles and other
intriguing case shapes grace the
line. Indeed, new designs and styles
are continuously unveiled to keep
Michele Watches a step ahead of
the world’s changing fashions
and to match all occasions.
     The MW watch series by
Michele consists of the Co-
quette Collection of elon-
gated pillow-shaped watch-
es, the bold square Urban
line, the barrel- or round-
shaped Sport series of alu-
minum watches with col-
orful rubber straps, and the
CSX Collection of round
watches, now offered in a
Diamond series and a Petite
series. There is also a cush-
ion-cornered square collec-
tion that is aptly named the
Deco Collection.
     Among the newest pieces
from Michele Watches is the
Coquette Diamond collection,
which offers a small seconds sub-
dial at 6 o’clock and houses a Swiss
movement. Its steel case is adorned
with more than 150 diamonds and

84                                                                             MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

Cyma  New From

                                                             For Gents and Ladies

T        here’s a buzz in the Ameri-
         can watch market. In re-
         cent years a new name
has arrived on our shores and at
this time there are more than 800
jewelry stores approved to carry its
products. The name Cyma may be
new to the American consumer,
but we are the last ones to jump
on the bandwagon: Cyma has been
sharing its unique timepieces with
three continents for more than 140
years and now North America can
be added to the list.
     From its humble beginnings
in Le Locle, Switzerland, the heart
of the Jura region, Cyma has per-
severed over the years to remain a
strong brand on the European mar-
ket catering to the royal and the
rich. It has developed a reputation
for precision crafted automatic and
                                        Cyma’s versatile Navy Star Skindiver for men can look just as good in the boardroom as it
quartz wristwatches while remain-       does when worn over a wet suit.
ing one of the last privately owned
watch companies. The brand’s claim
to fame was its wide selection of el-   arrival to the American market,                will be revealing exciting new prod-
egant 14- and 18-karat gold ladies’     Cyma provides an opportunity for               ucts for three distinct markets that
watches that ranged from the very       the consumer to sport a watch that             it has come to be associated with.
traditional to elegant jewelry pieces   not everyone is wearing.                       Revered for its fun and stylish
set with diamonds. With its recent          At this year’s Basel Fair, Cyma            women’s timepieces the brand has

86                                                                                     MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

now added a new men’s watch. The
Navy Star Skindiver is a sleek black
diver’s watch that can easily be worn
with evening wear. A unidirection-
al rotating click-stop bezel catches
the eye around the sapphire crystal
covering the black dial. Hour, min-
utes and sweep seconds hands are
luminescent, as are the hour index-
es. Set in a blackened steel case with
a blackened steel bracelet the watch
is kept water-resistant to 330 feet by
a screw-down crown. The strap has
a safety clasp and diver’s extension
for wear over a wet suit. The Navy
Star Skindiver sells for a suggested
retail price of $795.
     As shown in the October issue
(#60), Cyma has added a new in-
terpretation to its ladies’ Colored
Sapphire Prism line that it will be
showing at the Basel Fair. A styl-          The newest interpretation of Cyma’s popular
ish and creative way to look at             Prism line features sapphire crystals in pink, blue
wristwatch wearing, the Prism line          and yellow.
consists of innovative, fashion-
forward watches that are equipped
with quartz movements, are water-
resistant to 100 feet and have           den deployment clasp.                            that have numerous combinations
stainless steel bracelets with hid-           Always conscious of the role of             of dial and leather band colors.
                                         accessorizing in wristwatch wearing              The option of mother-of-pearl di-
                                         and purchasing, Cyma has made an                 als and diamond bezels can raise
                                         effort to add as much color to the               the price on these tonneau-shaped
                                         process as possible. This initiative             watches, which begin at $695 and
                                         goes hand in hand with its new                   can reach up to $3,000 retail. C
                                         line of Imperium LS quartz watches

                                         Right: Cyma has added a
                                         wide range of colored bands to
                                         its Imperium LS collection.

                                         Left: Fitted with an innovative
                                         mesh-link bracelet, this elegant
                                         18-karat white gold ladies'
                                         model is just one of the stylish
                                         timepieces Cyma has come to
                                         be known for.

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                                       87


F       ounded in 1918 by Georg-
        es Schaeren, the Mido G.
        Schaeren & Co. AG watch
factory in Solothurn has continued
to successfully evolve within the
Swiss watch industry.
                                      Is All Dial

     In the 1920s, the company’s
selection of elegant and colorful
ladies’ watches and sophisticated
men’s timepieces rapidly estab-
lished the Mido brand name.
     One of the brand’s most impor-

88                                     MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

tant milestones was the launch of     readability by incorporating a dial     case with sapphire crystal and a
the Mido Multifort in 1934. Wa-       that takes up as much space as pos-     mineral crystal exhibition back. On
ter-tight, antimagnetic and shock-    sible in the watch. The dial, with      the larger models, the movement is
resistant, this watch provided the    its graduated stages, is intended to    equipped with an additional Glu-
Mido brand with a totally new im-     reflect the shape of the stairways      cydur balance spring and is cosc-
age and has served as a basis for     of the Coliseum and diminish the        certified guaranteeing maximum
the development of all its watches,   case edge. When viewed through          accuracy. With its screw-down
which have come to embody origi-      its antireflective sapphire crystal,    crown and caseback, the watch is
nal design, extreme resistance and    the wearer has the impression that      water-resistant to 100 meters. Fea-
utmost functionality.                 this watch consists of only the dial    turing a day/date display at 3 o’clock,
     Mido’s slogan, “Reflecting on    and hands.                              the easy-to-read black dial boasts
Time” has played a vital role in           The All Dial is offered in two     luminous hands and markers, which
the development of its latest col-    standard 38-mm models as well as        allow for high legibility even in low
lection, the All Dial watch line.     three oversized 42-mm versions.         light situations.
Inspired by the Coliseum in Rome,     The 25-jewel ETA 2836-2 automat-             Fitted with a stainless steel
which was built to ensure that all    ic movement with 40-hour power          bracelet with folding clasp or rub-
spectators had the best possible      reserve and a frequency of 28,800       ber strap, the Mido All Dial retails
view, the All Dial seeks optimum      bph is protected by a stainless steel   for between $650 and $795.          C

90                                                                            MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

Ventura’s revolutionary v-tec alpha


T         he year 2003 has already been big for
          Ventura, ringing in the founding of
          the company’s American subsidiary,
Ventura USA, Inc. And this company con-
tinues to make waves with the introduction
of yet again something new. Digital watches
aren’t unexplored territory, but digital watches
in the luxury segment of the watch industry
certainly are, and the brand-spanking-new
digital watch that Ventura is now introducing
is more than just new—it’s novel.
      Pierre Nobs, founder and CEO of Ventu-
ra, has a passion for mechanical watches. He
loves the raw emotions that the mechanical
renaissance has brought forth. He also adores
good design, a fact illustrated by the numerous
cooperations he has entered into with some of
Europe’s leading contemporary designers. He
respects and enjoys the fact that good design
lifts a product from the ranks of mass wares.
But having an extensive background in elec-
tronics and electronic watches, he recognizes
the unending possibilities this technology of-
fers. A good example is Ventura’s watch from
1990, a quartz model that entered the market
just when digital timepieces were being touted
“throw away material.”
      Nobs also has a passion for flow charts
and functional relations, which inspired the
idea for the Ventura v-tec alpha at the begin-
ning of 2002. This was to be a revolutionary       Ventura’s v-tec alpha has been designed for the utmost in comfort.
timepiece in the contemporary Swiss watch          The case is made of Durinox, a stainless steel alloy that is premiering in the
industry, with a place all its own and with-       watch industry for the first time with this timepiece.

92                                                                                     MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

out the need for comparison with               Nobs has decided to enter new      bracelet of the v-tec alpha are
other products manufactured today        territory with the development of        made of Durinox, a hardened and
in Switzerland.                          this timepiece in more than one          scratch-resistant stainless steel simi-
     The freedom created by minus-       respect. In addition to the pure de-     lar to titanium in color that is being
cule electronics also resulted in a      sign and functional characteristics      introduced to the watch industry
liberty from design constraints, and     that all of Ventura’s watches dis-       for the first time by Ventura. Water-
Nobs turned to a trusted team to put     play, this timepiece’s quartz-pow-       resistant to 30 meters, Ventura’s lat-
together Ventura’s most technical        ered movement represents a first in      est creation will be available at your
watch to date: In addition to Nobs’s     Switzerland: The battery-operated        local retail shop in early summer
software design, Hannes Wettstein        mechanism has been entirely de-          and will retail for approximately
designed the watch’s shape, Simon        signed and constructed by Ventura.       $1,000 on a strap and $1,200 on a
Husslein the display and Tsuyoshi        “We composed competence from             Durinox steel bracelet.
Kogoshi the engineering. The v-tec       around the world and united it in             Pierre Nobs is convinced that
alpha’s four creators communicated       this movement,” designer Hannes          high-quality digital timepieces
constantly with each other across        Wettstein explains. While Ventura        with interesting functions can be
various parts of the globe for close     purchases the mechanism’s chip in        successful in the near future. “Just
to a year to complete and perfect        Japan, all of the other components       as analogue watches can be found
their newest creation.                   are bought or specially made for         in price classes from $10 to hun-
     Though some might find this         the company in Switzerland. “We          dreds of thousands of dollars, digital
timepiece “futuristic ’70s” in style,    are breaking with convention and         watches with relative value will be
it displays several decidedly modern     contextualizing ideas,” he adds.         able to find their place in a higher
characteristics. Successfully com-             The harmonious teamwork            price segment. The fascinating
bining wearer and user comfort, the      has resulted in a product with clear     thing about a Ventura digital watch
v-tec alpha is outfitted with a scroll   ergonomic advantages, a balanced         is the freedom of design as a result
cylinder, the concept of which is        unity of the various levels, and a       of missing requirements correlat-
similar to a roller found on a good      product characteristic of this brand.    ing to the movements. We can and
computer mouse. While the display’s      Although the design, the display,        should reinvent and reconstruct
upper line always shows the current      and the electronic aspects of the        the movement and functional ergo-
time, the scroller can be used to        timepiece were not linearly devel-       nomics every time.” In the future,
change the function of the display’s     oped, but rather individually and        Ventura plans to continue present-
bottom line, allowing the wearer to      simultaneously, this timepiece is        ing both mechanical and electronic
choose from the date, a second time      coherent in its presentation and         timepieces to its customers. Nobs’s
zone, an alarm, a chronograph and a      is decidedly user-friendly. “The         “electronic manufacture” is located
countdown function.                      product itself knew fairly early         in a suburb of Zurich, Switzerland.
     Pushing on the scroller sets the    what it was going to become,”                    C
functions and keeping it depressed       Wettstein adds.
for three seconds allows the settings          The intrinsic value of the time-
to be adjusted. The patent-pend-         piece becomes evident when it is
ing EasySkroll system, as Ventura        worn: The watch’s solid feel
has dubbed it, is without a doubt        can only come from high-
far easier to use when wearing the       quality components,
watch than a crown or pushers            case material and a
would be for this number of func-        sapphire crystal.
tions, adding to its already com-        Indeed, the met-
fortable ergonomics. Replacing the       al itself is also a
need for more than one button, the       new presenta-
main advantage is that the wearer        tion in the
needs no instruction booklet to be       i n d u s t r y.
able to use the v-tec alpha.             The case
                                         a n d

94                                                                                MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

a new york
state of mind
Vintage watches from British Khaki Furniture creator, Robert Lighton


                                                                  The vintage-style Hudson
                                                                   is equipped with a finely
                                                                       decorated automatic

96                                                      MaRCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

A          fter gaining internation-
           al acclaim for his sleek
           and stylish collection of
British Khaki Furniture, Robert
Lighton recently ventured into the
watchmaking world with the intro-
duction of the Robert Lighton New
York collection in 2002 (featured
in IWW #57).
     In the past year, the Robert
Lighton line has quickly developed
a reputation in the watch industry
for its high quality and vintage de-
signs. In fact in the United States,
the collection is already available
at London Jewelers in Long Is-
land, New York, Chicago’s Swiss
Fine Timing, Manfredi Jewelers in
Greenwich, Connecticut, and at
select Neiman Marcus and Berg-
dorf Goodman stores. The entire
Robert Lighton line ranges in price
from $1,975 to $20,000 for elegant
diamond-set models.
     “The reaction to the Robert
Lighton New York collection over
the past year has been very encour-
aging,” says Lighton. “People who
understand quality watchmaking
are very enthusiastic about the line.
Although we are just starting out,
we have enjoyed immediate suc-
cess that we can build on for the
     An avid watch collector and
longtime resident of New York
City, Lighton has used his discern-
ing eye and keen sense of style to      Housed in a
develop an extraordinary collec-        hexagonal case,
tion of meticulously crafted time-      these stylish
                                        Wharton models
pieces for men and women, all           are fitted with
of which recall the elegance and        colorful shagreen straps
sophistication of early twentieth-      in blue,
century watchmaking and are in-         green and pink.
spired by New York landmarks.

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMaRCH 2003                                           97

                                               Boasting extreme attention
                                          to detail, the Robert Lighton New
                                          York collection features classic
                                          shapes, quality Swiss movements,
                                          blued steel hands, sapphire crys-
                                          tals and three-part cases with un-
                                          adorned backs perfect for mono-
                                               Blending vintage style with
                                          bold modernity, all Robert Ligh-
                                          ton watches are presented in a
                                          handmade mahogany watch box,
                                          reminiscent of those from the early
                                          1900s, which is fitted with engraved
                                          brass closures and is lined with
                                          velvet and satin in the designer’s
                                          signature purple.
                                               “Over the past twenty years, the
                                          tradition of the small, independent
                                          watch designer has waned,” explains
                                          Lighton. “I hope my collection will
                                          keep this tradition alive while it
                                          meets the needs of a growing num-
                                          ber of fine watch collectors and con-
                                          noisseurs from around the world.”
                                               Crafted in 18-karat rose gold or
                                          sterling silver, the Hudson comes in
                                          a rounded square 34-mm case and
                                          is also available in a larger 38-mm
                                          size, both of which are fitted with
                                          an American alligator strap with
                                          custom buckle. The white baked-
                                          enamel dial boasts blued steel
                                          hands and a small seconds dial at
                                          6 o’clock. Manufactured by Soprod
                                          exclusively for Robert Lighton
                                          New York, the 25-jewel automatic
     Popular with both men and women,     movement is gilded with Côtes de
     the Algonquin is available with or   Genève decoration and features
     without diamonds.                    blued screws.
     Strap options include shagreen and        With its silvered and grained
     American alligator skin.             easy-to-read dial, the Wharton
                                          exudes pure understated elegance.

98                                        MaRCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                                                                              Left: This quartz-powered Gramercy model
                                                                              is housed in an oval case that can be fitted
                                                                              with a diamond-pavéd bezel.
                                                                              Top: Measuring a robust 38 mm, the
                                                                              Empire is powered by an automatic
                                                                              movement and is reminiscent of watch-
                                                                              making styles in the early part of the
                                                                              twentieth century.

                                                                              an American alligator strap with
                                                                              custom buckle.
                                                                                  Available with or without dia-
                                                                              monds, the Gramercy is housed in
                                                                              an unusual oval case that lies hori-
                                                                              zontally. Crafted in 18-karat yellow
                                                                              or rose gold or sterling silver the
The 18-karat white or yellow gold      silvered and grained dial with         watch is equipped with a precision
hexagonal case is available with a     small seconds hand at 6 o’clock is a   quartz movement and is fitted with
diamond-pavéd bezel, while the         25-jewel automatic movement by         an American alligator strap with
crown is set with a blue cabochon      Soprod that features Côtes de Ge-      custom buckle. The silvered and
(polished but not faceted) sapphire.   nève decoration and blued screws.      grained dial features blued steel
Powered by a precision quartz               The stylish Algonquin model       hands and a small seconds dial at
movement, the Wharton is offered       is the perfect timepiece for today’s   6 o’clock.
with either a Rousette strap fitted    fashion-forward woman and, ac-             Offered in 18-karat rose or
with custom buckle and cabochon        cording to Lighton, has been popu-     white gold or stainless steel, the
sapphires or a stylish shagreen        lar with men as well. The 32-mm        Empire measures a bold 38 mm
(untanned leather with granular        beveled square case is crafted in      and features a large easy-to-read
surface) strap in blue, green, pink,   18-karat white or rose gold or ster-   dial with small seconds hand at
brown or gray.                         ling silver and is available with a    6 o’clock. A 25-jewel automatic
     Strong and masculine, Robert      diamond-pavéd bezel. The silvered      movement by Soprod with Côtes
Lighton’s San Remo watch comes         and grained minimalist dial hides      de Genève decoration and blued
in a round, brushed stainless steel    the 25-jewel automatic movement        screws powers this handsome
41-mm case which is presented on       with Côtes de Genève decoration        watch, which is fitted with an
an American alligator strap with       and blued screws. Bracelet options     American alligator strap with cus-
custom buckle. Underneath the          include a colorful shagreen strap or   tom buckle.                       C

100                                                                           MaRCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

        Blue MOOnsOscar Waldan claims rights to the best blue dials out there


W          aldan International’s new
           blue dial line of watches
           certainly has a strong
argument for being the best on
the market. Paired with a nicely
matched blue crocodile strap, these
watches mark a refreshing break
from the usual white, black and
silver dials typical on the majority
of watches of this caliber.
     Garbed in either platinum or
18-karat white or rose gold, Oscar
Waldan’s collection of blue dial
beauties are available with a choice
of Swiss-made engines: take your
pick of two different movements
offering similar functions in slightly
different layouts.
     One version houses the reliable
and robust 25-jewel Valjoux 7751
automatic winding movement. The
7751 is an enhanced version of the
popular and fairly bullet-proof 7750
movement with upgrades that in-
clude a moon phase and 24-hour in-
dicator. Waldan also chose to use the
integrated option for the date which

Powered by the Zenith el Primero 410
automatic movement, these blue-dial
chronographs feature day, date, month
and moon phase displays.

102                                                            MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

              Revealing day and month displays at
              12 o’clock, a moon phase indicator
              at 6 o’clock and a date display around
              the outer edge of the dial, this blue-dial
              chronograph is equipped with the Val-
              joux 7751 automatic movement, which is
              visible through the exhibition caseback

              is indicated at the outer edge of the
              dial via a center-mounted pointer.
                   Option two in blue houses the
              high-speed Zenith El Primero 410
              automatic movement. This Grey-
              hound flier ticks away at 36,000 bph,
              which allows chronograph timing
              down to 1/10th of a second—that
              is, of course, only if you can react
              that quickly. The 410 is popular with
              collectors for its high frequency,
              column wheel-controlled chrono-
              graph, and a better than average
              50-hour power reserve. It’s also not
              nearly as ubiquitous as the 7750
              and 7751 movements, which adds a
              certain cachet to the Zenith move-
              ment—one that should only grow
              now that Zenith Watches (the
              brand) are now available in the
              United States after a long hiatus
              while Zenith Electronics protected
              their trademark rights.
                   All of Waldan’s complicated
              mechanical watches feature sap-
              phire front crystals and either
              solid gold or see-through crystal
              backs—whatever your preference
              may be. These “blue moons” are
              also available in four case sizes
              ranging from 36 mm to 40 mm, so
              you can find the perfect comfort
              zone. Suggested retail prices range
              from $4,500 to $9,000.             C

                                        Welcome to the world of

Maddaloni                                     Visions Through Time

                          A preview of our 25th anniversary catalogue

                                                   Watch Brands
                 Audemars Piguet                            Harry Winston                         Raymond Weil
                    Bertolucci                                 Hermés                              TAG Heuer
                     Chopard                                   Hublot                             Ulysse Nardin
                   Chronoswiss                                 Krieger                               Versace
                     Concord                                Maurice Lacroix
                      Corum                                   Montblanc
                 Girard-Perregaux                              Movado

1 8 7 0   E   a s t   J   E r i c h o   t   u r n p i k E   •   h   u n t i n g t o n   ,   nY   11743   •   888.999.4038


       Under the current leadership of the founder’s son, Ronald Winston, Harry
       Winston creates elegant timepieces that feature the finest stones and pre-
       cious metals. Crafted with close attention to detail, each Harry Winston watch
       comes to life as a uniquely personal work of art with an accent on creativity,
       innovation and a deep love for the art of watchmaking.

108                                                                   MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH


             Introduced at the 1980 Basel Fair, the first Hublot wristwatch caused quite a stir with its solid
             gold case and black rubber strap featuring a delicate vanilla scent and an innovative double-
             hinged clasp. Today, nearly twenty-three years later, the Hublot watch is considered a design
             hallmark in the watchmaking industry combining unparalleled Swiss quality with classic and
                                        chic Italian style.
INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                                 109


      Established            in
      Switzerland in 1975,
      Maurice Lacroix has
      gained a distinguished
      reputation      through-
      out the watchmaking
      world for its ability to
      blend fine Swiss watch-
      making tradition with
      state-of-the-art    tech-
      nology and innovative
      materials to produce

110                               MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH


          Known for its daring and unconventional designs, Corum has become one of the major internation-
          ally recognized high-end watch brands in just fifty years. Under the current leadership of president
          Severin Wunderman, the company combines Swiss watchmaking expertise with innovative styles to
          create quality timepieces that amaze the watchmaking world time and time again.

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                               111
      Founded in Miami Beach, Florida,
      in 1985 by Ira Krieger, the Krieger
      Watch Company has built an
      illustrious reputation for creating
      functional yet stylish timepieces,
      providing serious sportsmen with
      invaluable tools for the active life-                 Maddaloni
      style. Every Krieger wristwatch is
      entirely Swiss-made and is cosc-
      certified, thereby guaranteeing                          25

112                                           MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                   So, You Want to Go to

                                                  BY    MIKE    THOMPSON

C          an you turn your interest in
           time into a full-time job?
           Maybe, but there are hun-
dreds of things you need to know
first, so let’s start with the first step:
                                                                                         Littlefield earned his living as a
                                                                                         marketing specialist in Connecti-
                                                                                         cut. In the evenings he attended
                                                                                         to his growing collection of Early
                                                                                         American pocket watches. The
the schools.                                                                             more he learned about their rich
      More than a few watch en-                                                          history and technical prowess, the
thusiasts have turned their hobby                                                        more interested he became in ho-
into a profession. Maybe someone                                                         rology.
gave you a vintage pocket watch                                                               “I began to purchase larger
or a mechanical wristwatch as a                                                          numbers of watches from estate sales
gift and sparked a love affair with                                                      and other sources,” he explains. At
timepieces that moves beyond the                                                         the same time, he bought enough
collectors’ stage.                                                                       spare parts and tools from similar
      A watch collector may want                                                         sales and dealers so he could keep
to work hands-on with the springs,                                                       his collection in top shape. Little-
gears and dials. But most enthu-                                                         field delved into repair and restora-
siasts are satisfied to open a few                                                       tion manuals where he picked up a
casebacks or adjust the going rate.                                                      wealth of knowledge for working on
To the uninitiated, checking the                                                         his collection. He even purchased a
accuracy of a watch daily is obses-                                                      workbench on which to put his self-
sive. However, for many collectors                                                       taught skills into action.
and enthusiasts, it’s enjoyable—                                                              In the 1990s, he became a
and usually enough to satisfy their                                                      mortgage broker and put collecting
horological itch. But not everyone                                                       on the back burner for a few years.
can stop there.                                                                          “But as one often does in his mid-
                                                                                         30s approaching 40, I asked myself
          Pockets to Business                                                            whether this is what I wanted to
Rick Littlefield was one collector           Master watchmaker Rick Littlefield at his   continue doing each day,” he says.
who wanted more. In the 1980s                workbench.                                       In the late 1990s Littlefield

114                                                                                      MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

looked into watchmaking schools.      
He spent one week at the Ameri-                      Expanding Beyond Collecting
can Watchmakers-Clockmakers                     Littlefield’s experiences were some-
Institute (AWI) near Cincinnati                 what unique five years ago. To-
and was hooked. He enrolled in                  day more “hobbyists” are actively
AWI’s Academy, a full-time school               pursuing their love of watches to
(which is now on hiatus) in 1998                generate full- or part-time careers.
and was instantly enthralled.                   While his interest in horology in-
    “I had terrific instructors,                spired him, today students enter
top-notch equipment and worked                  watchmaking schools for myriad
at the lathe with a master (then                reasons and with diverse goals.
instructor Stewart Lesemann). It                Schools today report more appli-
was wonderful.” He graduated a                  cants than they have in a genera-
year later with a Certified Master              tion. And with this demand, sala-
Watchmaker diploma.                             ries finally are showing attractive
    At AWI Littlefield expanded                 increases. Since the sales boom
well beyond pocket watches into                 for mechanical watches that be-               woefully underpaid just as their
high-end wristwatches. Today, he                gan in the 1990s shows no sign of             demand was growing. Many were
specializes in repair and restoration           abating, demand for highly skilled            near retirement in the 1990s.
of pre-1980 high-grade watches,                 watchmakers is strong. As sales               Watchmaking schools closed. They
notably Rolexes, triple-dates and               increased in the 1990s, scant plan-           saw little interest from students to-
chronographs like the Valjoux 72                ning was given to service needs,              ward entering an undervalued, un-
and its brethren. More recently,                notably repair and maintenance.               derpaid profession.
he opened a shop, Pieces of Time,               Watchmakers too often were taken                  A 2001 study conducted for
in Newington, Connecticut (see                  for granted and were frequently               the American Watchmakers Asso-


      American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute                      Sterling Heights, MI; (586) 825-2800
      Harrison, OH (866) 367-2924;                    Programs: Adult education within a high school
      Programs: Weeklong and 10-week continuing education             program. Two-year course: watchmaking and clock repair
      courses in repair and restoration of watches and clocks.        Enrollment: 12 students per class, two classes
      Frequent on-campus and traveling bench courses and              per day
      home study courses, including clockmaking. Operates the         Degree: CPC certificate
      largest watchmaker’s referral directory as well as a lending    Cost: $1,300 annually for adults
      library, parts bulletins and lists, movement location service   Contact: Arnold Van Tiem
      and dozens of regional affiliate chapters
      Cost: Vary by course; special discount for AWI                  Gem City College
      members                                                         School of Horology
      Contact: Jim Lubic, ext. 310                                    Quincy, IL; (217) 222-0931;
                                                                      Programs: Clock repair, engraving, jewelry design and repair,
      Ecole National d’Horlogerie                                     store management. Five quarters (1,260 hrs)
      Quebec, Canada; (819) 379-8057                                  Degree: AA degree in Jewelry Store Management
      Programs: High school                                           Enrollment: Mondays, 50 maximum
      Degree: High School Diploma Certificate                         Cost: $700/month
      Enrollment: Annually, 46 maximum                                Contact: Allen Linkey
      Contact: Michael Plourde, Robert Plourde                                                      Continued on page118
                                                                      Hiram G. Andrews Center
      Career Preparation Center                                       Horology Department

116                                                                                           MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                                                                                            What is AWI Certification?

ciation and AWI reveals that master             school types out there,” he reports.        The AWI Certification process consists of
watchmakers are still retiring quick-                Juaire is well acquainted with         taking and passing a proficiency exami-
                                                                                            nation. The examinations, established
ly, reducing the supply for watch               what’s available. In addition to his
                                                                                            and conducted by the American Watch-
firms, repair houses and retail stores.         position at St. Paul College, Juaire
                                                                                            makers-Clockmakers Institute, are open
The approximately forty graduates               is currently the director of the            to practicing horologists, graduates of
last year from the remaining schools            Research and Education Coun-                horological schools and laypersons in-
could not meet the demands of the               cil (REC) for AWI. The Council              terested in horology. The tests constitute
industry, notes Joe Juaire, instructor          comprises watchmaking schools               a uniform standard recognized by indus-
of watchmaking at St. Paul Col-                 that offer 1,200 hours or more of           try and the public throughout the world.
lege in St. Paul, Minnesota. The                instruction annually. These, in ad-         Though subject to change, AWI currently
industry study concluded that about             dition to the well-known program            offers six examinations leading to:
150 graduates annually are needed               at the independent School of Hor-
to meet current demand as older                 ology operated by the National              c Certified Clockmaker (CC)
                                                                                            c Certified Master Clockmaker (CMC)
watchmakers retire. Of these, about             Association of Watch and Clock              c Certified Electronic Watch
fifty should be specifically trained to         Collectors (nawcc) in Columbia,               Technician (CEWT)
repair mechanical timepieces.                   Pennsylvania, offer a wide range of         c Certified Master Electronic
                                                educational choices.                          Watchmaker (CMEW)
            Educational Options                                                             c Certified Watchmaker (CW)
                                                                                            c Certified Master Watchmaker (CMW)
Juaire says that though only about                        Degree of Degrees
                                                                                            c AWI-certified members have the
ten watchmaking schools operate                 That range includes the three insti-          option to be included in its national
full-time in the United States these            tutions currently accredited by the           registry of Certified Professional
days, those that have survived the              Swiss educational standard-bearer,            Horologists.
lean decades of quartz-only time-               the Watchmakers of Switzerland
                                                                                            AWI, 701 Enterprise Drive, Harrison, Ohio
pieces are today the cream of the               Training and Educational Program            45030; (866) 367-2924.
crop. “There is a wide range of                 ( wostep ), plus several programs


      Johnstown, PA; (815) 255-8200;                     Program: Two-year wostep-certified, nonprofit school fund-
      Program: Four-month vocational                                  ed by Rolex
      Degree: Certificate                                             Degree: wostep certificate
      Cost: $4,850/term. State reimbursable                           Enrollment: Annually in September, 12 maximum
      Enrollment: Ongoing, 15 per class                               Cost: Free tuition; room/board, equipment ($3,000 over
      Contact: Harry Hinzy                                            two-year period) at student’s expense
      Jones County Junior College
      Horology Department                                             North Seattle Community College
      Ellisville, MS; (601) 477-4227   Watch Technology Institute
      ogy/index.html                                                  Seattle, WA; (206) 526-0169
      Program: Two semester lab-only; jewelry available               Programs: Two-year, wostep-certified
      Degree: Certificate                                             Degree: wostep certificate, optional AA degree
      Enrollment: Weekly, 20 maximum                                  Enrollment: Annually in September, 12 maximum
      Cost: $554 per semester/state residents;                        Cost: $3,000 annually; tools, $2,200
      $1,504/out-of-state residents; equipment; $300                  Contact: Elaine Rolf
      Contact: Elbert Lewis                                                                       Continued on page 120

                                                                      Oklahoma State University.
                                                                      Watchmaking and Microtechnology Program
      Lititz Watch Technicum                                          Okmulgee, OK; (918) 293-5180
      Lititz, PA; (717) 625-3787;

118                                                                                          MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                                               students evaluate what they require        watchmaking schools in the Unit-
run within technical schools, two-             from the school and consider care-         ed States. Last August, the school
year colleges and others run inde-             fully their own interests and skills       at Oklahoma State University in
pendently (see chart).                         before applying to any school. To          Okmulgee announced that the
     The range is wide enough                  work in the field, most employers          Richemont Group, Breitling and
for those interested in a full-time            require experience—which comes             Audemars Piguet will donate
change in occupation or for the                after being employed in the field—         $500,000 to the school over the next
collector who wants only to con-               the usual Catch-22!                        five years. The funds will enable the
fidently work on his or her own                     However, experience is not            school to accept more students and
mechanical timepieces at home.                 difficult to generate, especially          hire additional staff. The school last
     These schools offer their own             for new graduates of watchmaking           year sent its newest instructor, Stan-
degrees or certificates, but an                schools. Most instructors will today       ley McMahan, to obtain advanced
additional option remains—appli-               tell you demand is high for watch-         training in Switzerland.
cation to take a test for Certified            makers. Schools report that their               A year earlier, Rolex built a mul-
Master Watchmaker, Certified                   graduates are typically scooped            timillion dollar repair facility, the
Master Clockmaker or one of the                up by retailers, service centers or        Lititz Watch Technicum, in Lititz,
other specialty certificates offered           watch firms whose demand to this           Pennsylvania, which incorporates
through AWI (see page 118). The                day remains unfilled.                      a wostep-certified watchmaking
AWI certificate has long been rec-                                                        school. More than 100 prospective
ognized by the industry as a strong                  Increased Industry Funding           students, whose tuition is free upon
indication of a particular horolog-            Perhaps that’s why many high-end           acceptance, apply annually for the
ical proficiency.                              watch firms have begun funding             coveted twelve positions .
     Juaire suggests that potential


      Programs: Two-year wostep-certified program with associ-     Degree: Diploma, followed by application for AWI certifica-
      ate degree additional year (if needed)                       tion
      Degree: Associate degree with wostep certificate             Enrollment: 16 each semester
      Enrollment: Annually, in January, 12 maximum                 Cost: Approximately $115 per credit or about $4,381 annu-
      Cost: $5,544 total two-year program; associate degree        ally; tools, $400
      additional; equipment, $1,000                                Contact: Joe Juaire
      Contact: Wit Jarochowski or Stan McMahan
                                                                   Winter Park Tech
      Paris Junior College                                         Winter Park, FL; (407) 622-2900
      Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology,                       Programs: Two-year college, evening classes twice weekly
      Horology Department.                                         Contact: Kenneth Pell
      Paris, TX; (903) 782-0445;
      Programs: 16-month course (1,760 hrs) in all aspects of
      Degree: Horology with associate degree possible
      Enrollment: Three times annually, 18 students/course         Source: American Watch Association
      Cost: From $438 per four-month period/local        
      residents to $978/out-of-region
      Contact: Frank Poye
      St. Paul College
      St. Paul, MN; (651) 846-1600
      Programs: 3,000-hour, two-year course, follows wostep
      guidelines though not certified

120                                                                                       MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                                                                              tant,” adds Juaire who notes that
                                                                              many of his best students had little
                                                                              knowledge of fine watches prior to
                                                                              entering his program. This year’s
                                                                              classes include a former tool and
                                                                              die machinist, a computer techni-
                                                                              cian, a former accounting special-
                                                                              ist, a quality-control specialist and
                                                                              several model makers from the
                                                                              jewelry world. At North Seattle,
                                                                              Rolf says this year’s classes include
                                                                              a sculptor, a coffee-store manager, a
                                                                              construction worker, a businessman
                                                                              and an accountant.
                                                                                    “Persistence is key,” she adds.
                                                                              “It’s also important that a watch-
                                                                              maker can see how one tiny ad-
                                                                              justment affects the whole move-

                                                                                       Challenging Career
                                      A steady hand and delicate touch are
                                      critical assets for upcoming watch-
                                                                              Jan Muellenbach had just the
                                      makers.                                 right amount of persistence and at-
                                                                              tention to detail to become a top
                                                                              student, explains Juaire. At age 51,
                                           “Good watchmakers need good        Muellenbach was an accounting
                                      eye-hand coordination, are persis-      specialist who left her position in
                                      tent in nature and enjoy solving        search of a challenging and reward-
                                      problems,” explains Elaine Rolf,        ing career change.
                                      chief instructor at North Seattle            “I went to get a clock fixed and
                                      Community College’s Watch Tech-         I happened to ask my clockmaker
                                      nology Institute.                       friend about what I could pursue,”
                                           Rolf, a former co-manager          she recalls. “He said ‘Why not fix
     Rolex also donated $1 million    of the repair division for the Ben      clocks.’ I had never thought about
to North Seattle Community Col-       Bridge chain of jewelry stores based    it before that,” she says. “But I’ve
lege in 2000, so it could continue    in Seattle, doesn’t ask about such      always liked jigsaw puzzles and I
its wostep-certified school.          aptitude directly. Each applicant to    have patience from my accounting
                                      North Seattle’s program is required     background.”
      What’s Needed to Succeed?       to take a preliminary test, as do all        Jan graduated in 18 months
Enjoyment of collecting doesn’t       other wostep-accredited schools in      from St. Joseph College’s two-year
necessarily translate into aptitude   the United States and worldwide.        program and says she “loved ev-
for professional watchmaking.         The test effectively weeds out those    ery minute of it.” Now she and a
     “First, you need to determine    that lack the initial skills for the    partner are looking into opening a
whether you enjoy collecting more     highly competitive and demand-          trade shop.
than repairing,” says Wit Jaro-       ing program. But, she adds, poten-           Juaire recalls that Muellenbach
chowski, instructor at OSU. “If you   tial students to most schools don’t     was an excellent student, and her
just like something nice and shiny    require such a test. At St. Paul Col-   desire to learn each day made her
but don’t have a passion to make      lege, and at most other schools, in-    a pleasure to teach. Plus, she had
things work, watchmaking may not      structors interview applicants.         patience. “Patience is very impor-
retain your interest,” he adds.            “Attention to detail is impor-     tant.” he adds. “It’s like learning

122                                                                           MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH
Alpha Omega’s new flagship store in Harvard

  THE         BEST              OF     BOSTON

In busIness for more                 This premier new eng-
than twenty-five years, Alpha    land retailer has a watch ros-
Omega has become an icon of      ter that reads like a “who’s
boston shopping since open-      who” of swiss Horology.
ing its doors in 1976.           With more than thirty brands,
    Today, Alpha Omega           Alpha Omega has something
has four stores—all presti-      for everyone. selected as one
giously located in boston        of six u.s. jewelers autho-
and its surrounding areas,       rized to carry the exclusive
and all stocked with equally     A. Lange & söhne brand,
as impressive merchandise.       Alpha Omega proudly offers
named a “best of boston”         limited-edition pieces, one-
winner by Boston Magazine        of-a-kind pieces and some
for seven consecutive years,     of the most difficult-to-find
Alpha Omega owes its suc-        timepieces. Its brand selec-
cess to its savvy selection,     tion includes such names as
the incredible knowledge         blancpain, breguet, breitling,
and ethics of its owners and     Concord, Girard-Perregaux,
associates, and its excellent    IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Pan-
service.                         erai, Rolex, ulysse nardin  p


President and owner of Alpha
Omega, Raman Handa, travels reg-
ularly to Switzerland to learn of the
newest timepieces expected to ap-
pear on the market, often snapping
up the most coveted. The retailer is
extremely adept at matching stock
to the needs and tastes of his cli-
entele, sometimes even buying a
particular timepiece with a specific
customer in mind.
     “A. Lange & Söhne has been
performing extremely well in all our
stores,” says Handa. “In fact, four of
our customers have recently traded
in their Patek Philippe watches for
new A. Lange & Söhne pieces.”
     In addition to its top-notch
collections, Alpha Omega offers
premier watch service and is a one-      Top left: Alpha Omega owner Raman Handa (center) pictured with his son, Amit,
stop source for any watch repair         and daughter, nidhi.
needs. Employing a master watch-         Top right: Mr. Handa and Walter Lange at Alpha Omega’s recent A. Lange & Söhne event.
                                         Above: This is just one of the A. Lange & Söhne timepieces Alpha Omega offers.
maker, engraver and a host of other      “A. Lange & Söhne has been performing extremely well in our stores,” says Mr. Handa.
artisans, the retailer’s watch servic-
es run the gamut from such basics
as battery replacement and bracelet
sizing to water sealing, case, crystal   the watch will be shipped to the               gemstone jewelry and regularly
and bracelet polishing, to complete      manufacturer for repair.                       works with customers to create
watch overhauling.                            A diamond specialist with cer-            custom jewelry. The store’s profes-
     If Alpha Omega cannot ser-          tified GIA jewelers on staff, Alpha            sional team of experts will work
vice your watch on the premises, a       Omega also offers a wonderful ar-              one-on-one with you on the design,
free estimate will be provided and       ray of gold, platinum, diamond and             ensuring that you choose the per-

126                                                                                     MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH


       A. Lange & Söhne
        Baume & Mercier
           Bedat & Co.
                            Alpha Omega features a wide array of jewelry and timepieces from the prestigious Bvlgari
               Ebel         brand.
       glashütte Original
               gucci        fect stones and precious metals.              and jewelry and features a number
            Hamilton             “Recently, a 20-year-old wo-             of custom-made boutiques for Bau-
                iWC         man came into one of our stores               me & Mercier, Blancpain, Breguet,
                            after seeing a diamond bracelet in            Christian Dior, Ebel, Glashütte
                            our window. She inquired as to the            Original, Gucci, Jaeger-LeCoul-
            Longines        cost of the bracelet, and I told her it       tre, Longines, Montblanc, Omega,
           Montblanc        was $9,000. Right then she opened             Panerai, Rado, TAG Heuer and
             Movado         her bag, took a small dog out,                Zenith.
             Omega          placed the bracelet around its neck                The new store has several
             Panerai        and said, ‘I’ll take it.’ These are the       unique elements, the first of which
                            kinds of things that make our busi-           is Alpha Omega Express, an indi-
                            ness so interesting,” says Handa.             vidual store that stands adjacent
               Rado              Alpha Omega has locations in             to the Harvard Square subway
         Raymond Weil       Harvard Square in Cambridge, the              station. This 375-square-foot re-
               Rolex        Burlington Mall, Shops at the Pru-            tail space sells only those watches
           TAg Heuer        dential Center in Boston and the              priced under $1,000. Alpha Ome-
              Tissot        Natick Mall.                                  ga Express opens into the main
                                 Its much-anticipated flagship            store, which boasts a 2,600-square-
          ulysse nardin
                            location at 1380 Massachusetts                foot Swiss watch and jewelry space
      Vacheron Constantin   Avenue opened this past Novem-                on the first floor. The second floor
              Zenith        ber. Situated in the heart of Har-            houses luxury brands, and a 1,000-
                            vard Square, it boasts three levels           square-foot service area comprises
                            and 6,100 square feet of watches              the lower level.

128                                                                       MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

     “We believe in service and                         Award-winning Alpha Omega is not only one of new Eng-
that’s why we have devoted an en-
                                                        land’s premier jewelers but also ranks highly among Amer-
tire floor to it,” Handa said.
     Alpha Omega’s knowledgeable                        ica’s finest retailers. More than thirty of the world’s most
staff is trained in expert apprais-                     prestigious watch brands can be found at any of Alpha
als. This complimentary service is
included with the purchase of any      Omega’s four locations in and around the greater Boston area.
watch or piece of jewelry.
     Alpha Omega is also an ex-
pert in the trade-in business. Sim-
ply bring in your old watches and
jewelry for a free on-site appraisal
toward the expense of your new
     Each year, Alpha Omega hosts      of Lange timepieces. Three hun-         Festival at the Charles Hotel, the
a variety of special events within     dred and fifty people attended the      Nantucket Wine Festival, the
the Boston area. Its recent A.         successful event, including a large     Concours D’Elegance, the Boston
Lange & Söhne event was held at        number of avid watch collectors.        Ballet, and Community Servings,
the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel            Alpha Omega proudly spon-           which delivers free, hot meals to
in Boston. Walter Lange and A.         sors a number of charities and          people with AIDS, their depen-
Lange & Söhne USA president            annual events throughout greater        dents and their caregivers through-
Marcia Mazzocchi were present          Boston, including the Anthony           out the Boston area.             C
along with an extensive collection     Spinazzola Foundation Charity,
                                       the Boston Wine Festival, the Jazz

  Alpha Omega Offers                                                 Store Hours

  c one of new England’s largest se-          Harvard Square                     Shops at the Prudential
    lections of fine watches                  Cambridge, MA                      Boston, MA
  c business gifts and incentives             Mon – Wed, Fri: 10 am – 6 pm       Mon – Sat: 10 am – 8 pm
  c watch overhauling                         Th: 10 am – 7 pm                   Sun: 11 am – 6 pm
  c polishing (of case, crystal               Sat: 10 am – 6 pm
    and bracelet)                             Sun: noon- 5 pm                    natick Mall
  c strap replacement                                                            natick, MA
  c bracelet sizing                           Burlington Mall                    Mon – Sat: 10 am – 10 pm
  c watch battery replacement                 Burlington, MA                     Sun: 11 am – 7 pm
  c water sealing                             Mon – Sat.: 10 am – 10 pm
  c expert watch repair                       Sun: 11 am – 7 pm                  Tel. (800) 447-4367
  c personalized engraving
  c complimentary jewelry

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                              129
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     T h e      p e r f e c T          A d d i T i o n   T o   A n y       W A T c h    c o l l e c T o r ’ s            l i b r A r y

NeTimepieces: Masterpieces of Chronometry by                                                     New
     David Christianson                                                                          100 Years of Vintage Watches: A Collector’s
     Timepieces relates the history of clocks and                                                Identification & Price Guide
                                                                                                 by Dean Judy
     looks at the remarkable influence the pursuit
     of precision timekeeping has had on scien-                                                 Whether you are just starting out in search of
     tific and technological developments.                                                      a vintage timepiece or are already a seasoned
            Timepieces is also a superior collection                                            watch collector, this indispensable guide
     of photographs and artwork—both histori-                                                   features the history of watchmaking and col-
     cal and contemporary—that have never                                                       lecting, offers tips on searching for watches,
     before been brought together in one presentation. It is a sophis-        helps you understand how to ascertain the condition of vintage
     ticated yet accessible book that will appeal to amateur historians,

NeWristwatches: A Connoisseur’s Guide by Frank
                                                                                                   Rolex: Collecting Wristwatches 2001
                                                                                                   by Osvaldo Patrizzi
                                                                                                     An impressive new edition, updated and
                                                                                                     expanded to 512 pages, it is an essential
     An indispensable reference book for today’s
                                                                                                     book for watch enthusiasts, collectors and
     collector, Wristwatches is an informative guide
                                                                                                     professionals alike. A tribute to the great
     to the world’s best wristwatches that tells the
                                                                                                     history of Rolex wristwatches, this unique
     fascinating history of watches and also gives
                                                                              volume is the ultimate reference work on the subject. Over 300
     hints on starting a collection and practical tips
                                                                              color illustrations and in-depth descriptions provide invaluable
     on what to look for in a good watch.
                                                                              information on each timepiece. All the finest models of Rolex
     The Best Of Time—Rolex Wristwatches—                                     watches that have appeared on the auction market are also fully
     An Unauthorized History. 2nd Edition by                                  illustrated in color. The book is further enhanced by an index of
     James M. Dowling and Jeffrey P. Hess
     A lavishly illustrated revised and
     expanded new                                                                                          Patek Philippe: Collecting
     volume that celebrates the watches                                                                    Patek Philippe Watches
     produced by this great manufac-                                                                       by Madeleine and Osvaldo Patrizzi
     turer over the last 90 years, this is the                                                             This impressive 350-page volume
     most thorough and extensive his-                                                                      includes a brief history of this pres-
     tory ever written about the company.                                                                  tigious Geneva watchmaking com-
     Information for collectors and current                                                                pany. Written in both English and
     market values of the watches make this                                                                Italian, this commemorative book
     a truly useful volume and one that will                                                               illustrates a spectacular spectrum of

     Automatic Wristwatches From
     Switzerland: Watches that Wind                                                                        Automatic Wristwatches from
     Themselves by Heinz Hampel                                                                            Germany, England, France, Japan,
     The automatic mechanism was a                                                                         Russia and the USA by Heinz Hampel
     major advance in the history of the                                                                   While often associated with
     wristwatch. The successful design                                                                     Switzerland, manufacturers in many
     became the hallmark of the skilled                                                                    other nations have produced wonder-
     Swiss watchmaker as the technology                                                                    ful automatic wristwatches. Richly
     developed in the years from 1926 to                                                                   illustrated with over 400 photos, this
     1978. 200 watches are discussed rep-                                                                  book explores the work of German,
     resenting all the Swiss manufactures.                                                                 English, French, Japanese, Russian
     Each is illustrated with three photos                                                                 and US watchmakers. A total of 123
     to show the dial, and the complete                                                                    watches are illustrated in three differ-
     and partly disassembled movement. Information on their mecha-                                         ent views and are described in detail.

     Swiss Wristwatches: Chronology of                                                                     Time in Gold: Wristwatches
     Worldwide Success by Gisbert L. Brunner                                                               by Gerald Viola & Gisbert L. Brunner
     and Christian Pfeiffer-Belli                                                                          The history of the 18 leading luxury
     An overview of Swiss wristwatch designs                                                               wristwatch companies of Switzerland
     in the 20th century with nearly 650                                                                   richly illustrated with beautiful pho-
     photographs, this book illustrates the                                                                tos. Here are the most important
     many forms and styles of casings, dials                                                               and elegant watches of Audemars
     and hands along with manufacturer’s                                                                   Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Blancpain,
     literature, advertising and catalogs. The                                                             Breguet, Cartier, Chopard, Corum,
     firms of Omega, Longines, Cyma, Breitling,                                                            Ebel, Gerald Genta, Gerard-Perregaux,
     Doxa, Universal, Movado and Zenith are                                                                IWC, Jaeger-LeCoulrte, Patek Philippe,
     represented, and a price guide makes it a                                                             Piaget, Rolex, Ulysse Nardin and
     valuable reference for all collectors. Size:                                                          Vacheron Constantin, making this an
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T h e     p e r f e c T         A d d i T i o n    T o    A n y    W A T c h   c o l l e c T o r ’ s       l i b r A r y

Breitling timepieces: 1884 to                                                               Marine and Pocket Chronometers
the present by Benno Richter                                                                by Hans von Bertele
This book amply illustrates the entire spec-                                               The development of the chronometer
trum of Breitling’s products with 322 photos                                               was an important step in the develop-
from its founding in 1884 to the present.                                                  ment of the navigational arts. Nearly
Reference numbers document the produc-                                                     350 of these handsome and complicat-
tion history and help the collector locate                                                 ed timepieces are illustrated here with
individual watches chronologically. An up-                                                 a special emphasis on their movements.
to-date price guide is also included. Size:                                                This book follows the history of the
                                                                                           chronometer, with short biographies
                                                                                           of the most important manufactur-
Omega Designs: Feast for the Eyes                                                          ers and an extensive appendix. Size:
by Anton Kreuzer
An illustrated description of all the watch                                                 Wristwatches: History of a Century’s
movements manufactured by the Omega                                                         Development by Helmut Kathlert, Richard
Watch Co. since the registration of its                                                     Muhe and Gisbert Brunner
trademark in 1894, this book features                                                      This respected reference for collectors
over 400 watches that are shown in 414                                                     of wristwatches includes hundreds of
photographs. The company has made                                                          watches in nearly 2000 photos, which
precision pocket and wristwatches includ-                                                  celebrate both the style and mechan-
ing the world famous chronometer                                                           ics of the designs. Watches from
wristwatch Constellation, the diver’s                                                      around the world, their makers, tech-
watch Seamaster, and the chronograph                                                       nological changes, construction, and
wristwatch Speedmaster professional.                                                       automatic features all are discussed. A
                                                                                           current price guide by noted author-
Vintage Rolex Sports Models:                                                               ity Gordon Converse is included. Size:
A complete Visual Reference and
Unauthorized history
                                                                                            Pocket Watches by Reinhard Meis
by Martin Skeet and Nick Urul
                                                                                           The classic history of the pocket watch,
A comprehensive and detailed refer-
                                                                                           illustrated with over 900 photos is clear-
ence guide to Rolex sports models and
                                                                                           ly shown in hundreds of clear photos,
an indispensable asset to watch collec-
                                                                                           while the text explains the mechanisms
tors and dealers, this informative book
                                                                                           and manufactures. Included are pocket
covers the history of the Submariner,
                                                                                           watches of international origins dat-
Explorer, GMT-Master, Turn-O-Graph,
                                                                                           ing from about 1150 to the present,
Milgauss and Cosmograph watches
                                                                                           with discussions of watch movements,
from 1952 to 1990. The history of more
                                                                                           escapements, striking movements,
than a hundred and forty vintage models is described in detail,

Wristwatch Chronometers: Mech-anical                                                        American Wristwatches: Five Decades of
Precision Watches and Their Testing by Fritz                                                Style and Design
Von Osterhausen                                                                             by Edward Faber & Stewart Unger, with
A richly illustrated, detailed account                                                      Ettagale Blauer
of wristwatch chronometers and the                                                         This informative volume discusses the
rigorous testing they must undergo to                                                      development of wristwatch styles in
become certified, over 400 photos docu-                                                    America, from the early years of the
ment this crowning achievement of the                                                      20th century to the age of quartz revolu-
watch-makers art while information about                                                   tion. Richly illustrated with over 700
testing methods, procedures, and guide-                                                    American wristwatches period by peri-
lines make it clear how great a challenge                                                  od, this book brings life to some of the
                                                                                           people who influenced its development.
The Movado History
by Fristz von Osterhausen                                                                   Chronograph Wristwatches: To Stop Time
A lavishly illustrated history of Movado                                                    by Gerd-R. Lang & Reinhard Meis
from its roots in the Jura Mountains in                                                    Hundreds of photographs illustrate
1881 through more than a century of                                                        this outstanding look at the history,
tradition and technological advance-                                                       development and identification of
ment. Over the years, Movado has                                                           wrist chronographs-mechanical wrist-
earned a reputation for pioneering                                                         watches that, in addition to their nor-
the art of wristwatches, high-precision                                                    mal clockwork, have a mechanism that
movements and watches with complica-                                                       allows them to time short-term events.
tions, as well as water-resistant watches,                                                 Both the technological and design
and their accomplishments are cel-                                                         achievements are explored and
ebrated here in 250 color photos and informative text. Size:
8.5”x11”, 250 color photos, 234pp., hard cover, $89.95 + $8 s/h.

                                          A Tour of the

             RGM Facility         In Lancaster County, PA

                                          BY   CURTIS   THOMSON

I   n 1999 I was a watchmaking
    student at the National As-
    sociation of Watch and Clock
Collectors’ School of Horology in
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania,
                                      in the shadow of Lancaster’s Ham-
                                      ilton Watch Company.
                                           As luck, or the lack thereof,
                                      would have it, I did not have the
                                                                           with the breadth and appearance
                                                                           of quality in the RGM stable of
                                                                           watches. Upon returning to Lan-
                                                                           caster in 2001, after being away for
when I first heard of Roland Murphy   chance to meet Roland while I        little more than a year, I began the
and RGM. I was quite intrigued to     attended or taught school in Lan-    business of restoring watches and
know that an American watchmak-       caster. I of course was well aware   clocks. To be honest, the thought
er had his own brand that had been    of what RGM was doing over the       of visiting Roland had left my
producing nicely executed watches     years through,        mind by then.
since 1993 in my own backyard.        meeting collectors and the like,          As a diversion from work at the
And not only that, he was doing so    and, I must say, I was impressed     bench, I started writing sporadic

132                                                                        MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

articles for Some-
time in late fall ’02, I was asked by
IWW to visit RGM. It’s funny how
life’s opportunities reveal them-
selves: The moment my thoughts
drifted from a visit to RGM, the
chance arose.
     On a cold and rainy Novem-
ber afternoon, three years after
first hearing of Roland Murphy, I
find myself driving to his place of
business. Mount Joy, Pennsylvania,
is an unfamiliar part of Lancaster
County, so I drive slowly, peering
through the rain looking for what
was once the local bank and is now
America’s foremost luxury watch
company.                                Murphy refinishes a screw to the required RGM standard.
     After mistakenly guessing sev-
eral approaching bank-like build-
ings to be RGM, I came upon this        10-mm lathe, a jig borer and a small         me from the stairs, I knew it was
simple but attractive two-story cor-    high speed precision drill—line the          him. After a firm handshake and
ner building, with RGM stenciled        other side of the room. A beautiful          warm greeting, we made our way
on the door and a monogrammed           rose engine sits proudly in the cor-         upstairs. Explaining that they had
clock above. Parking on the side        ner, which, I am later told, will not        moved to this location earlier in
street, I find that the doors to RGM    be used for dials but for doing deco-        the year, he spoke of renovations
are locked, which immediately im-       rative work to casebacks. Cleaning           to the building, which is owned by
parts two thoughts: 1) Walk-ins are     machines, buffers, case refinishing          RGM. With obvious pleasure he
not welcome, and 2) serious busi-       and the like are found in small, en-         pointed out various details of the
ness goes on behind these doors.        closed rooms.                                building. And who could blame
     After a moment of waiting the           Standing there, taking it all           him? It was fantastic! Alive with
door is opened by one of the four       in, I began to think that RGM was            history and romance, it encom-
watchmakers employed at RGM.            as much a repair center as it is a           passes two essential watchmaking
After a quick introduction I am         watch brand. This was a fair assess-         ingredients.
asked to wait for someone to lead       ment and one that is a reality for                The business elements of
me upstairs, which gives me the         the little fish in the Swiss watch           RGM are upstairs. In the shipping/
chance to preview RGM’s work-           ocean. RGM must be diversified               receiving office, Mike keeps an ac-
ing area. The ground floor is spa-      in its business strategy, which in-          curate account of all items coming
cious, a large room with high ceil-     cludes authorized service accounts           in and going out, which, from em-
ings, good light and plenty of room     for several Swiss brands, as well as         pirical evidence, is well organized
for expansion. Being an old bank        repair work for select jewelry stores        and furiously paced. We pass an-
there is a secure vault where the       and individual clients. “It gives us         other room as we make our way
watches (new and old) are safely        a good anchor of work,” Roland               into his office. It is a large office
stored. Four watchmakers—Marty,         would later explain.                         with a round table for discussion,
Ralph, Allen and Russ—are busy               While I had never met Roland            or entertaining. Roland offers me
repairing watches, from chrono-         I had seen his picture many times in         a seat and then sits behind his L-
graphs to quartz time-only pieces,      print and on the Internet, so when           shaped desk and instinctively grabs
on one side of the room, while sev-     a burly man wearing a green RGM              the computer’s mouse and clicks
eral watchmaker’s lathes—a Levin        golf shirt and a smile approached            away at what must be hundreds of

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                                    133

                                                                    Left: Limited to twenty-five pieces, RGM’s
                                                                    18-karat gold Master Chronograph retails for

                                                                    Below: This rose engine is used to produce a vari-
                                                                    ety of circular patterns on cases and dials.
                                                                    In French, the machine is known as a “Tour à
                                                                    Guillocher” and the pieces as guilloché.

emails received weekly.                RGM has provided its customers            laged plates, as are the undersides of
     Casually he begins, “We don’t     with some of the best value-for-the-      the bridges and cocks. All of RGM’s
build RGM watches every day, but       money watches in the industry.            watches receive this added value
we may go through spurts where         To illustrate this point, we discuss      and fineness, performed by Mr.
we build RGM watches for several       RGM’s Master Chronograph.                 Murphy himself. The bridges are
days. We may build twenty to twen-          The Master Chronograph (lim-         hand-engraved by a master engrav-
ty-five pieces [of a certain model]    ited to twenty-five pieces) has an        er, which adds to the individuality
and then may not build that watch      18-karat rose gold case with sap-         of the piece as the engraver’s hand
for several months before we build     phire crystal and display back and        will never exactly duplicate the pre-
it again.”                             is a comfortable 38.5 mm in diam-         vious work—a little deeper here, a
     Building between 275 and 300      eter and 12.6 mm in thickness. The        little lighter there, a bit more fanci-
watches each year, RGM has de-         nicely executed case houses a 17-         ful today than that of yesterday. All
veloped a portfolio of timepieces in   jewel, manual wind, rhodium-plated        steel parts are finished as required,
eleven years that is quite compre-     Valjoux 23 movement. This classic         including all screw heads to a flat
hensive. From time-only pieces to      column-wheel chronograph has per-         polish. Excluding the hand-engrav-
minute repeaters and tourbillons,                                                ing, the finishing work described

134                                                                              MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

Point of distinction: One of the unique aspects of RGM is its ability to provide custom-
ordered watches to its clients. These watches are a prime example. RGM does not
currently offer a one-minute tourbillon with minute repetition, but when one was request-
ed, the wish was granted. Above right is a minute repeating perpetual calendar.

Right: This unique piece is powered by the 26-jewel Valjoux 7750 automatic movement.
The plates and bridges are perlaged, with the exception of the automatic bridge, which
is engine-turned. The skeletonized rotor is both engine-turned and hand-engraved.

above and the assembling and ad-                     Being an all-American com-
justing of the movement takes the               pany certainly separates RGM from
better part of a week. The engine-              the Swiss-dominated industry, but
turned dial, with seconds and 30-               something else also separates it from
minute registers is gorgeous, as are            the crowd. RGM is one of the few
the blued steel hands.                          companies that will undertake cus-
     Moving to Richard Baugh’s                  tom jobs. Can’t find design features
office, RGM’s graphic designer,                 you want on the market? Call Ro-
website designer for RGM and                    land and Rich and they will work
Equation of Time (Murphy’s watch                with you to find a solution. Using
discussion forum), photographer                 the computer, they are able to offer
and Roland’s right-hand man when                customers a dizzying array of modi-
designing watch cases and dials                 fications and alternatives for case
for RGM, I see the heart of the                 materials, dials (enamel, engine-
company’s creative body. Rich is a              turned, engraved, color), hands,            billon, minute repeater wristwatch
talented artist who wears both the              movement features, etc. Each step           that they have recently delivered
advertising and marketing hat for               of the way they share their prog-           to a customer. This watch has an
the company. Any drawings, lo-                  ress with the customer via accurate         engine-turned dial (with both the
gos, brochures, etc. are all under              computer printouts, so that each            customer’s initials and the RGM
his umbrella. As recently as a year             party knows and understands ex-             logo) with portions cut away to
ago, Roland shouldered the load                 actly what is being discussed.              expose the tourbillon, hour and
himself, but he now assists in these                 As an example, they show me            minute hammers and motion work,
areas at various levels.                        a platinum-cased, one-minute tour-          all of which enhance the experi-

136                                                                                         MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

ence for this particular purchaser.    order; there is something that will   stunning minute repeating, perpet-
Roland plans to offer a handful of     be ready that they can attach their   ual calendar and the other a one-
these pieces without the initials.     name to now and it could be theirs.   minute tourbillon. Both watches
“There are a couple of different di-   Primarily watches like that take a    have brilliantly executed engine-
als I have had made, and over the      long time.” Indeed.                   turned dials. The posters remind
next year I will have, maybe, one           Leaving Rich’s office, Roland    me that, while RGM’s bestselling
piece available that someone could     points to his secretary Karen’s of-   watches are from the affordable
buy that would be done. It’s not       fice. He then points to two RGM       Pilot line, this company has some-
something that they have to special    posters on the walls, one being a     thing to offer at all ends of the

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                          137

spectrum of the collecting rainbow,     shaped movement, which offers               some of the special [products] we
and at a value and quality that few     four versions: three of the four have       need come from other companies,
comparably priced watches can           a power reserve sector with either          so we do have concerns about the
match.                                  subseconds, moon phase or calendar          supply of hairsprings and escape-
      As we walk past a stack of Fe-    at 6 o’clock. The fourth version is a       ments and things like that, which
dEx boxes on our way downstairs,        jumping-hour (aperture at 12) watch         come from Nivarox. This concerns
Roland explains, “Repairs are by far    with eccentric minute chapter ring          us because we have some inven-
the largest [percentage of the RGM      and subseconds at 6 o’clock. All four       tory, for instance, on our William
business] because we are doing so       versions have engine-turned dials.          Penn, where we have a lot of cases
much work for so many compa-                 I will refrain from further de-        and things, and we need to be able
nies. Also it gives us an advantage     tails since there is so much more I         to get those ebauches. If our sup-
to see all sorts of products in the     could talk about; however, it was           plier has trouble getting what we
things that we do: vintage restora-     time well spent and allowed us to           need, that could be an expensive
tions from Patek, minute repeaters      speak about The Swatch Group                problem. Since we are not yet sure
and modern chronographs.” He es-        and about the direction in which            what the final situation is, we are
timates that they will have repaired    he plans to take his company.               still in a wait-and-see mode for the
around 1,600 watches for the year            As with most in the watch in-          moment.
2002. At this point Roland informs      dustry, Roland has some concerns                  “But, we are going to continue
me of the plans for the rest of the     over the posturing of The Swatch            making watches with new move-
visit. “I am going to demonstrate for   Group. “It affects a few of our sup-        ments, using various ETA move-
you, while you are here today, the      pliers. I am not sure exactly how           ments and other movements; we
beginning of Master Chrono. I can       far it will affect what we are do-          are also going to be using some
demonstrate the perlage, if you’d       ing. We are going to be ordering            more vintage movements that we’ll
like.” With much pleasure I agree to    some things directly from ETA.              be transforming in other models.
the plan, but first we enter the safe   We are an approved customer of              There are a few other projects we
and have a look about.                  ETA, so we don’t really have a              are working on. We’re pretty wide
      The safe holds the RGM in-        problem buying from them. But               open with the various calibers and
ventory, which includes many
cases, movements and all repair
work. With great interest I await       Below: Preparing to perlage the plate of the Master Chronograph movement.
the first of several black velvet       Opposite page: A perlaged Master Chrono plate.
trays with what would be my first
up close and personal examination
of RGM watches. The first watch I
see is the Master Chronograph and
it is truly a gorgeous watch. There
is a three-register chronograph in
the new style chrono case, an en-
graved movement and a dial from
the old Gold Chrono watch of
years past. This combination gives
someone the opportunity to buy a
unique piece, without having to
have RGM build a custom watch.
One of my favorite RGM lines is
the William Penn, of which, two
of the four styles were present (one
with moon phase and one with
calendar). The uniquely shaped
rectangular case houses a tonneau-

138                                                                                  MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

things that we are willing to try                                                     set, so the circular pattern left
to use. As long as they meet                                                              by the tool will be uniform
the certain quality crite-                                                                   throughout. The drill is
ria we can upgrade them                                                                        operated at a high speed
to where they need to                                                                           as the plate is rotated,
be—it really isn’t a                                                                              by hand, on a jig,
problem.”                                                                                          which allows con-
     What about an                                                                                  centric circles to be
in-house caliber, you                                                                                made. In other re-
may wonder? Well,                                                                                    cesses of the plate,
there are drawings                                                                                   it is not possible
for such a thing, but                                                                                to use the jig and
without the finan-                                                                                   these areas are
cial backing to sup-                                                                                 done free-hand,
port the research and                                                                               with a smaller abra-
development, it is not                                                                             sive bit.
an option. Plus, there                                                                                 The work is not
are still the concerns sur-                                                                     complicated, but does
rounding hairsprings and                                                                      require some care if it
escapements from Nivarox.                                                                   is to be done properly. It
So, no, a new caliber from the                                                           takes a full day to perlage all
ground up is not in the pipeline,                                                    the necessary surfaces, which
but that doesn’t rule out modifica-                                              is the first step in the decorative
tions or modules for existing cali-                                             process for the bridges and cocks.
bers if he is so inclined.              think this makes       a nice bal-      Next, they are sent off to the hand-
     What Roland does see for the       ance.”                                  engraver. RGM offers several deco-
future is growth in production. He           Ending on that note, the           rative finishes, but Roland is clear
would like the company to build         watches are put away and we go to       on his favorite. “I personally prefer
between 500 and 1,000 watches a         his bench, which is on the oppo-        hand-engraving on a movement.
year within the next several years.     site side of the room of the other      Most people who purchase watches
This is a very attainable goal giv-     watchmakers, with the machin-           are not watchmakers, but the beau-
en the quality of the product and       ing equipment. It is here that he       ty of a hand-engraved movement—
efforts made yearly to offer some-      will demonstrate the perlage tech-      the way it reflects the light—is ap-
thing new to the purchaser.             niques he uses on all of the watch-     parent to whomever you show it to.
Whether it is a completely new          es he builds and, in this case, the     The combination of hand-engrav-
model or a cosmetic variation to        Master Chronograph.                     ing and perlage captures light in
an existing model, RGM aims                  Showing me a vintage Val-          such a beautiful manner.”
to keep its fans interested and         joux 23 movement, he proceeds to             In addition to demonstrating
pleased. Additionally, there is no      disassemble it, and all steel parts,    his perlage technique Roland also
real desire to grow beyond 1,000        including eccentric screws, are re-     refinishes a screw head, which is
watches a year. “Our goal is to stay    moved from the plate and cleaned        in especially bad condition, us-
small; to create small series of spe-   of oil, grease and debris. Moving       ing various grades of 3M papers
cial pieces that have a lot of hand-    the plate to the high-speed drill,      starting with a course grain and
work and a lot of care to them.         he inserts an industry-standard         progressively working toward a
This makes them more exclusive          abrasive bit, which comes in a va-      fine grain for the final finish. The
because there aren’t that many of       riety of diameters, for perlage into    Levin 10-mm lathe is used with the
them. To continue our business the      the drilling spindle. It is important   screw being held in a microdrilling
way it is, with our alliances, with     that the end of the bit is flat and     attachment on the crossslide and
the companies we service, the           that, once determined, the down-        rotated quickly. The 3M paper is
restorations of antique watches—I       ward vertical travel of the bit is      placed on a flat disc and rotated in

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                                   139

the opposite direction of the screw.
All screws and wheels are inspect-
ed for the quality of finish in the
vintage movements they use. If
any are found substandard, they are
refinished in the above manner.
     During the process of perlag-
ing, I ask Roland what he intends
to use his jig borer for. (A jig borer,
also known as a pointing machine,
is a high-precision tool used most
often in the production of proto-
types and one-off watches. A micro-
scope is used to locate the position
[x and y coordinates] of the hole.
Once the hole is located, the micro-
scope is slipped out and replaced
with a mill/drilling spindle to accu-     Added value: Roland perlages a barrel
rately drill a hole or do light mill-     cover (above); a nicely perlaged
ing operations.) “I am going to be        in-house module (right).
making a few one-off watches here
and there; a few specialty compli-
cations that won’t be found in our        future. He locked the doors and we
general catalog.”                         walked to our vehicles together in
     With that said, he shows me          the freezing rain of this cold No-
something he has been working on          vember night.
when time allows. Using a William              As I sat in my truck my mind
Penn movement as the base, he             raced over the events of the day. I
has made a module that converts           expected to find quality watches
its standard time telling into a          that proved to be of a superior
regulator style. Using the jig borer      value for the money—and that is         retro car for an American retro
to make the module plate, Roland          exactly what I found. Roland Mur-       watchmaker. RGM may never
found the other needed compo-             phy is keenly aware of what his         escape the shadow of Hamilton
nents in his stockpile of parts. Far      place is in the market. He quite        Watch Co., nor be fully accepted
from finished, the module needs to        simply provides the best watches        by the Swiss industry, but I don’t
be rhodium-plated, parts need to be       he can for his clientele. He was        think either thought occupies
finished, the base movement needs         honest and forward about whom           his mind. He is comfortable and
to be perlaged, hand-engraved,            his suppliers were and what he was      confident with RGM. And why
rhodium-plated, a special signature       doing and what he was not doing.        wouldn’t he be? It is America’s fin-
must be added, a William Penn             RGM uses proven, reliable move-         est watch company.                C
case needs to be modified for the         ments and gives them added value
added height and a unique dial will       with hand touches, such as hand-
be added to continue the fun. This        engraving and perlage, with first-      Curtis D. Thomson, a regular con-
one-off piece will be ready for Basel     rate dials and cases, while keeping     tributor to IWW, moderates the
2003—fingers crossed.                     the finished product exceedingly        AHCI forum at www.ThePuristS.
     After another quick tour of          affordable.                             com and is a restorer of antiquarian
the facility, it was time to close             I watched Roland pull away         timepieces. He may be contacted at
up. I thanked Roland for his time         in his PT Cruiser, which seemed
and he quickly offered his services       quite fitting to me; an American
to me if I needed anything in the

140                                                                               MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

BY    For Beginners

I   don’t know if the Loch Ness
    monster was reported to ema-
    nate any sounds during its vari-
ous sightings through the years, but
any sounds it might have produced,
                                        a factor of five. The resulting figure
                                        will not be far from the actual retail
                                        price for a current model minute
                                        repeater wristwatch in 18-karat yel-
                                                                                 understatement, the interior repre-
                                                                                 sents the highest achievement that
                                                                                 a watchmaker can attain, being
                                                                                 nothing less than the watchmaker’s
could in my view, never compare         low gold. For platinum versions a        Mount Everest. It is such an impor-
with the ethereal and almost mys-       factor of six, or for obsolete or spe-   tant status symbol that even some
tical tang-ting from the tiny gongs     cial versions a factor of ten should     major brands unable to produce
of a repeater wristwatch. Strangely     be closer to the mark.                   such watches in-house will go to
enough, the repeater wristwatch              The second problem for those        extraordinary lengths to have them
and the Loch Ness monster share         potential purchasers who do have         subcontracted out to small artisan
some superficial similarities: most     this kind of economic possibility        specialist workshops, afterward cas-
people have only seen these cre-        regards questions of taste concern-      ing and labeling them with their
ations in photographs and only          ing the appearance of such watches.      own name. (A couple of ébauche
a chosen few have been able to          For this six-digit figure, don’t think   firms do supply unfinished repeater
glimpse the real thing in the flesh.    you’ll impress the neighbors with        movements to the trade as an al-
This only underlines the fact that      a diamond-encrusted watch case           most standard item. Nonetheless,
the repeater wristwatch remains         having several subdials and push         the number of Great Houses and/
the most elusive, complicated and       buttons. The vast majority of wrist-     or watchmakers in the world today
expensive creation that exists in       watch repeaters will possess the         who are truly capable of designing
the world of pure horology today.       pure and simple lines of a perfectly     and building a repeater from the
There are several reasons for this      groomed thoroughbred, telling you        ground up can be counted on one
rarity status, perhaps the first and    only the hour, minute, and in the        hand. In fact, you will even have
foremost of which being the price       rarest of examples, the seconds. I       fingers left over.)
that one would have to pay in order     deliberately used the words “pure            These companies can be for-
to own one. To get an idea of what      horology” because this type of           given their pride. Given the factors
kind of six-digit figure we are dis-    watch represents a virtuoso exercise     mentioned above, a watch manu-
cussing here, take any catalog from     in mechanical wizardry that only         facturer—large or small—will not
one of the Great Houses, choose a       the true connoisseur of fine watch-      be able to produce or sell more
perpetual calendar watch from the       es would be able to appreciate. Al-      than five to ten such pieces in a
price list, check the price in plati-   though the exterior of a repeater        year; usually even far less than
num, and multiply this amount by        wristwatch is a major exhibition of      that. These timepieces have many

142                                                                              MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

more parts than any already com-         and economy of each particular              deep and one high note for each
plex perpetual calendar mecha-           historical period. Some of these            quarter that has passed) and the
nism contains and repeaters re-          variants, such as the five-minute           minutes (one high note for each
quire many hours of additional           repeater, the quarter-repeater or           minute in addition to the already
special finishing and construction.      half-quarter repeater, have not             chimed quarters) when an elon-
There is also much more that can         withstood the test of time. The             gated, sliding push piece on the
go wrong during this entire process.     minute repeater, the most compli-           side of the case opposite the crown
Even the eventual repair and nec-        cated form of repeater, later became        is pushed. A variant of this minute
essary cleaning of a repeater is the     the most popular type and is still          repeater type, the so called Grand
domain of the super specialist, and      offered today. This type of repeat-         Sonnerie or grand strike, strikes the
only the most gifted students with       er will tell the wearer the time by         hours and quarters automatically
top honors from the world’s watch-       chiming the hours (one deep note            (just as many public clocks do) as
making schools will have the nec-        for each hour) the quarters (one            well as the hours, quarters and min-
essary ability to take one to hand.
This is a world far removed even
from the intricacies and difficulties
of the tourbillon, or any other com-
plicated movement for that matter.
(Of course, I must necessarily eat
my words if we are talking about a
repeater wristwatch with perpetual
calendar and chronograph.)
     Although one would need to
read several books in order to un-
derstand all the details and com-
plexities of such a masterpiece, it is
possible to discuss some of the basic
concepts, intricacies and principles
held within the repeater’s move-
ment. These concepts can be eas-
ily understood and appreciated by
any watch lover, if you’re willing to
take a few minutes. Should you do
so, you’ll deepen your appreciation
of watchmaking a thousand fold.
(You might also be able to impress
your friends with your knowledge
in the watch-lover’s chat rooms on
the Internet as well.) Let’s dive in.

     What does a particular type
          of repeater do?
Repeaters, starting with the repeat-
er pocket watch of course (which
itself was inspired by the chiming
clocks of church or public tow-
ers and house clocks) developed                                                 Patek Philippe’s minute repeater with per-
                                                                                                     petual calendar 5074
into several types after its first
inception according to the fashion

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                                           143

utes at request by depressing a sepa-   of physics dictate that, just like             well as its thickness will have an
rate button. (The greatest specialist   tubular bells or wind chimes, the              effect on the sound and volume
for this type of repeater is Philippe   deeper pitched gong must be lon-               of these small gongs; a thick and
Dufour; he produces these master-       ger than the higher pitched gong               heavy case would easily dampen
pieces in his workshop located in       and have clear air space in which              the available volume and sonor-
the Valley de Joux, the very area of    to move. Yet this movement must                ity. Apart from the complicated
Switzerland in which these types of     not be so free as to allow it to come          movement itself, getting all these
repeater movements were produced        in contact with any other parts of             basic proportions just right is not
for hundreds of years. He is one of     the movement or case sides. Other-             easy, and for the watchmaker ad-
those few people in the entire world    wise this could result in a distinctly         ditional space is always welcome.
who makes and designs everything        unmusical rattling sound. In ad-               Patek Philippe went one step fur-
for these watches himself).             dition, the material of the case as            ther with this space problem of

         Give me a hammer...
Let’s start from the outside of the
movement and work toward the
     A repeater wristwatch must
have small gongs and hammers
in order to produce the required
sounds. The gongs themselves are
made of special steel alloys chosen
to produce a pure and clear sound,
and some firms such as Patek
Philippe have spent considerable
sums in researching the ideal alloy
for this purpose. The gongs have a
diameter roughly the thickness of a
string from a piano. They must fol-
low the curvature of the watch case
exactly and, in fact, their pitch is
partly determined by the case
diameter as well. Each pitch used
by a particular repeater requires a
separate gong and corresponding
hammer. In the standard minute re-
peater, two hammers, together with
a low- and high-pitched gong, are
required. In the case of a repeater
with a special chiming melody, it
could even be four gongs, with a        In the above illustration, you can see the two hammers for the low- and high-pitched
total of four hammers, as used by       gongs, located on the side away from the crown at about 9 o’clock. Both gongs are visible
                                        as they leave their fastening point directly in front of the hammers to make their freely
Ulysse Nardin in its amazing Geng-      vibrating, winding passage around the watch movement. Near the bottom of the picture
his Khan (featured in IWW #59).         you see the cut-out Calatrava cross, under which is found the governor with its two minus-
Here we encounter one of the first      cule weights. This governor acts as an ‘escapement’ for the chiming mechanism through
barriers to be overcome. The laws       the use of air resistance, thereby insuring the correct speed of chiming.

144                                                                                     MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                                                                                sound. In the repeater this return
                                                                                is accomplished through the use
                                                                                of so-called banking springs and
                                                                                screws, which gently see to it that
                                                                                the hammers are swiftly returned
                                                                                to their start position in order to
                                                                                await the following actuation from
                                                                                the movement.

                                                                                   The world behind the hammers
                                                                                A description of the interior world
                                                                                in the minute repeater perhaps
                                                                                resembles the world portrayed in
                                                                                Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonder-
                                                                                land more than anything else. Three
                                                                                snails live in there—not of the gar-
                                                                                den variety—although one actu-
                                                                                ally does look like a snail (the hour
                                                                                snail), one looks like a round stair-
                                                                                case (the quarter snail) and the last
                                                                                much more resembles a starfish (the
                                                                                minute snail). In addition, there’s
                                                        p      QS
                                                                                a strange device that appears and
                                                                                disappears from sight at different
      Illustration 1:                                                           moments, which in watchmaker’s
      The quarter rack and                                                      jargon is called the surprise piece.
      quarter snail.                                                            (Maybe there are more connec-
                                                                                tions to the Loch Ness Monster
                                                                                than I originally suspected!) At
repeaters last year as witnessed by     indeed suggestive of cathedral bells    the risk of stating the obvious, in a
the introduction of their minute        chiming in the distance.                mechanism like this, all the neces-
repeater 5079 and the minute re-             The hammers must strike the        sary information, as to what to do
peater with perpetual calendar          gongs in exactly the same fashion       at what time, and in which order, is
5074. The current fashion move to       as a piano string is struck, that is,   in this case simply “hardware.”
slightly larger watch cases was an      the hammers must be controlled by            All these snails are attached
impetus for them to redesign their      some kind of releasing mechanism.       directly or indirectly to the basic
repeater cases and utilize the ad-      In both the piano and the watch,        watch movement. Three pivoting
ditional space to double over the       the hammer must hit the particu-        racks, one each for the minute,
curvature of the gongs, giving them     lar gong or string after receiving an   quarter and hour, are in intimate
about twice their regular length and    impulse, and afterward with light-      contact with their particular snail.
consequently a much fuller, louder      ning speed fall back into a position    The snails’ turning shapes limit or
and deeper sound. Having heard          of rest. If it doesn’t, the gongs (or   allow the racks particular move-
them in the flesh, I quite agree that   the piano strings) would give noth-     ment, therefore making the chimes
they are remarkably sonorous and        ing more than a deadened plunking       ring or stay silent accordingly. All

146                                                                             MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

these parts have clear shapes and
forms, so we can use visual clues to
orientate ourselves and build up a
mental picture of some of the in-
ner secrets of the movement. Take
a moment to look at Illustration
1 before reading further. Pretend
you’re Sherlock Holmes, and first
make a guess at what’s in front of
     Even if you’re not a watchmak-
er but enjoy thrillers and detective
stories, you might have been able
to deduce that this is a drawing of a
mechanism that deals with striking
the quarter hours. The signs are all
                                         MS    p
there. Our clue is that the quarters
are signaled by two chimes. First we
can discern an asymmetrical shape
called the quarter rack. This rack
is responsible for setting off the
hammers of the quarter chime after
being released. Directly behind the                                            MF
ends of the two hammer trips (the
trips set off the hammer’s motion
and are shown here by two small           Illustration 2: Minute rack and minute snail (thick lines) underneath, part of the quarter
arrows—the hammers themselves             rack can be seen.
have been left out for clarity) there
are two groups of three teeth each.
One group of three teeth will en-
gage the lower-pitched gong; the        heights, called the quarter snail               both groups of three teeth each to
other group of three will engage the    (here marked QS). The steps of                  pass the trips and activate the ham-
higher-pitched one. (Remember           this snail are what limit the total             mers three times. After striking
the quarter strike is one low and       lateral movement of the quarter                 takes place, the quarter snail turns
one high pitch). Your first thought     rack, and therefore the number of               and the finger of the quarter rack
would be that four quarters to the      teeth that are allowed to pass over             will then be resting on the first step,
hour would require four teeth per       the hammer trips, thereby making                the highest step of the snail. Since
gong. But only three teeth per gong     the hammers strike the gongs. In                the quarter chimes must not chime
are necessary, since the hour strike    Illustration 1, the quarter rack’s fin-         at the hour as mentioned above, the
is governed by a separate mecha-        ger is touching the quarter snail on            height of this first step will limit the
nism that also communicates with        its lowest step, showing the position           entire rack’s lateral movement (and
the low-pitched gong trip.              prepatory to striking three-quarters.           therefore chiming) until the second
     At the bottom of Illustration      This allows the fullest lateral move-           step is reached, which will be the
1, you can see the strangely shaped     ment of the rack, therefore allowing            first quarter. This step will allow
wheel with steps of four different

148                                                                                     MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH



                                                                                      Well, it had to happen
                Illustration 3: Geometrical layout of the minute snail.               sooner or later.
                                                                                      Now you can actually
                                                                                      Buy inner peace, and it’s a bargain.
                                                                                      Why, with all the versatility
only one tooth of each set of three           must have a minute snail to direct      offered by Japy’s Modular system
to be set and primed for release. (It         it (in Illustration 2 marked MS).
should be mentioned that when the             The minute snail is a work of art       of interchangeable components,
rack returns to a previous position in        in itself; extremely small with four    stress will be a thing of the past.
order to reset, it passes over the            arms, each arm having fourteen          It may even pay for itself, with all
trips silently since they are only ac-        steps or teeth with varying depth,      that money you save on therapy.
tivated in one direction.)                    based upon a series of arcs (see Il-
                                              lustration 3). The geometrical layout
   Snails must be smooth operators            of the hour snail, the only one re-
As noted above, you’ve seen that              ally resembling a snail, can be seen
the quarter snail is like a physical          in Illustration 4. The hour rack
piece of programming. As it turns,            is not shown; it resembles a short
specific reactions are initiated. To          squat foot with twelve toes, one for
chime the minutes, the minute rack            each hour that must be struck.
                                                   Illustration 2 shows the quarter   Meditate on it at
                                                                                      or call 949-632-1145 for a catalog.
                                                                                               Basel Hall 5.1 Stand A35

rack and minute rack together. They
both work from the same pivot,          the right moment it slides out, and              derside of the minute snail with
and in this drawing only a part of      its unusual shape insures that the               the surprise piece with spring at-
the quarter rack and teeth can bee      outermost zero step of each arm of               tached in its resting, unextended
seen.                                   the minute rack is temporarily ex-               position.
     In the opening in the middle of    tended and solid, assuring the min-                   Here you have the basic con-
these two racks, we can see part of     ute rack’s finger engages cleanly in             cepts at hand. A complete de-
the rack pinion, below which would      the zero step of the snail (a kind of            scription of everything moving at
be attached the hour rack (neither      safety workaround born out of the                once would be well neigh impos-
the hour snail nor hour rack are        physical limitations presented by                sible within the scope of an article
visible here). Topmost in Illustra-     friction, metal and limited space).              this size; and actually only a three-
tion 2, one can see the fourteen        In Illustration 5, we see the un-                dimensional model would suffice,
teeth of the minute rack that only
communicate with a single trip of
the high-pitched gong.
                                         Illustration 4: Geometrical layout of the hour snail.
     This shape of the minute snail
was so complex that for many years
it was impossible to cut by machine;
they could only fabricate minute
snails having ten steps, so this re-
quired highly specialized manual
work. The minute snail arms only
require fourteen steps (which will
set off the chimes via the corre-
sponding minute rack) because the
quarter chimes will of course take
care of the fifteenth minute. The
minute snail has one particular and
unusual bit called the surprise piece
(see illustration 5).
     Since the outermost, or “zero”,
step of the minute snail is extreme-
ly small (because of the highly
exacting geometry and the neces-
sity of a smooth curving profile),
there is always a danger that the
minute chime could be released
by the finger of the minute rack
(Illustration 2 labeled MF), slip-
ping or incorrectly engaging the
minuscule zero tooth. The surprise
piece’s shape closely follows the
same shape, albeit without all the
teeth, as the minute snail itself. At

150                                                                                      MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH
for it is too much complex to                   Antoine Simonin, the publisher of
describe. Nonetheless, the next                 A Guide to Complicated Watches by
time you see a watch movement,                  F. Lecoultre, for allowing us to use
you should be able to tell quite                some of the illustrations from that
easily whether it is some sort of               marvelous book for this article.
repeater or not, merely by looking                   It is also with great pleasure
at the blank movement. That’s                   that we can announce here the re-
already a big step in itself. And               printing of this landmark publica-
hopefully you’ll want to learn                  tion. Unavailable for many years, it
even more!                                      will again be available in English,
    The author wishes to thank                  French and German in June of this

 Illustration 5: underside of minute snail, with surprise piece.

                                                                                       It’s All In The Wrist
                                                                                       From Foosball Championships
                                                                                       to that devastating backhand.
                                                                                       This anatomic u-Joint is truly
                                                                                       an elegant and ingenious design.
                                                                                       The perfect place of residence for
                                                                                       another architectural wonder.
                                                                                       A Japy Modular Timepiece,
                                                                                       high performance and about
                                                                                       as versatile as opposable thumbs.
                                                                                       So if you know a wrist
                                                                                       that warrants something special.

                                                                                       Please direct it to or call
                                                                                       949-632-1145 for a catalog.

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                             Basel Hall 5.1 Stand A35

             The                      Art of
Some history and
a few modern masters


E       ngraving may not be one
        of those professions fun-
        damental to watchmak-
ing, but without it horological
mechanics would remain soul-
less machines, the metal re-
maining as cold and lifeless as
the earth it was mined from.
As a decorative medium, en-
graving is irreplaceable in the
history of watchmaking, unmis-
takably a science all its own—
with its own history, techniques
and artists.
     The beginnings of engraving
on metal are documented at around
the fifth century bc. This artistic
form was often used in conjunction
with other crafts, such as chasing
and repoussé, methods that uti-
lize a metal rod hammered against
the metal to make an indentation.

152                                       MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                                                                                          cial engravers, and as the Industrial
                                                                                          Revolution came along, machines
                                                                                          began to take on a larger role with-
                                                                                          in the art form. Impersonal roll
                                                                                          stamping and commercial casting
                                                                                          began to overtake hand-engraving,
                                                                                          which became largely unavailable
                                                                                          except as ornamentation on fire-
                                                                                          arms, knives, rare gifts and personal
                                                                                          objects owned by the wealthy to
                                                                                          lend them greater value, such as
                                                                                          on pocket watches. Today most en-
                                                                                          graving is done by machine in some
                                                                                          form. Hand-engraving is still rare,
                                                                                          and those who practice the art are
                                                                                          even rarer.
Machine finishing (waves, perlage, graining, etc.) is perfectly displayed on this auto-
                                                                                               It’s no wonder that this craft,
matic movement from Audemars Piguet.                                                      the beginnings of which originated
                                                                                          on the European continent, wan-
                                                                                          dered over to watchmaking, an art
                                                                                          also rooted in the Old World. The
                                                                                          portable nature of both art forms
Hand-engraving fundamentally                    talented of them all being Germa-         make them ideal counterparts. A
employs a short, very sharp metal               ny’s Albrecht Dürer, unanimously          delicate and exact craft, engraving
rod, called a graver, that is pushed            called the greatest of all line en-       complements the delicate and ex-
along the surface by hand, result-              gravers, perfectly expressing his ge-     acting nature of watches and their
ing in a much sharper line. The                 nius within this medium. Living in        movements perfectly.
development of alphabets brought                Nuremberg from his birth in 1471               The engraved line is a simple,
with it the increased use of this art           until his death in 1528, he was a         universal mode of ornamentation,
form.                                           pioneer in both line engraving and        and in intaglio engraving it is in-
    During the fifteenth century                etching. In the seventeenth and           cised directly onto the surface of
the engraving art reached its peak.             early eighteenth centuries, the epi-      the chosen metal by hand using
Not only was it used to decorate                center of the engraving art form          various instruments, such as the
armor and commemorative items                   moved from the Germanic and Low           graver, the burin and the drypoint
(heraldry became a critical issue               Countries to the west and south,          to name just a few. Relief engrav-
during this time as a shield was the            generally France and Italy, where         ing is achieved by making the lines
only item to announce alliance                  portrait engraving began its run.         and spaces in negative, leaving the
when the entire body was covered                     Because the engravings were          design raised above the surface.
in armor), but during the Renais-               turned into prints by means of ink             By contrast, the etching tech-
sance it also became an art form                and paper, this art form can be           nique is obtained by corroding the
unto itself in conjunction with an              termed the first successful indus-        metal plate with an acid or mor-
early incarnation of printing. The              trial procedure applied to artistic       dant. Substances generally used
close of the fifteenth century her-             representation. At the end of the         for this include nitric acid, sulphur
alded the activities of great master            eighteenth century, machine rul-          and a mixture that includes hydro-
engravers, the most famous and                  ing came into use among commer-           chloric acid, which is known as the

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                                         153
This case back belonging to the       Dutch Bath. This technique was
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak City        introduced as early as the fifteenth
of Sails is an excellent example of   century, and Dürer was one of its
beautiful and detailed modern-day
etching. The process, now called
                                      forerunners. Today it is a widespread
“chemical engraving,” differs very    technique used on contemporary
little from the traditional Dutch     wristwatches to obtain very ex-
Bath treatment.                       act renditions and a “grainy” look.
                                      Casebacks of luxury wristwatches
                                      made of steel, a very hard substance
                                      to hand-engrave, often display
                                      etchings achieved by the use of in-
                                      dustrial acid baths. This technique is
                                      termed “chemical engraving.”
                                           Because in this day and age
                                      engraving is generally done by la-
                                      sers and CNC machines, there are
                                      few true masters of the trade left.
                                      According to Adone T. Pozzobon,
                                      proprietor of Adone Galleries and
                                      the popular website EngravingArts,
                                      specializing in firearm and knife
                                      engraving, “Present day master en-
                                      gravers have transformed the craft
                                      into a true, respected art form. Never
                                      before in our history have engravers
                                      reached such high standards in pro-
                                      ducing fine engravings.”
                                           The modern era’s arsenal of
                                      tools for the master engraver has
                                      hardly changed over the centu-
                                      ries. One important innovation is,
                                      of course, the microscope, which
                                      allows the engraver to continue
                                      cutting minute areas of metal un-
                                      til he is a ripe old age, by relieving
                                      strain on his eyes. It also allows for
                                      a more exacting view of the area
                                      to be engraved. Jochen Benzinger,
                                      one of less than a handful of in-
                                      dependent master engravers left
                                      in Germany, has always preferred
                                      to practice his profession entirely
                                      in the traditional manner—by use
                                      of only the naked eye when he

                                      MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

                Above left: Jochen Benzinger works on
                the smallest movement components
                with a completely unaided eye in the
                traditional manner.

                Above right: Another unique movement
                engraved by Jochen Benzinger, this time
                automatic. His workshop also hand-skel-
                etonizes the pieces needed, such as the
                inside section of the highly decorated

                Left: Jochen Benzinger specializes in
                traditional embellishment of movements,
                dials and cases. Here is a unique piece he
                created by individually decorating a hand-
                wound Unitas 6498 with his push graver.
                Incredibly, he did this without the help of
                a microscope.


works. “We work very tradition-
ally in my workshop, utilizing only
traditional hand-held tools and
     In addition to making his own
unique pieces, he works with many
traditionally minded watchmak-
ers, such as Martin Braun, Roland
Murphy and Christiaan van der
Klaauw, mainly embellishing their
movements and making them
unique pieces. Benzinger is not a
watchmaker himself, although he
employs a full-time watchmaker to
aid in his work with movements.
“You have to have a good watch-
maker to help with the individual
components. After the movement
has been dismantled, it needs to
be rebuilt, and that is no problem
with a good watchmaker on hand.”
Benzinger’s specialty is ornamental
engraving, something he does with
visible élan, including flourishing
patterns and vine and leaf motifs.
     He can, however, work accord-
ing to the wishes of the client. He
first lightly sketches the pattern
onto the surface with a pencil,
then he adds vine and leaf motifs
freehand, with feeling, so that it
looks different every time. Addi-
tionally, his workshop does skel-
etonizing and guilloché by hand.
Benzinger taught himself the art of     Comedia was engraved in the bas-relief technique, one of Kees Englbarts’s specialties, for a
guilloché, as courses for this are no   watch made by Antoine Preziuso.
longer available in metalworking
schools, and he owns an impressive
collection of historical rose engine    and schooled in Holland—one of                   some of the more modern additions
machines that have not been pro-        the Low Countries—he formally                    to the engraver’s tool kit, such as a
duced in over half a century.           studied engraving in Germany as                  powerful microscope and the Grav-
     Engraver Kees Englbarts also       well. A young, self-styled freelance             er Max, a push graver outfitted with
comes from the traditional engrav-      engraver now living and working                  a compressor. Although he also en-
ing region of central Europe. Born      in Geneva, Englbarts has embraced                graves movements and practical

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                                              157

                                                                                            possibly be compared with hand-
                                                                                            engraving,” Englbarts reports. For
                                                                                            an in-depth report on Kees Engl-
                                                                                            barts, see International Wristwatch
                                                                                            #59, September 2002.
                                                                                                 This is not to say that only
                                                                                            Europe produces good engravers—
                                                                                            au contraire. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s
                                                                                            official U.S. engraver is actually an
                                                                                            American-born, self-taught watch-
                                                                                            maker-turned-engraver, an interest
                                                                                            that began as a hobby. J.C. Randell
                                                                                            now owns the title of “professional
                                                                                            engraver” (the equivalent of a
                                                                                            European master engraver) earned
                                                                                            from the Firearms Engravers Guild
                                                                                            of America. Apart from the classic
                                                                                            monograms and initials he styles,
                                                                                            Randell’s strong—and from a hor-
                                                                                            ological point of view unusual—
                                                                                            point definitely lies in the three-
                                                                                            dimensional renditions that find
                                                                                            their origins in the art of firearm
                                                                                            and knife engraving, including fine
                                                                                            shading and gradual tone changes,
                                                                                            techniques that add to the three-
                                                                                            dimensional quality of his work.
                                                                                                 The fact that Randell is self-
                                                                                            taught frees him from traditional
                                                                                            ways of thinking and adds an un-
                                                                                            usual style to his work, which he
Top: The Chateau engraved in the bas-relief technique for this Franck Muller watch was      terms “an ongoing process. I only
done by Kees Englbarts in 1995.                                                             want each of my engravings to be
Bottom: On another dial for a Franck Muller specialty, Kees Englbarts commemo-              better than the last.” He thinks up
rates one of watchmaking’s favorite subjects: automobiles. This rendition of a Bugatti is   techniques to achieve the effect he
exceptionally detailed and well proportioned in relief.                                     is shooting for, best expressed in his
                                                                                            near photo realistic portraits. One
                                                                                            technique he employs in achieving
                                                                                            this is bulino engraving, although
components, giving them a soul to              was the first to engrave a watch dial        he personally would never term it
go along with their beating hearts,            made of the rare metal amalgamate            that way. Bulino is actually a com-
his specialty lies in the beautiful            mokumé gane. “Using modern tech-             bination of closely placed lines and
rendition of concrete objects in re-           niques to work more quickly and              dots to achieve various degrees of
lief on dials. He loves to try out new         more precisely are okay. But once it         shading and 3D imagery. His in-
techniques and methods, and he                 is done, machine engraving cannot            terest lies not in naming the tech-

158                                                                                         MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH

niques, but in asking, Do you like
my work? and getting a positive
answer. “Engraving is an illusion,
and an illusion should come out to
meet the eye,” he professes. He is
best known in watch circles for his
work on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s classic
Reverso model, a watch that pos-
sesses a glossy surface that is not
entirely easy to engrave; any buff-
ing and scratching is immediately
visible and unretractable. First, he      J.C. Randell’s engravings are incredibly realis-
                                          tic and three-dimensional thanks to the bulino
sketches a basic outline of the cho-
                                          type of engraving in which he specializes. A view
sen pattern on the surface, after         under a microscope would reveal that this Jesus
which he uses unusually light lines       figure actually displays an iris and a cornea on his
to cut the rest of the design utilizing   eyes.
only his experience to guide him.
“Cutting the lines is the actual art,”
he says. “Even if I were to draw the
entire design beforehand, I would
want to change it along the way. A
cut line is always sharper than a line
that has been drawn by pencil.”
     Engravers such as Pozzobon
who specialize in firearm and knife
embellishment consider the high-
definition images of bulino and
photo realism the most difficult
and prestigious part of an engrav-
ing. Kees Englbarts begs to differ.
“Engravers who can do this are
certainly great artists and crafts-
men, but you cannot compare ap-
ples with oranges. These engraving
techniques are totally different and      This stylized initial on the back side of a Jaeger-
may be compared with making a             LeCoultre Reverso by J.C. Randell is exceptionally
drawing on metal on one hand, and         three-dimensional and reminiscent of less tradi-
                                          tional knife engravings.
on the other to doing a sculpture
on metal (in bas-relief technique).
There are no world championships
in engraving. For me, engraving           right. The most important thing is                     Although he is best known for his
                                                                                                 work with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso,
is like painting, making music or         the result!”                                           J.C. Randell can engrave on any metal
any other creative activity. What              To view more works by these                       surface. This knife shows a photo-re-
they have in common is that they          engraving artists, visit their web-                    alistic portrait indubitably American
are not hard to do, but hard to do        sites:; www.jochen-                        in style.

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                                                159

Thomas Prescher’s
Magnificent Torkel Tourbillon

T      he double-axis tourbillon
       was first patented by the
       brilliant English watch-
maker Anthony G. Randall in
1978 and first produced by another
                                     Richard Habring, were in the form
                                     of carriage clocks.
                                          A vision he’s had since his
                                     three-year apprenticeship at IWC,
                                                                             by the work of these three master
                                                                             watchmakers, he has realized his
                                                                             dream in brilliant fashion.
                                                                                  The Torkel tourbillon (the
Englishman, the gifted watchmaker    Master Watchmaker Thomas                term coined by Reinhard Meis in
Richard Good, also in 1978. The      Pre-scher has wanted to make a          his classic book Das Tourbillon to
double-axis tourbillons, made by     double-axis tourbillon. More than       describe the tumbling action of the
Randall Good and much later by       ten years later, after being inspired   tourbillon, as it rotates through two
                                                                             axes) made by Prescher reduces the
                                                                             size of the tourbillon considerably.
                                                                             So much so, that his version may
                                                                             be fitted into a pocket watch—no
                                                                             small feat of engineering!
                                                                                  A tourbillon is designed to
                                                                             average out the vertical errors of
                                                                             poise caused by gravity on the bal-
                                                                             ance and balance spring. This it
                                                                             does quite well, but it does not ad-
                                                                             dress the change of rate between
                                                                             horizontal and vertical positions,
                                                                             which, in large part, is caused by
                                                                             the change of friction on the bal-
                                                                             ance pivots, which adversely affects
                                                                             the timekeeping. The theoretical
                                                                             solution to this is the Torkel tour-
                                                                             billon, which is accomplished by
                                                                             rotating the tourbillon’s carriage in
                                                                             two planes, that is, at right angles
                                                                             to each other.
                                                                                  Besides the engineering chal-
                                                                             lenges of creating a tourbillon,
                                                                             which rotates through two axes
                                                                             once per minute, it was soon real-
                                                                             ized that a constant force escape-
                                                                             ment would be necessary to obtain
                                                                             a state of poise between the two
                                                                             axes. A constant force escape-
                                                                             ment is a type of remontoire that

160                                                                          MARCH 2003INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCH




Above: A close-up of the Torkel tourbillon at various points in its cycle.
Opposite page: Presented for the first time in print is the amazing double-axis tourbillon.

employs a subsidiary spring on the                 made by Prescher.                            chapter rings for hour and min-
escape wheel and provides the mo-               c All constant force components
tive force to the balance. Not only                made by Prescher.                            utes and the other for seconds;
was this a solution for equilibrium,            c First and second wheels of second
but it also addressed isochronal er-               axis modified from existing                  aperture at 12 o’clock to view
     With the arduous research and                 stock.                                        double-axis tourbillon.
design tasks complete, Prescher be-             c Crown wheel made for second                       Now, with a working example
gan the fabrication process in 2002.                                                          (it is a marvel to behold), the plans
Using a Unitas pocket watch as his                 axis by Prescher.                          are two-fold: 1) to design and make
working base the following compo-               c Case: working example in brass,             a twin-barreled movement for his
nents were made to bring his dream                  but final product will be en-             Torkel pocket watch, and 2) to re-
to life:                                        cased                                         duce the size of the Torkel to that
c Carriage was electro-eroded by a                 in gold, made by Prescher                  of a wristwatch. This will be a busy
                                                c Size: 60 mm in diameter and 20              year indeed!
   specialist.                                     to 22 mm in height.                              In future issues, we will be re-
c Remaining carriage components                 c Dial: mother-of-pearl with two              visiting the Torkel tourbillon in a

INTERNATIONAL WRISTWATCHMARCH 2003                                                                                              161

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