In thIs Issue

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					jAN 2004

             In thIs Issue
             DeWitt Launches Luxury Line of Watches
             Music to Your ears: Musical Watches by Boegli and Carousels by Balgara
US $7.95     Plus: news, Market and Auction Reports
CAN $10.95
UK q4.50                                            
j A N U A ry   2 0 0 4

                         In thIs Issue
                         DeWitt Launches Luxury Line of Watches
                         Music to Your ears: Musical Watches by Boegli and Carousels by Balgara
US $7.95                 Plus: news, Market and Auction Reports
CAN $10.95
UK q4.50                                                    
                            J   a   n   u   a   r   y   2    0   0   4

              COVER sTORy
     De Witt Looks to the Past to shape the Future

38 Openworking with Vacheron Constantin                     88 RGM Commemorates Uss Constellation
42 Nomos: The Evolution of the Unorthodox                   92 The History of the Wristwatch
54 Watchmaker for a Day with Jaeger-LeCoultre           102 Movements United from Boegli
66 Frederique Constant’s Latest Complication                     Oris’ Big Crown Dive Regulator
72 The Boldness of Bertolucci                                    The Gentleman’s Watch from Paul Picot
80 Glashütte Original’s Renovated Manufactory                    Timekeeping and the sport of
                                                                 Air Racing
                                                                 U.T.s. Muenchen Creates the
                                    38                           Ultimate Collector’s Watch
                                                                 Angular Momentum
                                                                 Pays Homage to Its Hometown
                                                                 Musical Carousel Miniatures from Balgara


                                                             8 News
                                                            18 Market
                                                            26 Auctions

                                                                          22                                3

     De Witt   Looks to the Past
              to Shape the Future

        With the birth of modern watchmaking coinciding with

        the advent of the Napoleonic Empire, the Napoleon fam-

        ily naturally took an interest in the finest inventions of

        high watchmaking. The emperor himself owned a number

        of timepieces featuring some of the most extraordinary

        complications and adornments, and his sister, Caroline

        Murat, likewise became an avid watch collector.

              B   Y    M   E   G   A   N   L   I   V   O   L    S   I

30                                                             JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                       able complications in the finest        each and every piece he finishes.
                                       horological tradition, the De Witt          The De Witt collection of Swiss-
                                       house creates truly uncommon lim-       made timepieces is composed of
                                       ited-edition timepieces for the most    three lines: Grand Horlogerie, New
                                       discerning watch connoisseurs. In-      Emotion and New Age, with prices
                                       deed tourbillons, minute repeaters,     ranging from $5,400 to $150,000.
                                       split-second chronographs and bi-
                                       retrograde perpetual calendars are                Grand Horlogerie
                                       just a few of the complicated mas-      The first model in the Grand Hor-
                                       terpieces you’ll find in the De Witt    logerie line is the elegant Tourbil-
                                       collection.                             lon, offered in 18-karat white or
                                            “I decided to manufacture only     rose gold. Produced in a limited
                                       high-end timepieces, designed and       edition of fifty pieces, this beautiful
                                       created to transmit the capability      timepiece is powered by a Claret
                                       of creation from a human being,”        caliber eighty manual-wind move-
                                       says Jerome. “I therefore brought       ment that is visible through the
                                       together a team of talented watch-      sapphire crystal exhibition case-
                                       makers to be able to reach those ob-    back and is equipped with an im-
                                       jectives. Each person employed at       pressive 110-hour power reserve.
                                       De Witt has a precise responsibility.   Unusually, the upper bridge serves
                                       This allows me to believe that this     as the dial of the watch and is deli-
     This passion for fine time-       ‘additional’ quality, which is placed
pieces was passed down from gen-       into each of our timepieces, will be
eration to generation and in 2003,     transferred to our descendants such
retired businessman Jerome de          as I had the chance to experience.”
Witt (fifth generation in the line          The talented and ambitious
of descent from King Jerome, Na-       De Witt team consists of a variety
poleon’s brother) founded the De       of master watchmakers and expert
Witt watch company in Vandoeu-         craftsmen who have come together
vres, Switzerland. “When choosing      to foster their common passion for
Vandoeuvres as our location for        haute horlogerie. With the creation
the De Witt Manufacture, I found       of De Witt watches, they have suc-
a beautiful house dating back to       cessfully bridged the gap between
the XVII century that I personally     the time-honored tradition of
am working on its renovation,” ex-     handmade craftsmanship and the
plains Jerome De Witt. “I love to      most innovative and cutting-edge
create, while organizing is much       techniques.
less a passion of mine. I have spent        De Witt’s choice to restrict
my life observing, whether things      the production of its timepieces
or people as well as events, and I     to limited editions “results from
have stored this information to use    a philosophy which ambitions to
to build something new in the fu-      put man back in the heart of the
ture.”                                 creative process.” De Witt watches
     Created with the goal of giving   are therefore entirely handmade by
birth to some of the most remark-      the same watchmaker, who stamps             New Emotion 80

32                                                                                 JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

cately hand-turned (or guilloched)
in chocolate brown or blue. Pro-
tected by a scratch-resistant sap-
phire crystal, the dial features two
cut-out windows that reveal the
tourbillon apparatus at 6 o’clock
and the mainspring at 12 o’clock.
Water-resistant to 30 meters, the
Tourbillon is fitted with a brown or
blue crocodile skin strap.
      Next in line is the functional
Split Second Chronograph in 18-
karat white gold. Limited to just
twenty-five pieces, this watch ex-
udes pure masculinity with its im-
posing size and its notched bezel
and crown. Visible through the see-
through caseback is the automatic
Venus 185 column-wheel chrono-
graph movement. The solid 18-
karat white gold dial with guilloche
center zone and a combination of
black Arabic and Roman numerals
is nicely complemented by a black
crocodile skin strap.
      Available in 18-karat white or
rose gold, the Grand Horlogerie
Chronograph is equipped with the
tried-and-true manual-wind Valjoux       traordinary Perpetual Calendar
caliber 71 column-wheel chrono-          Bi-retrograde. Powered by the auto-
graph movement with Côtes de             matic L.U.C. 4.96 movement from
Genève decoration and a 52-hour          Chopard, featuring an 18-karat
power reserve. The rose gold model       gold micro-rotor, Côtes de Genève
is offered with a solid 18-karat white   decoration and a 58-hour power
and rose gold dial while the white       reserve, this timepiece is available
gold version comes with a solid 18-      in 18-karat white or rose gold. The
karat white gold dial. Hand-turned       beautifully guilloched dial is a tes-
with black Arabic numerals, the          tament to innovative design with
easy-to-read dial boasts two chrono-     a month and leap year display at
graph counters at 3 and 9 o’clock.       12 o’clock, a date indicator at 3, a
Additional features include sap-         moon-phase display at 6; and day-
phire crystals front and back, en-       of-the-week indicator at 9 o’clock.
sured water resistance to 30 meters      (The rose gold model comes with a       Above: Split Second Chronograph
and a black crocodile-skin strap.        solid 18-karat white and rose gold      Right: Grand Horlogerie Chronograph
      The final model of De Witt’s       dial while the white gold version
Grand Horlogerie line is the ex-         features a solid 18-karat white gold

34                                                                                     JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                  dial with chocolate sun pattern.)       Chopard) and is available in four
                                  Equipped with sapphire crystals         different dial options: solid 18-karat
                                  front and back, the Perpetual Cal-      rose gold dial with mother-of-pearl
                                  endar Bi-retrograde is presented on     and black numerals, solid 18-kar-
                                  an elegant black or brown croco-        at rose gold dial with ruthenium
                                  dile skin strap.                        sun pattern and rose gold numer-
                                                                          als, solid 18-karat white gold dial
                                              New Emotion                 with chocolate sun pattern and
                                  De Witt’s New Emotion line con-         silver numerals, and solid 18-karat
                                  sists of a variety of complicated       white gold dial with carbon fiber
                                  timepieces, the first of which is the   and white numerals. The hour and
                                  Retrograde Seconds model. Crafted       minute hands reveal the time from
                                  in 18-karat white or rose gold, this    the center while the seconds are in-
                                  watch is equipped with the auto-        dicated via a 30-second retrograde
                                  matic caliber 97 (L.U.C. 4.96 from      sector at 6 o’clock. Equipped with
                                                                          an antireflective sapphire crystal,
                                                                          the Retrograde Seconds model is
                                                                          water-resistant to 30 meters and is
                                                                          fitted with a black or brown croco-
                                                                          dile skin strap.
                                                                               Also from the New Emotion
                                                                          line is the Double Fuseau GMT, the
                                                                          perfect timepiece for the watch afi-
                                                                          cionado always on the go. Powered
                                                                          by the ETA 2892-2-A2 with an
                                                                          additional plate from Aghenor for
                                                                          the dual time function, this watch
                                                                          is available in 18-karat white or
                                                                          rose gold and is offered in four dial
                                                                          options: solid 18-karat rose gold
                                                                          dial with white mother-of-pearl
                                                                          and black numerals, solid 18-karat
                                                                          rose gold dial with ruthenium sun
                                                                          pattern and rose gold numerals,
                                                                          solid 18-karat white gold dial with
                                                                          chocolate sun pattern and silver
                                                                          numerals, and solid 18-karat white
                                                                          gold dial with carbon fiber and
                                                                          white numerals. Protected by an
                                                                          antireflective sapphire crystal, the
                                                                          Double Fuseau GMT dial features a
                                                                          red GMT hand from the center (in
                                                                          addition to the hour, minute and
                                                                          second hands), a day/night indica-
                                                                          tor at 12 o’clock and a date window
                                                                          at 6 o’clock.

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJANUARY 2004                                                                              35

                                                                               o’clock and the seconds hand is
                                                                               placed at 6 o’clock.
                                                                                    The final masterpiece in the
                                                                               New Age line is the easy-to-read
                                                                               Small Second model in 18-karat
                                                                               white gold or stainless steel. Pow-
                                                                               ered by a Swiss automatic move-
                                                                               ment, the watch comes with a
                                                                               choice of chocolate dial with silver
                                                                               numerals or ruthenium dial with
                                                                               white numerals. The elegant guil-
                                                                               loche dial boasts hour and minute
                                                                               hands from the center and an over-
                                                                               sized small seconds counter at 6
                                                                               o’clock. Equipped with an antire-
                                                                               flective sapphire crystal, the Small
                                                                               Second model is fitted with a
                                                                               brown or gray crocodile skin strap.
Perpetual Calendar Bi-retrograde
                                                                                   Growing by Leaps and Bounds
                                                                               With a family passion for fine time-
                                                                               pieces that dates back to the days
               New Age                                                         of the Napoleonic Empire, a dedi-
From De Witt’s New Age line                                                    cated and talented team of expert
comes the sporty Chronograph                                                   craftsmen and an extraordinary col-
model, housed in a gently curved                                               lection of some of the world’s most
geometrically shaped case.                                                     remarkable complications, the De
Equipped with a Swiss automatic                                                Witt brand is quickly establishing
movement, this handsome watch                                                  a name for itself within the horo-
is available in three different ver-                                           logical industry. Today, the brand is
sions. The 18-karat rose gold model                                            expanding by leaps and bounds,
features a solid 18-karat white and         One of the most elegant pieces     as evidenced by plans to exhibit at
rose gold guilloche dial with black    in the New Age line is the strik-       the 2004 Basel Fair (booth #E.17
numerals, while the white gold         ing Regulator model. The 18-karat       in Hall 1.1) as well as the opening
model boasts a solid 18-karat white    white gold or stainless steel case      of a De Witt boutique at Rue du
gold guilloche dial with black nu-     houses a Swiss automatic move-          Mont Blanc 3 in Geneva and the
merals, and the stainless steel ver-   ment and boasts ensured water re-       recent purchase of a workshop in
sion has a black guilloche dial with   sistance to 30 meters. Underneath       La Chaux-de-Fonds. “This work-
tritium numerals. Protected by an      the antireflective sapphire crystal     shop’s doors were about to close
antireflective sapphire crystal, the   is the black guilloche dial featuring   but its descendants were against
dial features three chronograph        an elegant sunburst effect and white    it,” explains Jerome De Witt. “By
counters and a date window at          Arabic numerals. Like all tradition-    allowing this place to continue,
4:30. Water-resistant to 30 meters,    al regulator models, the dial places    we have made a statement by re-
the New Age Chronograph comes          the minute hand from the center         specting this industry and the most
on a black crocodile skin strap.       while the hour counter is at 12         beautiful watchmaking traditions.”

36                                                                                 JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

Masters the exclusiVe art of openworking

N          early 250 years ago,
           master watchmaker An-
           dré-Charles Caron had a
revelation while designing time-
pieces in his small shop on rue
                                                                                 as “skeletonizing” and the resulting
                                                                                 timepieces as “skeleton watches”.
                                                                                      The spectacular intricacy and
                                                                                 demanding expertise of openwork-
Saint-Denis in Paris. Although                                                   ing ensures that it has remained
watches had been decorated from                                                  a truly exclusive art. Today, only
the very beginning (their balance                                                a handful of distinguished watch
cock was often elaborately wrought                                               houses can claim to master the en-
and embellished, as is the case of                                               tire process. (Most of them only
many early watches today in the                                                  openwork a few of their movements,
Vacheron Constantin Museum in                                                    invariably ones featuring their most
Geneva), Caron decided to ex-                                                    elaborate complications.)
pose the innermost secrets of his          B Y   M E G A N     L I V O L S I
                                                                                      Vacheron Constantin has for
timepieces. And expose he did,                                                   many years been one of the few
methodically openworking plates,                                                 watch manufacturers to make skel-
bars and bridges to reveal what lay      into true works of art, showcases for   eton watches available throughout
underneath. For the first time in        their many talents. Plates, bridges     its range of offerings, from the sim-
horological history, the wheels and      and bars were thus pared down and       plest to the most awesomely com-
gears of time were revealed for all to   streamlined and then worked into        plex.
see and watch movements began to         elegantly curved masterpieces.
take on a life of their own.                  Together, these operations                Beautifully Transparent
     Now that they could easily be       often removed over half of the          Most recently, Vacheron Constan-
seen, gearwheels and pinions had to      movement’s original metal. From its     tin has transformed two of its fairly
look their best. They were carefully     mainplate, bridges and bars emerged     simple and most popular ultra-thin
shaped, their angles beveled and         an intricate pattern of gilt or even    in-house movements into trans-
surface polished, even when out          solid gold lace. All visible areas      parent works of art. The 36-jewel
of sight. But simple polishing and       were then expertly and minutely         automatic caliber 1120 for men’s
buffing wasn’t enough for the me-        engraved and chased by hand.            watches and 18-jewel manual-
ticulous ways of watchmakers. They       Watchmakers gradually began refer-      wound caliber 1003 for women’s
aimed at turning their movements         ring to this kind of decorative work    models, both of which are stamped

38                                                                                   JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

with the Geneva Hallmark, are ex-
tra-thin, classic movements show-
ing the hours and the minutes.
     Elaborate openworking of
their mainplate, bars and bridges
has transformed both calibers into
golden, intricately arabesqued
compositions, chased by hand,
often in a graceful “peacock tail”
pattern. The barrel cover itself is
openworked into Vacheron Con-
stantin’s famed corporate Maltese
cross emblem. All movement
parts are meticulously beveled and
polished before being set between
the two transparent sapphire
crystal plates forming the dial and
case back.
     Housed in an 18-karat white              Openworking at Its Finest        corporate symbol.
or yellow gold case, the men’s mod-     Vacheron Constantin recently                In silvered 18-karat gold, the
el is available with a polished bezel   combined one of the watchmaking        dial consists only of slim metal
or one that is set with seventy-seven   world’s most respected complica-       strips bearing numbers, letters and
brilliant-cut diamonds for an added     tions with the art of gem-setting      other essential time indications.
touch of elegance.                      to create the openworked gem-          Meticulously pared down to essen-
     The women’s version likewise       set Tourbillon watch. The pride        tials, the caliber 1790 components
comes in a round 18-karat white         of Vacheron Constantin’s Malte         form a fine-spun composition, care-
or yellow gold case featuring a         Collection, this spectacular mas-      fully beveled and delicately chased
bezel adorned with seventy-three        terpiece is a work of art in its own   by hand, and carefully displayed
brilliant-cut diamonds.                 right.                                 between two transparent sapphire
     Both Malte Collection skel-            Designed and developed in the      lenses.
eton watches are offered on a black     company’s Vallée de Joux work-              The elegant platinum ton-
Mississippi alligator strap with a      shops, the Vacheron Constantin         neau-shaped case is a testament to
choice of clasp in solid gold or set    27-jewel caliber 1790 manual-          the art of the gem-setter. Thirty ba-
with twenty-one brilliant-cut dia-      wound movement features three          guette diamonds have been set into
monds, or with a crossweave brace-      complications: an analog date cal-     the bezel while the case frame and
let made of hand-braided strands of     endar, a power-reserve indicator       horns are adorned with 251 bril-
fine gold fitted with a practically     and a tourbillon regulator, which      liant-cut stones.
invisible triple deployment clasp.      requires the painstaking expertise          Fitted with a padded and
Such masterpieces don’t come            of only the industry’s most talented   hand-stitched Mississippi alligator
cheap, however. The men’s model         watchmakers. On this design, the       skin strap with deployment buckle
ranges from $29,000 to $45,000          tourbillon carriage containing the     in platinum set with diamonds,
while the women’s versions range        escapement and balance wheel fea-      the Malte openworked gem-set
from $25,000 to $34,500.                tures the company’s Maltese cross      Tourbillon wristwatch retails for

40                                                                                 JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

The evolUTioN of The UNoRThodox


T       his company is about as un-
        orthodox as it gets. And to
        do that successfully within
the staid and conservative con-
fines of high watchmaking must
mean one thing: You have been
true to yourself and your goals. Or
you just know the meaning of the
word crazy.
     He makes it look so easy: Come
up with an idea that could get you
committed and put you in the poor
house at the same time. Then get
all your friends in on the idea and
put them in varying positions of re-
sponsibility. All the while, financing
yourself in various and exotic ways,
generally without the backing of
a bank. Most would fail miserably
at such a prospect, but not Roland
Schwertner. He believed, and still
believes, in what he is doing, with
the watch lover coming out the win-
ner. The Nomos collection, small as
it may be, is one of the best values to
be found in the entire industry.
     The 1990s had arrived, and
Germany was changing. The fall            The historical building at main
of the Berlin Wall brought a num-         street 12 that now houses No-
ber of economic possibilities with        mos’ flagship store
it. Roland Schwertner was already

42                                                                          JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

working in the watch industry, in his
hometown of Düsseldorf. His work
had more to do with contemporary
quartz fashion than classical watch-
making, and perhaps it was exactly
this that so attracted him to the
idea of Glashütte. The epicenter of
classical German watchmaking, the
little Saxon town represented a
specific ideal to many Germans
involved in the horological indus-
try. As communistic politics came
to an end in the Teutonic country,
the wall that separated Germany
from its horological heritage was
also ripped down.
     Schwertner was one of the first
to recognize the potential that re-
mained in the town, ripe and ready
to be plucked by those who had the
courage to take a risk. He began by
acquiring the rights to the Nomos
name, originally belonging to a
company in the early 1900s that
had cashed in on Glashütte’s good
reputation. The Nomos-Uhr-Ge-
sellschaft Guido Müller & Co. was
in existence from 1906 through
1911, and was ultimately liquidat-
ed because its watches were 100
percent Swiss in origin. Although
his new company’s moniker caused
him a bit of trouble at the start—      Top: Base plates from Nomos’ own production
many were afraid that history was       Bottom: Thierry Albert’s innovative power reserve indication
to repeat itself—the name’s origi-
nal meaning (Greek for “law” or
“order”) is more likely that which      cruited for his little company was             to confront Glashütte and its tra-
attracted Schwertner to it, not to      Susanne Günther, a designer of                 ditional watchmaking with a com-
mention its rebellious connota-         merit also hailing from Düsseldorf.            pletely new idea. The town had al-
tions from the past.                    During the many late-night ses-                ways stood for that which was most
     At the beginning, the most im-     sions staged in that city located on           luxurious, and most expensive,
portant thing about Nomos’ small        the Rhine to get the company off               about a timepiece. Schwertner
collection was its design. Nomos        the ground, Schwertner and Gün-                wanted to do just the opposite, cre-
was founded on ideals and friend-       ther settled upon a direction for              ating a high-quality watch in na-
ship, professional and leisure time     the look they wanted to create. It             ture, but searching for the most af-
intermingling without a care. One       should be something timeless and               fordable route within the confines
of the friends Schwertner had re-       classic yet modern. The idea was               of that quality. Today, contrary to

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJANUARY 2004                                                                                          43

Glashütte’s prime, the watch is no       settled upon the related Bauhaus         newly refounded by Walter Lange,
longer a luxury object, but rather       principle—with form following            the original founder’s great-grand-
an article in daily use—and Schw-        function—in finding a timeless yet       son, came down quickly, appeal-
ertner wanted to stress this point.      contemporary design.                     ing to the courts for the same rea-
While exploring design directions,            The next step was to find a         son the company did in 1911. A
Schwertner and Günther came              movement to fit the ideals of mea-       Glashütte watch that claims its ori-
into contact with Dresden’s Ger-         surement that Schwertner and his         gin as Glashütte in Saxony must be
man Manufacturer’s Association           team had decided upon. The Swiss-        made in Glashütte. The courts inter-
and its ideals. This organization is a   made, manually wound Peseux              vened, and a new law was put into
proponent of the motto that money        7001 fit the bill perfectly. And with    effect stating that at least 50 percent
invested in good handiwork will          that, Glashütte began to see history     of the value of the movement must
always retain its value. And so they     repeating itself. A. Lange & Söhne,      be produced in Glashütte in order

                                                                Nomos’ new Tangente power-reserve model features a
                                                                three-quarter plate fabricated on premises.

44                                                                                     JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                                                                         es abounding, this is no longer a
                                                                                         necessity and perlage has become
                                                                                         solely a decorative element.
                                                                                              In 1997 Schwertner and
                                                                                         Langeleist decided to beautify
                                                                                         their watches by adding perlage.
                                                                                         This presented somewhat of a
                                                                                         problem, however. As perlage had
                                                                                         no tradition in Glashütte, none
                                                                                         of the East German watchmakers
                                                                                         knew the processes for achieving
                                                                                         the design. Langeleist had to do
                                                                                         some research—not an easy task
                                                                                         in remote Glashütte! Tradition-
                                                                                         ally, watchmakers use boxwood
                                                                                         pegs with loose quartz to make the
The Chronometrie is located in the quiet hills above Glashütte.                          pattern, but Langeleist was look-
                                                                                         ing for something else. Finally, he
                                                                                         spied the type of rubber pegs in
                                                These days, the manually wound           varying strengths he was looking
to put Glashütte on the dial.                   Peseux proudly displays sandblasted      for in a dental technology catalog.
     What broke Guido Müller’s                  surfaces, screws that were blued in
neck was just the inspiration Roland            the best Glashütte tradition, char-
Schwertner needed to really get the             acteristic sunburst decoration on
small company going. Believing in               the crown and ratchet wheels, and
the quality of the Glashütte watch-             some models even display a three-
maker’s skill, he gladly employed               quarter plate through their sapphire
men and women from the region.                  crystal casebacks.
Starting out in 1990 with exactly                    There has been much change
two watchmakers, his head watch-                to the technology as well, such as
maker was a man who had previous-               the innovative addition of a date
ly been employed by the monstrous               ring and a power reserve. The
GUB combine and had spent his en-               movement has also received a
tire life learning and practicing his           Glashütte-style click, and perhaps
craft under the communist regime.               the most interesting and understat-
It was Reiner Langeleist who aided              ed improvement was the addition
and advised Schwertner in realiz-               of perlage to some of the parts. Per-
ing the goal of creating a Glashütte            lage, or circular graining, is a deco-
work of art from a manually wound               rative pattern that has no tradition
Swiss mechanism.                                in Glashütte. Some high-end Swiss
     Over the years this movement               factories relate that perlage has
has been changed so much to meet                been around since the sixteenth
the ideals set out by Schwertner                century and helped to keep the dirt
                                                                                         Top: Reiner langeleist’s original perlage is
that it has now been given its own              and dust out of the actual working       very visible on this movement.
set of names, each of them depend-              parts of the movement. Today, with       Bottom: Watchmakers at work on
ing on the functions included.                  the dirt- and water-resistant watch-     timing in the Chronometrie

46                                                                                            JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

To this day, Nomos still uses them,         including several top ten finishes at        them affordable; and increasing the
refined with corundum on the tips           the prestigious Watch of the Year            community spirit within Glashütte
to work the surgical steel the cases        award put on by the German watch             that the town was so famous for
are made of.                                magazine ArmbandUhren.                       during the era of the industry’s
     Schwertner named each of the                From humble but idealistic              founding fathers.
four watches in his collection. This        beginnings, Nomos has developed                   When the watch industry was
was a shrewd move as it helped              into a company with a say in com-            originally established in Glashütte,
make them into a cohesive collec-           petition-ridden Glashütte. Posi-             F.A. Lange recognized the impor-
tion with distinct family ties, while       tioning itself outside of the town’s         tance of a community feeling and
simultaneously giving each model            rivalries, Nomos has focused its             good benefits to elicit the best
its own personality. Schwertner re-         energies on two topics: making the           workmanship possible from his
lates, “They are each named for the         best watches possible while keeping          work force. He also realized that
ideal for which they stand and were
created. The watches remain un-
mistakable through their names!”
     When these steel watches (a
rare material for the era in which
the mechanical watch was just re-
establishing itself as a luxury object)
hit the German market in the early
1990s, they seemed to be exactly
what the understated German con-
sumer had been looking for. It didn’t
take long for the Tangente to estab-
lish itself as the collection’s leading
model—and become the visual face
of Nomos. The Tangente was re-
ceived in a phenomenally positive
manner, picking up a surprising
number of awards along the way,

                                            A view of Glashütte’s main street: Nomos’ Chronometrie is at top left; the former
Thierry Albert designed both the date and   German school of Watchmaking building is located centrally in the photo. To its left,
power-reserve displays.                     unfortunately not visible here, is the Nomos flagship store.

48                                                                                            JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                                                                      Nomos has recently begun fabricat-
                                                                                      ing its own base plates here, a fact
                                                                                      that turns the small company into
                                                                                      a true manufacture according to the
                                                                                      definition of the word as it is con-
                                                                                      temporarily used. The company’s
                                                                                      financial planning for 2004 has al-
                                                                                      ready budgeted for the acquisition
                                                                                      of a number of new machines, giv-
                                                                                      ing Nomos further independence
                                                                                      and allowing it to manufacture
                                                                                      even more of its own components.
                                                                                      These very large changes within
                                                                                      the organization will not, however,
                                                                                      necessarily be recognizable for the
                                                                                      consumer, as there are absolutely
                                                                                      no plans to change the collection
The old train station in the middle of town is expected to be renovated in the next   in any way, except to make it bet-
couple of years and will then be Nomos’ new headquarters.
                                                                                      ter— giving the consumer even
                                                                                      more quality for the same money.
one must give in order to take.             worker from the local unemploy-                Nomos’ growing work force has
These are ideals that have become           ment office to raise money for flood      recently included three standouts
somewhat lost after forty years of          relief. A total of more than one mil-     who have made a huge difference
East German planned economy and             lion euros was raised for Glashütte       within the firm. Very important for
a new, competitive attitude deriv-          residents who urgently needed it          the company was the 2000 acquisi-
ing from big business. Schwertner           after the catastrophe by the organi-      tion of Uwe Ahrendt, now manag-
finds it important to give back to a        zation based in Nomos’ offices.           ing director of the Nomos factories.
community that has given him so                  Nomos is also making its pres-       This enterprising young man, both
much. In addition to the fantastic          ence felt all over the city as well as    engineer and economist, was previ-
working conditions he offers all            in the world of watchmaking. Today        ously employed in a highly respon-
of his employees, he contributes            employing close to forty-five peo-        sible position at A. Lange & Söhne.
generously to the well-being of             ple, most of whom are watchmak-           His service at Nomos has brought
Glashütte’s future watchmakers by           ers, precision mechanics and tool-        a great degree of structure into the
donating his watches to graduat-            makers, Nomos has needed more             ranks and made the company’s new
ing classes of Makarenko, the local         room than its original location at        technological developments pos-
watchmaking school, so that they            Altenberger Strasse 36 could offer.       sible. To put it simply, he takes the
may complete their final projects.          This building is now chock- full          crazy ideas spewed forth by Schwert-
And, at this time, Nomos is the             of machines that manufacture the          ner’s imagination and turns them
only company allowing its em-               components needed for the Nomos           into reality. Not an easy job.
ployed watchmakers to give lectures         innovations added to the Peseux                In 1998 Nomos hired a young,
at the watchmaking school. When             7001 base kit. In addition to manu-       exceptional watchmaker by the
Glashütte was ravaged by the great          facturing the three-quarter plate,        name of Thierry Albert. French by
flood of 2002, Schwertner didn’t            the balance cock and all of the           origin, though German at heart,
hesitate to offer office space and          components needed for the date            this impassioned young man has
office commodities to a part-time           ring and power reserve indications,       the energy and patience to realize

50                                                                                        JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

the technical feats demanded of            their own small company to realize      to start renovations at the latest by
him by Schwertner and Ahrendt.             them. In the summer of 2002, Lang       2005. A rented space, but one no
He has already developed both the          and Heyne went their separate           less important for the company’s
date indication, comprising an in-         ways, and Heyne has been a wel-         image, is the little storefront locat-
novative ring surrounding the en-          come addition to Nomos’ prototype       ed at number 12 on Main Street in
tire movement so as not to change          department ever since.                  the very same building where F.A.
the watch’s height, and the brand-              The lion’s share of Nomos’         Lange began Glashütte’s entire
new power reserve, containing a            watchmakers now work in the             watchmaking industry. For the past
mere three extra components that           building that the company bought        year, Nomos has used this space for
include a flying, or cantilevered,         in the hills surrounding Glashütte,     its new flagship store, where only
spring barrel below the dial dis-          the so-called Chronometrie. Here,       Nomos products and tongue-in-
play.                                      the environment is more conducive       cheek East German memorabilia
     New in Albert’s department is         to watchmaking, with less dust,         are sold. A visiting watch lover
Mirko Heyne, previously known              dirt and noise to worry about than      can have an in-depth conversation
in the industry as one half of the         in the town below. Two years ago        with a genuine Nomos watchmak-
small Dresden manufacture Lang             Nomos also bought the old train         er born and bred in Glashütte and
& Heyne. Heyne began his career            station, located in the heart of the    learn more about the region and
in A. Lange & Söhne’s apprentice           city. Although renovation has not       its products than he or she ever
program and was quickly employed           yet begun—surely slowed by the          thought possible.
there after graduation. During this        effects of the great flood—city of-          To top off the PR uses of the
time, he met Marco Lang, the son           ficials are looking forward to the      flagship store, Schwertner invites
of his instructor at Lange and ate-        reconstruction of the old building      personalities from within and
lier expert Rolf Lang. Lang and            that will certainly help beautify the   without the world of watches to
Heyne soon discovered that they            town’s “watch mile.” The train sta-     participate in running the store
shared a number of ideals regarding        tion will become Nomos’ corporate       for two weeks, both giving to and
watchmaking and decided to open            headquarters, and a new financial       taking from the shop and the town
                                           situation might help the company        in experience along the way. The
                                                                                   company’s latest acquisition is the
                                                                                   old observatory located in the hills
                                                                                   overlooking Glashütte. Originally
                                                                                   built in 1910 by watchmaker Hugo
                                                                                   Müller, who named it the Urania
                                                                                   observatory, World War II and the
                                                                                   ensuing communist government
                                                                                   ceased its upkeep. Nomos now has
                                                                                   plans to turn it into a new technol-
                                                                                   ogy center, a place where research
                                                                                   and development can be carried
                                                                                   out, and customers and jewelers can
                                                                                   be schooled in the Nomos watch.
                                                                                   Knowing Schwertner, it will likely
                                                                                   retain much of its historical impor-
                                                                                   tance and certainly once again be
                                                                                   used to observe the stars lighting
     Reiner langeleist demonstrating his                                           the way for Glashütte’s talented
     unique art of perlage                                                         watchmakers.                       C

52                                                                                     JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

Inside Jaeger-Le -Coultre’s Master Class                                                          BY   MIKE   THOMPSON

A        s if to perform surgery, I
         had sharp instruments
         on my operating table, a
white lab coat over my shirt and
the patient under the scope. I was
                                                 ment in the unsteady hands of indi-
                                                 viduals, myself included, who would
                                                 surely leave it pock-marked for life.
                                                       “We want to share our pas-
                                                 sion,” retorts Ronald Wolfgang,
                                                                                         scheduled to take the one-day
                                                                                         watchmaking class during a six-day
                                                                                         period, I prepared by looking at
                                                                                         schematic drawings of various JLC
                                                                                         movements. Not a watchmaker
to temporarily halt the patient’s                Jaeger-LeCoultre’s North Ameri-         and ill at ease with handling mi-
heart, remove and review the                     can president. “What better way         croscopic screws and tiny pinions, I
other body parts, and reinstall the              to allow the people who enjoy our       wondered how we were to remove
heart—somehow coaxing it to be-                  watches to actually get a taste of      all the 278 pieces that comprise the
gin beating once again.                          how our people [at JLC] feel when       Calibre 875—and then reassemble
    Fortunately, there was no                    they create these beautiful pieces.”    them—in one day!
blood involved (just a little oil)                     The week of “classes” took             JLC master watchmaker Sylvain
and the patient was a highly engi-               place in late October in New York       Golay quickly dismissed that notion,
neered watch caliber, specifically a             City, where the firm placed ten         which I was not alone in holding.
Jaeger-LeCoultre 875 with eight-                 watchmaker benches inside a well-       The leader of the week’s exercises,
day power reserve.                               lit room at Christie’s auction house    Golay spoke French to JLC mar-
    I wondered why the kind folks                in Rockefeller Center. As one of        keting executive Alexis Delaporte,
at JLC would place such a finely                 several journalists among the sixty     who translated to the ten anxious
wrought, beautifully finished move-              retailers and consumers who were        “watchmakers.”
                                                                                              He explained we were to only
                                                                                         remove perhaps twenty of the
 Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Class at Christie’s
                                                                                         pieces. On each desk sat an IBM
                                                                                         Thinkpad laptop computer whir-
                                                                                         ring with a CD-based animation
                                                                                         that delivered step-by-step instruc-
                                                                                         tions specifically created to train
                                                                                         novice watchmakers.

                                                                                                   The Grandest Date
                                                                                         Golay explained that the rectangu-
                                                                                         lar movement is a unique one. The
                                                                                         steel version was just this past year
                                                                                         introduced into the firm’s line as the
                                                                                         engine for its Reverso Grande Date
                                                                                         with power reserve. A round version
                                                                                         of this movement, Calibre 877, is
                                                                                         inside the new Master Eight Days.

54                                                                                           JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                  Left: The Calibre 875
                                  Above: Date assembly for
                                  Reverso Grande Date

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJANUARY 2004                        55

                                         Sylvain Golay hard at work at Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Class.

                                         its debut and meshes nicely with                on the bench, belied his master’s
                                         the current fondness for larger sizes           touch and years of experience.
                                         among watch buyers worldwide,                        “Place the pieces so,” he said,
                                         and especially in the United States             as he showed us that, when disas-
                                         and Europe.                                     sembling, a watchmaker would
                                                                                         place each piece on the table along
The Reverso Grande Date features the                   Before Noon                       the top of the work area strictly
larger XGT case.                         As we learned about the move-                   from the left. As each piece is re-
                                         ment, we placed the yet untouched               moved it is placed to the right of
                                         piece into the movement holder,                 the previous piece so that a line of
     The Grande Date is larger           which made it manageable to han-                tiny pieces grows along the upper
than the traditional Reverso, uti-       dle and rotate. Golay demonstrated              workspace. If removed and placed
lizing the new XGT case size (33         our first series of steps personally, as        in order, the reassembly process will
by 29.25mm). The larger size of the      he would continue to do through-                be made simpler. To replace, work
new movement not only makes the          out the day. As we crowded around               from right to left.
class exercise slightly less taxing on   his workbench just before 10
the eyes but also allows the firm to     a.m., we watched him remove the                                  Disassembly
best fit the dual-barrel mechanism       minuscule screws that hold in the               Though most in the room briefly
that after a full wind will actually     escape wheel bridge.                            reviewed the CD instruction, our
power the watch for nine days,                Golay showed us that we                    mission as demonstrated by Golay
though it will stop on the eighth        should hold the watchmaker’s thin               differed from the details on the
day to insure its timekeeping re-        screwdriver with the thumb on its               screen. We were to remove cer-
mains precise.                           top while simultaneously using our              tain but not each piece shown on
     “The movement is this size          fingers to rotate the blade—a ma-               the screen, so most of us relied on
because of its requirement for two-      neuver that appears simpler than it             recalling Golay’s instructions as we
barrels,” Wolfgang explained. “It is     actually is. Most if not all Golay’s            proceeded.
not larger merely to fit the case.”      movements, from the precise lifting                 The initial challenge, for most
Fortunately, he adds, the larger size    of each blued screw with tweezers               of us, was unscrewing the tiny
has been in strong demand since          to the deft placement of each piece             screws, and several in the room,

56                                                                                            JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

notably Wempe watchmaker-                                                                     Once the bridge was removed,
turned-salesman Peter Meyer, had              expressed new respect and admira-          we plucked out the tiny pieces near
no problem handling the tools, but            tion for their watchmakers.                the heart of the 875. Removing the
most needed a little time to become               Loitz, Golay and Delaporte             pallet fork, with its two ruby fingers,
adept at using them. Hushed curses            each moved from bench to bench             was particularly fascinating, as it is
indicated their progress.                     as we students continued to disas-         among the most identifiable parts in
     As we proceeded to remove                semble—in more ways than one.              a mechanical movement for many
the escape wheel bridge, Gerhard                                                         watch collectors. It, along with
Loitz, technical director for Jaeger-                                                    many parts near the escapement,
LeCoultre North America, offered                                                         is increasingly eyed with awe and
assistance. “Yes, that’s good,” he                                                       interest through sapphire casebacks
might say after several screws were                                                      on numerous watches sold today.
successfully removed and placed                                                               Then, we removed the balance
above the movement as demon-                                                             and the escape wheel, finely wrought
strated earlier. “More like this,” he                                                    pieces whose delicacy became im-
might add should help be required.                                                       mediately clearer thanks to this ex-
A personal demonstration would                                                           ercise.
invariably follow.                                                                            But we weren’t done yet.
     Their patience was admirable                                                             I unwittingly launched several
and their sure-fingered use of the                                                       blued screws into the air, where
tools enlightened me (and possibly                                                       they seemed to disappear. No mat-
several others in the room): I have                                                      ter, Gerhard Loitz rescued me with
made the correct career choice.                                                          fresh screws—and looks of pity.
The other students, most used to              Watchmaker assembling Jaeger-LeCoultre          Undaunted, I continued.
commanding millions of dollars of             movement.                                       We made another trip up to
inventory and labor in their stores,                                                     the Master’s bench to view and
                                                                                         memorize the dozen steps needed
                                                                                         to complete the next phase of dis-
                                                                                         assembly. We needed to remove
                                                                                         the power-reserve bridge and the
                                                                                         three-quarter mainplate. This ex-
                                                                                         posed the movement’s muscle, its
                                                                                         dual barrels. Out came the barrels
                                                                                         and the three golden wheels, the
                                                                                         center, second and third. I flung a
                                                                                         pinion into the air, where it landed
                                                                                         … I know not. Again, rescued, this
                                                                                         time by Mr. Golay himself. “Voi-
                                                                                              About three hours after the
                                                                                         first screw was turned, the twenty
                                                                                         pieces lay freshly plucked at the
                                                                                         desk of each watchmaker-for-a-
The Master Class team: Ronald Wolfgang, Sylvain Golay, Gerhard Loitz, Alexis Delaporte        Lunch awaited.
and Jean-Marc Keller (JLC)                                                                    The air that was thick with con-

58                                                                                           JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                                                                The Master Eight Days with the date
                                                                                assembly visible
                                                                                Inset: JLC’s new “côtes soleilées”
                                                                                decoration on the Master Eight Days.

                                                                                ily of eight-day movements. With
                                                                                its precious-metal-only Reverso
                                                                                Septantieme shown a year earlier
                                                                                to applause, the two newest JLC
                                                                                models now offer the eight-day
                                                                                feature in steel and as a member of
centration began to thin as we sat to         Following Golay’s demonstra-      its round Master Class series.
our lunch break. Most agreed that        tion of this procedure, we returned         These finely tuned, dual-barrel
the first-time aspect of the work, as    to our tables to begin. The pallet     “engines” power the balance wheel
well as its in-tight focusing require-   fork seems far smaller when it has     that oscillates at 28,800 bph—a
ments, made for strained brains.         to be lifted with sharp tweezers and   high rate when compared with
     However, the reassembly was         placed into a tiny, ruby-lined hole.   nearly all other dual-barrel move-
met with enthusiasm and greater          Then, once its alignment with the      ments. By combining the higher
understanding of where the pieces        escape wheel is complete, in comes     rate and the dual-barrel features,
were to be placed—and why.               the balance.                           the firm retains the precision of
     Lifting each of the three wheels         “It’s alive” was heard in the     the higher rate that, thanks to the
from the desk back into position, I      room. These retailers, who com-        deep, in-house, engineering exper-
somehow flipped the third wheel and      mand millions of dollars in mer-       tise in Le Sentier, will remain ac-
placed it wrong side up. This became     chandise and labor, were clearly       curate over the span of its longer
clear when none of the remaining         satisfied with a day’s work at the     operational time.
wheels would engage when one was         bench as they watched their me-             This is no simple feat, even by
gently turned. Fortunately, Mr. Loitz    chanical movements spring back         advanced watchmaking standards.
adeptly removed the wheels and           to life when they replaced the es-     New materials have been used, the
turned over the offending piece.         capement. The balance swung, the       two barrels are linked serially so
     The highlight of the remain-        pallet fork rocked and the move-       they revolve simultaneously and a
ing hours was near the end of the        ment was reborn.                       special high-frequency escapement
day, approaching 4 p.m., when we                                                has been fitted.
were asked to restart the heart of          The New Long-Reserve Models              The new Calibre 877, 874
the watch—the balance and the            This past spring, the Manufacture      and 875 (as in the Calibre 879
escapement.                              of Le Sentier expanded its fam-        from 2002) utilize three-quarter-

60                                                                                   JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

plate strength inside the XTG
large case. The case, measuring
33 by 29.25mm, has been received
warmly by JLC fans and at the
same time has attracted new fans
who appreciate this new size.
     In addition, the new consum-
ers, many of whom are accustomed
to three-day power reserves in auto-
matic or many mechanical models,
will immediately note the tangible
functionality of these accomplish-
ments. By winding the watch the
identical number of turns required
by most two-day power reserve
watches, these new JLC models
will continue operating untouched
for the full eight days.
     Realize, however, that dual
barrels are not new for the firm. In
1931 the Jaeger-LeCoultre Cali-
bre 124 was fitted with two sym-
metrically arranged parallel bar-
rels. However the firm has jumped
ahead many technological steps to
upgrade that arrangement—with
higher power reserve and greater
precision—in these new models.

       The Master Eight Days
In addition to its enviable power
reserve indicator, this new model
in the Master series is made in 18-
karat rose gold, sports a patented
                                                                          The Master Eight Days series is available in
large date display, a small seconds
                                                                          18-karat rose gold or platinum.
display at 6 o’clock and a day/night
    Turning it over, its three-quar-
ter-movement mainplate is em-          pressures. It has also been hit with     also placed into an engraving at
bellished with a “côtes soleillées”    impacts that test its resistance to      the exterior of the base.
design—a sunburst effect. As is        heavy-duty wear.                              A second model, made in
the case with all the firm’s Mas-          After each watch survives            950 platinum, is a limited-edition
ter Control models, the watch has      these trials, the attending watch-       Master Antoine LeCoultre, named
completed JLC’s 1,000-hour test: It    maker from the company signs a           in honor of the firm’s founder. Like
has been subjected to an assault of    certificate attesting to its passing     its gold counterpart, it includes a
heat, cold and extreme atmospheric     the tests. The Master insignia is        revolving sun/moon/day/ night

62                                                                                    JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                                    indicator. Each of the 200 watches
                                                    features the founder’s signature on
                                                    the bridge of the power reserve and
                                                    on the left side of the case. Each
                                                    watch is individually numbered
                                                    and engraved.

                                                           Reverso Grande Reserve
                                                    With its unique power reserve dis-
                                                    play, this model has struck a chord
                                                    among many collectors. Its look
                                                    furthers the Art Deco origins of the
                                                    Reverso, but now with the larger
                                                    case size and the eight-day move-
                                                    ment (Calibre 874).
                                                         On the front are the hour,
                                                    minute and small seconds subdial.
                                                    But flip it over and the power re-
                                                    serve is indicated not as the tra-
                                                    ditional, fan-shaped, display but
                                                    instead as a single digit viewed
                                                    through an aperture. This patent-
                                                    ed display is most often seen as an
                                                    hour indicator on jumping hour
                                                    watches, but here it is given a to-
                                                    tally new function. Plenty of room
                                                    on this side of the case can be en-
                                                    graved as the owner wishes.

                                                          The Reverso Grande Date
                                                    This model is the subject of the
                                                    Jaeger-LeCoultre’s master watch-
                                                    making class. Here, the firm’s
                                                    designers Philippe Vandel and
                                                    Roger Guignard created the evo-
                                                    lution of the large date into the
                                                    Reverso case with the eight-day
                                                    power reserve.
                                                        The movement uses a thin-
                                                    ner date disc inside than is typical.
             The limited-edition platinum           Instead of a system with alternat-
             Master Antoine LeCoultre is an
                                                    ing thick and thin teeth, the cor-
             eight-day model with day/night
             indicator and features the founder’s   responding wheels utilize teeth for
             signature on the bridge of the power   date units and separate teeth for
             reserve and on the left side of the    the tens position. The date ring
             case.                                  inside presents the numbers from
                                                    0-9 repeated three times along its

64                                                      JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

Things Get Complicated
for       Frederique
The new Highlife Moonphase Chronograph


S        ince its founding in 1998
         by husband and wife team
         Peter C. Stas and Aletta
Bax, Frederique Constant has
achieved a distinguished position
within the watchmaking industry
for creating high-quality, mostly
mechanical timepieces at afford-
able prices. This family-owned and
-operated company has achieved
this esteemed position with a bril-
liantly planned and well-executed
program of expansion since the
launch of its first timepieces in
1992. Unusually enough, Peter
and Aletta did not originally train
as watchmakers, but their business
backgrounds, combined with their
talents for design and watchmaking
skills and their successful and highly   have searched for production im-          “Probably the single most im-
innovative promotional motto,            provements to be able to keep cost    portant success factor is our passion
“Live Your Passion,” have brought        under control. In addition to newer   for watches. This drives our ability
the young company widely recog-          production methods, we have also      to create exciting Frederique Con-
nized success.                           continued to keep our general over-   stant watches that are beautiful
     “When we started in 1988, our       head expenses as low as possible.     and meet customer requirements.
aim was to create luxurious watches      With a small and efficient team in    Another major key success factor is
at sensible prices. There were al-       Geneva, we create, produce and sell   a close relationship with our cus-
ready so many other Swiss brands         our watches. A small team enables     tomers, our distributors and our
that, in our opinion, charged exor-      fast and direct communication on      retailers, which is essential to be
bitant prices,” explain Aletta and       one side and low cost on the other    able to create and produce the
Peter. “At Frederique Constant, we       side.                                 right watches for the market. Our

66                                                                                 JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                  The Highlife Moonphase
                                  Chronograph (shown here
                                  with a black dial) is also
                                  available with an elegant
                                  silver dial.

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJANUARY 2004                                67

          distributors do a tremendous job
          constantly expanding our world-
          wide presence and transferring
          passion for Frederique Constant
          watches to the final customers that
          buy our watches.”
               Today, all Frederique Constant
          models are created and developed
          in-house although outside design-
          ers are occasionally consulted for a
          specific series of models. “All indi-
          vidual components are finished by
          our craftsmen who have extensive
          experience in the horological in-
          dustry and who share our passion
          for our watches,” say Aletta and
          Peter. “Most Frederique Constant
          watches are built around intricate
          mechanical movements, in which
          we always try to implement a new
          time measurement function. At-
          tention to detail does not stop
          with the movement, however. It is
          as much valid for the other parts of
          Frederique Constant watches: the
          cases, dials, hands, crowns, straps
          and bracelets.”
               Frederique Constant intro-
          duced the successful Highlife line
          in 1994 with the launch of the
          highly original Heartbeat collec-
          tion. For the first time, the balance
          wheel and escapement that are the
          heart of the Frederique Constant
          mechanical movement were un-
               The current Highlife line com-
          prises four models: the stylishly el-
          egant women’s collection, Allure;
          the dynamic and sporty Round;
          the exclusive mechanical Heart
          Beat Day-Date and the Heart Beat
          Retrograde, which was launched at
          baselworld in 2003.
               “The Highlife line is the flag-
          ship of our collection,” explain


Aletta and Peter. “All Highlife         Highlife design is the multiplica-    tons and ensured water resistance
timepieces have a number of distin-     tion of the Frederique Constant       to 100 meters.
guishing characteristics. Movements     crest in a horizontal oval shape in       Protected by a convex sap-
either have complications or are ul-    the center of the dial. Frederique    phire crystal, the silver or black
tra-thin. Mechanical movements          Constant Highlife watches are in-     dial features the Frederique Con-
are built with the very highest qual-   stantly recognizable.”                stant brand pattern in the center,
ity components and adhere to all             Most recently, Frederique Con-   a 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock
accuracy criteria regulations for       stant added a new complication to     and a 12-hour counter surround-
gaining official Swiss chronom-         the prestigious Highlife line with    ing the moonphase indicator at 6.
eter certification. Haute de gamme      the introduction of the Highlife      The hours are indicated by large,
decorative patterns on the move-        Moonphase Chronograph. Powered        patented Arabic numerals and leaf
ments can be viewed through the         by the FC-395 automatic move-         hands in tarnished steel. Another
crystal on the backside of most         ment with Côtes de Genève deco-       hand points to the date around the
Highlife watches. Our cases fol-        ration and a 42-hour power reserve,   outer edge of the dial while the
low a smooth, rounded design with       this multifunction chronograph        brand emblem is in solid gold at
convex sapphire crystals and water      is housed in a round, individually    3 o’clock. The Highlife Moon-
resistance up to 100 meters. An-        numbered stainless steel case that    phase chronograph retails for
other unique characteristic of the      boasts two stylish oval push but-     $3,700 on a hand-sewn ostrich

70                                                                                JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

           The boldness of

B        ertolucci was like a girl’s
         best friend back in the ’90s.
         When every other seri-
ous watch brand was churning out
chunky chronographs and deep-as-
you-can-go (without exploding)
diver’s watches, Bertolucci was
still courting the women’s market.
Known for years as a dedicated la-
dies’ line—the brand’s collections
are only 20 percent men’s—Berto-
lucci was the first to push the limits
of design in upper-end watches. It
was one of the first luxury watch-
makers to move into bold and pastel
colors, and put colored gemstones,
rather than strictly diamonds, on
the bezels, lugs and dials.
      This philosophy may be a re-
flection of the company’s owner-
ship. It is managed by a woman,
Pierrette Michelotti, the daughter
of one of the company’s founders,
watchmaker Marcel Michelotti.
Her husband, Remo Bertolucci, is
her partner in the company.
      The brand’s latest endeavor

72                                       JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

represents another mark of true                  merals on the dial. Oversized lugs
originality. The Doppia’s dial is                connect it to a galuchat (stingray)
actually a thick sapphire crystal                strap, which, in a unique twist on
with a steel back, kind of like one              this trendy strap material, is avail-
of those old-fashioned cake trays                able in a rough (or “bubbly” as they
with a glass display lid that you see            call it) or smooth version, and in
in diners, only shorter. The effect              various color options.
is of an ice cube that magnifies and                  Like most Bertolucci models,
somewhat distorts (but not so that               the Doppia is available in a range
they’re unreadable) the Roman nu-                of unique color combinations. Dial

                                                                                         options include white, pink or blue,
                                                                                         and are covered with a dusting of
                                                                                         shining stars—a sprinkling of dia-
                                                                                         monds, which Bertolucci refers to
                                                                                         as “constellation dials.” Diamonds
     This Doppia model with white mother-of pearl dial
     is covered with a dusting of sparkling                                              on the lugs are also an option. The
     diamonds, as are the lugs.                                                          case, measuring 35x28mm, is also
     Right: Oversized lugs connect to a galuchat                                         available in 18-karat gold.
     (stingray) strap, which is available in a “bubbly” or                                    Bertolucci has also responded
     smooth version, in various color options.                                           to the current preference among
                                                                                         women for larger dial sizes. The

74                                                                                           JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                Pink Passion   Passion measures in at 38mm,                 Line extensions are an impor-
                               which means it is the ideal case size   tant part of any brand, and this
                               for an automatic movement. This         year Bertolucci has updated both
                               one is an ETA-based cosc-certified      its Uomo and Serena models. Ser-
                               chronometer. Other quality hall-        ena is the brand’s signature oval
                               marks include a curved sapphire         collection, with the case carefully
                               crystal and screw-down crown.           integrated into the leather strap,
                               But the watch has beauty as well        and has been the venue for Berto-
                               as brains. The color is still there,    lucci’s expression of color. Having
                               in the form of white, pink or blue      thoroughly explored the possibili-
                               mother-of-pearl dials and “bubbly”      ties in the realm of straps for the
                               stylized Arabic numerals that lend      line, the company has introduced
                               a fashion edge to the dial.             a metal bracelet for the line this

                                                                       The Serena model is Bertolucci’s sig-
                                                                       nature oval collection.

76                                                                         JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

year. Just in case the wearer still
has a yen for some color on the
watch, the case can be adorned
with a choice or combination of
red or blue sapphires. The Serena
is a quartz watch, with all models
incorporating the end-of-battery
indicator (EOL system).
     And, finally, something for the
men. The Uomo Flash is a nod to
bling-bling, with rubber straps dot-
ted with steel studs and stylized
numerals in several color options.
For a sport watch, the Uomo Flash
is downright groovy. The stylized,
rounded Arabic numerals overlap
the subdials, producing a kind of
shadow effect, and the hour num-
bers are prefixed with 0s, as in “01,

                                        02, 03” and so forth. Fun as it is,   in price from $1,250 to $11,995,
                                        the watch has a serious side—it is    the Doppia, from $1,995 to $5,805,
                                        cosc -certified and can take the      and the Uomo, from $2,750
                                        wearer on dives of up to 300 feet.    to $8,300.                      C
                                             The Bertolucci line is pro-
                                        duced in Bienne, Switzerland, and
                                        is distributed in the United States
                                        by Bellport Time Group, Bellport,
                                        New York. The Serena line ranges

78                                                                                JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

Glashütte Original’s
T r u ly T r a n s pa r e n T M a n u fa c T O r y


                                                         The new manufactory building at Altenberger Str. 1 in Glashütte
          ne of The Swatch Group’s
          top brands happens to be     in 1994, inspired and spearheaded          was actually created as such when
          located in the little Sax-   by Heinz W. Pfeifer, the company           on July 1, 1951, all of Glashütte’s
on town of Glashütte, a city with      has undergone a number of chang-           independent watchmakers were
a great deal of horological history    es, making it into one of today’s          expropriated by the newly found-
(see recent series in iW #70 through   most complete manufactures.                ed East German government and
73), and which Glashütte Original          Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb, the           herded into one huge conglomer-
has dominated since the 1950s.         mother company of Glashütte                ate. The companies included in
Since the company’s privatization,     Original and sister brand of Union,        Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb were

80                                                                                    JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

Urofa and Ufag, Lange & Söhne,          he had envisioned it to be from the
Gössel & Co., Mühle & Son, Es-          beginning. Outfitting his factory
tler, and Otto Lindig, among oth-       with brand new technology, such
ers, as well as the rights to any and   as modern CNC machines, spark
all names from Glashütte’s long         erosion for a more precise fabrica-
horological history. VEB Glashüt-       tion of components and the new-
ter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB) was thus        est in computer software for quality
founded and remained the premier        control, while simultaneously main-
manufacturer of wristwatches and        taining the time-honored hand-done
other microtechnology throughout        processes of refining, such as tin-
the reign of the “people’s republic.”   polishing, beveling and engraving,
When the Berlin Wall fell in 1990,      Pfeifer has successfully been able to
the former East Germany began
                                        Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb’s 250
privatization, and the buyer of the     employees in the new atrium
huge conglomerate—one that had          Below: The atrium’s ceiling is a full 23
employed about 2,000 people—was         meters from the polished wooden floor.
a crafty Franconian businessman by
the name of Heinz W. Pfeifer. Pfeifer
knew watches even though he came
from another industry, and it wasn’t
long before his new brand, Glashüt-
te Original, was turning out luxury
timepieces. Since so many machines
still stood in the old factory build-
ings, Glashütte Original was able to
manufacture such components as
screws—a part that no other luxury
manufacture would ever contemplate
fabricating, especially when consid-
ering the relatively small amounts
of output that emerge from such a
factory. Because it manufactures
no more than 10,000 pieces a year,
fabricating screws in-house would
generally be a ludicrous proposition
from a calculatory standpoint. But
because the technology and know-
how was already available, Glashüt-
te Original is able to manufacture in
a depth that hardly any other com-
pany is capable of.
      With a great deal of elbow
grease and good decision mak-
ing regarding the creation of the
collection, Pfeifer has carefully
steered his manufactory to the place

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJANUARY 2004                                                            81

combine old and new technologies             the summit of haute horlogerie.             it as one of its top brands. Pfeifer
in order to manufacture exactly the          In 2001 the company premiered               has been called to the mount, to
products that he had imagined from           the PanoRetroGraph, the first me-           serve as a member of the extended
the start.                                   chanical chronograph to be able             board of The Swatch Group’s direc-
     And what products! Glashütte            to count both forward and back-             tors. In 2003, he was promoted to
Original introduced the most com-            ward. This horological masterpiece          chairman of The Swatch Group
plicated and expensive watch in the          kicked off the PanoDate edition, a          Germany, and will also continue
modern Glashütte era in 1995, the            line that excels in both beauty and         to serve as president of Glashütter
Julius Assmann 1 model featuring             exceptional technology.                     Uhrenbetrieb, although he has now
both perpetual calendar and flying                 In the fall of 2000, Glashütter       said adieu to the daily business of
tourbillon, and the collection has           Uhrenbetrieb was purchased by the           running “his” company.
only improved from there. In addi-           world’s largest watch company, The               Pfeifer will be leaving behind a
tion to the Senator and Karree lines         Swatch Group AG, which has done             veritable monument to progress in
(see iW #51), the manufactory has            little to influence Pfeifer’s decisions     Glashütte. With the desire to make
created the limited Julius Assmann           thus far, preferring to let the Saxon       the Saxon town a “destination” (it
and Alfred Helwig collections,               company unfold like a butterfly             is located within a half-hour’s drive
so exclusive and complicated and             to the beat of its own wings. The           from both Saxony’s capital city
possessing such exquisite finish-            Swatch Group has, however,                  Dresden and Meissen, where the
ing that these timepieces sit upon           invested heavily in Glashütte               world-famous porcelain is made)
                                             Original, very obviously nurturing          and with the help of a $12.6 mil-
                                                                                         lion investment by The Swatch
                                                                                         Group, he has achieved turning the
                                                                                         rust-brown, functional East German
                                                                                         factory building into a light, airy,
                                                                                         steel-and-glass structure befitting a
                                                                                         modern manufactory and the new
                                                                                         “learning path” for visitors housed
                                                                                         therein. For the past year, Glashüt-
                                                                                         ter Uhrenbetrieb’s 250 employees
                                                                                         have worked in very close quarters
                                                                                         while first one half of the build-
                                                                                         ing, and then the other, was under
                                                                                         construction, allowing the factory
                                                                                         to continue production through-
                                                                                         out the reconstruction process.
                                                                                         One thousand four hundred square
                                                                                         meters (15,000 square feet) of glass
                                                                                         now replace the old concrete fa-
                                                                                         çade and build the main attribute
                                                                                         of the new 23-meter (75-foot) high
                                                                                         atrium, a room that was conceived
                                                                                         for holding events and happenings
                                                                                         on the topic of luxury and time
Swatch Group president Nicolas G. Hayek signs the guest book under the watchful eye of   without having to disturb the rest
Heinz Pfeifer.                                                                           of the factory. The spacious atrium

82                                                                                           JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

is crowned by a 300-square-meter                “learning path.” Implementing a             are now enclosed by glass on one
(3,229-square-foot) glass roof.                 decidedly new transparency in the           side. The visitor is greeted at each
     Perhaps the most interesting               industry, Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb           department by a video explaining
and important characteristic of the             has designed the modern work-               the work going on there and a close
new manufactory inaugurated on                  shops to accommodate this con-              look at the components made and
September 8 is the company’s own                cept. The watchmakers’ workshops            tools used. The visitor can practi-
                                                                                            cally look over the shoulders of the
                                                                                            watchmakers at work. The manu-
                                                                                            factory offers guided tours every
                                                                                            Monday through Friday at 10 a.m.
                                                                                            and 1 p.m. The company asks for
                                                                                            advance reservation for the free
                                                                                            tour, but walk-ins are also wel-
                                                                                                 Also novel for a luxury manu-
                                                                                            factory is the new store located
                                                                                            within the factory building. After a
                                                                                            visitor has gone through the learn-
                                                                                            ing path, it is entirely possible that
                                                                                            the desire to actually handle one
                                                                                            of these beauties will well up with-
                                                                                            in— and this is where the brand
                                                                                            new store comes into play. Visitors
                                                                                            can see, feel and hear the actual
                                                                                            timepieces made here. They can
                                                                                            also purchase their very own “sou-
                                                                                            venir” —at regular retail prices, of
                                                                                                 With Pfeifer taking his leave
                                                                                            after this emotionally laden in-
                                                                                            auguration that was witnessed by
                                                                                            both German dignitaries and Nico-
                                                                                            las G. Hayek himself, the future of
                                                                                            Glashütte Original still looks sunny.
                                                                                            Less than a year ago Pfeifer hired
                                                                                            a new employee who had made
                                                                                            a name for himself at one of the
                                                                                            other luxury manufactories located
                                                                                            in Glashütte. After Dr. Franck
                                                                                            Müller announced his departure
                                                                                            from that company, Pfeifer chose
                                                                                            him to take his place in caring for
                                                                                            the day-to-day business of running
Top: The factory’s learning path features video explanations of every department
along the way.                                                                              a watch manufactory. Müller has
Bottom: The factory is now outfitted with its own store for sales to the visitor at regu-   stated that he will not be changing
lar retail prices.                                                                          anything as new managing direc-

84                                                                                              JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

 New movements are developed using
 modern CAD technology.

                                       Caliber 90 is the extraordinary base movement used for the PanoDate edition. Note the
                                       3/4 rotor and dual swan neck regulators.

                                       specifically plans to invest strongly             As a final confirmation of
                                       in the development of watches and            Hayek’s confidence in the watch-
                                       their degree of innovation and qual-         makers located in Glashütte, he
                                       ity in customer service and in point-        revealed that he still has a lot of
                                       of-sale activities. To reach this end        plans for the little town located
                                       he says, “Our motto in the coming            in the Erz mountain range. The
                                       years will be evolution not revolu-          Swatch Group will be building up a
                                       tion!” Müller agrees that the future         separate company here in the next
Later, those CAM designs are
                                       of Glashütte Original as a member            three years, a European service
manufactured using computer guided
milling and drilliing machines.        of The Swatch Group has excellent            center for all of its luxury watch-
                                       prospects. On one side, the company          es. Space for this new venture has
                                       enjoys its previously mentioned free-        already been reserved: Approxi-
tor, but rather will “… continue to    dom, while on the other it is able to        mately sixty benches near the atri-
develop that which we are already      fall back on the enormous resources          um on the third floor of the new
doing in a courageous and enthusi-     of its parent company, such as in the        transparent manufactory are ready
astic manner. It needs to be our job   organization of distribution. Cur-           for the influx of new watchmakers.
to continue cultivating Glashütte      rently Glashütte Original is avail-          According to Hayek, Glashütte
Original’s reputation as one of the    able in twenty-eight countries—and           Original’s production will also be
best addresses for individual and      Müller intends on increasing this in         increased fourfold, chiefly to satisfy
fine mechanical timepieces.” Müller    the next years.                              the company’s distribution needs

86                                                                                       JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

     Commemorates the
      USS Constellation
                Th e f i r m p ays t r i b u te to t h i s h i s to r i c ve s s e l

                                  BY   C.   BRADLEY    JACOBS

88                                                                            JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

W             hat could a nineteenth
              century sailing ves-
              sel and a twenty-first
century watchmaker possibly have
in common? For starters, each
represents technology considered
obsolete to most but revered by
many others. Second, each can
claim a connection to Baltimore,
Maryland, which is the birth-
place of Roland G. Murphy and
is where the USS Constellation,
the U.S. Navy’s last all-sail war-
ship, has been moored for the last
forty-eight years. Last, a new RGM
timepiece will be helping celebrate
the Constellation’s 150th birthday
in the coming months.
     Next year marks 150 years since
the launching of the venerable ship
in 1854. Once being placed in com-
mission by the U.S. Navy (28 July
1855), this stately vessel served vari-
ous roles, from squadron flagship to
training vessel, for an entire century
before being restored and installed
in Baltimore as a monument to
America’s great naval heritage.
     To celebrate the history of the
Constellation and to express his ad-
miration for fine sailing vessels, Ro-
land Murphy of the RGM Watch
Company, in Lancaster, Pennsyl-
vania, is preparing to issue the first
in a series of limited-edition wrist-
watches, each bearing the likeness
of a great ship. Featuring an origi-
nal relief engraving of the Constel-
lation on the silver dial, the first
model (RGM ref. 170) will have an         by reminders of that state’s contribu-    cently completed a trip to the Inner
automatic movement in an elegant          tions to and reliance upon maritime       Harbor in Baltimore to help give
18-karat rose gold case and will be       commerce. As a result, his interest       back to the ship that which has in-
offered as a limited edition of just      in sailing is strong and is a source of   spired them. Their visit, a sort of
twenty-five pieces.                       inspiration for such projects as de-      pilgrimage really, was timed to co-
     Murphy and RGM’s chief of            signing the dial and caseback of the      incide with an auction held aboard
design, Rich Baugh, share a pas-          USS Constellation watch.                  the Constellation this past Septem-
sion for fine timepieces and for               Not content simply to borrow         ber 4. Various examples of nautical
things nautical. Baugh is a native        the likeness of the ship for use on       art were offered at the first (and
of Delaware and grew up surrounded        their watch, Murphy and Baugh re-         expected to be annual) Constella-

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJANUARY 2004                                                                                       89

tion Art Auction & Reception held       subsequent series commemorating         of a ship cutting through the waves.
aboard the ship. Featured in the        other great sailing ships. Under-       So that this series of watches will
auction was an original pen-and-        standing that each ship represents      further stand out from the crowd,
ink drawing by Rich Baugh, which        the hard work of designers, builders    RGM is considering the use of en-
was the first of a pair of drawings     and crew, the RGM team plans to         graved case sides and etched-glass
used to determine the final design      make each commemorative edition         casebacks on some future models.
of the aforementioned wristwatch        substantially different from the oth-   Suffice it to say, each watch, like
dial. The framed artwork depicts        ers. Where the Constellation watch      the ship it represents, will have a
the ship, with her sails deployed,      features a side view of the ship,       strong and unique personality.
plying a calm evening sea. A simi-      another watch in the series is ex-           To learn more about the USS
lar image adorns the RGM watch,         pected to portray the English ship      Constellation and the upcoming
although the details of the side of     HMS Victory (the oldest commis-         150th anniversary celebrations, vis-
the vessel are clearer on the dial      sioned warship in the world, which      it,
than on paper, a fact attributable as   was also Admiral Nelson’s flagship      or call (410-539-1797). You can
much to the precision of the dial       at the Battle of Trafalgar) from the    visit the ship at Pier 1, 301 East
maker as to the more artistic nature    stern as the ship sails away from       Pratt Street, in the Inner Harbor of
of the framed drawing.                  view. Another watch is expected to      Baltimore, Maryland.             C
     Roland Murphy plans to create      display a dynamic image of the bow

90                                                                                  JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

The                 History
Today,   a wrisTwaTch is considered as much of a status symbol as a
device to tell time. In an age when cellphones and digital pagers
display tiny quartz clocks, the mechanical wristwatch has slowly become
less of an object of function and more a piece of modern culture.

Walk into the boardroom of any          achieve any level of accuracy, nor
Fortune 500 company and you’re          could they withstand the basic rig-
likely to see dozens of prestigious     ors of human activity. Therefore,
wristwatches, including such names      very few companies produced them
as Rolex, Vacheron Constantin,          in quantity, with the vast majority
Frank Müller, Jaeger-LeCoultre and      of those being small ladies’ models,
even Patek Phillipe. However, this      with delicate fixed wire or chain-
was not always the case. Less than      link bracelets.
100 years ago, no self-respecting            This all started to change in     with the British victory in the
gentleman would be caught dead          the nineteenth century, when sol-      Anglo-Boer War (South Africa
wearing a wristwatch. In those days     diers discovered their usefulness      1899-1902), including smokeless
of yore, real men carried pocket        during wartime situations. Pocket      gunpowder, the magazine-fed rifle
watches, with a gold half-hunter        watches were clumsy to carry and       and even the automatic or machine
being the preferred status symbol       thus difficult to operate while in     gun. However, some would argue
of the time—no pun intended.            combat. Therefore, soldiers fit-       that it was a not-so-lethal device
     Wristlets, as they were called,    ted them into primitive “cupped”       that helped turn the tide into Brit-
were reserved for women and con-        leather straps so they could be        ain’s favor: the wristwatch.
sidered more of a passing fad than a    worn on the wrist, thereby freeing          While the British troops were
serious timepiece. In fact, they were   up their hands during battle. It is    superiorly trained and equipped,
held in such disdain that many a        believed that Girard-Perregaux         they were slightly outnumbered,
gentlemen were actually quoted to       equipped the German Imperial           and at a disadvantage while attack-
say they “would sooner wear a skirt     Navy with similar pieces as early      ing the Boer’s heavily entrenched
as wear a wristwatch.”                  as the 1880s, which they wore on       positions. Thanks to these recent-
     The established watchmaking        their wrists while synchronizing na-   ly designed weapons, a new age
community looked down on them           val attacks and firing artillery.      of war had emerged, which, now
as well. Because of their size, few          Decades later, several tech-      more than ever, required tactical
believed wristlets could be made to     nological advents were credited        precision. British officers achieved

92                                                                                 JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

of the                      Wristwatch

success by using these makeshift     Service or for rough wear.”            ing the time to be easily read.
wristwatches to coordinate simul-         In 1906, the evolution of              A less common solution was
taneous troop movements, and syn-    wristlets took an even bigger step     the use of leather covers, snapped
chronize flanking attacks against    with the invention of the expand-      into place over the watch. While
the Boer’s formations.               able flexible bracelet, as well as     they did offer protection from dam-
     In fact, an “Unsolicited Tes-   the introduction of wire loops (or     age, they were cumbersome to use,
timonial” dated June 7, 1900, ap-    lugs) soldered onto small, open-       and thus were primarily seen in the
peared in the 1901 Goldsmith’s       faced pocket watch cases, allowing     extreme climates of Australia and
Company Watch and Clock Cata-        leather straps to be more easily at-   Africa.
log as follows:                      tached. This aided their adaptation         Even with their success in
     “… I wore it continually in     for military use and thus marked a     combat, the popularity of the
South Africa on my wrist for 3       turning point in the development       wristwatch was still limited to la-
months. It kept most excellent       of wristwatches for men.               dies’ models. They didn’t reach the
time, and never failed me. —Faith-        Another timely issue was the      mainstream market until some two
fully yours, Capt. North Staffs.     vulnerability of the glass crystal     decades later, when soldiers from
Regt.”                               when worn during combat. This          around the world converged on
     This testimonial appeared be-   was addressed by utilizing “pierced    Europe to help defeat the German
low an advertisement for a mili-     metal covers,” frequently called       Empire in WWI (1914–1919).
tary pocket watch listed as The      shrapnel guards. These were basi-      Because of the strategic lessons
Company’s “Service” Watch, and       cally metal grills (often made of      learned in the Boer War, the
was further described as “The most   silver), placed over the dial of the   demand for reliable, accurate wrist-
reliable timekeeper in the World     watch—thereby protecting the           watches was now at its peak.
for Gentlemen going on Active        glass from damage while still allow-        While German troops at this

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJANUARY 2004                                                                               93

time were largely issued the more
primitive “pocket watch” designs,
Allied troops had a wide range
of new models to choose from.
Many examples featured small
silver pocket watch cases fitted
with leather straps and displayed
radium-illuminated porcelain dials
protected by the aforementioned
shrapnel guards (as seen, right).
     Wristwatches were no longer
considered a novelty but were now
a wartime necessity, and companies
were scrambling to keep up with
the demand. One company that en-
joyed success during this time was
Wilsdorf & Davis, Ltd., founded in
1905, and later renamed the Rolex
Watch Company, Ltd., in 1915.
     Hans Wilsdorf, the founder
and director of Rolex, was a strong
proponent of wristwatches since
the turn of the century. While oth-
ers scoffed at them, Wilsdorf con-
tinued to experiment with their ac-
curacy and reliability. Thus, some
would argue that he did more for
their advancement than anyone in
history. In fact, he is even credited
with sending the first wristwatch-
es to the Neuchâtel Observatory         Top (left): This trench watch is shown fitted with a spiral pattern shrapnel guard, with a
(Switzerland), for accuracy testing.    “telephone” style guard positioned beside it.
They all passed the rigorous battery    Top (right): Rolex nickel “trench watch” featuring a 3-piece screw-down case, with milled
of tests, which encouraged Wilsdorf     edges (circa 1917). This design was based on the Borgel patent, and was one of the precur-
to push them even further.              sors to the waterproof Oyster design of 1926.
     Rolex subsequently received the    Above: Wire lugs were soldered onto small, open-faced pocket watch cases, allowing leath-
very first wristwatch Chronometer       er straps to be more easily attached.
awards from the School of Horology
in Bienne (1910), and the Class “A”
Certificate of Precision from the Kew       After the Great War, many                  no longer deemed as feminine. Af-
Observatory in England (1914). To       soldiers returned home with sou-               ter all, no one would dare consider
this day, Rolex watches consistently    venir trench watches—so named                  these brave men as being anything
receive more Chronometer Cer-           for the trench warfare in which                but.
tificates from the Contrôle Officiel    they were used. When these war                      In the final years of the war,
Suisse des Chronometres (cosc)          heroes were seen wearing them,                 wristwatches began to see numer-
than every other watch company in       the public’s perception quickly                ous improvements. Case makers
the world, combined.                    changed, and wristwatches were                 like Francis Baumgartner, Borgel

94                                                                                          JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                                                                      perpetually self-winding, when
                                                                                      Rolex introduced the Auto Rotor,
                                                                                      a revolutionary design, which is
                                                                                      used to this day by watch compa-
                                                                                      nies around the world.
                                                                                           The success of the wristwatch
                                                                                      was born out of necessity, and Ro-
                                                                                      lex continued this tradition by
                                                                                      introducing a series of Profession-
                                                                                      al, or “tool watches” in the early
                                                                                      1950s. These models, including
                                                                                      the Submariner, Explorer, GMT-
                                                                                      Master, Turn-O-Graph, and Mil-
                                                                                      gauss were also designed out of
                                                                                      necessity, as they included features
                                                                                      and attributes that were essential
                                                                                      for a specific task or profession.
                                                                                           Because of its rugged design,
                                                                                      variations of the Submariner have
                                                                                      subsequently been issued to numer-
                                             and Dennison introduced revo-            ous militaries, including the British
                                             lutionary designs, which aided in        Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy
                                             making them more resistant to            and British Royal Marines, as well
                                             water and dust. These designs were       as the U.S. Navy Seals. Over the
                                             later improved on when Rolex in-         years, dozens of companies like
                                             troduced the first truly waterproof      Omega, Benrus and Panerai have
                                             wristwatch, the Oyster, in 1926.         also supplied specialty watch mod-
                                                  Also around this time, new          els for military duty.
                                             models were introduced with                   Thus, the role of the wrist-
                                             fixed lugs (often called “horns”),       watch seems to have come full cir-
                                             which gave them a more finished          cle. With the general public now
                                             appearance. And to aid in their          leaning toward high-tech, digital
                                             durability, new metal dials super-       gadgets, the classic mechanical
                                             ceded porcelain, which had been          wristwatch has once again found its
                                             quite susceptible to cracking and        home on the wrists of those brave
                                             chipping and the fragile glass crys-     soldiers who welcomed it some 100
                                             tals were replaced with a newly          years ago.                         C
                                             invented synthetic plastic.
Top: This unusual leather strap design was        Over the next decade, watch         John E. Brozek, collector, appraiser
used to protect the watch from damage        companies slowly added additional        and authenticator of Rolex watches,
and as limited protection from the ele-      models to their catalogs, and finally,   is the author of The Rolex Report,
ments. Thus, they were often seen in ex-     by the mid-1930s, they accounted         An Unauthorized Reference Book
treme climates of Australia and Africa.      for 65 percent of all watches ex-        for the Rolex Enthusiast. He resides
Above: The earliest wristwatches were ac-    ported by Switzerland. It was an         in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he
tually pocket watches fitted into “cupped”   uphill battle, but the wristwatch        lectures watch clubs and organizations
style leather wrist straps.                  had finally arrived. They were now       on the identification of authentic and
                                             accurate, waterproof and, by 1931,       counterfeit Rolex watches and parts.

96                                                                                        JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

Boegli’s new pocket watch displays
two movements to treat your
eyes—and your ears.


W            hile it has been cen-
             turies since craftsmen
             first created beautiful
music from the metal, gears and
pins inside a pocket watch, hearing
a Mozart interlude at one’s whim is
always welcome.
    So, when François Boegli
unearthed numerous, cen-
tury-old, musical pocket
watch designs from his
family’s firm in Moutier,
Switzerland, he heard
that interlude being re-
played. The time, he felt,
was now ripe to re-create
them for a new century.
    A fourth-genera-
tion Boegli in the watch
manufacturing business,
François wanted new
looks for a tried-and-true
match: music and time.
He wanted to place together
well-decorated mechanical
movements to show time and
unique musical movements, while
allowing both to be seen in action.
With his firm’s long history of
creating private label watches in

102                                    JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

addition to its own pieces, Boegli     and for Boegli has created a small
drew from many Swiss resources.        roller-type movement with seven-
Thus was born the new generation       teen notes—just enough to be art-
of Boegli musical pocket watches.      fully configured for numerous well-
                                       known tunes.
           Basel Success
Debuting in Basel last year, the             See-Through Music
new line received rave notices, says   But the art is not limited
John Hubacher, president of Chro-      to the inside. Most
notime, the North American dis-        models feature open
tributor of Boegli. Likewise, in the   dials that display
United States, retailers responded     the music move-
enthusiastically to the line’s debut   ment. Several also
here during the summer.                open on the dial
      “This is an exclusive musi-      to display the
cal movement made for us by the        decorated pocket
real professionals, Reuge Music,”      watch movement.
Hubacher explains. Reuge Music,        The Baroque
a premier Swiss maker of fine mu-      series         of
sical boxes, automatons and a line     pocket mod-
of its own musical pocket watches,     els unites visual
still finishes its products by hand,   and audio enjoy-

                                                                             The Baroque series features a
                                                                             polished white dial with Arabic or Roman
                                                                             numerals, in either palladium-
                                                                             or gold-plated finish.

                                                                             ment when the piece is play-
                                                                             i n g y o u r t u n e . Wi t h o u t a
                                                                             cover—in traditional Lepine
                                                                             style—the casebacks of most
                                                                             watches in the line house the start-
                                                                             and-stop lever for the music and
                                                                             the rewind key for the mechanical
                                                                             watch movement. Also, the wearer
                                                                             can view a gilded and decorated
                                                                             portion of the pocket watch move-
                                                                             ment through a generously sized
                                                                             “port hole” on the caseback.

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJANUARY 2004                                                                                   103

     The Concerto series, in the          tion piece, adds Hubacher. Look for      ment plating. Two gold-plated
Hunter style with cover, allows the       both new items this year at the Ba-      models also are available. Choose
user to start and stop the music by       sel watch show in mid-April, if not      from Arabic or Roman numerals
opening and closing the cover.            sooner. The watches will then be         on the rich, polished white dial.
     The introductory line of Boegli      available in stores soon thereafter.     Prices for the Baroque series range
pocket watches includes fourteen                                                   from $1,000 to $1,050.
styles, with a choice of Mozart’s                   The Baroque Series
“The Magic Flute” or Vivaldi’s            With four models, the Baroque se-                The Concerto Series
“Four Seasons.” Any style can be          ries features dual openings on the       There are five models in the Hunt-
ordered with either tune. As an           dial. At the top, its skeletonized me-   er style, each of which plays music
added touch, the name of the tune         chanical pocket watch movement           when opened; the melody is in-
is written on the dial.                   is visible. Below, at the traditional    terrupted when the case is closed.
     The watches are not strictly         6 o’clock position, one can view         The Concerto is sold in either a
for classical music lovers, however.      the Reuge Music mechanical music         brushed or polished case and in
Hubacher has requested that Boegli        movement. Two models are palla-          gold-plated or palladium-plated
create a special watch for the U.S.       dium-plated with matching move-          models. The timekeeping dial is
market that will play Francis Scott
Key’s “The Star Spangled Banner”
from within a specially designed          The Concerto line,
dial and case.                            with its blue, white or
     “We had numerous requests            champagne relief
for the national anthem as soon as        dials and Roman or
we debuted Boegli this past June,”        Arablic numerals,
                                          comes in a polished
recalls Hubacher. “So we are pre-
                                          or brushed case.
paring the models with this tune
     Also highly requested is the
traditional “Wedding March Re-
prise” by Felix Mendelsshon. This
will arrive this year as a limited-edi-

104                                                                                    JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                     oval and the musical movement is
                                     visible through the front. This line
                                     is priced from $900 to $1,100. p
                                              The Adagio Series
                                     This group of five models is with-
                                     out a cover and features textured
                                     relief dials. Cases come either
                                     palladium-plated or gold-plated
                                     and the dials include blue relief,
                                     champagne relief or white relief
                                     (left and above).
                                          With this and any other
                                     watch, the owner can purchase
                                     (for $75) a solid brass display in
                                     either gold plate or palladium
                                     plate. Chains are extra and retail

                Boegli’s decorated
                pocket watch

106                                      JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                            the ORis
                        Big CROwN Dive
                                             BY   JOHN   B.   HOLBROOK

O          ris is a watch brand name
           that unfortunately can
           sometimes get lost in
the shuffle. Oh sure, it plays the
celebrity endorsement game too
                                          cal watches began in 1952 with its
                                          caliber 601. Since then, Oris has
                                          succeeded in extending their repu-
                                          tation in the area of mechanical
                                                                                watchmaking counterparts. Perhaps
                                                                                it’s because Oris does things just a
                                                                                bit differently than those other guys.
                                                                                Not coincidentally, it also does
… David Beckham? Check. Ralf              watchmaking. Still, Oris has never    things very well. A case in point is
Schumacher? Check. Oris is also           enjoyed quite the brand name rec-     the Oris Big Crown Diver Regula-
linked to image enhancing sports          ognition of some of its other Swiss   tor.
like flying and F1 auto racing. Oris
has a classy side too, as evidenced
by its close ties to the world of jazz.
Perhaps you’ll recognize names like
Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong.
Oris has produced special edition
watches that bear the names of
both of these jazz legends.
     Some watch companies need to
participate in high profile activities
and secure celebrity endorsements
to mask a lack of substance within
their product lines. However, this
description couldn’t be further
from what Oris represents. Oris was
founded just after the turn of the
century, in 1904, by Paul Cattin
and Georges Christian in Hölstein,
Switzerland, and it has always en-
joyed a reputation of producing
reliable timepieces of excellent
quality. The company’s affinity
for automatic winding, mechani-

108                                                                                 JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

     The Oris BC Diver Regulator,
while falling squarely in the cate-
gory of “tool watch” is not without
cosmetic appeal. In a watch mar-
ket flooded with “me too” styled
divers, you have to admire Oris
for stepping out on a limb to cre-
ate something different. For start-
ers, the 38mm, all-brushed finish,
stainless steel case of this watch
goes completely against the grain
of contemporary “bigger is better”
dive-style watches. At 11mm thick,
the midsized case of this watch eas-
ily slips under the cuff of a long
sleeve shirt—a decided advantage
for “desktop divers” over other,
larger divers. The choice of making
this diver a regulator style watch
(with the hour hand as a subdial,
leaving a lone minute hand on the
main dial) was ingenious. My ini-
tial reaction was to question the
utility of having a dive watch with
the somewhat more complex lay-
out of a regulator-style dial. How-
ever, given that most dives are less
than sixty minutes in duration, it
is unlikely that a diver would need
to rely on anything other than the
easy-to-read minute hand during a
dive. The unidirectional, stainless
steel bezel of this watch is easily
gripped and turns with very precise
“clicks.” I do question the choice of    also is fitted with the namesake        strap is thick, flexible and quite
making the bezel markers the same        oversized crown, further adding to      comfortable, and features an im-
finish and color as the bezel itself.    the unique style of this watch.         pressive two-button, flip-lock clasp
This would seem to greatly inhibit            The rubber strap issued on this    matted to the rubber strap—it’s of
visibility underwater, even if it does   particular model is well suited to      quality construction and feels quite
look great back on shore. The regu-      the overall utilitarian theme of the    secure. The Oris signed clasp has
lator dial is protected by a scratch-    watch. It’s the perfect choice for      an all-brushed finish that match-
proof sapphire crystal, with an          those who actually intend to dive       es nicely with the brushed watch
antireflective coating. The screwed-     or take part in other activities that   case—very appropriate for a dive
on steel caseback ensures 200 me-        would deteriorate a leather strap       watch. I’ve always questioned the
ters of water resistance. The watch      or damage a bracelet. The textured      logic behind dive watches with a

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJANUARY 2004                                                                                  109

polished finish. Aren’t underwater
predators like sharks and moray
eels attracted to shiny objects?
     Powering the Oris BC Diver
Regulator is the Oris caliber 649.
Oris began using the 649 in 1995—
it’s a modified ETA 2836-2. The
649 is a 27-jewel, bidirectional ro-
tating automatic movement with a
38-hour power reserve. The 649 also        For a watch priced around             of watch buyers, it’s refreshing to
features a quick set date, a hacking   $1,000, I find the quality of the Oris    find a company willing to do things
second hand and the convenience        Big Crown Diver Regulator to be ex-       just a little bit differently.
of a manual-wind option, which is      ceptional. In recent years, Oris has
a joy to use, thanks to the smooth     been able to establish itself as a true   John B. Holbrook is the co-modera-
workmanship of the 649, and the        Swiss mechanical watch company,           tor of the Central
oversized crown. The Incabloc          capable of producing a luxury level       Watch Forum.                   C
shock protection incorporated in-      timepiece at a value price point.
to the movement ensures that the       In a time where many Swiss watch
watch can endure the rigors of an      companies institute regular price in-
active lifestyle.                      creases and focus on the upper strata

110                                                                                  JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

The Gentlemen’s Watch
                                  Is Paul Picot’s all-mechanical collection just for men?

                                                                                        BY   CAROL    BESLER

                                            refers to its outsized 42mm dial    (Gentlemen may prefer blondes,
                                            span, and in case there is any      but will blondes prefer the Gentle-
                                            question about the “Gentle-         man?)
                                            men” reference, spelled out              The all-mechanical collection
                                            prominently on the dial, turn       consists of four references, each
                                           the watch over and check out         with a different complication or
                                          the caseback. There you’ll find       function—Chronograph, Regula-
                                         an engraved likeness of a generic      tor, GMT and Classic. The Chrono-
                                        gentleman, a kind of Dickensian         graph features a self-winding bicom-
                                        everyman, complete with top hat         pax movement that shows minutes
                                        and cravat—the accoutrements of         and small seconds on subdials at 3
                                        a true gentleman.                       and 9 o’clock. A tachymeter runs
                                             The image seems to hail from       along the inside rim of the bezel.
                                        another era and so it is surprising          The complicated regulator is
                                        to learn that the Gentleman col-        pure classic mechanical watchmak-
                                        lection is not a revived series or a

                                        reproduction of a collection from
                                        another era. It was launched in
          s the demand for over-sized   2003, with delivery to the U.S.
          watches reaches its peak,     market scheduled for early this
          even—or one might say         year.
especially—among women, watch                Alan Swierk, of ITG, the
companies are reluctant to specify      brand’s U.S. distributor, based in
whether their collections are men’s     Florida, is anxious to see a Paul
or ladies’. Even brands that for de-    Picot on every wrist, offers the sug-
cades have been associated with         gestion that the smaller, 38mm ver-
the men’s-only niche are starting       sion of the Gentleman 42 could
to promote traditionally men’s col-     be worn by women. Of course, it
lections, in sizes as large as 44mm,    would still say “Gentleman” on the
for ladies. Paul Picot, however, is     dial, but some women, especially
pulling no punches when it comes        American women, might enjoy
to identifying the targeted gender      the irony, not to mention a certain
for its new watch collection. It’s      pride in usurping a watch that was
called the Gentleman 42. The 42         exclusively intended for the guys.

112                                                                                 JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                  ing. The self-winding Paul Picot
                                  1000 caliber movement generates
                                  the hours, minutes and seconds
                                  on three separate dials. Hours are
                                  marked by the main dial. Minutes
                                  are read on the Roman numeraled
                                  subdial at 12 o’clock, and a regulator
                                  dial at 6 counts down the seconds.
                                        Because a gentleman’s watch
                                   should be a dress watch, the
                                    Chronograph and Regulator
                                     models are discreetly low key
                                      and uncluttered despite the
                                       presence of subdials and push-
                                       buttons. The Chronograph’s
                                       tone-on-tone white or black
                                       designs are almost minimalist.
                                       And the white dial with black
                                      subdials looks more “tuxedo”
                                     than serious sport watch, which
                                    is, after all, what a chronograph
                                   is. Even the stylized numbers of
                                  the Arabic numeral version seems
                                  as dignified as the Roman numeral
                                        The Paul Picot line is unusual
                                  in that it was conceived, in the
                                  1970s, as a resolutely all-mechani-
                                  cal watchmaking company during
                                  the height of the quartz revolution,
                                  when most Swiss watchmakers
                                  were embracing the new technol-
                                  ogy for fear of extinction. Founded
                                  by Mario Boiocchi in 1976, the
                                  company is still privately owned
                                  and has recently appointed a new
                                  managing director, Eric Oppliger,
                                  who has held executive positions in
                                  the Swiss watchmaking industry for
                                  thirty years and was chosen to help
                                  launch the brand in the United
                                  States. The collection is available
                                  in jewelry stores throughout the

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJANUARY 2004                                     113
                                                       Ron Buccarelli roars around the
                                                       pylons at the NCAR in his highly
                                                       modified Mustang, Precious Metal.
                                                       The racer features a Rolls Royce
                                                       Griffon V-12 engine and counter-
                                                       rotating propellers.
Photo by Scott Germain

                         Time and the Fastest Sport
                                 on Earth
                         AIR RACINGBY   JAN   TEGLER

                                                                                                                                  Photos by Jan Tegler
O            ne factor, one overrid-
             ing consideration was on
             everyone’s mind this Sep-
tember at Stead Airport, 13 miles
north of Reno, Nevada: time. Time
to brief—time to qualify—time to
go racing again for the fortieth time
at the National Championship
Air Races (ncar). And the time
to beat: 60.75 seconds. Equal or         Clockwise from top left: Rare Bear in the Gold lineup; Critical Mass; pilot Skip Holm sits
surpass this magical number once         inside the cockpit of Dago Red; Dago Red in the Gold lineup .
around the 8.4 mile Unlimited race
course and you’ve just flown the         his wrist. Out on the race course,             racing encompasses all the chal-
first official 500 mph lap in history    pilot Skip Holm had the familiar               lenges of competing on an oval
—the quickest speed ever recorded        sensations of speed, heat and heavy            track like the Indianapolis Mo-
in the fastest sport on earth.           G-forces at low altitude. He was               tor Speedway but adds something
      Just after 4:30 on the afternoon   pushing Dago Red hard, very hard.              else—a third dimension. Passing
of September 12, flashes of sunlight     As he flashed by the timer’s stand             takes place not only side by side,
bounced from the crystals of wrist       and home pylon concluding lap one,             but above and below. Pilots sustain
and stop watches up and down the         five timing clocks and two high-               four to five positive G’s in the turns
flightline as pilots, crew and more      speed photographic timing systems              and must monitor the complex sys-
than 200,000 spectators glanced at       recorded his lap time. The question            tems in their own aircraft, the rela-
their timepieces, counting the sec-      on everyone’s mind was about to be             tive position of other racers, and
onds as the top Unlimited air racers     answered. Were Dago Red and Skip               try to fly a perfect line around the
screamed into the opening laps of        Holm breaking a new barrier in air             course simultaneously.
the first Gold heat race of the week.    racing?                                             Long before today’s extreme
Atop the Dago Red Air Racing                  So far out on the edge is air             sports, pilots were pushing physical
Team trailer, Terry Bland, the owner     racing that it puts just about any-            and mental limits in closed-course,
of defending Unlimited class cham-       thing else in the shade. Think of              pylon air racing. The first pylon air
pion, Dago Red (the world’s fastest      the Indy 500 … in the air. Racers              race was held in Rheims, France, in
P-51 Mustang), shifted his eyes          compete on an oval course, flying              1909, just six years after the Wright
between his outrageously modi-           around pylons just 40 feet off the             brothers’ maiden flight. There-
fied racer and the chronograph on        ground at astounding speeds. Air               after, the sport expanded in the

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJaNUarY 2004                                                                                                115
Eric Tegler

                                                Jan Tegler

                                                                                              Eric Tegler
 The P-51D Miss America is one of the most       Brent Hisey in the cockpit of Miss America    Tony Smith’s left hand advances the
 famous of the Unlimited racers. Here, pilot     awaiting the start of the Silver Unlimited    throttle of his lovely 1936 Percival E.2H
 and owner, Brent Hisey, taxies the beautiful    Final. A Breitling Aerospace looks the        Mew Gull vintage air racer. Perched on
 Mustang out for Sunday’s Silver Unlimited       business on the race pilot’s wrist.           his wrist is an Ulysse Nardin 1846 Marine
 Final, which he won at 428.516 mph.                                                           Chonometer.

                                                  compete for the Gold championship
 United States and Europe, reach-                 trophy in their respective divisions.
 ing the peak of its popularity in the            Four days of practice and qualifying
 1930s at the National Air Races in               and two days of heat races culminate
 Cleveland. Drama, danger, huge                   in Bronze, Silver and Gold finals on
 crowds, star pilots, movie stars and             the final day of racing.
 front-page headlines put air racing                   Speeds in air racing surpass
 squarely in the public conscious-                anything seen in auto racing. Com-
 ness. Cutting edge as it was, the                petition in three dimensions and
 sport became a proving ground for                the uniqueness of the contest add
 new technology and also registered               to the challenge of timing qualifica-
 prominently in “official” conscious-             tions and races. That’s why for forty
 ness. Aerodynamic and powerplant                 years, official timers at the ncar
 developments pioneered in air rac-               have kept things simple by timing
 ing found their way into the aircraft            manually. Chief timer Vic Holland-
 that would shortly fight in WWII.                sworth, leads a group of twelve tim-
      The outbreak of war interrupted             ers who clock more than 100 race
                                                                                              Eric Tegler

 air racing temporarily, but by the               aircraft through qualifications and
 late 1940s competition resumed                   up to fifteen races per day.
                                                                                               More advanced methods of timing were
 at Cleveland. Tragically, air rac-                    Race timing procedures vary
                                                                                               evaluated at the 2003 NCAR. Here, a
 ing came to an abrupt halt in 1949               for the individual classes but for           group of engineers and timers atop the
 after a racer crashed into a nearby              the three fastest (Unlimited, Jet            grandstands employ two high-speed pho-
 home during the event, killing a                 and Sport), they are essentially the         tographic systems to record lap times and
 mother and her infant. The sport                 same. Prior to the start, aircraft are       average race speeds.
 was deemed unsafe. Fifteen years                 paced in line abreast formation by
 passed until big-time air racing was             a pace aircraft. Guided into a cor-
 revived. The modern era began in                 ridor on the east side of the race             “Gentlemen, you have a race,” the
 Reno, Nevada, in 1964.                           course known as the “chute,” the               race is underway. The aircraft dive
      Forty years later it continues,             racers are released at an altitude             onto the race course and roll into
 verging on the success it enjoyed                of 1,000 feet. The pace aircraft               the pylons.
 during the 1930s. Each September,                pulls up and above the course                      Timing officially begins when
 those in the know converge on Stead              much in the same manner a pace                 the first of the racers breaks a line
 Airport to witness a spectacle seen              car pulls off a track to release race          of sight marked by two sighting
 nowhere else. Six classes of racers              cars. Once the pace pilot declares,            bars: one immediately to the left

116                                                                                                         JaNUarY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                                of the timing stand on the front
                                                straightway, the second 300 yards
                                                distant below the chute itself.
                                                “When the first competitor breaks
                                                that line of sight,” Hollandsworth
                                                explains, “we activate the clocks
                                                and they begin recording elapsed
                                                time. We do not time individual
                                                laps. We don’t touch the clocks
                                                again until the last lap.”
                                                     The timers employ a custom-
                                                made masterclock from Roland
                                                Harper and four Seiko S129 stop-
                                                watches. They also act as spot-
                                                ters, keeping track of racers’ tail
                                                numbers as they pass the timing
                                                stand and home pylon (the finish
                                                line). “When the racers take the
                Racer Bill Rheinschild counts   checkered flag, the timers punch
                a Swiss Army Watch among        their clocks on each racer in the
                his collection.                 sequence in which they go by. The
                                                clocks print the elapsed time for
                                                each aircraft,” Hollandsworth con-
                                                tinues. “If there are eight airplanes
                                                in the race, we’ll have eight punch-
                                                es per clock.”
                                                     Each timer sights on a pair of
                                                parallel sighting bars, four inches
                                                apart, that allow them to visually
                                                determine when an aircraft’s nose
                                                breaks the line of sight. The bars
                                                help fix the timers heads in the same
                                                position every time they punch their
                                                clock. The eight elapsed times (ac-
                                                curate to hundredths of a second)
                                                are reconciled with the eight racers
                                                in the sequence of their finish. Cal-
                                                culated along with the race course
                                                length, the times yield average race
                                                speeds. Qualifying laps are timed in
                                                similar fashion.
                                                     Traditional methods of timing
                                                have served well but more advanced
                                                methods are being evaluated. This
                                                year, in addition to the manual tim-
                                                ing, two high-speed photographic

118                                                 JaNUarY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

timing systems recorded race aver-          neer Mark Doefler. His company          and the advantage of a photographic
ages and lap times. A NAC Image             specially adapted a digital high-       record of laps and finishes. This
Technology High-Speed Video Im-             speed camera for the event. “We         can be key when determining fin-
age Capture camera recording at             compile those for each plane, each      ishing time and order in the event
250 frames per second measured              lap. If there are eight planes flying   of a photo finish.
elapsed time with millisecond ac-           eight laps, there will be sixty-four         Time and time pieces are ap-
curacy while an even more capable           crossings of the finish line. Each      preciated inside the cockpit as well.
digital high-speed camera recorded          frame for each aircraft has a time      Many of the sport’s top pilots have
races and qualifying at 200 frames          stamp based on an internal camera       a discerning eye for watches. Brent
per second. “Each time a racer              clock that’s calibrated down to one     Hisey, the owner and pilot of the
comes past the home pylon, we’re            microsecond.” Elapsed time shows        well-known Unlimited class racer
collecting anywhere from ten to             on every frame of video each system     Miss America, has a preference for
fifteen frames of it,” noted engi-          captures, lending terrific accuracy     Breitlings. “I love watches. I have
                                                                                    four Breitlings. I usually wear my
                                                                                    Emergency chronograph.” Fellow
                                                                                    Unlimited owner and pilot Bill
                                                                                    Rheinschild could be found wear-
                                                                                    ing a gold Rolex GMT Master in
                                                                                    the cockpit of his racing Sea Fury,
                                                                                    Bad Attitude. “Pilots and watches
                                                                                    just go together,” he observes. “I
                                                                                    also have a gold and stainless steel
                                                                                    GMT Master, a wonderful Longines
                                                                                    Lindbergh Special Edition and a

  Ron Buccarell plans on wearing
  his Rolex Oyster Datejust “for the rest
  of my life.”                                                                         Bill Rheinschild’s Rolex GMT
                                                                                       Master in stainless steel

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJaNUarY 2004                                                                                       119

Swiss Army watch.” Ron Buccarelli,
owner and pilot of one of the most
distinctive Unlimited racers, Pre-
cious Metal, wears a Rolex Oyster
DateJust, a watch he plans on keep-
ing “for the rest of my life.” Eng-
lishman Tony Smith, the pilot and
owner of the Mew Gull, a vintage
air racer he shipped specially from
the United Kingdom for a display
of vintage racing aircraft at ncar,
favors his Ulysse Nardin 1846
Marine Chronometer. “I’ve owned
many fine pieces, but this is the
best watch I’ve ever had.”
     Terry Bland checked his
Breitling Aerospace. It was clear
his pilot was flying Dago Red ex-
tremely fast. But ahead of the
bright red Mustang, a past champi-
on was leading lap one. John Pen-
ney in the equally outrageous F8F-2
Bearcat, Rare Bear, had “the Bear”
humming. As the two scorched by
the home pylon on the second lap,      Above: Tony Smith is partial to the
Holm quickly closed the gap. Roll-     Ulysse Nardin 1846 Marine Chronometer.
ing into pylon number three, he        Right: Brent Hisey has a preference for
went by Penney on the outside and      Breitling’s Emergency chronograph.
slightly above, executing a perfect
pass. The speed of each aircraft was
hugely impressive but Dago Red’s
sleek airframe and hot-rodded          at 511 mph. Rare Bear finished
Merlin engine proved too much for      a straightway behind at 492.936
Rare Bear. The two tore around the     mph. The closest of the remaining
pylons four more times and as they     four competitors was nearly 40 mph
completed the sixth and final lap,     slower at 456.796 mph.
the question everyone was asking            Friday’s Gold Unlimited heat
hung in the air.                       proved to be the critical race of the
     After several minutes the an-     week. Dago Red was never seriously
swer came—5:57.29. A total elapsed     challenged thereafter and went on
time under six minutes clinched it.    to capture its fifth straight champi-
Skip Holm had just flown the fast-     onship. It was 1969 when Conquest
est race ever in the world’s fastest   1 won at more than 400 mph. Now
sport. Over six laps Dago Red av-      that the 500-mph barrier has been
eraged 507.105 mph! Unofficially,      broken, the next speed plateau
the racer’s fastest lap was clocked    awaits. What will it take to achieve

120                                                                              JaNUarY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

          How to Find the Ultimate
          Collector’s Watch — Create

N          icolaus Spinner is one
           of those obsessive watch
           collectors who ask all the
right questions and reject any mod-
el that isn’t up to collectible quality
standards. So obsessive is he that,
in 1999, he resorted to establish-
ing his own watch company, UTS
Muenchen—the German word for
Munich, where the watches are
     “As a mechanical engineer, I
have spent many years developing
highly technical items, including              His claim begs a for-instance,    case,” he says.
tools and special-purpose machines.       and Spinner is quick to provide             If you want to know more,
I have developed a passion for per-       one: He uses a special sealant         Spinner will tell you that he ma-
fect industrial design,” says Spin-       called Viton to close the cases and    chines the diameters of his metal
ner. Having analyzed many watch           seal crowns and pushers. Not only      components to a precision of 10
designs over the years, I have found      does it resist oil, alcohol and most   microns, and that the diameter of
too many weak points.”                    chemicals, but it also resists UV      the crystal is manufactured with a
     Spinner maintains that there         light. And while most watchmak-        tolerance of 0.02mm.
is currently more marketing in-           ers use something called a “spacer          This tale of complex engineer-
sight than technical input going          ring” to locate and place a me-        ing is belied by the comparatively
into many of today’s watch brands,        chanical movement into its case,       minimalist design of the UTS col-
even at the high end. “I wanted           Spinner uses a special UV glue to      lection. There isn’t a main dial in
to make a better watch,” he says          position the crystals in the case      the entire collection with numbers
simply. “Not just the case but also       bottom or situate the bezel. “Using    on it – only markers. Even some of
the crown, pushers, crystal seals—I       a spacer ring is not only poor de-     the subdials, whose functions are
needed a special design that would        sign, but a cheap solution, because    less immediately obvious, use mark-
culminate in a total product that         no precision is required in the di-    ers in lieu of numbers. A seconds
fulfilled my own tight specs book.”       ameter and tolerance of the watch      subdial at 9 o’clock on the non-

122                                                                                  JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJANUARY 2004                  123

A carry case with tools allows you to quickly convert from wristwatch to pocket watch.

chronograph models features mark-               nograph (the Commander) ver-
ers only.                                       sions, with 42-hour power reserve
     “Design follows function,”                 and in both automatic and manual-        Nicolaus Spinner assembles and
                                                                                         tests each UTS with his own hands
says Stephen Newman, who heads                  wind versions. Some models have          and equipment.
up UTS Watches in the United                    crystal casebacks and all markers
States. “Perfect reading under any              and hands feature SuperLuminova
condition is most important.” Not               for readability in the dark. (One        watches directly from the factory
for UTS: the frills and flounces or             can’t imagine the line without this      to private clients. Approaching the
diamond accents of the fashion                  hyper-practical function). A pocket      U.S. market is the first step in an
brands.                                         watch line is also available. Each       effort to expand. “There are a lot of
     Spinner assembles all of the               style is limited to 200 pieces. The      watch lovers in the United States,”
watches himself, using specially                casebacks are engraved with a serial     says Spinner. “And UTS watches
modified tools which he, of course,             number and the company’s logo, a         are made for collectors or those
created. The modified ETA me-                   sail boat. Prices range from $1,800      who are looking for something pre-
chanical movements are available                to $3,600.                               cise and unique.”
in chronograph (called the Com-                      Spinner’s idea has taken off             “We will never make a quartz
mander Chronograph) or non-chro-                in Germany, where he sells his           watch,” he says adamantly and, al-

124                                                                                          JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

                                                                      Pays Homage
                                                                           B Y   J O R D A N   A   .   R O T H A C K E R

O          ver its short history, An­
           gular Momentum has
           brought the world many
unconventional and pioneering
works of horology. It has fitted
                                         each design with a sense of purpose
                                         and ingenuity that will catch the
                                         eye and mind of the perspective
                                         wearer in one fell swoop. The iden­
                                         tity of Swiss watchmaker is impor­
                                                                                   come from the Swiss capital. The
                                                                                   company has chosen to honor the
                                                                                   people of Berne and the company’s
                                                                                   home by commemorating one of
                                                                                   the city’s greatest landmarks on its
wristwatches with such practical         tant to Angular Momentum and its          newest wristwatch.
functions as tidal indicators and        importance in the world of horol­              The Zytglogge watch is named
with additions of lesser practicality    ogy is not lost on the consumer.          for the German name of the Clock
but higher aesthetic intention, such          Identifying as they do with          Tower in the old town of Berne, the
as the Illum. It seems to be its ethic   Swiss tradition, it is no wonder that     Zeitglockenturm. This fabulous ex­
as a young Swiss watch company to        the inspiration for the most recent       ample of medieval construction and
make a great product but then mark       offering by Angular Momentum has          Renaissance horological mechanics

126                                                                                     JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH
                                                                   ULYSSE NARDIN PRESENTS:

                                                         THE TRILOGY OF TIME

                                                               A must have for watch collectors
                                                                      and enthusiasts.

                                                                                      This hardcover book not
stands as a towering symbol of the city. A long his­
                                                                                      only details the func-
tory is told in the formidable presence of the Clock
Tower, a history that began in 1218 with the tower                                    tions of these mechani-
as part of the westernmost city gate. In 1405, when                                   cal masterpieces, it also
the tower was rebuilt after a fire, an early clock                                    highlights the fact that
mechanism was added only to be rebuilt in 1530 by
                                                                                      these wonderful watches
Renaissance watchmaker Caspar Brunner. As time
passed, each era added its touches to the tower and                                   tie together the three ele-
the Baroque embellishments completed in 1770                                          ments of engineering, art,
are just another facet of the historically representa­                                and the cosmos in wrist-
tional figure that the Clock Tower cuts.
                                                                                      watch form.
     One of the most interesting aspects of the
Clock Tower is that below the east face of the clock
is a complex astronomical clock. This magnificent                                     The functions of these three
treasure of Swiss ingenuity consists of an amazing       masterpieces: Astrolabium, Planetarium, and Tellurium
collection of features linked to the main clock, such    are explained and clearly compared to the heavenly
as displays for a 24­hour clock, the twelve hours of     bodies they represent with an opening section dedicated
daylight, the position of the sun in the zodiac, the
day of the week, the date and month, the phases of       to actual celestial mechanics. This is followed by a
the moon and the elevation of the sun above the          brief from the creator- Dr. Ludwig Oechslin as well as
horizon throughout the year.                             an explanation of the construction of these peerless
     It wasn’t possible for Angular Mometun to in­       creations.
clude all of these features in their Zytglogge watch
but many are present. Nonetheless, they have de­
                                                         The Trilogy Of Time is a hardcover book with 75 pages
vised a wristwatch that is an almost exact replica of
the astronomical clock beneath the main clock of         filled with color images and drawings that will appeal
the tower. An outer ring on the watch has the detail     to anyone interested in the facets of time and space as
of stylized traditional German numbering for Roman       well as watch enthusiasts.
numerals for the 24­hour clock. Within that ring
is another ring of twelve diamond­shaped indexes
corresponding to the original tower model. In the
center of the wristwatch is a simplified version of
its inspiration, the celestial system moving in the
pattern decreed for heavenly spheres bearing repre­
sentation of the zodiacal symbols around the center
hour and minute hands.
     The 37­mm, quartz­powered Zytglogge watch
has been produced in a limited edition of just 300
pieces. In the traditional dial, the Zytglogge re­
tails for $475, and in a more contemporary inter­
pretation of the Clock Tower with a silver dial, it
retails for $675.                                  C
                                                         To order This book, please use The Tear ouT form
                                                         in This issue.

Carousel                               BY   JORDAN   A.   ROTHACKER

W            hen you think of Aus-
             tralia what comes to
             mind? Koala bears,
kangaroos, boomerangs, platypus-
es, Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe and

the wide expanse of the outback
frontier? That land Down Under
has brought many exports in the
last twenty years from cuisine and
indigenous heritage, to films, ac-
tors and musicians. We have been
trained as consumers to know what
to expect from Australia and how
it will be packaged. We have a
preconceived notion based on tire-
some marketing of what to expect
from that not-so-mysterious island
continent in the Southern Hemi-
     I bet the last thing to come to
mind would be miniature musical
carousels. To think that these won-
ders of miniaturization could never
be made in such a place is a grave
     Australia’s best kept secret is
that it is the home of the Balgara
Musical Carousels company, a per-
fect example of some of the skills
employed in watchmaking, yet ap-

128                                                                   JANUARY 2004INTERNATIONAL WATCH

Founder George Rotenstein with one of
his musical masterpieces.

plied to another art outside horology.
The company was even founded by
George Rotenstein, a trained watch-
maker who spent most of his career
managing his own jewelry shop in
Sidney. The skills from watchmak-
ing made an easy transfer to those
necessary for carousel production,
putting Rotenstein in a perfect posi-
tion as the mind behind a team of        The materials employed are never       horses and carts, the top vaults in
selectively chosen craftsmen. Gain-      anything short of the best: sterling   a way reminiscent of the tent of a
ing the nickname “Millimetre Man,”       silver intermingled with 18-karat      circus big top. Fun and beautiful,
Rotenstein has lead Balgara from its     gold and semi-precious stones.         the Kindertraum is also a marvel
first prototype in 1999 to the place          The most recent model from        of elegance consisting of 4.5 ki-
where it stands now, an established      Balgara, Kindertraum, is the per-      los of sterling silver, 134 grams of
house in the world of luxury prod-       fect example of the pristine quality   18-karat gold, 1.68 carats of white
ucts.                                    and craftsmanship for which they       and black diamonds and thirty-five
      To call what Balgara produces      have come to be known. Its name        black and white pearls among other
luxury goods is accurate but does        translates as “child’s dream” but it   less precious stones. The piece sim-
not tell the whole story, for the        is as much the dream of any adult      ply sparkles as it moves in its joyous
miniature carousels themselves are       to behold as a child. Commissioned     childlike fashion.
more than just high-priced trinkets;     by the international German jew-            Balgara is cornering a market
they are works of art. Each model        elry retailer Wempe for its 125th      that many did not even know ex-
is created in limited quantities and     anniversary, this brilliant minia-     isted but now that they do know,
takes several months and many            ture carousel looks like an amuse-     they cannot resist purchasing
hands to complete, down to the           ment park ride built onto a wood       something they treasured in their
details on each individual horse.        frame. Above the track of spinning     childhood and can value even

INTERNATIONAL WATCHJANUARY 2004                                                                                   129