So Spyker is very serious about their future, the future of Saab, and their watch collection. Unlike other types of "car watches" these aren't a co-branding exercise. The only logos you'll see on the watch are those of Spyker. Expressions d'Artistes International, and their partners, make the watches, and do a lot of part supplying for serious watch makers all over Europe. Quality is good, and the look and feel of the watches fit the Spyker look and experience well.
Comparing the watch releases of SIHH 2010 and Baselworld 2010, I would have to say that for the most part I was more impressed with the releases at SIHH, and it was a significantly smaller show. Why that is I am not sure, but here is another one of the good things that I spotted. This isn't just another Panerai watch, but rather the PAM339 in a special ceramic case. While it doesn't surprise me to see Panerai going ceramic, it just sort of happened without notice.
Not to forget the men, JLC styled a Grande Reverso Calibre 101 with virile energy, using onyx and mother-of-pearl against a geometrical backdrop, and accenting the case with a rugged etching.
The dial design was curious to me at first, but proved highly enjoyable and useful. It is clearly styled after airplane cockpit instrumentation. Maybe more so that Bell & Ross aviation themed watches. Bremont founder restored vintage aircraft before making watches, so they know a thing or two about airplane instrument style. This includes the style of the hour and minute hands, the matte black metal dial, the hour indicators, and the damn good clarity. Though I have to say, the Bremont U-2 dial is probably a lot nicer in quality that most airplane cockpit instruments. Like the MB1 watches, the seconds hand has an emergency eject handle as the counterweight. This handle would rest between your legs in a Martin Baker ejection seat - ready to be pulled in the case of an emergency. It has no such function in the watch! Imagine an ejection lever that would eject the movement from the case. That would reach new heights of pointless complications.
So what is the Jules Vernes Instrument watch? A vintage sci-fi relic? A luxury steampunk creation? Or just a cool watch influenced by the father of sci-fi? All of the above really. I want to say early that there are two versions of the watch from a complication standpoint. These are the Jules Verne Instrument # 1 and the Jules Verne Instrument # 2. If you don't know what you are looking for in the watch, it can honestly be a bit of a pain to tell the difference between the two. Each of them have modified Valjoux 7750 automatic movements with a special module on them. The Instrument # 1 has a module that has a GMT hand at the subdial at 9 o'clock, while the Instrument # 2 has a rattrapante (split second chronograph) built onto the 12 hour chronograph that is already part of the Valjoux 7750. Both versions have upgraded date functions. What is the upgrade? Well, basically, you can adjust the date either forward or backwards. Plus, operating the small date hand on the dial located at 3 o'clock is buttery smooth. Really, it is a joy to adjust the date. I never thought I would say that with that particular function, but it is true. The company that makes the special modules does so for a few brands, but movements like this are hard to find.
Erwin Sattler makes watch winders, watch furniture, and also watches. I last wrote about the Erwin Sattler Trilogie that combines a clock and a watch winder, and includes a watch. You can see that same type of design aesthetic here. The idea seems to be "neo-classic furniture looks better with hidden gears." The Thesaurus desk is 166cm wide, 84cm deep, and 74cm tall. It is made from high-end aged wood, and the black elements have 13 layers of black varnish on them. The desk drawers are lined with alcantara leather (no slip).
Christopher Ward got one of the C600 Tri-Tech Elite Diver watches to me and my tone changed after testing it out. This is really a classic diver watch with some interesting design cues that are actually more function oriented that style oriented. It reminds me of certain military vehicles that look a bit odd at first, until you appreciate why they look that way. Take for instance those planes with the large "mushroom" radars coming out of them. Or perhaps the A-10 "Warthog" Tank Killer plane. The ubiquitous air to ground offensive plane is a deadly force to be reckoned with but didn't get that "warthog" name from look like a bouquet of flowers.
Hour; minute; small second propeller-shaped at 9h
Chronograph with 30 minute counter at 12h, 12 hour counter at 6h, central second counter
Date at 3h
Radio Controlled Active Matrix EPD Worldtimer
Caliber S770 movement
-Time indication for hour, minute and second
-Calendar indication for year, month, date and day of the week
-Perpetual calendar up to December 31, 2060
-World time function for 32 cities with daylight saving time capability
-Dual time function
-3-channel daily / single-time alarm function
-Sound demonstration function
-Automatic radio wave reception function with manual reception capability
-Automatic time correction function
-Battery level indicator
-Power reserve: 9 months (41 months in ‘sleep’ mode)
-Overcharge prevention function
-Power save function
-Accuracy: 15 seconds per month (when not receiving the radio signal)
-Movement dimensions: 30.9 x 32.9 mm, thickness: 5.7 mm (excluding solar cells)
-Case and band: Stainless steel (SDGA001J)
-Stainless steel with gold-tone hard coating (SDGA002J)
-Stainless steel with black hard coating (SDGA003J)
-Clasp type: Three-fold with push button release
-Glass: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
-Water resistance: 10bar
-Case dimensions: 45.5 x 46.0 mm, thickness: 9.5 mm
The watch is covered in a chambered sapphire crystal that lifts off the dial a bit. The view into the watch is grand as it looks like the movement is elevated out a bit. Though, there is too much white where the crystal connects with the case. Just not elegant enough for a watch of this stature in my opinion. Again, while I like the view in style, I just feel as though I want to see more classic style finishing, polish, and decoration on the movement. It is entirely possible that I am missing the point, but this is my gut reaction. Most of you are already well acquainted with tourbillon escapements so I won't get into that here, but the Breguet caliber 569 movement also has a fusee and chain transmission. This is a tiny bicycle style chain that ensures constant force from the mainspring barrel to the watch. It is super hard to make and really cool looking. This is also the main principle behind the Cabestan "winch style" watch. These two complications are the real "old school" greats that are hard to make, and impressive being invented in the early 18th century.
The watch has a perpetual calendar. When you set the time, you also set the month and the leap year. According to Citizen, given continuous operation of the watch, the calendar doesn't need to be set again until the year 2100. So you know that at least that calendar will be accurate aside from your other watches and ones around the house. In addition to the light power generation in the Eco-Drive movement, the watch receives signals from various atomic clock radio signals around the world. It syncs with these regularly to keep the time accurate. It even does this when you are traveling. In addition to the auto syncing you can manually sync the watch time. This is another great feature to have and gives you assurance that the time is most always correct. Even if the watch isn't able to sync with an available signal, the quartz movement is still quite accurate.
The HM4 engine doesn't have a tourbillon, but you can see the escapement wheel moving through a sapphire window on the top of the watch - which creates a great sense of perpetual motion. It is an amazing apparatus the HM4. Not only does it work really well, but you get this wonderful feeling of membership into a special club of exclusive watch enthusiasts just by putting the watch on.
The synthesis of this new book is actually really interesting, and kind of unusual. Most books are created with very specific purposes in mind — to sell copies, and make money. This book is a little different. While IWC of course wants to sell as many copies as possible, the book has other value. First, I think that IWC simply wanted to have a good grasp on its own history. I don’t know whose idea it was to make the book, but CEO George Kern but the ball in motion a while ago to chronicle the history and story of IWC. In cooperation of current and former IWC employees, as well as many historical documents, the task was given to German writer and journalist Manfred Fritz. It took him a few years to finish the job, but the result was a quite competent collection of the history and activities that made up the International Watch Company. The book would serve as a base, for while all future brand history could be added to. The value to Kern was that IWC could finally have a detailed and relatively precise authority on its history, values, and tradition. A very Germanic thing to do yes, but IWC is located in Schaffhausen which is quite close to Germany, and in the German speaking part of Switzerland.