Sunday, October 8, 2017

NOMOS Glashütte & The Hour Glass Singapore - Zurich Weltzeit Collaboration

Back in 2016, NOMOS and The Hour Glass announced their collaboration and behind the scene, a group of collectors floated the idea of a Singapore special edition. And the fine folks at The Hour Glass started the journey of developing the Zurich Weltzeit Singapore Limited Edition.

And what a beauty was unveiled one year on...

The NOMOS Zurich Weltzeit (World Time) Singapore Limited Edition was unveiled with two variants - a Salmon and White dial versions. The Salmon dial was limited to 15 examples while the White, to 35 pieces. 50 in total.

I took to liking the Salmon dial version immediately. Based on press releases, the colour of the dial was a pinky hue and as described, salmon pink. But the final version was anything but.

In most World Time timepieces, the city in feature "by default" is almost always Hong Kong. The Singapore Limited Edition replaced the city to be Singapore. But the Singapore Limited Edition went one step further - the island state is also known to many as "The Little Red Dot". Instead of the "home" symbol on the regular Weltzeit, they replaced the "home" with a little red dot! Brilliant!

And to keep the theme consistent, the Singapore and the little red dot is, of course, in red! Whether it is a coincidence or by design (pun intended), NOMOS has been awarded several "Red Dot Design Awards". I hope the "Little Red Dot" edition wins a "Red Dot Design Award". What an outcome it would be!

When you look at the timepiece itself, the colour of the dial and the texture changes from angle to angle. The dial has a kind of sandy texture. Not only is the dial having a sandy texture, the salmon hue is the first time NOMOS is using this colour.

The way the dial colour comes across to the owner is a vintage feel - lighter in the centre then slowly getting darker as it radiates outwards.

The colour actually looks more bronze than salmon pink, not that I am complaining. The colour combination with the red dot and red Singapore is a stand out. Great job guys!

I intentionally darken the contrast to bring out the sandy grain and the colour graduation of the dial. Note the lighter hue in the centre of the dial and the darkening effects as it graduates outwards.

The steel case is shy of 40mm - a good size case for a World Time.

The crown is signed and the pusher at the 2 o'clock turns the world city ring. The pusher is firm and exact - exactly what I had expected from the folks at NOMOS. On the case back, one can clearly see the words "NOMOS Glashütte Zurich Weltzeit - Singapore Limited Edition" with the limitation number engraved as the bottom of the case.

Now for the movement - the in-house automatic DUW5201 calibre. The DUW 5201 is the first automatic caliber with the in-house NOMOS swing system which I had written about earlier on my NOMOS Metro.

DUW stands for NOMOS Glashütte Deutsche Uhrenwerke and the power reserve on this piece is approximately 42 hours.

Finishing on this piece is as one would expect - finishing worthy of the timepiece.

A close up of the automatic rotor with Glashütte ribbing.

List price on this piece is S$8,560 for both variants which makes it great value.

I believe all the 50 pieces have been accounted for - not surprising really. And with this first piece, I hope that the folks at The Hour Glass will continue with a few more of the same salmon (bronze) dial versions of other NOMOS models. Perhaps the Metro, Tangente or even Tetra... Count me in for the next release!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Movements & Dials - Instant Recognition

There are movements and then there are Movements...

Some timepieces are instantaneously recognised by their movements - and ask most watch collectors, they will tell you immediately which movement comes from which brand etc. And to the TOTALLY serious collectors, they can even tell you the calibre, the watch no matter how complicated or simple the movement is etc.

Let's start with this... Aside from the name on the movement, one can immediately tell this is a Pascal Coyon Chronometer.

Next, another icon... the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph.

The construction of the movement is unmistakably a Lange and for the owners of either the Datograph or the 1815 Chrono, this is all too familiar.

What about this? A few key features are a giveaway of the brand one of which is the interchangeable escapement.

Another interesting calibre - when you see the "Devil's Tail", one immediately knows this is a Minerva movement adapted for Montblanc.

Last but not least, a manual winding chronograph perpetual calendar from the Manufacture Roger Dubuis.

And the beauty is not only confined to the movement. Simple yet recognisable is the Chronometer by Pascal Coyon. The white lacquer dial and the red numerals.

Another white dial to die for is the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph. As magnificent as the movement side. Pure...

And the simplest complication of the Moser Perpetual One... black lacquer dial. And if one were not observant enough, who would know this as a perpetual calendar. Simply brilliant!

Montblanc chose to use a Grand Feu enamel dial on their Vintage Pulsographe. Gorgeous!

And the Sympathie by Roger Dubuis featuring a bi-retrograde chronograph perpetual calendar. But what is special about this timepiece is the shape of the case and the sapphire glass that is cut out in the shape of the case. Later models came with circular sapphire glass.

Many of us collectors would like to be able to flip the timepiece to the other side ala "Reverso" and wear the movement side up every now and then. Not to say that the dials aren't anymore beautiful, but looking at the movement every now and then is one of the reasons why us collectors choose mechanical marvels like these.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Golden Charm - A Speake-Marin Icon in Gold

It saddens me that Peter Speake-Marin no longer is associated with the brand he founded in 2002.

With his background in antique restoration and starting his early years in Piccadilly, Speake-Marin designed the now recognisable and iconic Piccadilly case, with distinctive screwed lug and pleated crown. The Speake-Marin of early years came in either the 38mm or the 42mm case. Featured here is the 38mm example which actually fits in pretty nicely for me. And if I am not mistaken, the range called Resilience only came in later.

Due to the case design, and in particular the lugs, the 38mm actually wears like a 40mm. I do have one of the Resilience in a steel case with a Grand Feu Enamel dial but some also come in gold cases as in this case - a solid rose gold case with a rose gold dial.

The signature case - the Piccadilly and the signature lugs. Each Resilience comes with an anti-reflective coated Crystal on the front and case back too.

But the beauty of this piece is in the centre engraving which is hand done.

Hand engraved Guilloché dial - the number of hours put into this gorgeous beauty is unimaginable.

A close up of the centrepiece.

The sheen of the Guilloché dial in pink gold.

The flame-blued steel hands are particularly well made and classic Speake-Marin "Foundation" style central hours and minutes.

A nice brushed dial on the inside.

The timepieces comes with an automatic winding modified ETA2824 movement. What has been changed in the Calibre FW2012? Well, the bridges, gear train, setting lever spring, main plate and rotor wheel has been either replaced or re-designed and they are all hand polished prior to encasing.

The winding rotor features the Speake-Marin signature motif - the watchmaker's topping tool.

The modified movement also features a solid construction with a large balance for precise timekeeping.

The Calibre FW2012 comes with a 42 hours power reserve, 26 jewels and a balance frequency of 28,800 vph. The rotor is hand polished and the quality is excellent!

Totally, a nice package

The rose gold case and Guilloché rose gold dial coupled with the blued steel hands makes the Speake-Marin a very attractive proposition. Peter makes some awesome timepieces which I have covered before and I have to say my favourite being the Magister Tourbillon. Simple complication.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Pascal Coyon - Chronomètre Extraodinaire

Every now and then, a new timepiece comes to the market and it takes the notice of collectors. And was it quick to go. And for good reason too.

The Pascal Coyon Chronomètre is a simple yet elegant timepiece - great value for money too. And it is long time coming. I ordered mine some time back in August of 2014 and was told by Mr. Coyon he was closed to closing the orders. Based in France, the timepiece was very much sought after and by the time he finished my piece, almost three years have lapsed. And I know of collectors who are still waiting for theirs.

But the wait was worth it... 100%. The timepiece is entirely hand finished by Mr. Coyon who is based on Bayonne (South West), France. He tells me that he finds it difficult to source for quality craftsman near to where he is based which is the main source of the delay. Only him... yup, only him. So I take refuge in the fact that this is one of the first batch to be (almost) entirely made by Mr. Coyon himself. Couldn't ask for more.

But what is exceptional about this piece is the on the movement side. I normally start with introducing the timepiece featuring the dial side but I have to say that the movement of the Pascal Coyon Chronomètre is the reason why anyone would want this piece. Take a look...

The movement is a UNITAS based movement but highly modified and hand finished. The movement comes in three versions - rose gold plated, yellow gold plated and rhodium plated. By the time I made the selection, the rhodium plated ones were the only ones left. Engraved on the movement are the words "France" and "P Coyon"...

And the fine adjustment is also a modified mechanism.

The movement number (1900B19) is also engraved on the base plate. You can also see the frosted finish on the movement. When I wind the movement, it comes to live immediately after one wind. Excellent reaction from the movement. My only gripe is that the movement does not "hack" i.e. the second hand does not stop when you pull out the crown.

Every movement is hand finished by Mr. Coyon and the finishing is nothing short of stunning! And for under EUR4,500, this is really great value. For this price, you can't get a main brand finished to this level.

Each of the movement is limited to 20 examples and the limited edition number is hand engraved on the movement. Mine is 19/20. The mirror finishing on the movement bridges are exceptional - especially for a piece at this price level. I cannot think of another piece that comes close to this level of finishing. Great effort by Mr. Coyon and I am sure that owners of the Chronomètre will agree with me - looking at the movement alone is satisfaction enough.

And now for the dial side. Simple and elegant...

The little details are great - for example the curved minute hand... Come to think of it, this is my first French made timepiece! Vive la France!

The white lacquer dial has three variants - one with a navy blue numbers, one with black numbers and the one with black numbers but with red 12 (hour) and 60 (seconds). As you can see, I chose the black and red combo. There are two crown choices - the classic or the onion crown. I chose the former.

As for the hands, they come in two model - the "pomme-breguet" and the "marine" style hands and I chose the latter. Case-wise, he has two cases - the 42mm stepped case and the simpler 41mm case. I chose the 41mm. And all this is asked of you again when the movement has passed the Besançon Observatory chronometer test. From that point, one has to wait around 6 weeks for the final product.

Lovely white lacquer dial with railway track minute indicator.

The Red 12 and the red 60 gives the timepiece a unique look.

Hands are well finished as one would expect.

Another look at the red 12.

Each timepiece comes in a wooden case with a Chronomètre Certificate from the Observatoire De Besançon. On it, shows the movement number as well as the Observatoire reference number.

For the power reserve, we are told the timepiece has 48 hours of power reserve but mine ran 52 hours. On the first day, the accuracy came within 2 seconds (faster) and by the time it went into the 40 hours range, the difference was about 6 second faster. Acceptable and definitely within Chronometer specs.

On the wrist, the 41mm case wears well for me. Mr. Coyon said he was working through summer to finish the rest of the orders and I hope he will have a new timepiece released after that. Stay tuned and merci Mr. Coyon!