SIHH 2017 is just about at a close, and we have seen at least a few very enticing new releases. I’ll begin by sharing some of my favorites first, followed by a look back at some of the other interesting happenings in the watch world. And we shall start with a review of two Japanese heavyweights. I’m referring to Infiniti’s flagship SUV, the QX80, and Seiko’s high-end Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT SBGE001 watch. How does Japan’s finest stack up against the rest of the world?
Moving on, we paid a visit to the small town of Oldenzaal, Netherlands, to Grönefeld. Helmed by Tim and Bart Grönefeld, who call themselves the horological brothers, Grönefeld is surely one of the most interesting independent watch brands around today.
And finally, we cast a spotlight on Zenith. The brand recently underwent yet another management change with LVMH’s Head of Watchmaking, Jean-Claude Biver, taking over the reins as interim CEO. We wonder, what would it take to get Zenith back on top? What would you do if you were made CEO at Zenith?
1. F.P. Journe Vagabondage III Watch With First-Ever Digital Jumping-Seconds Display
(In 2000, the Richemont Group obtained A. Lange & Söhne.) One of the new firm’s first watches, the Lange 1, launched in 1994, became Lange’s signature design, what the company describes as its “face.” The Lange 1, which appears the same as it did 20 years ago, has a distinctive, asymmetrical dial with a big-date screen and “Auf/Ab” power-reserve index. (Before this year, the business replaced that caliber with a brand new one, additionally hand-wound.) The big-date display, which is patented, works by way of a “ones” ring bearing the digits 0 through 9 plus a “tens” cross using the digits 1 through 3 and a blank area. A unique challenge for the engineers would be to ensure that the calendar switched correctly at the ends of months with 31 days. For all those months, the “ones” ring needs to stay motionless during the night prior to the first of the new month, while the “tens of thousands” cross legged through 90 degrees to deliver its clean segment into perspective. A button on the other hand is used to correct the date screen in the end of February, April, June, September and November.A. Lange & Söhne released its first self-winding watch, the Langematik, three years later it established the Lange 1. To raise the motion’s winding efficiency, the solid gold rotor in the Langematik is equipped with an outer platinum section. A reverser mechanism allows the rotor to convey energy into the mainspring in both directions of rotation. To minimize friction, Lange’s watchmakers additional three micro ball bearings into the reduction gearing.
I’m a big fan of F.P. Journe, and I couldn’t be happier with their biggest new release at SIHH this year. When people mention F.P. Journe, they don’t normally think about the Vagabondage watches, but I have always liked it for its unique case design and complications. For 2017, Journe revisits the Vagabondage and gives us the Vagabondage III, which has an all-digital display, not unlike A. Lange & Söhne’s Zeitwerk watches. However, it one-ups the Lange by sporting the first ever mechanical digital jumping seconds display. Check out this mega impressive watch here.
2. Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Bronzo PAM 671 Watch Hands-On
I think it is fair to say that it was Panerai who started the entire bronze watch craze when they released their first Bronzo, the PAM 382, in 2011. In 2013, they followed up with the PAM 507, which is essentially the same watch, but with an added power reserve indicator on the dial. Now, there is the PAM 671, which is really just a PAM 382 with a blue dial and newer, improved movement. But my, what a difference the blue dial makes. I’ll be surprised if Panerai doesn’t sell this one out quickly.
3. Car & Watch Review: Infiniti QX80 Limited SUV & Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT SBGE001
The pairing of the Infiniti QX80 and Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT SBGE001 is actually very apt. The QX80 is Infiniti’s flagship SUV, while Infiniti itself is Nissan’s luxury vehicle division. On the other hand, the Spring Drive GMT SBGE001 is one of Seiko’s most advanced watches, and Grand Seiko is, as we all know, Seiko’s line of high-end luxury watches. Oh, and Nissan and Seiko are both Japanese, of course.
4. Cartier Rotonde De Cartier Earth And Moon Watch Hands-On
Under the guidance of Carole Forestier-Kasapi, Cartier’s Director of Movement Creation, Cartier has established itself as a major player in haute horology. One of my favorite Cartier watches from recent times is the Rotonde De Cartier Earth and Moon watch and this particular version in pink gold is especially delightful. I guess it is because of the meteorite dial, which is a very appropriate material for a watch with a moon phase complication. Speaking of which, the moon phase complication in this watch is really clever. It shows the moon phase on demand and it does so by swinging a second meteorite disc into position to obscure the tourbillon and indicate the phase of the moon.
5. Greubel Forsey Signature 1 Limited Edition Steel Blue For USA & Red Gold Watches Hands-On
Last year, Greubel Forsey debuted its most accessible watch yet, the Signature 1. It is a simple time-only watch, with no tourbillon and does not even show the date. However, it is finished to Greubel Forsey’s usual superlative standards and will be produced in very small numbers. Only 66 will be made and these 66 watches will be divided into 6 different variants. Here, we shall take a look at two variants. The first comes in a steel case and blue dial and will be exclusive to the United States, and the other comes in an 18k pink gold case and was seen in Dubai.
6. A Visit To The Grönefeld Watch Manufacture
Oldenzaal, Netherlands, is a small city close to the German border and home to just 32,000 people. It is one of the most improbable places to find a world-class watch manufacture, but this is exactly where the Grönefeld watch manufacture is located. Run by two brothers, Tim and Bart Grönefeld, the brand, though young, already has a couple of Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve awards under its belt. Most recently, its 1941 Remontoire watch won the Men’s category at the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve. Take a look at their workshop here.
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