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Monday, May 13, 2013

Large Independent Watch Brands at Baselworld 2013

Patek Philippe Ref. 5200 Gondolo 8 Days, Day & Date Indication

The sharks are circling this next group of watch brands that I saw at Baselworld 2013. By sharks I mean Swatch Group, LVMH, PPR/Kering and others like them who gobble up independent watch companies like Yellowfins with a never ending appetite. These companies (and a few others) are for the most part large and successful and have managed to keep their independence.

This independence is something they wear proudly and even use for their marketing. They all claim that they will remain free of the luxury conglomerates but others who have made the same vow have fallen to the seduction of these companies and their deep pockets as well as the new realities of a global watch business.

So here’s a chance to view the labor of independent companies before the sharks take another other bite out of these remaining few.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5200 Gondolo 8 Days, Day & Date Indication (top photo)
Arguably the most successful Swiss watch company in history, it's difficult to imagine this company being anything but independent.

For this model, Patek developed a new mechanical caliber with Silinvar components created at the “Patek Philippe Advanced Research” think tank. The result is a form movement with a genuine 8-day power-reserve display. The watch is housed in a curved Art Deco style case.

The rectangular caliber 28-20 REC 8J PS IRM C J was developed for the Ref. 5200 Gondolo. In twin in-line barrels it stores the power needed to guarantee that it will run non-stop for 192 hours. The winding mechanism requires 134 revolutions every eight days. The day and date indicators are located on the “sunshine blue” dial at 6 o’clock and the power reserve function is at 12 o’clock.

Patek says the movement’s eight-day staying power with the day and date apertures is due to the patented oscillator with a Spiromax balance spring and a Pulsomax escapement. It is the manufacture’s first 4-hertz movement with these patented elements. The watch is also available with a white dial.

Oris ProDiver Pointer Moon
Oris says this professional diver’s watch is the world's first mechanical timepiece to indicate both the lunar cycle and the tidal range.

The watch was inspired by its brand ambassador, commercial diver Roman Frischknecht. The dial design indicates the tidal range and lunar cycle at a glance, removing the need for divers to consult manuals. It incorporates Oris's patented Rotation Safety System, which allows the wearer to keep track of a certain time period using a rotating bezel that can be locked to prevent accidental adjustment, and an automatic helium escape valve.

The automatic movement, Oris Cal. 761, is based on a Sellita SW220 with pointer moon function and a date display at 5 o’clock. Its titanium case is water resistant to 1,000m. For ease of readability for divers, the sapphire crystal is domed on both sides and has an inner anti-reflective coating. It is available in northern and southern hemisphere tide range indication.

Corum Ti-Bridge Automatic Dual Winder
Corum’s latest addition to the Bridges collection has a “Dual Winder” system powered by the automatic CO 207 caliber. This movement derives its energy from two interconnected inline oscillating weights. The watch also boasts a patented winding system and a new titanium case.

The patented Corum Dual Winder system features two inline-mounted circular oscillating weights, interconnected by a transmission arbor that makes them move in parallel. The winding is efficient in both directions. A single barrel placed at 3 o’clock stores up the CO 207 caliber’s 72-hour power reserve. The CO 207 movement is held in the center of the case by four titanium cross-bars. The impression of a suspended mechanism is further accentuated by its transparency, framed by an anthracite grey dial. It is available in grade 5 titanium and in 5N 18k red gold.

Carl F. Bucherer Manero MoonPhase Limited Edition
This watch marks the 125-year anniversary when Carl Friedrich Bucherer founded the company. It provides the date, day of the week and the month with a moonphase.

The date is shown by a hand around the center of the dial. The day of the week indicator is positioned at 10 o’clock, and the month can be seen at 2 o’clock. The moonphase indication is positioned at 6 o’clock. The watch is powered by the automatic CFB 1966 caliber.

With a diameter of 38 mm, the bicolored case is made of 18k rose gold and stainless steel. In spite of the many indications, optimum legibility is enhanced by the wedge-shaped index marks and the tapering Super-Luminova-coated hours and minutes hands. The moonphase indication has a gold-colored moon shining out against a blue background. It is limited to 125 pieces.

Nomos Glashütte Orion 38 Gray
This latest version of the Orion at 38mm is a bit wider than the usual Orion and has a touch of gray. the standard Nomos caliber (with the hand-wound Alpha movement ) is visible through the sapphire crystal back. The face is galvanized and rhodium-plated in silver-gray, which gives it a glazed appearance. The watch’s indices are embossed and diamond-coated. It is one of a series of four Orion 38 watches that were introduced at Baselworld. The company hails from Glashütte, the watchmaking capital of Germany.

Frédérique Constant Slimline Moonphase Manufacture
Five new models of the Slimline Moonphase Collection were introduced at Baselworld and all are driven by the FC-705 Manufacture caliber.

Each complication in the watch is accessed through a three-position single crown. “Position 0” is for winding the watch. At “Position 1,” the date can be adjusted by turning the crown clockwise. Turning the crown counter clockwise adjusts the moonphase. “Position 2” is used to adjust the hour and minute hands.

Other features include the slimline design and a case diameter of 42 mm. Each dial presents the date display and moonphase at the 6 o’clock position. A new technology known as “laser ablation” was used to create a detailed and precise image of the moon. Finally, each model comes with a 26-jewel movement, a 42-hour power reserve and a Circular Côtes de Genève decoration on the movement.

Alpina 130 Heritage Pilot Automatic Chronograph
This watch celebrates Alpina’s 130th anniversary. The “Bi-compax" chronograph was inspired by an Alpina pilot chronograph from the beginning of the 20th Century.

The Alpina 130 features a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating that guarantees perfect contrast between all elements of the dial, regardless of the angle of the light shining on the watch. The classic dial design, with telemeter and tachymeter scales provides a balance between technicality, elegance and readability. The transparent case back allows a view of the AL-860 automatic chronograph caliber with its fine fish scales decoration and blue screws.

The tachymeter scale gives the means to measure average speed of movement, while the telemeter scale provides the distance between the source of a specific sound effect and the position of the listener. These functions are important for pilots and drivers who rely on time, speed and distance variables.

Raymond Weil Freelancer 7730
The new additions to the watch brand’s Freelancer chronograph collection include a 42mm steel case watch with black galvanic dial punctuated with red colored notes. The steel-colored minute and hour hands are coated in a luminescent material providing night-time visibility. It has a seconds subdial at 9 o’clock and a three-day date and day window at 3 o’clock, adjusted by a push pin also at 3 o’clock. The chronograph start, stop and restart push-button is at 2 o’clock and a reset button at 4 o’clock. In addition, there’s a 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock and a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock.

Jacob & Co. Quenttin Tourbillion Baguette
The company known for its over-the-top flare and dramatic reinterpretations of timepieces released its latest version of the Quenttin Tourbillion, which in this case is covered in baguette-shaped diamonds. The curved case measures 56 x 47 x 21.55mm and is topped with 26.01 carats of diamonds. The satin-finished titanium and 18k rhodium-plated, polished white gold is set with 453 diamonds (23.81 carats). The tourbillon is visible through a side window.

The dial indicators are on revolving cylindrical drums with Super-luminova Arabic numerals, with the central hours cylinder and minutes cylinder to the right; and power reserve indication on the left cylinder. The movement is a manual-winding Jacob & Co. MHC-manufactured caliber 9031 with one-minute vertical tourbillon; frequency 21’600 vph, seven spring barrels and 31-day power reserve.

Black vulcanized rubber strap with 18k white gold deployment buckle is set with 40 baguette diamonds (2.20 carats). It is limited to six pieces.

Perrelet Turbine Chrono
The watch brand created a timepiece collection incorporating a chronograph into a Turbine powered by an in-house P-361 automatic movement. The chronograph measurements are provided by a central seconds chronograph hand and a 60-minute counter. The former runs over a large inner bezel surrounding the dial, while the latter is composed of two juxtaposed sapphire crystal elements. A graduated mobile disk turns in the center of a fixed ring marked with a red arrow bearing the inscription “min” and pointing to the recorded times. The transparency of the chronograph counter allows the signature rotor of the Turbine watch to remain visible.

Five chronographs make up the collection in 47 mm-diameter cases with tachometric bezels and applied rings. There are three variations in graded shades of black and white, one enhanced with 4N pink gold, and an All-Black model.

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