This is a review of what may have been the hottest watch of 2013. It certainly was based on internet buzz, and when we first laid hands on the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side Of The Moon (ref. 3184.108.40.206.01.003) earlier in that year we knew it was going to be big. Finally, aBlogtoWatch offers a full, hands-on review of the famous all-black ceramic version of the new Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph which we are proud to offer as our first watch review of 2014.
The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is among the most famous historic watches of all times, and it still happens to be produced today. Here is some more of the "back-story" behind the iconic watch: Chances are that at some point today you’ve used a satellite. Whether TV, phone or internet, your digital footprint will have probably graced the heavens, tossed about by a network of delicate machines that shoot around the ball of rock we call home at over 18,000mph. But, 1,071 successful satellite launches ago, there wasn’t a single man-made device orbiting the Earth. Then, on October 4th, 1957, the starting pistol fired and the Space Race began.
The dial of this year’s Charles Vermot Limited features a shade of blue exclusively reserved for tribute models dedicated to him. (The other popular Charles Vermot model is in the 36,000 VPH collection which is a similar watch at a lower price point that doesn’t have a skeletal opening.) The shade is a deep metallic blue that, while vibrant, is a little more understated than cobalt.
What is it about mortality that makes us like to consider its end? We love horror movies, zombies, morbid fashion accessories, and other allusions to death. Few people actually wish to die, yet we love to play with the notion of death in an almost quasi-rebellious way that seems to suggest, "I've conquered death by embracing the notion of it while I am healthy." Or perhaps wearing skulls is more barbaric, and has less to do with courting death as it does showing that you've beaten all your enemies (and are wearing their tiny skulls to prove it)? Hard to say, but skulls are still pretty cool.
In any event, I think Mr. Graff realized he went a tad over the top with the outrageous value of the Graff Diamonds Hallucination, especially to the layperson who may scrutinize every aspect of the timepiece. Thus, to quell the cries of indigent disbelief from the masses, he cushioned the blow with the title of the timepiece - the Hallucination. graffdiamonds.com
Even though a new, improved version was released in 1961 and Elvis could be seen wearing the distinctive arrow-pointed Hamilton "Ventura" model in the movie "Blue Hawaii," Bulova had by then released their more accurate and more dependable Accutron tuning fork watch, going on to become a huge success. The Hamilton 500 was a fusion, it still contained elements from the mechanical watch such as bridges and balance wheels, it was only after all the problems they encountered that they decided to modify this hybrid approach. Nevertheless, the Ventura model went on to become an iconic watch designed by Richard Arbib with an aesthetic which complemented the watch's very modern movement.
On the image directly above, you see just one of these CNCs from the armada of machines in operation. The moment captured here is when a tiny wheel is held securely in place and is crafted from several different angles to help create its teeth; while bright yellow coolant oil is being constantly added to save the piece and the drills from overheating.
I would venture to suggest that most watch lovers go through a period (however long or brief) that they examine the idea of getting a vintage Spaceview model for their collection. These cool timepieces are one of the original "nerd" watches and still look cool today. I wrote about the Accutron Spaceview watch history back in 2008 when I was going through that phase.
The limited edition Hublot Big Bang Atomic D-38 watch is the ultimate in forbidden fruit and exclusivity. We covet the unattainable and desire that which is dangerous. Hublot has successfully tapped into the deepest elements of the human psyche in developing what is perhaps the most macho masculine watch in existence. Uranium is as deadly as it is powerful, and there is no better way to remark on your own badass lifestyle than (for a limited time each week) to wear a timepiece made from depleted uranium. Hublot will produce just 10 pieces of the Big Bang Atomic D-38 watch at a price of 0,000 each. hublot.com
It is worth starting this article by reminding you that this Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Pulsograph watch is currently the most affordable model in the Montblanc Villeret collection that is produced at the former Minerva watch manufacture… in Villeret. These watches represent Montblanc's most prestigious horological products, and for the first time a Minerva movement is used outside of a "strict" Villeret model.
This month on aBlogtoWatch you have an opportunity to win a limited edition (of just 50 pieces) Shade Black automatic watch by Egard. The brand is a father and son team who work out of Los Angeles and Toronto. The Shade Black is meant to be a contemporary dress watch, offering a unique take on classic themes. Though Egard does suggest the Shade Black "can be worn with just about anything."
This is my first experience with the Glashütte Original brand, and I think it's made for a nice little introduction (hopefully for a few of you, as well). As you may guess by the name, this watch pulls some design influences from the 1970s, and it thankfully does so without being overly "old" feeling. To start with, you've got the stainless steel case, which measures in at 40mm square, and is 11.5mm thick. As Ariel noted in his writeup, it's a sort of squared-off cushion style - which means it's right in my wheelhouse, as I seem to have a fondness for that case style.
It was time to set my new acquisition parameters: I wanted a luxury/sport/titanium watch on an integrated bracelet, with an automatic movement, that is Swiss-made. Having an automatic movement is romantic, and in a silly sort of way. I love all things digital, and I always have the latest phone, laptop, tablet, etc... I am an independent inventor of new technologies. However, having an item that is strapped to my body, well that level of intimacy requires it to be special. Mechanical, yes, but mainly made by hand. I actually enjoy watching the second hand slowly move around the dial. Romantic? Yes, because of the incredible history of mechanical horology. The movement at the watch's center, with its vibrations that are measured per hour, or second, is to me, like a human's heart which also (hopefully) beats with great regularity.
BG: As an Italian, I must admit that the watch making art was not in my DNA (even though I’m a bit Swiss German, so punctuality was always important to me). I became fascinated once I had the opportunity to discover the heart / art beating within the product.
The new Kentex Marineman is 45mm wide in a stainless steel or IP (ion plated) black steel case. Both look pretty good actually. It is really rare to find PVD coating processes in Japanese watches, but their IP treatments are typically pretty good. While I prefer the brushed/polished steel cases for daily wear, the black Marineman pieces are quite cool looking. I am not sure if all dial/bezel color versions are available in black. It is also important to note that not all the color versions are pictured in this post. As far as I can tell, the new Marineman watch is available with black, black and red, green, blue, and white mother-of-pearl dial versions.
Anonimo Watches was founded by Federico Massacesi the same year Panerai relocated from Florence to Neuchatel. Panerai's relocation left behind many watchmakers and this helped kickstart Anonimo. The brand soon developed a cult following, but it was then sold off in 2011. Since then, little was heard of the brand, but last year we were invited to visit their workshop here is what we saw.
Inside of each Autodromo Prototipo Chronograph watch is a Seiko caliber VK64 "Meca-Quartz" movement. These are analog quartz movements that are pretty nice to use. So what do you need to know about the "meca" part? That is a good question. Unlike many cheaper analog quartz chronograph watches, there are more mechanical elements at play here, so using the chronograph feels a lot more like those in purely mechanical watches. How's that? Well, the chronograph seconds hand sweeps similarly to that in a mechanical movement (versus moving forward once each second), and most important (for me), is that the chronograph hand instantly resets. On many analog quartz movement watches, the chronograph seconds hand slowly moves around the dial back to the zero position when you reset the chronograph - and I find that to be very annoying.
Even with a concept borne in 2004, the Monaco V4 is still a very cool looking timepiece. The movement was designed to model an automotive engine in a few ways. One of the most ambitious elements was use of transmission style belts versus traditional metal gears for parts of the movement. Transmitting power via belts seemed possible enough, but it proved very difficult for TAG Heuer to ensure reliability and chronometric performance. In the end, TAG Heuer succeeded and the Monaco V4 is actually said to be a rather accurate watch.