Saturday, 30 November 2013

Romain Jerome - New Start with Manuel Emch

Romain Jerome is well associated with the Titanic. JR CEO Mr Manuel Emch was in town recently and I manage to catch up with him to have a better understanding of the watches, the brand and the man.

Manuel was candid and he told me about how the brand has moved on from very negative vibes to what he calls positive provocation. To be different, one needs to be provocative but in a positive way. The brand chooses to use different materials like steel from the Titanic and moon dust and blend culture into their products.

I was interested in how the case of the Titanic DNA watches are made. Manuel said a piece of steel used to build the Titanic is the starting point. Melted down and mixed with more steel, the material is then shaped into the case and then treated to prevent further oxidation. Then it is coated with PVD to stabilize the material.
Romain Jerome Titanic DNA Steampunk Red Auto photo RomainJeromeTitanicDNASteampunkRedAuto01_zps6911d94f.jpg

Featured here is the Titanic-DNA Steampunk Red Auto. Measuring 50mm across, the numbers 12 and 6 are "unfinished". Coming in several iterations, I like this one best.
Romain Jerome Titanic DNA Steampunk Red Auto photo RomainJeromeTitanicDNASteampunkRedAuto02_zps86cb47f5.jpg

The solid case back of the watch explains the materials used - gold, steel and titanium. I believe the automatic movement beating inside is a Sellita.
Romain Jerome Titanic DNA Steampunk Red Auto photo RomainJeromeTitanicDNASteampunkRedAuto03_zps8732bf4b.jpg

The next range is the Moon DNA range and I took to the Skylab. Limited to 99 pieces and coming in three variants, I like the steel version best. Well, Manuel tells me they managed to get their hands on some parts from the Apollo 11 and used it for the case.
Romain Jerome Moon DNA Skylab photo RomainJeromeMoonDNASkylab03_zps30b7bbad.jpg

The skeleton watch is 44mm with a satin finish. Other than the case, the watch is very unlike RJ. Simple and elegant.
Romain Jerome Moon DNA Skylab photo RomainJeromeMoonDNASkylab02_zps2ea86eaf.jpg

At the six o'clock position is the balance wheel and when beating, looks like a flying tourbillon. The watch is rather well finished.
Romain Jerome Moon DNA Skylab photo RomainJeromeMoonDNASkylab01_zps6b9d8e93.jpg

And now the black PVD version.
Romain Jerome Moon DNA Skylab photo RomainJeromeMoonDNASkylab04_zps8becb990.jpg

And a wrist shot of the black.
Romain Jerome Moon DNA Skylab photo RomainJeromeMoonDNASkylab06_zps0980d9f6.jpg

One more look at the watch. Notice the lugs - they are hollowed out and see through.
Romain Jerome Moon DNA Skylab photo RomainJeromeMoonDNASkylab05_zpseb238b0b.jpg

More about lugs and a special collection of Romain Jerome watches in a follow up post. Thanks to the Hour Glass for arranging the interview.

Friday, 29 November 2013

IWC & The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This year, IWC celebrates the French pilot and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and pays tribute to his book Le Petit Prince - The Little Prince.

The book celebrates its 70th Birthday and IWC is launching 2 Limited Special Edition watches to commemorate this occasion. The book has sold more than 150 million copies and translated into 270 languages. The two watches - Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar and Pilot Mark XVII feature the little boy from the story. IWC hosted the event at the Ion Boutique.
Le Petit Prince Event photo LittlePrinceEvent04.jpg

The boutique was decorated with all things The Little Prince…
Le Petit Prince Event photo LittlePrinceEvent05.jpg

And a group of us came in a dressed theme of red pants/bermudas with white top and jacket. But some came with other red and white combo for one reason or the other. Here are the brothers on song...
Le Petit Prince Event The Red & White Gang photo LittlePrinceEvent01.jpg

Free flow of good food and Schaffhausen wine… what more could we ask for - a free watch maybe?
Le Petit Prince Event Prawn Tart photo LittlePrinceEvent07.jpg
Le Petit Prince Event Pan-Fried Scallop photo LittlePrinceEvent08.jpg

And Edouard opened the evening with a speech - explaining to those not in the know the history of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and the collaboration with the brand.
Le Petit Prince Event photo LittlePrinceEvent03.jpg

What is the Little Prince event without little princes and princesses? Some bigger than others but many friends of the brand brought their family along. Making a special appearance with a reading of the book was local celebrity Mr. Chua En Lai.
Le Petit Prince Event photo LittlePrinceEvent02.jpg

Mr. Chua assisted by Sidney of IWC. And Massi paying special attention to his little princess in the front row.
Le Petit Prince Event Chua En Lai photo LittlePrinceEvent09.jpg

But to many who turned up, we came here for a reason - to see the watches. Both watches come with blue dial which is reserved for special editions of IWC timepieces. The Pilot Mark XVII is simple enough yet special.
Le Petit Prince Mark XVII photo LittlePrinceMarkXVIILePetitPrince01.jpg

The special feature on the watch is found on the seconds hand. A small star is found at the end of the seconds hand.
Le Petit Prince Mark XVII photo LittlePrinceMarkXVIILePetitPrince04.jpg

The blue dial is a deep midnight blue and as with all IWC Pilot watches comes protected against magnetic fields. The steel watch is limited to 1,000 watches.
Le Petit Prince Mark XVII photo LittlePrinceMarkXVIILePetitPrince02.jpg

And I really like the blue dial - JoKoh, this one is for you!
Le Petit Prince Mark XVII photo LittlePrinceMarkXVIILePetitPrince03.jpg

And the other attraction for the night is the Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar edition Le Petit Prince.
Le Petit Prince Big Pilot Perpetual photo LittlePrinceBigPilotPerpetualLePetitPrince06.jpg

Already an icon for the brand, the rose gold limited edition is limited to 270 watches.
Le Petit Prince Big Pilot Perpetual photo LittlePrinceBigPilotPerpetualLePetitPrince01.jpg

Featuring a full perpetual calendar with 4 digit display for the years, the Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar has a midnight blue dial and if you look carefully will spot the very special feature.
Le Petit Prince Big Pilot Perpetual photo LittlePrinceBigPilotPerpetualLePetitPrince02.jpg

Coming with a full 7 days power reserve courtesy of the IWC-manufactured 51613 calibre, the Big Pilot perpetual calendar has a definite presence. On the moon phase is where you find the special feature...
Le Petit Prince Big Pilot Perpetual photo LittlePrinceBigPilotPerpetualLePetitPrince03.jpg

The little prince standing on the moon gazing into the star filled sky. IWC did a good job of presenting the moon phase the way they did. An ingenious idea. Awesome!
Le Petit Prince Big Pilot Perpetual photo LittlePrinceBigPilotPerpetualLePetitPrince05.jpg

Edouard mentioned that some of the proceeds of the sale of the watches will go to helping establish a school in Cambodia.

And before long, it was time to go. But I will revisit the boutique again soon to discover more IWC timepieces especially the Portuguese hand wound 8 days. Another beautiful piece by IWC. Thanks to the IWC team for a wonderful night. Well done!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Issey Miyake - A Special Seiko

This is a not often found Seiko watch - designed by Tokujin Yashioka and produced by Issey Miyake.

Minimalist in design, I find this watch very understated. I believe the mechanism is very much similar to the Seiko Disc Burger watch. Only that this one does not have a seconds disc. The watch comes in two versions - a quartz version and the automatic version.
Seiko Issey Miyake Tokujin Yoshioka photo SeikoIsseyMiyakiTokujinYoshiokaDial02_zps4a7e0df2.jpg

The hour hand is one the outer disc while the minute hand is on the inside - some getting used to. Watch case is about 45mm and slightly thick at about 13mm.
Seiko Issey Miyake Tokujin Yoshioka photo SeikoIsseyMiyakiTokujinYoshiokaDial01_zpsa2eacc6a.jpg

The stainless steel case comes with markings on the bezel indicating the 12 markers. The silver dial is well made to look like one homogenous piece. Pretty well finished I must say. Definitely a watch for the weekend.
Seiko Issey Miyake Tokujin Yoshioka photo SeikoIsseyMiyakiTokujinYoshiokaDial03_zps30ebb0ad.jpg

Beating inside is the 23 jewel automatic Seiko calibre 6R15. Has 50 hours power reserve.
Seiko Issey Miyake Tokujin Yoshioka photo SeikoIsseyMiyakiTokujinYoshiokaMovement01_zps9fb005fa.jpg

Oddly enough my watch although hardly worn has rusted. I brought it back to Thong Sia for servicing only for them to tell me they don't service "such" a watch. In the first place, they did not even recognize the watch as being a Seiko. At the end, they took the easy way out and told me they don't service this watch. It's a shame.
Seiko Issey Miyake Tokujin Yoshioka photo SeikoIsseyMiyakiTokujinYoshiokaMovement02_zpse7536bb9.jpg

I have sent it to another watch repairer and hopefully, it will be ticking again soon. And now, a wristshot.
Seiko Issey Miyake Wristshot photo SeikoIsseyMiyakiTokujinYoshiokaWristshot01_zpsae92fc86.jpg

Saturday, 23 November 2013

GPHG 2013 at the L 'Atelier by The Hour Glass

This year, L'Atelier by The Hour Glass is hosting the Grand Prix D'Horlogerie De Geneve (GPHG) exhibition in Singapore and this will happen from 22nd November to 28th November.

The cocktail was on the 22nd at the Ion Shopping Centre, at The L 'Atelier by The Hour Glass (Level 3). Our gang of watch enthusiasts were at hand to view the collection.
THG L'Atelier photo GPHGLAtelier02_zps19a1be4c.jpg

For those who are not familiar with the L 'Atelier, the set up resembles that of a watch workshop - an actual atelier. Here is a shot of the workbench found inside L'Atelier.
THG L'Atelier photo GPHGLAtelier01_zps782b1276.jpg

The event started with Dr. Bernard Cheong giving a history of GPHG and the significance.
THG L'Atelier photo GPHGLAtelier03_zps8f0ea0a4.jpg

And then it was off to see the watches on display. Some very significant pieces and worthy winners. The Type 3 by Ressence won the Horological Revelation Prize.
GPHG photo GPHG10_zps4cf16ebb.jpg

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay won the Revival Prize - another worthy winner.
GPHG photo GPHG12_zpsb5721156.jpg

The Lange 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar won the prize for Grande Complication. I understand this category has many contenders and although Lange won (and I definitely agree they are a deserving winner), I think all the candidates in this category are winners.
GPHG photo GPHG11_zps36084320.jpg

A close up of the winner!
GPHG Lange 1815 Rattrapante photo GPHG17_zps52878fc7.jpg

Isn't this a beauty? A beautiful complication.
GPHG Lange 1815 Rattrapante photo GPHG16_zps01a69316.jpg

And the biggest winner is the Girard Perregaux Constant Force Escapement which won the Aiguille d’Or prize.
GPHG GP Constant Escapement photo GPHG15_zpsedf389f3.jpg

A close up of the Constant Force Escapement. Notice the iconic bridge?
GPHG GP Constant Escapement photo GPHG18_zps819f17e6.jpg

For the ladies category, I always like the complications from Van Cleef & Arpels. They won with the Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée. What an elegant piece featuring a double retrograde minutes and hours.
Van Cleef & Arpels photo GPHG20_zps4d836a79.jpg

In total, there are 15 winners and all the watches are on display at the L'Atelier at The Hour Glass at the Ion Shopping Centre (Level 3). I would not spoil the fun for you as it would be better if you had gone down to see it for yourself. And I am sure you will agree with me that all the watches on display are worthy winners!

Congrats to all the winner especially to the Harbrings, Mr. Philippe Dufour for winning why Special Jury Prize as well as Mr. Vianney Halter for winning the Innovation Prize for the Deep Space Tourbillon. The full list is below:

“Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix: Girard-Perregaux, Constant Escapement L.M.

Grande Complication Prize: A. Lange & Söhne, 1815 Rattrapante Perpetuel Calendar

Ladies’ Complications Watch Prize: Van Cleef & Arpels, Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée

Ladies’ Watch Prize: DeLaneau, Rondo Translucent Champagne

Men’s Complications Watch Prize: Romain Gauthier, Logical One

Men’s Watch Prize: Voutilainen, V-8R

Innovation Prize: Vianney Halter, Deep Space Tourbillon

Jewellery Watch Prize: Chopard, L’Heure du Diamant

Artistic Crafts Watch Prize: Chanel, Mademoiselle Privé Camélia Brodé

Sports Watch Prize: Zenith, El Primero Stratos Flyback Stricking 10th

“Petite Aiguille” Watch Prize: Habring2, Jumping Second Pilot

Revival Prize: Tudor, Heritage Black Bay

Horological Revelation Prize: Ressence, Type 3

Special Jury Prize: Philippe Dufour

List courtesy of WorldTempus

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Grand Prix D'Horlogerie De Geneve - L 'Atelier by The Hour Glass

This year, L'Atelier by The Hour Glass will be hosting the Grand Prix D'Horlogerie De Geneve (GPHG) exhibition in Singapore.

The exhibition is open to the public from November 22nd to November 28th, 2013 and will be at L'Atelier at the Ion Shopping Centre at Level 3.
GPHG 2013 photo GPHGLogo_zps1d917b16.jpeg

70 watches will be pre-selected by the jury and will be on show at the exhibition. Stay tuned for more coverage.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Orange & Durians - What a Sight!

Who says orange and durians don't go? Check this out.

The Orange Grand Cru watch by Blancier with our favorite fruit - the durian! And in this case, the Mao Shan Wang. I had earlier posted about the Blancier.
Orange & Durian photo OrangeampDurian01_zps85c01384.jpg

The Mao Shan Wang is probably the most sought after variety of durians which incidentally is called the King of Fruits. The flesh is creamy and tastes bitter and sweet at the same time. I learnt something new today - the word durian is partly derived from the Malay word "duri" which means thorn (Source - Sunday Times).
Orange & Durian photo OrangeampDurian02_zpsca53a62d.jpg

Take a look at the amount of flesh on this one. This one happens to have a very small seed - what we call jiu jee.
Durians Mao Shan Wang photo DuriansMaoShanWang03_zps7e9854ec.jpg

The durians are of very good grade.
Durians Mao Shan Wang photo DuriansMaoShanWang02_zpsa4a45d7a.jpg

Every fruit was good… and I mean GOOD! Ah Meng is an honest seller - bad ones he does not bring in from Johor. You only get good ones from him.
Durians Mao Shan Wang photo DuriansMaoShanWang01_zps3b68ca63.jpg

I had earlier posted another durian session. Also from Ah Meng my regular supplier. Check this out.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Mr. Range - Story of The Singapore Lange Connoisseurs Lunch

The Singapore Lange Connoisseurs Lunch was hosted by Michelle and her dedicated team from Lange Singapore. And the lunch was hosted at Yakitori Enmaru at Ion.

Like they say, some things are lost in translation. For example the name… Mr. Lange became Mr. Range.
Mr. Range photo LangeLunch14Nov201301_zps9585848b.jpg

I thought it was cute so I took a wrist shot of my companions… venture a guess whose wrists/watches these are?
Mr Range Wristshot photo LangeLunch14Nov201302_zpsb70c2d74.jpg

And then my Range 1 on a Lange stand...
Mr. Range & Lange 1 photo LangeLunch14Nov201303_zps4113db4a.jpg

Seated beside me is the owners of a Rose Gold Black Dial Datograph. My preferred combination for the Datograph. Some call it the Dufour Datograph or the Dufourgraph. I absolutely love this watch. Just waiting for the right time when it is available and at the right price. Although it is not a Limited Edition piece, the RGBD version is rather rare.
Dato & Number 1 photo LangeLunch14Nov201305_zps8f117007.jpg

And perhaps the oldest Lange at the gathering that afternoon. A Lange pocket watch with an enamel dial. Serial number has it dated back to 1908.
Mr. Range & The Pocket Watch photo LangeLunch14Nov201306_zpsc38285a2.jpg

And before I forget why we were there, here is the food! Peter ordered the Chirashi sushi.
Food Glorious Food photo LangeLunch14Nov201307_zps0b6fe971.jpg

Larry had the ginger pork.
Food Glorious Food photo LangeLunch14Nov201308_zps6e9365b8.jpg

Terence had the beef. Understand the beef is tender and well cooked.
Food Glorious Food photo LangeLunch14Nov201309_zpsefa7ce73.jpg

Kee Siew and I had the yakitori. Good stuff since this is after all a Yakitori restaurant.
Food Glorious Food photo LangeLunch14Nov201310_zps96340910.jpg

And the band of brothers! Chap kor anyone?
Brothers at lunch photo LangeLunch14Nov201311_zps94a7bb62.jpg

Brothers in arms. I love the 1815 - slim and elegant.
Hands of brothers photo LangeLunch14Nov201312_zps9ddf22cf.jpg

And before we knew it, lunch was over and we headed down to the Ion Boutique. Couldn't resist so I asked for all the brothers to lay down their watches…a million dollar tray. Well almost.
Million Dollar Tray photo LangeLunch14Nov201313_zps265a7791.jpg

A different look at the watches on display.
Million Dollar Table photo LangeLunch14Nov201314_zps7072fca6.jpg

A trio of Datograph - how often you see so many versions of the Datograph. For a moment, we had more variety than the boutique.
Trio of Datograph photo LangeLunch14Nov201315_zpsc82106dc.jpg

And the highlight of the tray must be the Lange 1 Tourbillon. One can only dream of owning such a rare beauty. So I admire only...
Lange 1 Tourbillon photo LangeLunch14Nov201316_zpsb0ba4026.jpg

Many thanks again to the team from A. Lange & Sohne. Hope we can do another one real soon. In the meantime, I continue to dream about the Lange 1 Tourbillon and search for the RGBD Datograph.