Reference: AL-880LB4V6/ AL-880LS4V6
Delivered in a special gift box with an Extreme 40 boat miniature
Limited to 500 pieces for the All Black version in black carbon fiber
Numbered 01/500 to 500/500
Next is a very similar watch movement, but this one has an open view into the escapement. This is the Miyota Calibre 90S5. Aside from the open escapement (for when designers want to have a window to the "beating heart of the watch" on the dial), the 90S5 should be more or less identical to that 9015. You can see full technical description of it here.
This collection of images from the event is by no means a full account of what I saw, nor the pieces for auction at Only Watch 2011. As I linked to above, this article here has all the unique creations. It saddens me that I will not be at the live auction in Monaco to see just how this all plays out. There are some truly awesome timepieces here and I am sure there will be a war over more than one of them. The next step is learning what people end up spending - at least there is a tax write-off opportunity. You can travel to Monaco or bid with Antiquorum online if you so wish.
IWC Portugieser Replica Watch Hands-On
Ian Skellern was able to get a great video of the movement in action. Really how else can I describe that? This is one of the most steampunk - gadgetorageous - machinatastic watch movements I have seen in a long time. Interesting type of rendition on the concept of a tourbillon by having the the escapement component column rotate on its own axis like that when the hour changes. The hour indicator blocks are all placed together on a tank tread like chain with a system for moving it that looks like the rod which turns wheels on a steam powered locomotive. Totally complex, but you don't need to train me to like it (worst pun ever!).
The Swatch Group also owns a company called ETA - which produces most of the movements in timepieces which bear the "Swiss Made" mark on their dial. For a few years now ETA threatened to no longer produce movements for companies outside of the Swatch Group. This spurred a lot of debate and controversy, and is an issue that cannot be easily explained in this article. What I do understand is that the result of their desire, tempered by the Swiss authorities, is that ETA will now be more selective in who they sell watch movements to outside of the group. In their own words "they no longer wish to be the shopping market of the Swiss watch industry." ETA in combination with Nivarox produces the wide range of movements which power most Swiss watches out there.
New high-end watch brand HYT is coming in 2012. I don't much except that the watch(es) will somehow incorporate liquid - green, possibly luminescent, liquid. One of the brand's principles is Vincent Perriard. Formerly CEO of Concord and then TechnoMarine. Perriard has been working quietly on HYT for a while now. In my opinion Perriard thrives when two things are in order. First, that he has a lot of creative freedom (I still think that TechnoMarine should have run his "Ocean Addict" ad campaign), and second, when he is able to work on a product that isn't limited by too many budget constraints.
Movement decoration and engraving is a big deal at Blancpain. This year they announced a new collection of limited edition pieces with city scenes engraved on the movement surface. A few watches (each totally unique) will be engraved for Blancpain boutiques around the world. I sat with Blancpain’s engravers and designers as they looked at photographs of cities for inspiration. One gentleman was looking at pictures of buildings in New York City. He uses these to create drawings of proposed scenes that might make their way on to watches. The drawings are handed to Mr. Hayek who makes the final decision on what drawings will be realized in engraved form. It is a tough decision as each engraved scene takes hundreds of hours to hand-engrave under a microscope on the movement surfaces and bridges. It is trying work and the people at Blancpain are some of the best.
A major difference (if you want to call it that) is the adoption of a Roman numeral 12 o'clock hour marker versus an Arabic one. The new marker looks nice and certainly ups the sophistication level of the piece, but I have seen that Roman numeral 12 before. Where? Right here on the Cartier Calibre watch. The watch also has a new minute marker track around the periphery of the dial. This time numbers are placed at five minute increments above the hour markers. That feature is also something which is on the Cartier Caliber dial. Raymond Weil has taken inspiration from Rolex and Cartier in the past (as well as other brands) so this is expected. I don't really mind the borrowing, but I like to notice it as it is interesting to see what watches influence other watches.