So we've been busy prepping for the Chinese New Year celebrations at home, but we haven't forgotten about work. Last week we presented five brands that were exhibited at SIHH and one timepiece from each watchmaker. This week, we have five more excellent timepieces to unveil. From the latest reports by the FHS, Singapore is ranked seventh in the world for Swiss watch imports, just behind Italy and Germany, dropping two places from fifth in 2012. The top five countries for watch exports today are Hong Kong, USA, China, France and Germany, with the USA and Germany showing rapid growth from the previous year. While the Swiss watch industry actually produced fewer timepieces compared with 2011, the value of watches purchased were higher.
As the Snake Year begins, here's a little tidbit of what's coming ahead in 2013, watch-wise. Check out the watches and the videos accompanying them!
It's the year of the Ingenieur, and IWC certainly presented a plethora of new watches in the motoring-inspired line along with a brand new partnership with Mercedes AMG-Petronas for Formula 1. The team, which is led by drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, worked with IWC to present a series of sports-inspired timepieces utilising materials from the motorsport world. For those who are in the know, although the Ingenieur originated in the 1950s, the Ingenieur SL timepiece was actually designed by one Gerald Genta, the same visionary who created a number of other iconic timepieces in the 1970s. It was also important, technologically, as it offered amagnetic properties and a bi-directonal winding mechanism designed by a Mr Pellaton. One particular model which stands out this year is the Ingenieur Double Chronograph Titanium, offering the rattrapante chronograph in a lightweight titanium case - it fits IWC's motorsport year perfectly. Push buttons are overmoulded in rubber and screws in ceramic, and the sporty 45mm watch is powered by a calibre 79420.
The haute horlogerie world has a few important names and Greubel Forsey is certainly one of them. Rogert Greubel and Stephen Forsey are two brilliant and young minds who are constantly exploring the concept of precision in watchmaking. They started with the multi-axis tourbillons, going as far as quadruple tourbillons (two double tourbillons connected by a differential system to average out the differences in timekeeping), but have, in a sense, simplified their designs this year with the Double Balancier 35-Degrees. Two inclined and fixed oscillators connected by a spherical differential that averages out the rates through the gear train to the time indicator. Placed on different three-dimensional planes, it ensures that the escapements are never in a fully horizontal or vertical position, and never fully impacted by gravitational effects. Without the need for tourbillon cages, the two oscillators can also offer larger balances, for better chronometry.
3. Roger Dubuis
Good things come in twos and fours, it seems, according to Greubel Forsey and Roger Dubuis. Similar to the design concept of the Double Balancier, Roger Dubuis flagship timepiece this year and key announcement had to be the Excalibur Quatour, this remarkable looking watch with a truly unique movement. Basing itself on the same principle of multiple oscillators on different three-dimension planes offering the best precision in timekeeping, Roger Dubuis created a watch with four oscillators, connected by five differentials in a complex system that's designed to offer instantaneous correction in timekeeping. Four oscillators going at 4Hz each gives the equivalent of a 16Hz timekeeper, and the movement is never in a completely horizontal or vertical position in any position whatsoever. The Quatour is created in extremely limited numbers only on demand, and priced at, if I recollect rightly, a cool million. Buyers will receive a first class experience and visit to the manufacture and discover how the watch itself is made. As with all Roger Dubuis timepieces, it's got the Geneva Seal stamp of approval.
The master of ultra-thin watches and ultra-thin complications as well, Piaget has been making serious inroads in demonstrating its ability as a watchmaker of high complications. As a watchmaker and expert jeweller, Piaget has the capacity of creating unique timepieces with shaped movements and incredibly thin high complications, such as the ultra-thin automatic tourbillon calibre 1270. This year, it worked on a minute repeater, and the Emperador Coussin XL Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater is the slimmest of its kind in the world. Fitted with a micro-rotor on the back of the movement 1290P, we're told that the automatic winding system has been improved even further to provide for a greater power reserve - it's in the thoughtful and practical details offering real benefits to the user that impresses us. The sound quality of the watch is also impressive, distinctively audible and clear in tone. The two tones sound at G# and A#.
The Classic Yacht Regatta sponsored by Panerai has enjoyed the support of the watchmaker for several years now, both by its participation with the yacht Eileen and with the creation of a Regatta edition timepiece by Panerai each year, but now it's brought out a watch that is truly designed for the regattas, Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio, which should tell you all you need to know about the watch. The new calibre 9100R (R stands for regatta) actually allows you to program countdown time on the watch's chronograph function - sailors use this for starting off in a race - and also has a nautical tachymeter on the peripheral of the dial, so you can determine how fast you're going. It's different from most chronographs in that both chronograph minute and second hands are on the main dial, for legibility, in blue and orange. Encased in titanium in order to withstand corrosion in the sea, the PAM 526 is definitely a collector's piece.