By Zahra Al-Kateb
The 14th Edition of the Grand Prix D’Horlogerie de Geneve is under way, and this year no less than 72 pre selected watches will be running to win the “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix.
With this year’s GPHG attracting record participation, all major watch groups are being represented, along with a number of independent companies.
Vote for your favorite amongst the following pre-selected watches and automatically participate in the drawing to win a Girard – Perregaux Vintage 1945 XXL Petite Seconde, worth $11372.29.
Here are the six finalists in the Men’s category. Tomorrow we will be revealing the Chronograph category.
BREGUET, CLASSIQUE CHRONOMÉTRIE
The innovative spirit of the Breguet brand has contributed to a number of inventions that have improved time measurement. But far from resting on its laurels, Breguet pursues its quest for precision and invests in the research and development of new technologies and materials. The brand has thus been able to file more than 100 patents in the last 10 years, especially concerning improved timekeeping and striking mechanisms. But with its patent of November 7, 2010 for a magnetic pivot, the brand has set another milestone in watchmaking history by harnessing magnetism to the service of precision and reliability. The Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727 model shows that the company has reached its objectives and set a new level in the search for perfection.
The watch, in rose or white gold is fitted with the new Hand-wound calibre 574DR, which takes advantage of the latest developments from the workshops to deliver impressive rating results. This achievement was mainly due to its balance frequency of 10Hz. When it was applied for the first time in the Type XXII chronograph, this frequency was shown to have improved the time-keeping performance of the balance and spring. Breguet’s mastery of silicon enables the Classique Chronométrie to be fitted with a double balance-spring, pallet lever and escape wheel, all in specially prepared silicon that reaches the high frequency necessary for optimum precision. The result is a regulating power equivalent to around 830 microwatts, an achievement when one considers that the regulating capacity of the best chronometers is between 300 and 400 microwatts. Despite its high frequency, the reference 7727 has a power reserve of 60 hours thanks not only to the energy stored in its barrels, but also to the very high quality of its balance.
However, the major innovation of this Classique Chronométrie model is without doubt the use of magnetic pivots. It is likely that the impact of this invention will not be felt for a few years yet. With the magnetic pivot, Breguet not only controls the negative effects of magnetism in a watch, but also uses magnetic force to improve the pivoting, rotation and stability of the balance staff. Breguet’s watchmakers have designed a stable system using two endstones incorporating powerful micro-magnets (approx. 1.3 teslas) that keep the balance staff centred and self-adjusting. One of the magnets is stronger than the other to create a magnetic gradient. A magnetic flux, generated within the balance-staff induces a magnetic attraction that keeps the end of the pivot in contact with the endstone.
BULGARI, OCTO FINISSIMO
The Octo Finissimo’s extra-thin Finissimo calibre, developed and manufactured in-house, is among the best in this category. This mechanical hand-wound movement, only 2.23 mm thick, is housed in the Octo case, a contemporary and architectural icon. With its hour and minute displays and a small seconds hand at 7:30, the Finissimo calibre provides a large torque that will accommodate various additional complications in the future, while keeping the gains in thinness. Its high frequency of 28,800 vibrations/hour (4 Hz) makes it very accurate.This movement, the product of a greatly expanding capacity for in-house manufacture, is inserted into a case from the Octo line, which has been one of Bvlgari’s mainstays and one of its strongest symbols since its launch in the summer of 2012. Its distinctive aesthetic, which really is without peer in the watchmaking world, has made Octo one of the most iconic of existing watch models. Housed in a 40-mm platinum case only 5 mm thick, radiating a serene simplicity enhanced by the perfection of its polished black lacquered dial, Octo Finissimo belongs to the category of classic, elegant watches that display hours and minutes, and adds a small off-centre seconds hand between 7 and 8 o’clock. The movement indicates the status of the power reserve, which is about 65 hours, on the back of the watch.
MB&F, LEGACY MACHINE 101
For a classically sized 40mm wristwatch, Legacy Machine 101 (LM101) covers a lot of ground. Or to be more precise, LM101 covers a lot of time: over 100 years between inspiration and realisation.
Legacy Machine 101 embodies and accentuates the very essence of what is essential in a wristwatch: the balance wheel, which is responsible for regulating precision; how much power remains in the mainspring, which indicates when it needs to be next wound; and of course, the time.
LM101 has one more very special feature, one that cannot be seen: it houses the very first movement developed entirely in-house by MB&F.
Visually, LM101 is dominated by the monumental suspended balance wheel, its sedate oscillations drawing the eye ever closer. Two pristine-white subdials hover just above the fine sunray-engraved movement top plate: At the top right, highly legible hours and minutes are displayed by beautiful blued-gold hands contrasting against the immaculate white, while the 45-hour power reserve indicator is displayed in a smaller, but similar subdial below.
In an apparent feat of magic, the sapphire crystal protecting the dial appears to be invisible; creating the illusion that you can reach out and touch the prodigious balance wheel hanging mesmerisingly from elegant twin arches. The arches are milled from a solid block of metal and require more than five hours of hand polishing to achieve their mirror-like lustre.
Turning over Legacy Machine 101, the display back crystal – domed to reduce the thickness of the caseband and, visually, the height of the watch – reveals the exquisitely hand-finished movement. Sensually curved plates and bridges pay homage to the style found in high quality historic pocket watches and testify to the respect accorded to historical legitimacy.
With its undulating Geneva waves, hand polished bevels, gold chatons and countersunk blued screws, the beauty of LM101’s movement doesn’t just stay faithful to a bygone era. It also heralds the dawn of a new epoch as it is the first MB&F calibre to be entirely conceived and designed in-house.
While award-winning independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen took responsibility for the movement’s fines finishing and fidelity to the horological past, its architecture and construction are 100% pure MB&F.
Legacy Machine 101 is available in an 18k red gold or 18k white gold case.
OMEGA, SEAMASTER 300
In 1957, OMEGA introduced its Seamaster 300, a watch designed specifically for divers and professionals who worked underwater. More than half a century later, the Seamaster 300 has been reintroduced in a completely upgraded and enhanced form, prepared to equip a new generation of adventurers on land and in the oceans.
The featured model is crafted from grade 5 titanium and 18K Sedna™ gold, a stunning alloy of gold, copper and palladium, whose unique rose gold colour is particularly long lasting.
Its sand-blasted blue dial is adorned with facetted 18K Sedna™ gold hands and silvery transferred dial indications. The polished blue ceramic bezel ring is enriched with an OMEGA Ceragold™ diving scale.
It is powered by the OMEGA Master Co-Axial calibre 8400, a new movement that boasts not only the same mechanical efficiency, reliability and timekeeping performance over time as its Co-Axial counterpart but resistance to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss. A domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal allows an unobstructed view of the movement inside.
The Seamaster 300’s bracelet is fashioned with OMEGA’s patented rack-and-pusher clasp, which is adjustable to six different positions making it easy to adapt it to exactly the desired length.
Like its historic predecessor from 1957, the Seamaster 300 features a symmetric case and a unidirectional rotating bezel as well as a dark dial, lighter indexes and big hands and numbers for easier reading in various lighting conditions.
TUDOR, HERITAGE BLACK BAY
The Heritage line by TUDOR is distinguished by the unique creative process of the brand’s Style Workshop as well as an exceptional attention to detail. The very opposite of a mere re-edition, a Heritage product is the powerful result of a true temporal and stylistic encounter of past, present and future. The aesthetic codes that contributed to the renown of the historic models are preserved and injected with modern touches to update its iconic status. The TUDOR Heritage Black Bay embodies the pinnacle of this creative approach, since its inspiration is anchored, not in a historic model, but rather in the nearly 60 y ears of the brand’s emblematic divers’ watches.
The TUDOR Heritage Black Bay derives its overall lines and its domed crystal from the brand’s first divers’ watch, the TUDOR Submariner reference 7922, launched in 1954. It also owes to its ancestor its domed dial, a feature shared by the first TUDOR Submariner models, but which had since vanished. Its imposing winding crown is a nod to a model presented in 1958 under reference 7924 and dubbed “Big Crown” by collectors. Its characteristic angular hands, known by connoisseurs as “Snowflakes”, were seen from 1969 to the early 1980s. These multiple references to the brand’s aesthetic heritage, combined with contemporary design elements such as the robust 41 mm steel case with a refined finish, a coloured, anodized aluminium crown tube, as well as superbly crafted interchangeable bracelets make the TUDOR Heritage Black Bay a watch with a powerful identity that vividly embodies the brand’s renewal process.
For this version of the TUDOR Heritage Black Bay, TUDOR’s StyleWorkshop sought to convey through design details the intention governing the creation of the brand’s first divers’ watch: namely, to produce a technical and reliable divers’ tool-watch. The result is a TUDOR Heritage Black Bay, presented in cool colours accentuating this model’s inherent virtues of fine workmanship, finishing and precision. Its deep-black dial strikes a cold, marked contrast with the silvery hour markers and their white luminescent material. The silver-coloured, luminescent hands feature the same contrast as they cut across the dial with surgical precision. Finally, the bezel in midnight-blue, matching the colour of the crown tube, tempers the vibrancy of the steel case, while lending an aquatic and highly functional dimension that echoes the military past of certain brand references. During the second half of the 20th century, the Marine nationale française was equipped with TUDOR divers’ watches, which were generally blue. Like all models in the Heritage line, the TUDOR Heritage Black Bay comes with two bracelets or straps: an adjustable blue fabric strap with a sophisticated weave; and the other a choice of either a midnight-blue distressed leather strap matching the bezel, or a satin-finished and polished steel bracelet.
URBAN JÜRGENSEN & SONNER, CENTRAL SECOND
Ref 11 C SC (Chronometer Detent Escapement Central Second) Platinum or Red Gold
Manual winded watch, hours, minutes, seconds, Up and Down indicator
Diam : 42mm
In a new variation of the extraordinary UJS-P8 detent escapement, the first detent escapement ever created for a wristwatch, the choice was made to renew and connect with the history, tradition, experience and pursuit of accuracy at Urban Jürgensen & Sønner, a quest which has been at the heart of the brand’s existence since the 18th century.
The creation of the central seconds hand is a bit more complex than using an indirect second’s sub dial, has additional gears are needed to transfer power through the cannon pinion to the seconds hand from the movement. In fact you will immediately note the motion of the second’s hand which in this case jumps in increments of 1/3 second due to the nature of the detent escapement’s special construction. This same effect can also be noted in ship’s chronometers from the same period as the founding of Urban Jürgensen’s workshop.