Saturday, 26 September 2015

Glashütte Original... Tradition, Refinement and Class From Glashütte Germany

In my opinion, the 2015 offerings from Glashütte Original were some of the best timepieces out from Baselworld this year. They look great and the ones in the Pano range have always appealed to me with the Panograph being an almost buy for me in the past. So it led me to want to get a closer look at the 2015 novelties[my thanks to the Swatch Group, Glashütte Original Sales and Marketing Manager in Asia for sharing them with me] and that's what this post will largely be about. 

some wonderful Glashütte Original novelties resting next to another finely made German product... mechanical marvels all :)
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However, as I was reminded of it's history, it made me delve into the darker days and i have spent considerable time looking at the senselessness that occurred during the second world war and the reprisals. but this post should not go down that path and just note that after the German surrender and when it was managed by the 4 Allied powers, East Germany fell in the Communist part of it and for the watch companies based in Glashütte, it resulted in a watch conglomerate being formed in 1951, the VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB). During the GUB period, simpler, low cost and robust timepieces were the order of the day. 

Drawing back a bit further though, about a hundred years before all of that, the story of watchmaking in Glashütte began with Ferdinand Adolphe Lange, who decided to bring watch making to the town in 1845 and set up his watch manufacture there. The town was originally a silver mining town but after four centuries, in the 1800s, that resource was running out and it was struck by hardship. Lange, together with other enterprising and capable watchmakers like Julius Assmann[At Deutsche Präzisions-Taschenuhrenfabrik, he manufactured precision watches outfitted with elements typical of Glashütte, such as the three-quarter plate and a hand-engraved balance cock, that were awarded prizes all over the world], Moritz Grossmann[Founded the German School of Watchmaking in 1878], established watch manufacture in the town. The rich history of the place can be discovered at the German watch museum in Glashütte or in it's information online LINK 


After GUB privatisation, Walter Lange obtained the rights to the Lange name and started A. Lange & Söhne(now under Richemont Group) and Swatch Group owns Glashütte Original. Glashütte Original is one of the few watchmakers that uses its own movements, and it has 10 proprietary movement innovations. The characteristics of the classic Glashütte Original design transform each mechanical movement into a miniature masterpiece epitomizing the German values of quality, precision and reliability. The brand continues to pursue this tradition today, creating mechanical masterpieces in accordance with the rigorous standards of the Saxon art of watchmaking. The brand’s masterpieces evoke fascination due to the passion and high precision that drive their development. Limited-edition models such as those dedicated to Julius Assmann and Alfred Helwig, and its timepieces decorated with Meissen porcelain dials are much sought-after by collectors.

Glashütte’s municipal coat of arms, existing in its present form since 1912, displays the history of the city, a past first characterized by mining and then watchmaking

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Ok enough of the past for now and let's look at the 2015 novelties! 

first up the Senator Observer... Glashütte Original takes up the spirit of discovery once again with a new version of its Senator Observer, a sophisticated observation watch (also known as a ‘deck watch’) evoking the enthralling history of navigation at sea. The original inspiration was from one of the finest makers of observation watches, Julius Assmann, whose Glashütte firm specialised in the manufacture of these handmade wonders. The precision and reliability of its observation watches - in particular under extreme weather conditions - made them indispensable instruments for navigation officers, pilots, and pioneering explorers

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At the heart of the Senator Observer is the automatic Calibre 100-14, an exquisitely finished selfwinding movement with a 55 hour power reserve (+/- 10%). Although traditional observation watches used hand-wound movements, the Senator Observeris fitted with a contemporary automatic movement
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The Saxon manufactory’s in-house dial manufactory has made extensive use of luminous surfaces to make the new Senator Observer easy to read in the absence of light: the elegant white gold hour and minute hands, bold Arabic numerals, and chapter ring hour indexes are all highlighted with green Super-LumiNova, a phosphorescent pigment that absorbs light by day and emits it at night
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By day the matt black dial offers an elegant backdrop and contrast to the Arabic numerals, drawn in a font once widely used for precision pocket watches made in Glashütte at the beginning of the 20th century. At the centre of the lower half is the noted watchmaker’s compelling Panorama Date display. The hand and indexes of the small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock and the power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock are also luminous by night
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a finely finished movement is to be expected from Glashütte Original
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The new Senator Observer comes in a 44 mm case fashioned of polished and satin-brushed stainless steel and is available with an elegant black calfskin strap fitted with a stainless steel foldover clasp, or with a polished stainless steel link bracelet
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up next the PanoMaticLunars in SS and RG... Elegant red gold meets matt black & cool stainless steel encounters intense blue
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The PanoMaticLunar model has the characteristic off-centre displays in a well thought out spatial arrangement. The areas for hour/minute indicators and the small seconds display lie on a vertical axis within the left half of the dial, while the Panorama Date and the splendid moon phase display are positioned at the lower and upper right, respectively
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The PanoMaticLunar models are driven by the Saxon manufactory's Calibre 90-02 – a mechanical automatic movement with 47 jewels and a 42-hour power reserve. The sapphire crystal case back offers an unobstructed view into the refined beauty of the movement and its characteristic Glashütte elements including the three-quarter plate with Glashütte stripe finish, the off-centre rotor with oscillating weight in 21-ct gold, blued screws and the hand-engraved balance cock with duplex swan-neck fine adjustment
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The placement of the individual displays was inspired by the “Golden Ratio” – the legendary law of aesthetic harmony. The exceptionally beautiful and  characteristic dials of the  PanoMaticLunar and PanoReserveare made in Glashütte Original's own dial manufactory in Pforzheim. In Pforzheim, the city of gold and jewellery, Glashütte Original draws on deep specialist knowledge and long-established traditions in dial-making, thus ensuring that every Glashütte Original watch receives its own dignified and unmistakable  face”
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Up to 40 separate operations, performed by true masters of their craft, are required to produce the refined and carefully finished dials. The application of the graphic elements alone requires four (PanoMaticLunar) or six (PanoReserve) separate steps. The dial manufactory team's extensive experience allowed them to develop the perfectly tuned colours that give the new models their radiant glow

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great details throughout the watch... in the case with satin and polished finishing and double G logo on the crown
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a closer look at the  hand-engraved balance cock with duplex swan-neck fine adjustment
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a lovely rich black dial. the stars around the moon are more visible in this shot below
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handsome timepieces from  Glashütte Original
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The PanoReserve also comes in these two metals and dial combos and I was able to take shots of the steel one. The Panorama Date and the power reserve display present indications in the German language. Along with the “Made in Germany” mark these indications offer a subtle reminder of the origin of the watch and a silent bow to the art of German watchmaking, as practised in Glashütte since 1845
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The heart of the PanoReserveis the manual winding Calibre 65-01 with 42 hour power reserve and 48 jewels. The sapphire crystal case back offers a clear view of the characteristic Glashütte Original duplex swan-neck fine adjustment and other traditional elements of the art of watchmaking in Glashütte: the Glashütte three-quarter plate with Glashütte stripe finish, the hand-engraved balance cock, the screw balance, screw mounted gold chatons and blued screws
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lighter and darker intensity to the blue under different lights and angles. a wonderfully made dial
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and that's it for now [i will look to update the above with retail prices once i have it]. i will be sharing another post in time on Glashütte Original, maybe even from an owner's perspective ;) cheers, raph

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Antiquorum 2015 Upcoming Auction New York 30 Sep 15

Headed down once again to the Antiquorum auction preview in Singapore on 15 Sep 2015 for the auction in NY on 30 Sep 2015 (click here for full catalog LINKand would first off like to thank the great Antiquorum team(Connie and Masa this round) for all their help and access to these lovely timepieces. Much thanks! I would recommend all watch lovers go down to check out these previews as well as it's great to see these amazing timepieces in the metalon to the live pics(and there's quite a lot of em as there was a lot to lust over) and just some specs of the timepieces as and i'll let the pics do most of the talking. hope u enjoy the post and if you want to bid on these or other pieces from this auction do register for it here (follow the links from this page LINK). cheers, raph

first up the prize RMs on the catalogue cover of course :) Lot 133 RICHARD MILLE REF. RM 59-01 YOHAN BLAKE TOURBILLON SKELETON COMPOSITE Richard Mille, "Tourbillon RM 59-01," No. 40 / 50, Ref. RM 59-01 AN CA. Made in a Limited Edition of 50 pieces in 2014
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Very fine, and unusual, tonneau-shaped and curved, asymmetric, skeletonized composite wristwatch with visible one-minute tourbillon regulator, 42 hour power reserve and a titanium Richard Mille double deployant clasp on a green rubber strap. [ESTIMATE:USD 360,000 - 460,000]

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Cal. RM 59-01, carbon fiber, 19 jewels, skeletonized aluminum base plate and bridges, lateral lever escapement with one-minute tourbillon regulator, titanium tourbillon cage with 3 equidistant polished arms, monometallic balance with ceramic cap jewel, adjusted to heat, cold and 5 positions, shock absorber, self-compensating free-sprung Breguet balance spring
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the 2 RMs on this auction catalogue cover.. literally
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next up Lot 134 Richard Mille Ref. RM 027 AK CA 
RICHARD MILLE RM 027 TOURBILLON CARBON RAFAEL NADAL Richard Mille, "Tourbillon RM 027," No. 13 / 50, Ref. RM 027 AK CA. Made circa 2011. [ESTIMATE USD 360,000 - 460,000]
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Very fine, and unusual, tonneau-shaped and curved, very light (13 gr.) carbon wristwatch with visible one-minute tourbillon regulator, 48 hour power reserve and a carbon Richard Mille Buckle
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solid case back coz all the action can be seen from the front :)
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this was soooooo light and pretty amazing in that respect... Cal. RM 027, carbon fiber, 19 jewels, aluminum bridges, lateral lever escapement with one-minute tourbillon regulator, titanium tourbillon cage with 3 equidistant polished arms, monometallic balance with ceramic cap jewel, adjusted to heat, cold and 5 positions, shock absorber, self-compensating Breguet balance spring
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yup i'll take em both. do you accept several hundred years of installment payments? :)
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next up some fine dress watches from Patek and Lange. We'll start with the ones from Glashutte... 131A. Lange & Söhne Ref. 760.032F 
A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte i. Sachsen, "Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Merite," movement No. 88599, case No. 198527, Ref. 760.032F. Sold June 8th, 2012
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Extremely fine and rare, 18K pink gold wristwatch with visible one-minute tourbillon, off-center hour dial, large central minute dial and an 18K pink gold A. Lange & Söhne deployant buckle. ESTIMATE: USD 120,000 - 180,000
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Cal. L 072.1, fausses cotes decoration, 31 jewels including 3 in screw-mounted gold chatons, power equalization with chain and fusée maintaining power and stepped planetary gearing, tourbillon cage, lateral lever escapement with one-minute tourbillon regulator with equidistant polished steel three-arm carriage, Glucydur balance with screws adjusted to 5 positions
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aperture for the tourbillon regulator at 7
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Lot 128A. Lange & Söhne Ref. 117.035 PLATINUM A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte i. SA, "Grand Lange 1 Lumen" No. 033 / 200, movement No. 101575, case No. 200329, Ref. 117.035. Sold December 26th, 2013. Extremely fine and rare, water-resistant, platinum wristwatch with off-center hour dial, oversized date, 72 hour power-reserve indication
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Cal. L 095.2, Glashütte 3/4 plate, 42 jewels including 7 in screw mounted gold châtons, straight- line lever escapement, monometallic balance adjusted to 5 positions, shock absorber, self-compensating flat balance spring, swan-neck micrometer regulator, hand-engraved balance bridge
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i realise i shot just one patek this round and it's the 5204P Lot 314 Patek Philippe, Genève, movement No. 5251383, case No. 4598613, Ref. 5204P-001. Made circa 2013. Very fine and rare, platinum wristwatch with split-seconds chronograph, registers, perpetual calendar, moon phases, leap year, 24 hour indication and a platinum Patek Philippe deployant clasp
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Cal. CHR 29-535 PS Q, stamped with the PP quality mark, rhodium- plated, fausses cotes decoration, 34 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, Gyromax balance, shock absorber, self-compensating free-sprung Breguet balance spring
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This present example has the first generation dial configuration used for this reference (5204P-001); namely with the luminous white gold markers and black-oxidized hands with Superluminova creating a stark contrast for maximum visibility even in the dark
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and possibly one of my favorite watches which made me wish i still owned my freak... Lot 58 Ulysse Nardin Ref. 2050-131 Freak Blue Cruiser, No. 012, Ref. 2050-131. Made circa 2012. Extremely fine, 18k white gold wristwatch with one-minute 60-minute revolving flying tourbillon regulator, seven-day power reserve and a Ulysse Nardin white gold double deployant clasp
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Cal. UN-205, blued steel skeletonized bridges, 19 jewels, "Dual Ulysse" escapement, monometallic balance, shock absorber, silicon self-compensating balance spring, brushed three-arm cage for the one-minute tourbillon
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Transparent blue dial with white radial Arabic numerals, tourbillon cage is equipped with a white arrow indicating the hours, rotating in one minute on itself, with the zero position holding steady on the axis of the minute indicator

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next up Audemars Piguet OG Royal Oak Offshores... these were some of their first Limited Edition offshores and were pieces i really wanted at an early stage of my watch journey... 
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Let's kick it off with the End of Days... Lot 285 Audemars Piguet 
Genève, "Royal Oak Offshore, Automatic - End of Days", No. 428/500, case No. E25979. Made in a limited edition of 500 examples circa 2000 in collaboration with Arnold Schwarzenegger
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Very fine and rare, large, octagonal, self-winding, water- resistant, stainless steel with black PVD-coating wristwatch with round button chronograph, registers, tachometer and date. Accompanied by the original Audemars Piguet presentation case bearing Arnold Schwarzenegger signature, certificate, instructions and spare "velcro" straps
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followed by another Arnold collab Lot 281 Audemars Piguet, Genève, "Royal Oak Offshore Arnold Schwarzenegger, Limited Edition," Ref. No. F 01177. Made especially for Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003. Very fine and rare, oversized, tonneau-shaped, octagonal, self-winding, water-resistant, 18K yellow gold wristwatch with round-button chronograph, registers, tachometer, date and an Audemars Piguet 18K yellow gold deployant clasp
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back engraved with Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature
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lastly the first ROO with a clear caseback, the montoya... Lot 283 Audemars Piguet, Genève, Royal Oak Offshore "Juan Pablo Montoya" Chronograph, No. 0530/1000, case No. F 24256, Ref. 2603010. Made in a limited edition of 1000 pieces in 2004. Very fine, oversized, octagonal, self-winding, water resistant, titanium, steel and carbon fiber wristwatch with date, square button chronograph, registers, tachometer and an Audemars Piguet stainless steel deployant clasp
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Cal. 2226, rhodium-plated, fausses côtes decoration, 54 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, monometallic balance adjusted to heat, cold, isochronism and 5 positions, shock absorber, self-compensating flat balance spring, 21K gold rotor
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one of the earlier F1 inspired watch designs out there
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and lastly... the classics... Rolex. the middle one be mine and it's good to see where it's DNA came from 
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a gilt dialled beauty to start with Lot 173 SUBMARINER GILT DIAL METERS FIRST Rolex, Oyster Perpetual, Submariner, 200m = 660ft, case No. 765007, Ref. 5513/5512. Made in 1963. Fine, center seconds, self-winding, water-resistant, stainless steel diver's wristwatch with a Rolex Oyster bracelet
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This example is a rare and very early production of ROLEX SUBMARINER REFERENCE 5513 from 1962, which is the first year that the reference 5513 was offered. The dial on the first 5513's were identical to the dials used on the reference 5512 dials, which had been in production since 1959. Its primary characteristics were gilt print, gloss finish with chapter ring and two lines of text below the center pinion

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i do love a superdome crystal... ESTIMATE: USD 20,000 - 30,000

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and lastly the Milsub Rolex Lot 174 Rolex 'Oyster Perpetual, Submariner, 660ft = 200m' case No.3927192 Ref. 5513. Made circa 1973, issued to the British Royal Navy in 1975, No.0552/923-7697-329/75. Fine and rare, hacking center seconds, self-winding, water-resistant, stainless steel military diver's wristwatch with fixed bar lugs. Accompanied by a laminated Rolex UK service acknowledgment receipt dated February 2008 and Rolex letter signed H. Hudson dated May 2008 confirming serial number 3927182 was supplied to the Royal Navy in 1975

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fixed lugs for durability, an engraved caseback with Ministry of Defence item code and issue number, along with an inner caseback stamped with the full serial number to ensure the watch and the caseback remain matched. 

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although very similar to the standard reference 5513, features a dial with encircled T (to indicate the use of tritium luminescent), large sword hands for extra visibility. During routine servicing, due to the unavailability of military specification replacement parts, the watches were often serviced using standard Ref. 5513 parts instead. Notably, on this present lot, the hands and bezel have been updated to civilian specification. This example is accompanied by a letter written by Henry Hudson, the head of the Rolex (UK) Service Department at the time, confirming that their internal records show that this watch had been issued to the Royal Navy

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