Thick. Very very thick. That was my first impression when I picked up the Sept. 2012 issue of International Watch (iW). And with a total of 208 pages, it is indeed thick. Actually, it would have to be in order to cover nearly every nuance of the New York City luxury watch scene. Officially titled “The New York Issue,” it’s a bible for every watch freak who lives in NYC, plans to visit, or just wants to fantasize about strolling down the many watch-laden streets and avenues.
What’s on the cover, you ask? Vacheron Constantin’s Historiques American Boutique New York. That’s a long, rather awkward name for their decidedly elegant, off-axis watch. Of course, there’s a detailed review, as well as an article on Vacheron’s relatively new boutique. Which leads me to one of the main features of the issue: company boutiques.
In their “Watch Boutique Guide,” iW presents in-depth coverage of all these one brand wonders, complete with interior photographs and a glorious, full-page shot of one watch selected to represent the brand. So, from Breguet to Bulgari, they’re all here. And to help you find them, there’s a detailed street map with all the locations. The map also pinpoints the numerous watch retailers, department stores and auction houses. (Needless to say, it’s now my favorite NYC street map.)
Speaking of retailers, department stores, and auction houses, there are articles on the most prominent players in the field. And don’t miss “Collecting In NY.” It covers all the prominent collector’s forums, groups, and clubs. iW could have stopped there, but there’s still lots of NYC to go.
I loved the article called “Public Faces.” It’s all about the many famous clocks that adorn the city, from Grand Central Terminal to Tiffany to the incredible Delacorte Music Clock in Central Park. There’s an ambitious article on “New York Watches:” 17 limited editions and boutique-only specials. And…….if you’re planning on visiting the Big Apple, there are short interviews with concierges from Manhattan’s most prominent, and need I say pricey, hotels.
No! That’s not all there is on the NYC watch scene. But I think I’ve given you enough to whet your appetite. I also want to mention some of the non NYC stuff in the issue.
iW’s market section (also called updates & debuts) features 7 watches worth a serious gaze. There’s a new look for Ebel: a handsome, slim model in PVD black; an Alpina Heritage Pilot that’s seriously nice; a Seiko GPS Solar that I’d own in a second; a very clean Muhle Terrasport 1 pilot’s watch; and more.
In their Minutes Affordable Watch section, iW features 5 watches that won’t demolish your wallet. The one that really caught my eye was a PVD black Seiko Sportura Aviation Chronograph with an alarm and other goodies. $650.
Last but not least, don’t miss the Victorinox Infantry Mechanical review. It’s a 40mm job with an ETA 2824 topped with a thick sapphire crystal. The article says it looks like a vintage Rolex Explorer 1. I totally agree. $650.
The October 2012 issue of WatchTime is not as thick as iW, but for all us watch nerds, it’s certainly a heavy hitter. Let’s start with the cover: a compelling photo of a watch that nearly everyone loves, the Rolex Explorer ll. Thoroughly explained and tested, you learn all there is to know about this venerable watch. There’s also an accompanying article titled “Explorer ll Through the Decades.”
On the subject of tests, don’t miss WT’s “Chrono Test Fest,” featuring 7 mid-priced chronographs. Who’s included? Baume & Mercier Capeland, $4350 ; Frederique Constant Vintage Racing Chronograph, $2995 ; Hamilton Khaki Field Officer Auto Chrono, $1395 ; Porsche P’6620 Dashboard, $6100 ; Stowa Pilot’s Chronograph, $2000 ; Movado Datron, $2995 ; Montblanc Sport DLC Chronograph Automatic, $6105.
Also tested is a non-chrono: the Breitling Transocean, a rugged, good-looking watch for $5495.
If you’re interested in the ETA debacle, and you should be, read the Editor’s Letter. “The Hairspring Dilemma” discusses how the Swatch Group is going to severely restrict sales for Nivarox FAR, their hairspring subsidiary. They supply over 90% of the hairsprings in Swiss watches. Is there a possible solution to this dilemma? Read on.
A possible, yet partial, solution to this problem is explained in a very interesting article titled “Mover and Shaker?” In the author’s own words, “The Festina Group, one of the few companies that make movements from scratch, down to the hairsprings, hopes to cash in on cutbacks by the Swatch Group.” Festina owns a bunch of movement and movement component companies, most notably, Soprod. We’re going to be hearing lots more about them in the coming years.
This was bound to happen: the Smart Watch from Citizen. Named the Eco-Drive Proximity Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, it synchs with the iPhone 4S via Bluetooth 4.0. Not only does it indicate incoming calls, emails and upcoming events, it happens to be pretty decent looking.
Now here’s an article of vast importance. It’s titled “Striking a Chord,” and it’s all about a brand new, must-have watch with a short and catchy name: Corum Admiral’s Cup Legend 46 Minute Repeater Acoustica. Yup, it’s a minute repeater that strikes chords instead of individual chimes or notes. The heartbreaking thing about it is that they’re only making around nine of them. Order immediately, and you may be lucky enough to snag the white gold, full-pave version for only $527,000. To complete the picture, get yourself a spiffy admiral’s hat!
“A Rolex Lexicon” is a handy article that will teach you to speak Rolese. To quote the author, “The world’s biggest watch brand speaks a language all its own. If you’ve ever scratched your head over terms like Paraflex, Tridor, or Cerachrom, read on.”
“Name Dropping” is a fun article. WT took 16 watches, and removed all brand identification. The trick is to identify each of them. Don’t worry, your score will not be place on your permanent record.
Ten years ago, if you had told a watch connoisseur that Cartier would be presenting what would undoubtedly be the most technologically advanced mechanical watch in the world, they’d probably ask to try what you’d been smokin’. Well, THAT watch is the Cartier ID Two, and you simply must read the article titled “Search For Tomorrow.” The watch is shockingly sophisticated, let alone gorgeous. And the cost of developing it probably exceeds our debt to China.
Question: What would happen if you exerted the full weight of a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe on the crystal of a UTS 4,000m? Nothing! This beautiful diver will take you down to over 13,000 feet where the pressure is equal to the weight of that car. No, I didn’t make that up; I stole it from the article. Honestly, could anyone make up something that preposterous?
Getting back to reality, this issue covers lots more than I’ve reported, including a look at new Ball Watches, Hanharts, and the grailish Bremont Victory Watch.
by John Weiss