When I approached the magazine racks at Barnes & Noble the other day, I was hoping to find the latest issue of qp. And there it was, patiently waiting for me to devour it. I’m always looking forward to new watch mags, and qp is one of my favorites because it never fails to ignite the watch fiend in me. There are always unexpectedly unique articles, all well written and edited.
Talk about unexpected, there’s an article that blew me away about a guy I’ve never heard of: Robert Loomes. After growing up in a family watch & clock business in England, he set upon a quest to make a watch where 100% of the components were sourced in England, which turned out to be nearly impossible.
From the hands to the dial to the sapphire crystal, he overcame incredible obstacles. No, he didn’t exactly make his own movements from scratch; he used vintage Smiths of Cheltenham movements from the 1950s and extensively modified them. Today, he’s in the process of making only 100 pieces of what he calls his Robin watch – a 39mm two-hander that’s classically enticing. The article details his whole grueling process from dream to finish. Read it!
As I’m sure you’re well aware, all the watch mags run articles from time to time on the art of collecting. But leave it to qp to present an article entitled “The Unobtainable Collection.” Impossibly rare watches are shown and discussed in this intriguing piece. Here are three examples:
The “Collectors Dream” is a Rolex Comex Kit that includes a watch, diving knife, and an utterly cool flashlight.
A 1970s Eterna Super Kon Tiki dive watch issued exclusively to Israeli defense forces.
A 1947 Omega tourbillon entered in the 1950 Geneva Observatory trials. Only 12 of these beauties were made.
The cover of this issue doesn’t disappoint either. There’s a mouth-watering photo of one of the latest additions to the Hermes collection of Dressage watches. The article traces Hermes’ history from a “dowdy, dusty handbag and headscarf brand” to today’s leadership position in the luxury goods market focusing, of course, on their timepieces. Did you know their watch heritage dates back to 1912?
Over the past 18 issues of qp, they’ve examined various genres of “simple, modern and classic” watches. Their intention was to identify the best mechanicals for aficionados on a budget. This installment illustrates and explains three of the “best” chronograph offerings in 2012 under 1,500 pounds:
Sinn 358 Pilot (Acrylic crystal)
Ball Fireman Ionosphere
What else awaits your undivided interest in this issue? Several pages of detailed auction coverage of amazing vintage watches commanding stratospheric prices. A look at Montblanc’s well-deserved rise in the luxury watch business. A close look at Bremont’s first boutique in London and how it’s going to impact the brand.
A look at the most popular winders and safes in England. An article on the growth, awareness generation and future of Victorinox Swiss Army watches.
Read all about Jean-Claude Biver from the point of view of Marcus Margulies, an internationally famous watch collector and owner of one of the world’s finest watch stores: Marcus on London’s posh New Bond Street.
If you’re into GMTs, read “In The Zone.” It focuses on a variety of these watches, from an outrageous Greubel Forsey to a more reasonable Nomos Tangomat. There are numerous other articles that are sure to delight you, including one on “well-built, funky watches at affordable prices.” Check out models from Defacto, Tendence, Braun, Void, Vabene and others.
Hidden behind an out-of-place issue of Fortune Magazine, I found a stack of the latest (August 2012) iW (International Watch). Was some devious person attempting to hide these from me? Maybe they were just trying to obscure the cover which features a huge photo of a Gucci digital watch with large, intrusive, orange numerals that match the color of the rubber strap. Not exactly my idea of eye candy, but I’m sure there’s a large market out there for this Gucci as well as all the others discussed in an in-depth article.
Speaking of “in-depth,” the majority of articles in this issue are water related: everything from sailing to diving. So, let’s jump in and see what this is all about.
There’s the “Catamaran Countdown” where those sporting watches from Corum, Louis Vuitton and TAG Heuer are vying for the America’s Cup World Series. Learn all about the IWC Volvo Ocean Race where an IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph will be given to 11 lucky crew members. Not that you asked, but this is a round the world race in 9 segments covering over 39,270 nautical miles. Just the thought of that is turning me green.
If you’re going to dive off one of those boats and go deep, consider Ulysse Nardin’s two new watches: the Blue Sea Dive Chronometer and the Black Sea Chronograph. With their black rubber coated cases, they’re really nifty looking watches. It’s an article worth reading.
One of my favorites from this issue is the Montblanc Regulateur Nautique Set. This you’ve got to see to believe. The set consists of a spectacular looking nautical clock, an amazing scientific instrument on its own. The watch, a drastically original regulater with a monopusher chronograph, can be stored within its own gimbaled suspension on one of the clock’s struts. Like I said, you gotta see this thing. The set, by the way, is a bargain at $385,700. Order yours today!
My other fave is the subject of an article titled: “Finnish Folklore.” It’s the brainchild of Stepan Sarpaneva, aptly named the Korona KO. This first dive watch of his is a home run, as far as I’m concerned. With its bold yet simple, unadorned styling, it’s simply drop dead gorgeous! In the words of IW, “While it may be utilitarian, the watch boasts an industrial, sculptural look.” Tell me, do you think I like this watch? Base price is around $8,400.
Continuing in an overboard theme, “Flying Underwater” is an article about Breitling’s handsome and practical SuperOcean line. Then there’s “Blue Tech. Deep Blue teams with National Geographic to test deep divers.” The article focuses on Deep Blue’s Depthmaster, a real value-packed diver. Now don’t laugh, but there’s also an article on watches to be worn while fishing. The four watches discussed are all alluring, but I was really hooked on the Glashütte Original Sport Evolution Panorama Date. Catchy name.
Then there’s an article, of course, on Blancpain’s new X-Fathoms. And an article on Alpina’s new “On and under the sea” watches: a semi-classic diver and a sailing style. Question: Does Doxa deserve an article? You bet, and it’s waiting for your watery eyes. And what would an issue like this be without an article on exotic aquatic skin watch straps? “Swim With Sharkskin” will tell you all you need to know.
Now here’s the article you’ve all been waiting for: “THE DIVE WATCH GUIDE.” It’s here, featuring 33 divers – from a sublime $299. Citizen to a ridiculous $140,000. Richard Mille. But wait, there’s more: “Submersible Savings” brings you a selection of sub-$1,000. Dive watches. Citizen, Traser, Casio, Ocean and others are included.
Now let’s go to dry land and finish this overly long w&w article. Yeah, there’s lots more to read in this issue. iW’s Updates & Debuts editorial features 7 great watches. “The Longines Legacy” is all about, uh, Longines. There’s the “Spirit of ’76” : an abbreviated Patek Nautilus story. In “Time Spies,” Omega celebrates 50 years of Bond films. We get a loving look at the Jack Heuer 80th Birthday Carrera Limited Edition. And, believe it or not, there’s more.
by John Weiss