Watches, Stories, & Gear: Breaking Down Sartory Billard’s New Movement, Tracking the Northern Lights, and Unboxing the Apple Vision Pro

“Watches, Stories, and Gear” is a roundup of our favorite content, watch or otherwise, from around the internet. Here, we support other creators, explore interesting content that inspires us, and put a spotlight on causes we believe in. Oh, and any gear we happen to be digging on this week. We love gear.

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Sartory Billard’s SB08 Movement Gets Broken Down at Revolution 

Our friends at Revolution have what is easily the most interesting technical watchmaking article we’ve seen in quite some time this week. In part 2 of their examination of Sartory Billard’s SB08 caliber, Cheryl Chia takes a deep dive into the ongoing work in developing this complicated, unique, and frankly quite exciting movement that features jumping hours and jumping minutes and a tourbillon. Part 1 of the three-part series was published in October, and serves as a higher level overview of the idea behind the SB08, and a little background on the Sartory Billard brand, while this latest article digs a bit more into the weeds of the mechanics, and some of the inherent challenges in developing a movement that requires so much power. We don’t often get a view into movement design in what amounts to real time, so this is a must read for anyone with an interest in the highly complicated mechanical calibers. Chia takes us through some fairly complex watchmaking problem solving, and provides a taste of what finished watches might look like. Given that Sartory Billard specializes in completely bespoke designs, you’d be right to assume that some of the ideas being dreamt up are incredibly cool.

The Apple Vision Pro, Unboxed


This was a big week if you’re into tech, as reviews have started to pour in for the Apple Vision Pro, easily one of the most hotly anticipated and discussed products the company has released in years. The “spatial computing” headset promises a very different kind of productivity, and asks consumers to reimagine what it means to use a computer in the first place. But before you strap this thing to your skull, you’ve got to unbox it, and that’s exactly what Marques Brownlee does in this video. There’s something satisfying about seeing a product like this unveiled in this way, even if you don’t plan to buy one, and as usual it looks like Apple has done a thoughtful job with their presentation of their new device.

The Apple Vision Pro, Reviewed 

And if you’re looking for a more critical appraisal of how the Apple Vision Pro actually works, we liked this review from the Wall Street Journal, which sees Joanna Stern donning the headset during a weekend retreat, attempting to do all of the things she’d normally do without removing it. The verdict? Cooking with the Apple Vision Pro is a potential game changer. Skiing? Maybe not.

Where to See the Northern Lights this Year 

You may have heard that this year is expected to be one of the best in recent memory to view the natural phenomenon known as Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights. The lights that you can sometimes see from certain parts of the planet are essentially solar storms, which occur cyclically and are expected to peak this year during what’s known as the “solar maximum,” the end of an eleven year solar cycle. There’s an entire tourism industry built around seeing the Northern Lights, and this recent piece in Outside Online goes through a handful of options of where aurora-chasers might have some luck in spotting them this year.

The Recent UFO Craze

In this long piece in New York magazine, writer Nicholson Baker investigates a curious recent phenomenon: smart people insisting that aliens have visited us. Public hearings on Capitol Hill about UFO sightings and demands for the declassification of records pertaining to these sightings have led to what amounts to a tacit acceptance of the existence of extraterrestrial life (in the sci-fi movie sense) in a way that evidence simply does not support. Baker’s piece isn’t just an affirmation for skeptics, but features a lot of solid reporting on where all these UFO claims come from, and is worth a read if you want to move past the headline ready soundbites. 

TASCHEN Books on Sale

TASCHEN, the publisher of many luxuriously extravagant coffee table books on a huge range of subjects, is having a sale on display copies of some of their most popular items. Many of their titles carry a high retail price, so the opportunity to pick up some of these books at a steep discount should be welcome for collectors. Items in the sale include books on Leonardo da Vinci, the NASA archives, and Charlie Chaplin. Act fast, as the sale is scheduled to end tomorrow, February 4.

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