B&W Nautilus

2006-01-22

The world’s best loudspeaker manufacturers and designers are held to be British. The highly respected KEF, Quad, Tannoy and of course B&W come to mind –but some just come right out and say it: B&W’s Nautilus 800 series the world’s most beautiful as well as the world’s best loudspeakers.


Roger Dubuis

2006-01-21

Hommage, H43 2610 0 N94.1 by Roger Dubois (Swiss, Founded 1995)

Approximate Cost: 164 997.00 GBP

The HommageRoger Dubuis’s laboriously numbered Hommage watch has a 43 mm, 18K white gold case, a ‘mother of pearl’ dial, white gold and blue steel hands, applied and painted numbers, and is fully mechanical and manually wound.

The Hommage’s complications include bi-retrograde perpetual day and date calendar, week, month, leap year and moon phase indication, and minute repeater with hours and minutes struck by gongs.

In a limited edition of a nine pieces, each with its own hand-sewn crocodile strap with 18K white gold buckle.


Patek Philippe

2006-01-19

Ten Day Tourbillon by Patek Philippe (Swiss, Founded 1839).

Approximate Cost: 135 643.00GBP

PatekFully mechanical and manually wound, this Grand Complication boasts a sophisticated tourbillon movement and generous ten-day power reserve indicator, tricky complications to pull off together.

A small second hand gives you something to watch on the commuter train. A rectangular platinum case with a 32 mm movement diameter surrounds a rose gold dial. Water resistant down to 25 metres.

  • In 1999 the most expensive watch ever sold was a 1933 gold Patek Phillipe with 24 complications.

It was auctioned off at Sotheby’s for 11 million USD (over 6.2 million GBP)


Parmigiani

2006-01-17

Parmigiani Bugatti Type 370 by Parmigiani Fleurier (Swiss, Founded 1996).
Approximate Cost:113 052.00 GBP

Parmigiani Bugatti Type 370After 20 years experience of restoration and creation, Michel Parmigiani set up a Complete Manufacturing enterprise in Switzerland with the assistance of The Sandoz Family Foundation, and has produced some remarkable timepieces in the past ten years.

Inspired by the classic motor car company, the Pamigiani Bugatti Type 370 is a sports car for the wrist that turns time telling on its side with the first-ever transversal movement.

Resembling an engine block, the watch’s movement is divided into five separate plates, with hours and minutes appearing on its side and push-button crowns for setting and winding on the back.

A patented power reserve ensures 10 days of walking around time, while the eight-part case includes six sapphire crystals which reveal automotive-inspired components including double-rim shaped wheels. Tailor-made Hermès straps are suited to the wearer, and purchasers can count on being invited to Fleurier for a factory tour with Michel Parmigiani. Limited to 150 pieces — 50 each of red, silver and black dials, and only 50 individual pieces per year for the next three years.


Girard-Perregaux

2006-01-16

Magistral Tourbillon by Girard-Perregaux (Swiss, Founded 1791).
Approximate Cost: 158 315.00 GBP.

Girard-PerregauxPart of the Haute Horlogerie collection, the Magistral Tourbillon is hand-wound. The see-through, 36-by-37 mm case reveals the beauty of Girard-Perregaux’s tourbillon movement and is water resistant down to 30 metres. On the dial reside two seashell-shaped indicators, one for the instantaneous calendar and the other for 110 hours of power reserve. Missing are: 2, 4, 8, and 10 o’clock!

Perhaps Girard-Perregaux became widely known due to a co-branding partnership agreement with Ferrari, the Italian motor car company, between 1994 and 2004. This has been replaced by the yachting sector with the BMW-Oracle Racing collection.

Girard-Perregaux Tourbillons are known for having three gold bridges and no other watch manufactured during our times goes back as far: the first tourbillon with three gold bridges dates from 1889.

They do a popular Art Deco style ‘Vintage 45’, Tonneau and the famous Opera 1, Opera 2 and Opera 3s.

Now part of SoWind Group that includes Jean Richard and EMG.


IWC

2006-01-15

Grande Complication by IWC (International Watch Company) (Swiss, Founded 1868).
Approximate Cost: 101 740.00 GBP to 158 315.00 GBP.

IWCThe IWC brand is perhaps most popularly linked with Mercedes-AMG motor cars.
But the watchmakers from Schaffhausen are also pretty famous for their Pilot’s Watches and Diver’s Watches too.

Their Grande Complication has 659 mechanical parts, it is self-winding and features 17 functions all together, including chronograph, minute repeater, perpetual calendar, perpetual moon phase with a disc of burnished gold, small seconds with stop function, and four-digit year display.

The 101 740.00 GBP to 158 315.00 GBP price range is because of the case — which comes in platinum or yellow gold — and the strap — with alligator at the low end and a pure platinum bracelet at the high end.


Chopard

2006-01-15

Super Ice Cube by Chopard (Swiss, Founded 1860).
Approximate Cost: 639 320.00 GBP

Ice CubeChopards originated in Switzerland, but were branded L.U.C. until Karl Scheufele (a jeweller) bought the company when it was under Paul Andre Chopard in 1963. Since then the products have been a mix of jewellery and watches. They have been favoured by courting the famous, with collections named as follows: Jose Carreras Foundation, Prince Charles Foundation and the Elton John Foundation.

The Super Ice Cube is just one of over 50 variations on the ‘Ice Cube,’ and has 66.16 carats of diamonds altogether, including 1 897 brilliants, 288 trapeze-cuts, and a centre case set with 16 squares.


Blancpain

2006-01-12

Blancpain 1735 by Blancpain (Swiss, Founded 1735).
Approximate Cost:56 480.00 GBP

BlancpainBlancpain really started making a world-class name for itself in the 1950s when it’s ‘Fifty Fathoms’ was selected by several armies (among others: USA, French, German and Italian). In 1956 Blancpain launched the Ladybird model, the smallest automatic movement in the world.
Now owned by the Swatch Group.

The company came to the forefront of watchmaking expertise in the 1980s. In 1983, a world first: the smallest movement indicating moon phase, day, month and date. 1988, the smallest minute repeater wristwatch. In 1989 the company achieved two world firsts: the world’s slimmest chronograph and the first self-winding split-seconds chronograph in the history of watchmaking.

Another world première, in 1990, Blancpain unveiled the first and only self-winding Tourbillon watch with date and one-week power reserve.

In 1998 the company launched the Sea – Earth – Sky trilogy including the Fifty Fathoms, the GMT and the Air Command.

The ultra-slim, Villeret, self-winding (ref. 4053-1540-55) was recognised ‘Watch of the Year’ by the Swiss public in 2002.

The company has created the world’s most complicated watch, and in recent years has won prestigious awards such as Watch of the year, the ladies watch prize of Geneva’’ first Watchmaking Grand Prix in 2001, the ladies watch prize of La Revue des Montres in 2002, and the Luxus prize of the Chrono Awards.

Named for the year Jehan-Jacques Blancpain opened his first factory, the shimmering 1735 complete with a crocodile strap and 80-hour power reserve boasts a half-dozen complications — two more than necessary to qualify as a ‘grand complication’.

Within the ultra-slim, 42 mm platinum case –the 1735 has a perpetual calendar, split-second chronograph, minute repeater, tourbillon and moon phase minder. It takes eight-to-ten months to piece together all 740 components, and only 18 out of a limited run of 30 watches have been assembled to date.


Audemars Piguet

2006-01-11

Minute Repeater with Tourbillon by Audemars Piguet (Swiss, Founded 1875).

Approximate Cost: 168 000.00 GBP

Audemars PiguetComplicated, mechanical and hand-wound, this Minute Repeater with Tourbillon from the Jules Audemars line has an 18K white gold case studded with 168 diamonds — 1.31 carats altogether.

The silvered dial is set with 104 diamonds and offers a tantalizing glimpse at the tourbillon movement. Pretty as the front is, there’s no less of a show behind the scenes where a sapphire skeleton back lets you examine the ever-whirring ingenuity inside. A beautiful timepiece, made even more so by its classy black alligator strap.

Since 1875, in the village of Le Brassus at the heart of the Vallée de Joux in the Swiss Jura region, Audemars Piguet has been creating and marketing under its own name a range of Haute Horlogerie watches, particularly complex models.

Representing a rarity in the sector, the company is the world’s oldest Factory still in the hands of the founding families. The great-grandchildren of the two founders, Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward-Auguste Piguet, ensure the continuity and in Le Brassus, workshops dating back to 1875 house the Audemars Piguet Museum.

The resulting wrist- and pocket- watches are limited edition, expensive, hand crafted and extremely exclusive. The website has downloadable videos about the company’s grand complications and innovations.


EB Veyron 16.4

2006-01-10

Some years after the founder’s death, the Bugatti brand was all-but-dead in Milan. It was however, revived, and car production resumed — in France. The parent company is German: Volkswagen. The car is therefore thoroughly European in nature and culture.


The original idea was to make a production car that generated over a thousand horsepower… something of a holy grail for the motor car industry, and a design feat that many considered impossible. Read the rest of this entry »