Emile Eveno Unveiled

I will never forget when I was in the room of the Ulysse Nardin factory in Le Locle, Switzerland where the highly complicated watches are made.  Hard at work were two older men with gray hair wearing lab coats.  They held miniscule tools in their hands and had loupes attached to their eyes.  Next to them was a girl who looked to be no older than 25 years old.

As we walked away from watching them work, a guy in the group I was with asked how the younger girl was qualified to work on such highly complicated pieces; it was fairly evident that she did not have as many years of watchmaking experience as the two other people in the room.  The response we got was, “That girl just has it.”

Apparently the girl was so talented and well known throughout the industry that other brands had approached her and tried to get her to come work for them.  Just like with anything else, practice helps and is needed when it comes to watchmaking, however, some people are simply blessed with a greater skill set than others.  That was the case with this girl from Ulysse Nardin.  It was just natural for her to manufacture highly complicated minute repeaters.

I was reminded of this girl from Ulysse Nardin when I came across an interview of a young female watchmaker, named Emilie Eveno, who works for Agenhor.  The art of watchmaking is truly amazing and sometimes underappreciated.  I always find it interesting to hear about how watchmakers get into their work and what they think of it.

Emile compares a movement mechanism to a lung, as it can function by itself for a long, extended period of time.  Like the girl from Ulysse Nardin, Emile is most fascinated by minute repeaters, as the complication requires an inordinate amount of skill.  I found the interview quite interesting and recommend you give it a read here.

US Watch Consumption

Consumer spending has seen some dramatic changes since 2007.  The stock market crash and monster recession of 2008 hit us hard and forced all of us to reevaluate where we should be spending our income.  An article I just read comparing Department of Commerce statistics from consumer spending in the first quarter of 2007 and the same period in 2011 showed some pretty interesting results.

There are several industries that have been hit the hardest over the four-year span.  Postal and delivery services have been down a whopping 28 percent, while pleasure boats, tobacco and new cars have been down 12 percent, 16 percent and 12 percent respectively.

Cell-Phone services have seen the greatest increase in consumer spending at 31 percent, while foreign travel to the US is up 17 percent (I am sure the recent weakness in the dollar has something to do with this stat).  Up 13 percent?  You know it…watches!  I loved seeing that.  Even during the toughest of times, the watch industry has held strong.  Statistics continually show that the cell-phone generation truly does have an unparalleled appreciation for watches.

Images from Time Magazine

Permanent Bling

There are some watches that I am absolutely in love with, but almost certainly will never be able to own because of the price tag.  I am sure most watch enthusiasts are in the same boat.  If I could afford a Patek Philippe 5970P, I would buy that bad boy and never take it off my wrist.  There are several other pieces I feel the same way about.

One thing I never considered doing was getting a tattoo of one of my grail watches on my wrist since I am unable to afford it.  Apparently somebody else did, however, and opted to have a diamond bezel, diamond hourmarker, pink dial Rolex tattooed to his wrist!!!

I am somewhat at a loss for words on this one and the idea of getting a watch tattooed to my wrist.  It had to have been a bet gone terribly wrong, correct?  Maybe the guy just could not afford a Rolex President and figured this was a way to have one that would never come off his wrist! If only it could tell time…

Dirty Money Watch Auction

There is an extremely intriguing IRS auction taking place in Florida tomorrow involving a huge watch connoisseur’s collection.  Interesting enough, the collector is none other than ponzi scheme villain Scott Rothstein.  Rothstein now faces 100 years in prison for his wrongful, selfish acts that cost people millions upon millions.

Although Rothstein was clearly an unethical, greedy man, he did sometimes showcase good taste in watches.  The timepieces up for sale include models from Pierre Kunz, Panerai, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Gerald Genta, Daniel Roth, BRM, Franck Muller and more.  While some of the watches are definitely out there, others are truly gorgeous and incredibly well-made.

Since I have preached that watches are very sentimental and carry a lot more value than just something that tells time, I have to wonder whether I would want a Scott Rothstein watch.  How far would you go to get the watch of your dreams?  If you believe in karma and are particular about the history of a timepiece, would you feel weird wearing your grail watch if it was originally owned by Rothstein?


If you look at the history of the hope diamond, some people thought it was so cursed that Harry Winston eventually just gave it away it to the Smithsonian.  It was apparently stolen from an idol in India and sold to earn money for gambling debts.  Some thought the stone would bring bad luck and death to anyone who even touched it!

It is one thing to purchase a watch where the history is unclear and unproven, but wearing a watch that has caused so much suffering to people could make you feel a little queasy. Rothstein’s last auction involving all of his high-end cars generated $5.8 million, so I will acknowledge that I may be looking a little too far into this.  There is no doubt in my mind that all of his watches will bring a hefty penny, and I am looking forward to seeing the results.  I do think, however, that the watches offered are at least somewhat dirty.

The Cell Phone Generation

There was an awesome article in The New York Times this week about watches being rediscovered by the cell phone generation.  If you have yet to see it, I definitely recommend you check it out:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/07/fashion/watches-are-rediscovered-by-the-cellphone-generation.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1&hpw

In today’s world, watches certainly are not necessary to find out what time it is.  There seem to be cell phones and apple products everywhere you look.  I wrote a blog a while back about when a couple buddies and I went out to brunch, someone asked what time it was and two of us reached for our cell phones.  We all had nice watches on at the time…

Once cell phones became prevalent in our society, many people thought watches would become obsolete.  After all, they are no longer as necessary.  But in the end, is the time what watches are all about?

Musician John Mayer is a huge watch collector, and in addition to having a great last name, he has an awesome outlook on watches.  He was once quoted as saying, “A man’s got two shots for jewelry: a wedding ring and a watch. The watch is a lot easier to get on and off than a wedding ring.”

There are not many way for a man to express himself in a material sense.  The best quote in the NY Times article is Mr. Thoreson’s about how a watch is “an understated statement about your station in life, your taste level.”  Watches are not just timepieces, and clearly that message is being accepted by the cell phone generation.

All About the Families – GIVEAWAY!

I am told by Breitling officials that the brand is no longer going to reference their watches as part of the various families.  In the past, Breitlng has labeled all of the models in their extensive line as part of a subset of watches.  For instance, the Montbrillant Datora was part of the Navitimer line, while the Airwolf Raven was part of the Professional series.

Next week I am going to give a run down of each family.  There are five families, so I think it would be fitting to analyze one family a day every day next week.  I will say which watch is my favorite and why from each group, and then leave a poll to see which model is the favorite of my readers.

A lot of people have asked me to analyze each family since the Breitling line can be somewhat overwhelming.  They make so many different models!  Hopefully it will help and let people see what others Breitling enthusiasts like the most.

If you vote every day next week, you will be entered into the running for another free giveaway.  This time around, it will be a Breitling utility knife and a Breitling lighter case.  They are both sweet!  The more people that vote, the better the results will be.  So be on the lookout next week!  It should not take much time for a chance to win some cool new Breitling toys.

On another note, has anyone listened to the Breitling radio on their website?  I have been listening to it this morning for the first time and I kind of dig it.  It is tough to describe.  I would say it is an assortment of upbeat, somewhat trancy songs that put you in a good mood and that you can listen to while working.  Is Breitling trying to create a lifestyle with this station?  Do most Breitling owners like it?

New Purchase

The NCAA Division I basketball tournament is officially here!  The combination of March Madness and my recent purchase has me pretty pumped up at the moment.  Some of you know that I have been eyeing the Bell & Ross Vintage 126 Heritage for a while now.  Well, I finally decided to pull the trigger!

Although the watch does not have the signature Bell & Ross square case, the Vintage 126 Heritage does fall in line with the brand’s normal dial display resembling a pilot’s dashboard.  It is extremely clean and very legible.  I really like how Arabic numerals are used to indicate 12 and 6 o’clock, while stick markers are used for the rest of the hours.  The off-center date in between 4 and 5 o’clock is a great touch too.


I have never had a black PVD watch before and have always wanted one.  It is a great change of pace and really pops.  The black dial, PVD case and sand-color photoluminescent numbers/indices compliment each other very well.  I also love how the hour hands are black at the bottom and photoluminescent at the tip.

What I am going to enjoy watching over time is how the camel color strap breaks in.  I think it is extremely similar to a baseball glove and should wear and look better with age.  I know some people are not a fan, but I definitely am!  What makes watches so great is that there are so many, and one size clearly does not fit all.  I think this one, just like my Superocean II, is the right fit for me and I am stoked about it!

Charlie Sheen UPDATE

We have all heard about Charlie Sheen’s antics, but unless you are one of his 1,568,874 twitter followers, you may not have seen this photo.  Here he is rocking a vintage Patek Philippe and Babe Ruth’s 1927 World Series ring.  At least the guy has got good taste in watches, right? Read more about Charlie Sheen here and here.

Check back later today for a preview of one of Breitling’s upcoming releases at this year’s Baselworld Fair.

Understated

I took a trip down to Florida this past weekend and got a chance to catch some much-needed rays.  When I left the sunshine state, it was eighty degrees and sunny.  When I landed back in Philly, it was snowing…  It has been quite the winter up north.

In addition to enjoying some sun in Florida, I also got a chance to see one of the most blinged-out Breitlings I think anyone will ever see.  The owner was a really cool guy and let me check it out once I complimented him on it.  His limited edition yellow gold Flying B was fully encrusted with diamonds, and when I say fully encrusted, I mean fully encrusted…  This thing was iced out to the max!

Breitling really does make a watch for everyone.  Some people have told me that because the line is so extensive, it is confusing for them to figure out which one is the right one.  I plan on writing a blog in the near future about which Breitling model I would recommend for whatever timepiece configuration someone is looking for.  Hopefully it will help.

I have been rocking what I consider to be a somewhat understated sports watch with the Abyss Black Superocean II.  It was pretty hilarious looking at it next to the diamond dial, diamond bezel, diamond bracelet yellow gold Flying B.  Which do you think is more understated?

Hanhart!

Typically when someone speaks of a German-made timepiece, I think of a classy dress watch by Glashutte Original or A. Lange & Sohne.  Both brands are very well respected in the watch industry and are clearly on the up and up.  Just several years ago, Glashutte became a true in-house manufacturer, meaning they produce all of the movements for their watches themselves.  Meanwhile, the finishing on A. Lange & Sohne timepieces may be the single best in the world.

Currently, a different German watch brand, known as Hanhart, is trying to put its name on the map.  Even though Hanhart has been around since 1882, I had not heard of the brand until a short while ago.  The company was founded in Switzerland, but moved to Germany shortly thereafter.

Their watches are awesome!  The main theme behind them is aviation.  Since 1939, all Hanhart chronographs have had a red start/stop button to help prevent pilots from unintentionally resetting the stopwatch function.  Powered by a modified Swiss Valjoux 7750 movement, Hanhart watches feature an exhibition caseback and are 44mm in size.  They are produced in DLC coated stainless steel as well as 18kt gold on either a leather or rubber strap with a deployment buckle.

Hanhart - caseback

Check these bad boys out!  I am a fan.  Are you?