Friday, December 19, 2008

$1 Million Hublot Black Caviar Bang

Hublot has once again gone and made all of the world economic struggles seem like horse-play. They have recently released their latest addition to the million-dollar watch club. The limited-edition Black Caviar Bang based on their hugely popular Big Bang model.

The Black Caviar Bang, as it is called due to the appearance of it's 18k white gold case holding precision-cut black diamonds. 322 of them to be exact, totaling 25 karats and mounted in a way that the setting is not visible.

The remainder of the watch’s total of 34.5 carats is made up of 179 diamonds on the bezel and another 30 on the clasp.

The watch uses the Hublot caliber HUB Solo T
tourbillon movement which can be seen through the exhibition space on the dial front. It has a power reserve of 120 hours which is kept track of by the meter on the dial; of course that is diamond encrusted, too.

So if you are asking for something special this year (and you have been very, very, good)
maybe Santa will choose you to be the lucky recipient of this magnificent one-off timepiece.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

BREAKING NEWS - Rolex CEO to Resign

Patrick Heiniger, CEO and Managing Director of Rolex, will be stepping down at the end of the year. Heiniger had no comment, but Rolex issued a statement stating his decision stemmed from a desire to pursue "personal activities". Heiniger has been the executive face of Rolex since 1992, when he succeeded his father Andre as Managing Director. Andre Heiniger, for his part, became Managing Director in 1960, the year that Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf died.

Operations at Rolex will continue under the aegis of the board of directors. According to Rolex, Patrick Heiniger will stay on with the company in an advisory role.

Rolex was founded in 1908. Among the achievements of Hans Wilsdorf was the establishment of a private trust operated by a board of directors to ensure long-term stability and growth for Rolex.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Made in Switzerland, I think...

If you own a fine luxury timepiece you have see it. The small writing on the bottom of the dial or back of the case that reads "SWISS MADE". For years those two words have been the benchmark for premium grade watches. We all know that the finest watchmakers are in Switzerland and that even the most simple of quartz movements assembled there are placed higher than their Chinese counterparts. Or so we thought....

As current laws currently read, at least 50% of the value of a watch movement must be manufactured in Switzerland for the product to qualify as Swiss-made. But a standard movement can and typically makes up only 15% to 25% of a watch's total value, this means less than 10% of the value of a watch qualifying as Swiss-made might have been added in Switzerland.

"Today, it's legal to sell a watch as Swiss-made simply by doing some extra work on a small component in Switzerland," said Nick Hayek, chief executive of Swatch Group, the world's largest watchmaker by sales. "It's like putting expensive Swiss seats in a generic car and then selling it as Swiss-made."

Hayek's Swatch Group along with Richemont and Rolex are leading the charge to make Swiss watches more, well...Swiss. They are proposing that 60% of a Swiss (quartz) and 80% of all Swiss (mechanical) watches be made in Switzerland to bear the luxury of the "Swiss Made" stamp. This will keep the stamp a symbol of quality for generations and gurantee watch buyers are buying what is being advertised to them.

The three are the largest part of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, a powerful industry association representing most of the country's manufacturers, which is lobbying the government for the change. But some other, smaller watchmakers don't share in the idea. They feel it is a ploy to drive them out of business or to force them to use outside manufacturing sources, such as those owned by the 'big three'.

I am a firm believer that if a product is stamped "Made in xxxx" then it should mean that it was made there not just that the Company is headquartered there. The laws that are currently in place for that sort of thing are allowing some of our finest luxury brands to become diluted and not so luxurious anymore. Cheers to those that are spearheading this initiative.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Antiquorum Luxury Timepiece Auction

"It's the most wonderful time of the year..." Yes folks, it is here. That time of year that we all wait for with baited breath. Grown men act like giddy school children and NYC is full of cheer. What is this exciting event...Antiquorum's NY Luxury Timepiece Auction.

Antiquorum Auctioneers is preparing for its largest annual US auction that will be held on December 10th and 11th at its offices on Madison Avenue in New York City. Over 500 lots will be offered in the sale of important watches, and other horological gems with a significant number to be sold at no reserve.

This year some of the most important and collectible timepieces are going to be offered to the attendees. Spectacular watches like the first-ever produced Patek Phillippe Referece 5020 and the Franck Muller Caliber 97"Grande et Petite Sonnerie. These two items alone, are estimated to bring in just shy of $600,000. USD, collectivley.

With the economy crisis at hand, some believed that this would be a watered down version of the event. Collectors feel differently and are expected to attend with open wallets. "This is a tremendous opportunity for watch aficionados to bid on a remarkable collection of both modern and vintage watches..." said Robert Maron, Chairman, Antiquorum."As demonstrated by the success of our recent sales, fine watches continue to have significant growth potential." And with over 500 lots being auctioned off, it looks like it will bring some of the highest totals ever.

The online catalog for this auction is generally posted a few weeks before the event to start the preview process. Take some time to peruse through this, you will see some of the most important pieces of modern watchmaking with descriptions and their healthy sale estimates. New and returning clients may register for online bidding at that time. For those collectors, who are simply interested in following the auction as it progresses, a live internet broadcast will take place on, for which no registration is required. Sale results for the traditional auction will be posted online after the sale.

If you are going, please feel free to bring me back something. Hell, I would even take a print version of the catalog just to get close to some ofthese pieces.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Our Economy and Luxury Items

We hear about it every day, more and more. Wall St. is creating more horror stories than Steven King, these days. This bank is failing, that corporation is filing for bankruptcy, everyone has their hand out for some financial help...and let's not even talk about the Market. It is economic chaos. So where does that leave the luxury watch market?

According to Bertram Kalisher, executive director of the American Watch Guild:
"Regardless of the economy, the world demand for handmade watches remain strong. There is no inventory. The new wealthy - individuals coming to the US from Russia, the Middle East and China - are ramping up demand, while supply cannot keep up because certain luxury goods, like expensive watches cannot be mass produced and there is a world shortage of watchmakers."

The American Watch Guild is an association of watch retailers, manufacturers and designers. They promote products by brands like Cartier, Breguet and Patek Phillipe prices ranging from $10,000 to $400,000.

Some areas of the luxury market are seeing the same sales levels as 2007 with the help of Europeans and other foreign buyers leveraging the weak US dollar. The watch has always been a sign of wealth. With this economy, one has to remember that if someone is losing money, someone else is making it, Those "new" high-net worth individuals are purchasing luxury branded goods at a rapid clip to showcase their wealth.

It may seem that with these economic times everyone is hurting, (and most are), but the luxury watch market is doing pretty well.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Lord Vader - Your Watch is Ready.

If Darth Vader had to wear a watch, what would it be? I would guess that it would have to be large, to fit over those huge mitts of his. It would have to stand up to a lot of abuse (duh!) and ultimately it would have to be black. Not just a few black accents but all black. (He is a Sith Lord, you know) With all the selections out there right now, Young Anakin would be have quite the selection to choose from.

Hublot Big Bang Black Magic - The Hublot Big Bang ‘Black Magic’ makes a dark yet bold statement with its 44.5 mm diameter black ceramic case, alternating between polished and brushed finishes. The bezel, also in black ceramic, carries 6 ‘H’-shaped screws. Looking at it from the side, you will see it's Kevlar insert, which makes it look as if the rubber bracelet passes directly through the body of the watch. $12,500

Panerai Radiomir 292 - The Panerai Radimoir Black Seal Ceramic 292 is not only one of the most coveted in the Panerai catalog but also one of the darkest. It was introduced at SIHH 2007. The striking Radiomir 45mm ceramic case and its patented wire strap lugs create a sporty look with it's black calf skin strap. The minimalist dial and it's luminescent numerals and indicies sit on a dark black background with "maille" sub accent above the '6'. Panerai produced 1000 of these watches and of course all of them sold out immediately. $8000. - $20,000.

Audemars Piguet "End of Days" - The Audemars Piguet End of Days is a limited edition version of the Royal Oak Offshore, made to order for Arnold Schwartzeneger for the movie of the same name. It's 44mm PVD case and distinct yellow hands and military strap, the End of Days (or EOD) is quite celebrated and can be found selling for over $40,000 for good examples.The flat screws on the bezel keep in tune to the Royal Oak heritage. The EOD's subdials sit on a waffle face. They will help you keep time to the second. (good for keeping track of those pesky Rebels) They were limited to 500 units and as you can imagine are as scarce as hen's teeth. $18,000 - $60,000.

There are many more out there that would fit as Darths's daily wearer. Some of them might even be readily available for us - lesser than evils.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Time for a Drive - When Automakers and Watchmakers Unite

For the most part, men that are car guys have similar interests outside of rare autos. Some like collecting wines from around the world. Some like to smoke the finest cigars that have ever left Havana. And some, love to tell time with watches that rival the prices of their precious cars. Fine cars and watches have always shared similar bonds. They feature precision components, perfectly tuned power plants, functional bodywork, and a very enthusiastic group of followers. Is it really any wonder that there are so many watch/auto brand cross overs? From Tag Heuer to IWC and Jaeger LeCoultre. It seems there are more and more every year.

Panerai and it's relationship with Ferrari is, in my opinion, the premiere example of such a partnership. The two just seem to click with one another. Maybe its the "Italian Heritage" of both brands that makes them feel like long lost cousins. There are reasons the two have such simpatico.

From the start, Panerai did not want to just make a watch and have Ferrari slap its logo on it.
The watches were thus designed with The Italian automaker's engine and body in mind, creating something reminiscent of the car at large. The timepieces from the Ferrari collection are based on the blend of unique characteristics of both Italian brands that share the same core values - Italian tradition, quality, and one-of-a-kind design.

They designed new watches from scratch. Angelo Bonati, CEO of Panerai worked with Jean Todt, chairman of Ferrari, and the Ferrari team asking them to approve their work or share their ideas as for what could be improved. The watches keep the lines of classic Panerai watches while carrying styling cues straight from the Ferrari car line. Creating "one brand" was the goal.

That being said, the Ferrari watch collection, like their cars, have a soul. You should get the same feeling of strapping one of these watches on as you would turning the key and pushing the 'Start' button on a brand new 430 Scuderia.

Forza Italia!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brand Review - Jaquet Droz

Pierre Jaquet Droz (1721-1790), creator of watches, clocks and automatons (automated miniatures based off complicated movements). He built some of the most beautiful watch mechanisms of his time. His work was commissioned by the wealthiest of his time including Queen Marie Antoinette. Some consider his works as the first computer. He was also the first watchmaker to establish an organized watch manufacturing factory in Geneva, Switzerland.

Today, through the use of exotic materials such as ceramic, gold, and handmade enamels, those complications are still being interpeted today along with some of the most beautiful case and dial designs. From the Grande Seconde with it's highly reliable self-winding double-barrel mechanical movement.and large second hand sub-dial. To the Les Deux Fuseaux 18k WG w/ multi-function Aventurine dial - a limited edition of 8 pieces.

Of course, the cost of these works of art does not come cheap. Jaquet Droz timepieces start at around $12,000.USD and sky rocket from there. They are one of, if not the most luxurious collection in the Swiss based - SwatchGroup which purchased Droz in 2004. There are no celebrities that endorse the brand. They don't offer up scantily clad supermodels in glamorous full color ads (unfortunately for us). They simply rely on what got them to where they are today - fine craftsmanship, superior materials, and premiere design.

With only a few dozen authorized Jaquet Droz dealers in the World, you may be hard pressed to ever see one in person. If you get the chance, take the time to immerse yourself in what may be the most beautifuly constructed timepiece, ever.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Time TV - Now This is "Must See TV"!!

So you find yourself with a few extra minutes at the end of the day. What should you do? Watch the ending of the game? Start a new chapter in the book you're reading? Or maybe, watch some great videos about some of the most luxurious watch brands in the World on, well you know what I would do. is the first themed channel for Watchmaking enthusiasts and professionals. New products, interviews, events, insights - TheTimeTV covers the latest Watchmaking industry news through exclusive reports and interviews. offers broadband videos that focus on luxury watchmakers, products and events. It is quickly becoming one of the leading websites in terms of exposure for the industry. Most recently, they have partnered with, the luxe timepiece information portal. Videos can be found on both sites.

One can find great information on a number of different brands both widely commercial (ie; Ebel) to the relativley unknown (ie: Villemont) from the watchmakers themselves. Interviews with industry CEOs and Presidents as well as footage from the World's most exclusive events are right there at the click of a mouse.

So if you are not sure what to do with those precious few extra moments that you have, spend them at, I am sure you find "The Time" to come back for more. (Oh, that was so bad it was good!!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Omega Speedmaster Missions Watch Set - Earth to Omega...I want one of these!!

Back in the '60's and early '70's there was a race to Space in more ways than one. While the US and the Soviets raced one another to get into space, watchmakers Omega and Bulova were racing to be the first timepieces in space.

While Bulova had the edge by providing all of the on-board clocks for NASA craft no one had ever put a wristwatch on an astronaut...until Omega created the Speedmaster Professional Chronograph or "Moon Watch" and NASA strapped it on the wrist of the pilots of the 1965 Gemini V mission.

The Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph has to be one special watch to take the rigors of zero-gravity and space travel. With its Lemania hand wound movement and sturdy case it made for the perfect companion for all manned space missions. Pictures of it being worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 lunar landing got it dubbed the "Moon Watch.

For the 40th Anniversary of the Omega Speedmaster Professional, Omega offered a collection of 22 Speedmaster watches presented in a case fitted with genuine cloth from a spacesuit. Each watch in the collection is adorned with a different NASA mission patch on it's dial at the 9 o'clock position: starting with the 1965 Gemini V to the 1973 Skylab SL-4. It also contains a replica of the original 1957 Speedmaster.
These sets are commanding some serious money at auctions such as Antiquorum's recent Omegamania where one set sold for a whopping $368,900. If you are lucky, you can occasionally find one popping up on Ebay every now and then like this example .

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

IWC Big Pilot - A Classic Timepiece...Over and Out!!

In 2002, IWC (International Watch Co. released, what I feel is one of their best pieces in their 150 yr. history. The Big Pilot.It is unquestionably manufactured as a homage piece to it’s Pilot’s watches of the past, and most obviously, the famous B-Uhr.

The Big Pilot has become synonymous with aviation and is a true pilot's watch. It's origins were forged in the demanding theater of Word War II air warfare but these days the Big Pilot is worn by aviators throughout the world as well as celebrities such as John Mayer and comedian Artie Lange.

IWC has a history of great movement manufacturing and the engine powering the Big Pilot continues on that same course. The original caliber 5011 movement with 7 day power reserve and date display has been updated recently to the 21,600 vph 51110 movement. This movement is the largest automatic movement in production, and is also used in several other lines including the Portuguese range.

The movement was extended to include a date display at "6 o'clock" with quick change capability. The sub-dial on the right hand side of the dial has increments from 1-7 to determine how much power reserve the automatic movement has left.

In 2006, IWC replaced the 5002 Big Pilot with the 5004 Big Pilot. The changes are more cosmetic than mechanical. They include updating the dial to fit better with the newer pilot lines IWC carries and changing out the buffalo strap to a cleaner black leather model.

(L)IWC Big Pilot 5002 (R) IWC Big Pilot 5004

IWC has also started making different versions of the Big Pilot. The newest additions are the ‘Father and Son’ models and the limited edition Big Pilot Perpetual Calendars in titanium and platinum, built in limited editions for IWCs best Authorized Dealers.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What are you wearing for work?

I would say that my morning routine is pretty much the same as everyone else. I slowly pry my eyes open and rub out the tiredness. Then I grab a cup of coffee and some toast.Trudge my way into the shower, brush my teeth and then select my shirt and tie combo. Finally, I match up a perfect timepiece. What...that doesn't sound like your morning? OK...maybe you prefer a bagel.

I think that for all of us WIS (Watch Idiot Savant's) selecting the perfect watch is just as important to us as the right pair of shoes and bag for a woman. I know that with today's slim fitting styles of suits for men making fashion headlines, wearing a bulky watch can be a bit overkill and slimmer watches are usually associated with Wall Street types. The truth behind it all is...wear what makes you feel happiest.

If you are happy with that circa 1975 Omega Moonwatch with your pinstripes or your brand spanking new Patek Philippe Calatrava with your Casual Friday khakis...go for it! I have the ability to choose from 3-4 different pieces every morning (more if I invaded my friends jewelry store the day before) and I never like to wear the same thing two days in a row. It makes me feel bad for the ones I left behind.

So strap one on, it doesn't matter which and head out for work tomorrow knowing that you made the right decision.

Now where's that cream cheese...??

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Size Matters!!

Bigger is Better! Size Matters!

We hear it all the time, don't we? The girls on Sex and the City talked about it and now, I am!! I'm just going to go in a different direction with it.

Take a trip through your local watch store. Be it a Tourneau, Wempe, or your local Saks and check out the size of watches lately. At one time Rolex was thought to demand a pretty large parcel of wrist real estate. Now, the venerable brand is miniscule compared to whats in the marketplace.

Take Panerai for instance. The uniquely militant Italian brand that is taking the luxury watch world by storm. Sure they have a few 40mm options (avg. size Rolex is 38mm) for the ladies in your life - but the majority of the collection is a stout and proud 44mm wide, and that is not including the oversized crown guard.

Breitling is another. You can see in the picture above that my Breitling Super Ocean Steelfish takes up my entire wrist from top to bottom. The watch is actually so heavy, that I had to use a Breitling sport rubber strap in place of the standard metal bracelet to shave off some oz's. Thats 43mm of steel from left to right.

There are several out there that push the envelope of size. Bell & Ross has a 42 and 46mm instrument that wears even larger because of its square shape. IWC lives and plays in the 42mm arena. But the biggest and baddest of them all. The John Holmes of luxury timepieces would have to be the U-Boat Flightdeck. 55mm of pure Italian badass. Stallone and Arnold have been seen rockin' these around town. They even look too large for them. Just to give you an idea of how large 55mm really is...the average computer mouse is 54mm wide. Yeah, I know...huge, right?

So the next time you are out and about and you overhear some ladies at the bar talking about "wider is better", they just might be talking about what's on your wrist.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rolex Submariner - The Grande Dame of Dive Watches

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner, first introduced to the public in 1954, is a line of watches manufactured by Rolex specifically for diving and the harsh environments that surround the activity.

With it's unmistakable "Mercedes" hands and classic style, it is no wonder that this watch was the original choice for James Bond and has shown up in 11 Bond films before Omega stepped in.

Available in stainless steel, two-tone stainless and 18k, or solid 18k gold, the Rolex Submariner has been a benchmark of success for the Rolex Watch Co. It has hardly changed since it's release in the mid-fifties. Minimal dial and case changes have come about through-out the years. All rolex Submariners come with the patented "Triplock" system identified by three dots on the crown which screws down tightly onto the case tube and against the Oyster case providing an extra layer of water protection. Like a true dive watch should, it has a uni-directional bezel to prevent accidental bezel movement under water so the wearer does not spend too much time down there.

In 2003 Rolex celebrated the Submariners 50th anniversary by releasing a special edition model with a tell-tale green bezel and maxi-dial (enlarged indicies).

Because of the popularity of the Submariner, it has become one of the most replicated designs in watch history. Not only do other brands want to cash in on the Submariner's form but Chinese factories pump out hundreds of thousands of fake Rolex Subs every year.

Retailing starting at well over $6000. dollars, the pre-owned market for the Sub has stayed as one of the hottest, ever. Ebay is flooded with them (careful of the fakes) and you can't run a Google search for one without coming up with at least 3-4 for sale.

If you are in the market for a new sport watch, take some time to view and try on the Rolex Submariner. You might just get yourself hooked!

Got the Time??

OK, I admit it. I love luxury watches. I don't care if it's a stainless Rolex Explorer or an 18k IWC Portuguese...I love them all.

Some people love collecting art, some collect cars, me - I think that a fine timepiece is much more complex. And because you wear it and are one with it, it becomes much more special than any other luxury item you can own.

I am going to try and make you fall in love with each and every piece I show you on this blog, just like I have. if you have any comments, or would like me to review a particular brand just let me know. You can reach me at and of course you can follow me at

Thanks and welcome to Time to Tock