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