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.