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THE WATCHISMO TIMES WATCH BLOG A reliquary of obscure timepieces from bygone eras as well as the cutting-edge watch designs of today.

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Skeletons in the Closet

Skeletons in the ClosetSkeleton watches seem to be everywhere lately, especially with the growing appreciation for highly complicated watches and the desire to see their mechanisms through the dial. Next week at the New York Antiquorum auction, there will be some very special skeletonized models available including the first five watches listed here. Above is the IWC Skeletal Minute Repeater. Click photos for close-ups.

Skeletons in the ClosetPatek Philippe Ellipse Squelette

Skeletons in the Closet Vacheron Constantin Squelette

Skeletons in the ClosetParmigiani Fleurier Bugatti

Skeletons in the ClosetJaeger LeCoultre Reverso Platinum #1

Skeletons in the ClosetAnother skeletonized Reverso

Skeletons in the ClosetAlain Silberstein Kronosaphir 97

Skeletons in the ClosetB.R.M. Bi-Rotor

Skeletons in the ClosetCorum Golden Bridge

Skeletons in the Closet
Skeletons in the ClosetEarly 1900 Zenith Silver Skeleton

Photos of Vacheron, Parmigiani & IWC by Mike Disher of TimeZone
Antiquorum 2007 Important Wristwatches, Pocket Watches & Clocks Auction-->Link


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Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin

Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin'L’Esprit des Cabinotiers' - The one-of-a-kind mystery clock that literally emerges from a hatching sphere - Created for the 250th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin.

The incubating clockwork consists of a golden sphere engraved by hand according to the sky chart drawn by Robert de Vaugondy (1723-1786), cartographer and geographer to Louis XV and creator of two large globes, one celestial and the other terrestrial. The sphere is composed of eight mechanical petals symbolizing the lotus flower, which may be progressively opened by means of an extremely sophisticated spring mechanism. The keys to the mystery and its revelation are known exclusively to the one owner of the object. The automata flower delicately reveals its heart, a timepiece endowed with a wide range of functions and complications (detailed below photos). Sold at auction for nearly $2,000,000.


Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin

Technical specifications

GLOBE

Materials: 18-carat 750 pink gold (5N)
Diameter: 220 mm
Form and construction: Globe divided into a fixed half-sphere and 8 petals opening by means of 16 connecting rods linked to the telescopic shaft (on tiny sapphire balls) carrying the timepiece, driven by the mechanical motor housed within the base.
Finishing: The outside of the globe is in natural polished gold and features a depiction of the position of the stars on September 17th 1755 (date of the first document mentioning the existence of the House of Vacheron), decorated with a hand engraving inspired by the work of Robert de Vaugondy. The inside, enhanced by slender polished gold ribs, is finely satin-brushed.

CLOCK

Materials: 18-carat 750 pink gold (5N), Corundum
Diameter and thickness: 145 mm, 70 mm
Shape and construction: A cylinder and 2 sapphire crystal domes connected by a frame in 5N pink gold. An openworked support links the clock to the telescopic shaft at the centre of the sphere. Two holes for winding and time-setting are drilled into the rear dome.
Glasses: Sapphire crystal, glareproofed on both faces.

DIALS

Dial material: 18-carat yellow gold
Material for appliques: 18-carat pink gold (5N)
Dial description: Silvered with special 250th anniversary hand-guilloch? motif, minute disc encircling the dial in silvered 18-carat gold with engraved indications. ?Grand feu? miniature enamelled 12-segment outer disc.

Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin

MOVEMENT

Indications & functions :
1. Hour on 12-hour display
2. Minutes
3. Deadbeat seconds
4. Hour on 24-hour display
5. Power reserve
6. Name of the day
7. Date of the day (perpetual)
8. Name of the month
9. Number of the year within the leap-year cycle
10. Equation of time
11. Age of the moon
12. Phases of the moon
13. Temperature
14. Astronomical calendar giving the position of the sun according to the Gregorian calendar. This mechanism was built on the basis of calculations by the mathematician Charles Etienne Louis CAMUS (1699-1768) and the watchmaking mechanical engineer Antide JANVIER (1751-1835).
15. Hours and quarters striking automatically in passing and on request, with the possibility of preventing the automatic striking.

Other technical characteristics:

Energy: Mechanical, twin-barrel, manual key winding
Regulating organs: Mono-metallic balance. Isochronous balance-spring ending in a Phillips curve, micrometric index (patented by Vacheron Constantin in 1884), Straight-line lever escapement with constant force system applied each second to the escape-wheel. This system precisely measures out the energy required for the regulator to perform 5 vibrations of an ideal and invariable amplitude.
Frequency: 18,000 vibrations per hour
Power reserve: Over seven days

Main dimensions:
Caging diameter: 125 mm
Total diameter: 129 mm
Total thickness: 41 mm


via The Purists --> Link
Quarter Millennieum of Vacheron Constantin auction --> Link

Related posts;
Christiaan van der Klauuw Astronomical Watches --> Link
Sethosphere Globe Clock --> Link


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Concept Turned Reality - Vulcania by HD3 Complication

Concept Turned Reality - Vulcania by HD3 Complication
A former concept watch called the Vulcania has become flesh and bone. Designed by Fabrice Gonet for the three year old brand HD3 Complication. A trio-collective started by Jorg Hysek where he, Gonet and Valerie Ursenbacher design watches from their wildest imaginations.

The Vulcania name derives from the Jules Verne Steampunk hero, Captain Nemo and the island which was his home port. Like many of his contemporaries, Gonet has deconstructed the watch with its functions in a deeply set three-dimensional display, separating each gauge as a tribute to vintage naval technology both fictional (Nautilus) and fact (Turn-of-the-century mechanical submarines). The hours are determined from the rotating wheel cylinders on the left, the minutes on a disc like a ship's Chadburn Telegraph, a sextant style power reserve indicator, porthole loupe date window, and highlighted by the tilted bi-axial tourbillon. All the watch functions can be seen through its front and rear sapphire glass panels, side-viewing porthole, and the back plate has an etched map with its coordinates engraved on it. The case is titanium and platinum.

I've been pacing like an expecting father for this baby to come out! So pass out the cigars to the lucky few - and by few, I mean only 11 Vulcania will be made. The coming out party will be in Geneva Switzerland at the SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) in April. The price? If you have to ask...

Down Periscope!

HD3 Complication --> Link

Concept Turned Reality - Vulcania by HD3 Complication
Concept Turned Reality - Vulcania by HD3 ComplicationClose-up of rear plate with map/coordinate engraving

Concept Turned Reality - Vulcania by HD3 Complication
Related stories;
Maximillan Busser Horological Machine #1
Vianney Halter's Antiqua & Trio & Cabestan
Jacob & Co. Quenttin
Jorg Hysek Raptor
Hautlence



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TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO WATCH HAS GONE BEFORE!

TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO WATCH HAS GONE BEFORE!
Great article by Nick Foulkes from FT about the current 'Garage Watchmakers' of todays exclusive independent boutique brands like MB&F, Urwerk, Richard Mille, Vianney Halter, Hautlence, FP Journe, HD3, and Greubel Forsey.

Article PDF-->Here


via Ian Skellern @ OurWorld

Vianney Halter's Steampunk Trio Grande Date

Vianney Halter's Steampunk Trio Grande Date
Damn, I love big boxy watches! Especially when they look like Victorian time machines.

Another one of my many spotlights of the living legend, Vianney Halter and an homage to his 'Trio Grande Date'. The third model of his 'Futur Anterieur' collection, a curved rectangular case of white gold with four riveted portholes for time, Petite Seconde hand, and Grande Date. All housing a specifically designed calibre VH205 40 jewel automatic movement. The balance wheel frequency is 28,800 oscillations per hour with a power reserve of 60 hours.

Like his Antiqua, it's a Steampunk relic of the future.


Photo credit to Horolographer, Harry SK Tan of WatchingHorology
His photomontage of the Trio Prototype seen here --> Link

Vianney Halter's Steampunk Trio Grande Date
Vianney Halter's Steampunk Trio Grande DateDetail from rose & yellow gold versions

Related Vianney Halter posts;
Antiqua --> Link
Cabestan --> Link
Goldpfeil --> Link
VH Website --> Link




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Top Secret Design Revealed! The Bell & Ross BR 01 Grand Complication

Top Secret Design Revealed! The Bell & Ross BR 01 Grand Complication
Only shown as a big question mark on the Bell & Ross homepage with a countdown for its Basel World unveiling. The new BR01 Grand Complication features a Tourbillon and what appears to be a 'Thrust' indicator? I can maybe assume this watch measures G-Forces (previously featured G-Force watch --> Link). Makes sense, the BR01 Instrument series are designed to look like aeronautical gauges anyway...

via Professional Watches

UPDATE: Thanks to Alex of QP Magazine for not only seeing the gauge says (oddly) 'Trust' rather than Thrust and both him and Stepan Sarpaneva for pointing out the likelihood of it being a Dynamographe-style Mainspring Torque Indicator as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon shown below;


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Advance look of the Richard Mille RM011 & RM016

Advance look of the Richard Mille RM011 & RM016
Not slated for public viewing until late March, here is a leaked peek of the Richard Mille RM011 Flyback Chronograph. Vaucher base with a Dubois Dépraz module, an "annual calendar-flyback-chrono" with an extra 60 minute countdown at nine o'clock. The month indicator is at 4 o'clock. The price will range between 50 to 60 thousand euros. (The lower end of their price range!)

Advance look of the Richard Mille RM011 & RM016
Click here for close-up of watch. As usual, great dimensional use of negative space

Via KronosBlog & ThePurists

Advance look of the Richard Mille RM011 & RM016And a preview of their new extra flat automatic 'RM016', an entirely new form from Richard Mille

Advance look of the Richard Mille RM011 & RM016

via Horomundi's Richard Mille Forum & ThePurists
Tech Spec PDF



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F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine Grand-Strike Clockwatch and Minute Repeater

This is a living breathing creature, not a wristwatch. At first glance, the F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine may not seem out of the ordinary -- except for the profound fact that it comes alive with movement and sound, a mechanical praying mantis striking chiming gongs instead of prey.


Requiring ten patents and six years of development, F.P. Journe explains, "The grand-strike clockwatch is the most complex of horological creations. The greatest difficulty in its construction is to achieve full clockwatch capability from the limited energy available in a wristwatch without compromising on the sound and reliability of the chime."


F.P. Journe is relatively new the independent watchmaking world but he's become an overnight success since the 1999 inception. Comparisons to masters like 19th century watchmaker/inventor Abraham Louis Breguet and
Antonio Stradivari (Stradivarius violins) are certainly piquing the interest of many. And within the insular & ravenous watch collecting world, there exist entire forums dedicated to his brand.

The Sonnerie is priced at 650,000 Swiss Francs with only four made per year (with a waiting list) but the rest of the Journe collection
starts at $19,400 USD.

MB&F : Maximilian Busser & Friends Horological Machine No.1


Even if the new company Max Büsser & Friends were a dangerous cult, I might likely find myself selling flowers and handing out booklets in the airport for them. In fact, I'm not even sure you can call it a company anyway, it's really more of a commune for wayward horological geniuses.

This, the first watch of the new brand, the 'HM1' or more specifically, Horological Machine #1' has popped the cherry of the traditional flat hands-on-dial timepiece by creating a multi-layered three-dimensional time machine. Timing has been deconstructed by separating the hours from minutes into two overlapping dials, much like a splitting egg. But Max's 'Friends' are close to splitting atoms with the level of technical intricacy. The dials feature transverse mounted floating sapphire subdials connected by a raised central flying central tourbillon and four massive mainspring barrels fueling a seven-day power reserve. The two beryllium gear trains run in parallel to reduce torque of each mainspring, improving synchronization between them. The entire watch caliber is built from scratch.

Only thirty HM1 will be built per year, limited to a total of 100 models ever made and prices exceeding $100,000 USD. According to Max himself, upcoming Horological Machines will pass the baton further with each lap. The next Machine is slated for an October release and be sure to check here for any advance looks!

Max Büsser, the man I believe is responsible for leading this new age of independent watchmaking - mostly due to his previous time-bending series of Opus watches for Harry Winston Rare Timepieces. Like Malcolm Mclaren, Max assembled the Sex Pistols of the watch world by matching some of the most unique talent to create timepieces unlike anything ever seen before. Pairing genius minds like F.P. Journe, Vianney Halter, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei who all inconceivably blend design and micro-engineering to radical works of horological art. The HM1 was conceptualized by Büsser, designed by Eric Giroud, a former architect, and built by movement engineers Laurent Besse and Peter Speake-Marin. The known and unknown talent will be assembled and rotated from machine to machine where everyone involved is given credit for their hand (or wrist) in the project.

Much like a rock star leaving a successful band in pursuit of a solo career, Büsser left the Opus project at it's peak to begin MBandF, the first cultish independent collective where he is the charismatic spiritual leader.

Front-view (via Revolution)
Sideview of raised sapphire subdial next to central tourbillon



The HM1 rotor - Inspired by the battle-axe of the Mecha character 'Goldorak UFO Grendizer', from the 1975 Japanese Manga Max loved as a kid.

Exploded view of the movement

Skeletons in the ClosetHatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron ConstantinConcept Turned Reality - Vulcania by HD3 ComplicationTO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO WATCH HAS GONE BEFORE!Vianney Halter's Steampunk Trio Grande DateTop Secret Design Revealed! The Bell & Ross BR 01 Grand ComplicationAdvance look of the Richard Mille RM011 & RM016F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine Grand-Strike Clockwatch and Minute RepeaterUrwerk Visit by RevolutionMB&F : Maximilian Busser & Friends Horological Machine No.1

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