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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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"Minute Man" by David Colman for The New York Times

From this weekend's New York Times "T" Magazine;

MINUTE MAN
WHO HAS TIME FOR COMPLICATED WATCHES? NOT DAVID COLMAN.

It was one thing when the cellphone replaced the cigarette. But now killer apps have replaced killer abs, and the chicest parties throng with guys showing how they can make their iPhones look like Magic 8 Balls. It’s enough to make a man long for the days when all you heard from even the costliest accessory was the faint tick of a sleek watch.

But these days, the watch thing is also complicated — literally. Watches, like phones, are now viaducts of nonessential information. And the more complications (as extraneous indicators are called in the trade), the rarer and more expensive the timepiece. Moon phases, leap years, multiple time zones, multiple-dial chronographs, depth meters, power reserves. One very cool watch, Meccanico, by de Grisogono, looks like an old-fashioned L.C.D. but is in fact mechanical, made of fluorescent green pieces that move in and out of slots to create those squared-off numbers. In a similar vein, Audemars Piguet has recreated the old-school chronograph with its Royal Oak Carbon Concept. Tricked out with ceramic, titanium and carbon with a special ‘‘linear chronograph,’’ the little time machine looks like something James Bond would use to stop a ‘‘Quantum of Solace.’’ Or, at the very least, maybe it could tell him when to duck to avoid one. It also features the most sublime and silly complication of all: the tourbillon, which is so complicated, almost metacomplicated, that I can’t understand what it really is or does, and have given up trying. If someone who does understand tries to explain it to you, move away quickly or you and your watch can kiss a few hours goodbye.

de Grisogono Meccanico (prev feature->link)

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Carbon Concept
(previous feature->link)

I can tell you this: it was invented at the turn of the 19th century by Abraham-Louis Breguet, one of history’s great watchmakers. In an effort to minimize the effects of gravity and instability on the pocketwatch and keep time more accurately, he devised a rotating cage for the escapement (please don’t ask) and balance wheel (ditto).

No one seems positive, however, that gravity is that big a problem for today’s watches. Even so, the tourbillon remains the last word in superfluous virtuosity, and whatever it does and whether it really uperfluous virtuosity, and whatever it does and whether it really does it or not, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and all the other best names make them, and they all cost as much as taking out a hit on your boss. So choose wisely.

Just to give you the most for your money, watchmakers put extra ingenuity in showing tourbillons whirling and whooshing away. The young and ambitious watch house Greubel Forsey makes, among others, a remarkable Quadruple Tourbillon that resembles a modern version of the Antikythera Mechanism, the ancient clocklike device recovered more than a century ago from an ancient Mediterranean shipwreck. Using X-ray tomography that allows them to peer through the centuries of corrosion and buildup, scientists have discovered that the fabled, mysterious 2,100-year-old thingamajig was able to keep track of, for starters, the four-year cycle of the Olympic Games, the frequency of solar eclipses and the entire Metonic calendar year (which was more like two decades).

Greubel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon
(previous features->link)

Antikythera Mechanism
(previous feature->link)

So complications are nothing new. Lately, though, some watchmakers have forsaken the Old World charm of a 19th-century face for the midcentury masculinity that has made ‘‘Mad Men’’ such a hit. These include Vacheron Constantin’s fully customizable Quai de l’Ile (created by the same man who designed the Swiss bank notes), Girard- Perregaux’s Vintage 1945 Off-Center Hour, Patek Philippe’s newest version of its superthin Grand Complication and the one-handed watch by the ultrastylish Swiss watchmaker Jaquet Droz.

Vacheron Constantin Quai de l’Ile

Girard Perregaux 1945 Off-Center Hour & Minute

Jaquet Droz One-handed Numerus Clausus

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy understands the power of simplicity: the first lady of France made her flashy husband lose the chunky Rolex and gave him a simple, sleek Patek Philippe. It became an instant symbol of his newly understated presidential élan.

Then again, customizable watches like Vacheron Constantin’s choose-your-owncomplications beauty may soon be the 21st century’s most desirable status symbol. But if that’s the case, why can’t it be customized to indicate worthier complications? The size of my carbon footprint? My biceps? My bank balance? The sky-high number of my I.Q., or my discreetly low number of friends on Facebook? Or why not one that keeps track of my calorie intake, my stress level and my dry cleaning? You know, something more like a … wristwife.

But as any potential mate would soon discover, I also come fully loaded with complications.

Original article on The New York Times-->LINK

See also;
All Watch Complication Posts
All Tourbillon Posts


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Girard Perregaux 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon

Girard Perregaux 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon
Well, since the Opus 5 concept watch 'Time Bandit' was never made, I guess I'll have to settle for this Girard Perregaux '1945 Jackpot Tourbillon'. Just introduced this week at the Geneva SIHH show, this hautegadget has an actual miniaturized mechanical slot machine just above the hands and tourbillon. Each roller has five symbols , hearts, diamonds, spades, horseshoes, and three liberty bells for jackpot. When the arm on the side is pulled, the spin also activates a striking mechanism of chiming gongs - for those vintage casino sounds. While modern barreled watches like Jean Dunand's Shabaka and the vintage rollers of the Patek Cobra incorporate timekeeping to this inventive display, the GP Jackpot represents what one-armed-bandits do best, taking lots of your money.

Girard Perregaux 1945 Jackpot TourbillonThe specs;
• 18k pink gold case
• Dimensions: 43.00 x 43.95 mm
• Height: 17.30 mm
• Antireflective sapphire crystal
• See-through case back, fastened with 4 screws
• Water-resistant to 30 metres
• Movement GIRARD-PERREGAUX GPFAY08
• Jackpot Tourbillon under gold Bridge
• Mechanical with manual winding
• Calibre: 38.60 x 32.60 mm
• Frequency: 21,600 vibrations/hour (3 Hz)
• Power reserve: minimum 96 hours (4 days)
• Functions: hour, minute, small seconds on the Tourbillon
• Slot machine and striking mechanism
• Alligator straps with folding buckle

via Timezone

Related posts;
Time Bandit
Patek Philippe Cobra
Jaz Derby Swissonic
Jean Dunand Shabaka

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1970s Girard Perregaux Quartzwerk

1970s Girard Perregaux Quartzwerk1969, Swiss brand Girard Perregaux designed and produced a quartz movement with a frequency of 32,768 hertz, which became the universally accepted standard for all watches with quartz movements, including those made in Asia. This standard frequency was a veritable technical breakthrough.

The early 70s model shown here has a design mimicking the components of the quartz module with bright Tron-style colors for the circuits. Japanese brands like Seiko weren't the only ones nailing the coffins of the mechanical market, the Swiss helped pull the nails from inside the box and with great precision.


1970s Girard Perregaux Quartzwerk
1970s Girard Perregaux Quartzwerk

From the Beyer Collection
Girard Perregaux History



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"Minute Man" by David Colman for The New York TimesGirard Perregaux 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon1970s Girard Perregaux Quartzwerk

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