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Forty And Fabulous: The Openworked Extra Thin Royal Oak Limited Edition
The word “iconic” gets tossed around a lot these days so it’s great to find a watch that really merits the epithet. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was, when it was introduced in 1972, a glove thrown down to the entire watch industry: stainless steel, finished as lavishly as if it were platinum, with a groundbreaking design that totally integrated the watch case and bracelet and a signature octagonal bezel modeled after a ship’s porthole. It was a bold but risky move. Four decades later, the Royal Oak is not only among the world’s most desired watches but also the most recognizable. In celebration of the Royal Oak’s anniversary, Audemars Piguet announced the creation of the Openworked Extra Thin Royal Oak Limited Edition. The case and bracelet are in platinum, inside an openworked version of the movement that powered the original Royal Oak, the calibre 2120 automatic. Dubbed the calibre 5122, the movement is a whisper thin 3.05mm and all decorations have been done by hand. Even the date disk has been fashioned from transparent sapphire, better to provide an unobstructed view of the movement. As a final touch, the 22 karat gold oscillating weight for the automatic winding mechanism bears the inscription, AP Royal Oak 1972- 2012. Only 40 Audemars Piguet Openworked Extra Thin Royal Oaks wil be made.
Long Now: Vacheron Constantin Debuts The Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon With Geneva Hallmark
The tourbillon is the most recognizable of all haute horlogerie complications. It has been the subject of almost unlimited experimentation, with ingenious variations so that the affluent collector might easily build a very wide collection of just variations on the basic theme. In this spirit, Vacheron Constantin has created the first tourbillon watch it has made in some time which features only a tourbillon –the whirlwind, the whole whirlwind, and nothin’ but the whirlwind. The Patrimony Traditionnelle 14- Day Tourbillon presents an exquisitely finished tourbillon carriage in the shape of the firm’s signature Maltese Cross through an opening in a dial uncluttered by any other indications except the power reserve indicator that balances it perfectly at 12:00. Despite the tonic simplicity of the watch, the movement does have another card up its sleeve –as the discreet lettering on the power reserve says, the tourbillon is backed up by a staggering 14-day power reserve–one of the longest in any tourbillon watch. The watch, as well as the movement, are the first produced by Vacheron Constantin which adhere to the new, updated requirements of the Geneva Seal, which now sets quality standards for both the movement and the entire watch. The Geneva Seal is awarded to watches which fulfill requirements and pass inspections mandated by the Geneva School of Watchmaking. With 336 hours of running time wound into its four mainsprings, the Patrimony Traditionelle 14-Day Tourbillon is not only a watch with a lot of power under the hood –it’s a powerhouse of horological heritage and excellence as well.
Second Coming: The A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Auf/Ab
When the original Datograph from Lange & Söhne debuted in 1999, it was hailed as a triumph –not only for its intrinsic qualities but also as a demonstration of the expertise in watchmaking in the German style. It’s no wonder Lange & Söhne undertook to update this iconic design 12 years later. Fortunately for original Datograph fans, the new Datograph Auf/Ab (referring to the new up/down power reserve indication) is not a gratuitously novel reinterpretation, but a well thought through tweaking of certain key aspects that leave its fundamental character intact while augmenting specific elements. The new version is slightly larger at 41mm and the Roman numerals used on the original have been eliminated, resulting in an overall cleaner dial. Another enhancement–a power reserve of 60 hours vs. the original’s 36 hours reserve, achieved through the use of a larger mainspring barrel, afforded by the updated calibre L951.6 movement. Still present is the instantaneously jumping minute counter, an elaborately constructed, jeweled complication that emphasizes the Germanic precision of Lange & Söhne’s watchmaking. The oscillating system, is manufactured entirely in-house. As a result, the balance dispenses with the poising screws found on the original and has in their place six eccentric weights which can be used to adjust the rate of the watch.
Cartier Grand Complication Skeleton Pocket Watch
Unveiled at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, Cartier presented a special timepiece inspired by the 1930s, the Cartier Grand Complication Skeleton Pocket Watch. The white gold pocket watch with white gold chain features a tourbillon, perpetual calendar and monopusher chronograph. The design boasts skeletonized Roman numerals and a mechanical hand-wind Calibre 9436 MC. The limited edition includes just ten pieces with an additional five diamond-set pieces. The watch comes displayed on a gorgeous obsidian and rock crystal stand. –Ashley Joy Parker