New releases – Lang & Heyne Friedrich II Remontoir

This timepiece celebrates the 9-year partnership between the German brand and The Lavish Attic. It features a two-part enamel dial made of enamel block, and a manual-wind movement (Caliber VI-I) equipped with the ‘Remontoir’ constant force mechanism that keeps the amplitude of the balance wheel constant throughout the day. The movement plate, gear bridge, lever bridge and balance cock are manufactured of medium-hard titanium of purity grade 2. The 39.2 mm case is available in stainless steel, rose gold, white gold, and platinum.



Vintage boxes - Pulsar (early 1970s)


ENGLISH (il testo italiano è in fondo alla pagina) 
As the first solid state wristwatch, the Time Computer by Pulsar was a comparatively expensive product whose accompanying items were equal to its prestige.

The artificial leather and plastic box came in a cardboard case that also contained the user’s manual, an extra timeset bar in addition to that stored in the bracelet clasp, and the certificate of guarantee.

Do you like vintage boxes? Do you wish to know more about the Time Computer? Then The Museum Collection is a must-read for you. My book about 100 milestones of 20th Century watchmaking features 4 pages about the first LED watch in the main section and a wide selection of presentation boxes in the Appendixes. Watch the video clip about the publication and download a 20-page preview.
The vintage boxes presented in this Blog are not featured in The Museum Collection.

In quanto primo orologio senza parti meccaniche in movimento, il Time Computer di Pulsar era un prodotto relativamente costoso, presentato in modo tale da sottolinearne il prestigio. Il cofanetto di finta pelle e plastica si trovava all’interno di una scatola di cartone che conteneva anche le istruzioni per l’uso, una barretta di ricambio per la messa all’ora (in aggiunta a quella alloggiata nel fermaglio del cinturino) e il certificato di garanzia.
Ti piacciono le scatole d'epoca? Vuoi saperne di più sul Time Computer? Allora The Museum Collection è la lettura che fa per te. Il mio libro su 100 icone dell’orologeria del Novecento contiene 4 pagine sul primo orologio LED nella sezione principale e un’ampia selezione di scatole vintage nelle Appendici. Guarda il video sull'opera e scarica l'anteprima di 20 pagine del Volume 1.
Le scatole vintage presentate in questo Blog non appaiono in The Museum Collection.



Vintage movements - FHF (1960s)

ENGLISH (il testo italiano è in fondo alla pagina) 
Having been founded in 1793, the Fabrique d’Horlogerie de Fontainemelon (FHF) was the world’s oldest raw movement (ébauches) manufacturer. In 1926, it was a founding member of the Ebauches SA holding, along with two companies from Grenchen: AS (A. Schild) and A. Michel. In 1950, no less than 65 manufacturers – among which ETA – had joined the group.

This transparent plastics display dating back to the early 1960s was meant for FHF agents who travelled to meet customers, namely the purchasing managers of watchmaking concerns, and show them the latest products. The selection seen here features four round movements of identical size.

The self-winding Caliber 65 “Fontomatic”, introduced in 1959, was the most distinctive and innovative FHF product of the time, as it used a rotor running on a circular toothed arc at the movement’s edge rather than the usual central rotor mounted on an arbor. A few years later, this design inspired the creation of ultra-thin automatic movements by Jaeger-LeCoultre and Patek Philippe.           

Fondata nel 1793, la Fabrique d’Horlogerie de Fontainemelon (FHF) era il più antico costruttore di movimenti grezzi (ébauches) nel mondo. Nel 1926, fu tra i fondatori della holding Ebauches SA insieme con due ditte di Grenchen: A. Schild (AS) e A. Michel. Nel 1950, del gruppo facevano parte ben 65 società, fra le quali ETA.

Questo espositore di plastica trasparente dei primi Anni 60 era destinato agli agenti di FHF che viaggiavano per incontrare i clienti, in particolare i responsabili acquisti delle Case orologiere, e mostrare loro le ultime novità. Nella gamma presentata qui appaiono quattro movimenti rotondi di misura identica.

Il Calibro 65 automatico “Fontomatic”, creato nel 1959, era il prodotto più inconfondibile e innovativo offerto dalla Casa in quel periodo. Lo caratterizzava l’impiego di un rotore montato su cuscinetti a sfera che oscillava sopra un arco dentato circolare posizionato nel perimetro del movimento, al posto del classico rotore centrale montato su un albero. Alcuni anni più tardi, questa soluzione ispirò la creazione dei movimenti automatici ultrapiatti Jaeger-LeCoultre e Patek Philippe.


New releases – Régulateur Louis Erard x Label Noir

This timepiece was born from the meeting between the Louise Erard brand and the Geneva-based atelier Label Noir, specialising in customisation. The latter redesigned the regulator in its own way of reading the time: first the hour, then the minute, then the seconds. This order led to graduated finishes, from true matte to a glossy sheen. The 42 mm sandblasted steel case with black PVD coating houses the self-winding caliber Sellita SW266-1 (38-hour power reserve). Limited edition of 178 pieces, retail price CHF 3,500.


The story behind the watch - A food revolution


“Some old watches come with engraved dedications on their cases. It is occasionally possible to find out interesting stories and personalities behind these few words and digits …” 
Pittsburgh, late 1910s: an American food industrialist strapped a new Patek Philippe watch on his wrist. It had his name engraved on its back. A name that would become famous thanks to an invention that changed the way of cooking cakes.

Un orologio Una storia - Rivoluzione in cucina

“Sulle casse di alcuni orologi d’epoca sono incise delle dediche. A volte dietro quelle poche parole e cifre si scoprono personaggi e storie interessanti …” 
Pittsburgh, fine degli Anni 1910: un industriale americano dell'alimentazione si allaccia al polso un Patek Philippe che porta il suo nome inciso sul retro. Un nome destinato a diventare celebre in tutto il Paese, grazie all'invenzione che cambierà il modo di preparare i dolci casalinghi.


New releases - Claude Meylan Pink Tortue


The bridges and mainplates of the fully skeletonized Caliber 165 CM14 are adorned with rose gold and illuminate the flames of the first Swiss flag. The 316L steel case is 40mm wide at the belly. The strap is available in a choice of alligator style scales or technological satin.





“Some old watches come with engraved dedications on their cases. It is occasionally possible to find out interesting stories and personalities behind these few words and digits …”

The new mini-documentary series starts January 5. Stay tuned!



“Sulle casse di alcuni orologi d’epoca sono incise delle dediche. A volte dietro quelle poche parole e cifre si scoprono personaggi e storie interessanti …”   
La nuova serie di mini-documentari comincia il 5 gennaio. Rimanete connessi!



Novità - Nazareno Rossetti Fomalhaut

Il primo modello della neonata collezione Nazareno Rossetti fonde il design italiano con la tecnologia Swiss Made. La cassa d'acciaio da 44 mm è impermeabile a 10 atmosfere e ospita il Calibro P224, movimento automatico Peseux personalizzato per la Casa, con autonomia di 41 ore. Quattro viti fissano la lunetta alla carrure. Sul quadrante effetto opaco a doppio strato con indici e logo luminescenti sul livello inferiore ruotano lancette di disegno esclusivo. Il cinturino di pelle a concia vegetale artigianale è Made in Italy.



The magic of cloisonné enamel

The latest Christie's auction in Geneva featured a rare 18kt rose gold Patek Philippe timepiece with cloisonné enamel dial. In the 1940s and 50s, the Geneva watchmaker made a very small number of "time only" wristwatches where detailed and artistic cloisonné enamel dials were fitted.
Enamel is a soft glass comprising of silica, red lead and soda. Elements added to the mix bring about a change in color – chromium creates green, iron turns it grey, the presence of iodine turns it red. When fired in an oven at 800-1200°C, enamel liquefies and bonds to the metal base and cools to become a hard-wearing material that retains its shines and color over centuries. The cloisonné technique requires the artisan to create compartments or housings by hand-folding a 0.07 mm wide gold wire (no thicker than human hair) - pliers are used to tease out various shapes on the base plate. These compartments are filled in with enamel and fired in a kiln.
The present dial was crafted to special order in 1950, and was, most likely, originally delivered to France, to be housed in a French-manufactured case. After World War II, this was quite common practice in alignment with the post-war economic effort. Importing foreign jewellery was prohibited in France, so many Swiss makers had their cases made in France, often after their own Swiss model. Patek Philippe worked closely with French firms such as Guillermin, providing dials and movements under the agreement that Patek Philippe standards would be upheld.
Price realized: $ 252,000


Memories from Dachau

ENGLISH (il testo italiano è in fondo alla pagina)
Part of the interest of old watches frequently lies in the memories they bring with them. In this case, everything is about memory. The two timepieces featured in this post are on display at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. Opened in 1933, only a few months after Adolf Hitler took power, Dachau was the first Nazi Germany’s concentration camp. At first it housed political prisoners and later on evolved into a death camp where tens of thousands of Jews, physically and mentally handicapped, homosexuals died from malnutrition, disease and overwork, or were executed.
I took these pictures in the “shunt room”, the place were new inmates were ordered to strip down and hand over their clothing and personal effects. Some of these objects were retrieved and are now on display.

The wristwatch belonged to Albert Frohn, a German driver and mechanic who was arrested for unknown reasons in 1944 and sent to Dachau. He survived the ordeal and was liberated as the American troops entered the camp on April 29, 1945.

The pocket watch belonged to Nikolai Owsjanikov, a Soviet railroad worker who was deported to Germany to perform slave labor. He spent a month in Dachau before being transferred to a nearby subcamp, where preparatory excavation works of a railway tunnel were underway. His fate is unknown.
I must confess that I know nothing about these two watches’ manufacturers and technical features. In fact, these were the last things on my mind while I stood in front of the glass showcase.

Una parte del fascino degli orologi d’epoca risiede spesso nel ricordi che essi portano con sé. In questo caso, la memoria è tutto. I due segnatempo illustrati in questo post sono esposti presso il Sito della Memoria nel Campo di Concentramento di Dachau. Inaugurato nel 1933, a pochi mesi dall’ascesa di Adolf Hitler al potere, Dachau fu il primo Campo di Concentramento della Germania nazista. In un primo tempo ospitava solo prigionieri politici; poi diventò un campo di sterminio nel quale decine di migliaia di ebrei, disabili fisici e mentali, omosessuali morirono di fame, malattie e sfinimento o furono giustiziati.
Ho scattato queste foto nel “locale di smistamento”, dove i nuovi arrivati erano costretti a spogliarsi e consegnare gli abiti insieme con gli effetti personali. Alcuni di questi oggetti sono stati recuperati e ora fanno parte della mostra.
L’orologio da polso apparteneva ad Albert Frohn, un autista e meccanico tedesco arrestato per ragioni sconosciute nel 1944 e inviato a Dachau. Riuscì a sopravvivere e ritrovò la libertà quando le truppe americane entrarono nel campo il 29 aprile del 1945. L’orologio da tasca era di Nikolai Owsjanikov, un operaio sovietico delle ferrovie deportato in Germania per lavorare. Trascorse un mese a Dachau prima di essere trasferito in un campo vicino, dove erano in corso gli scavi di un tunnel ferroviario. Il suo destino è sconosciuto.
Devo confessare che non so nulla dei fabbricanti e della caratteristiche tecniche dei due orologi. A dire la verità, era a tutt’altro che pensavo mentre mi trovavo davanti alla vetrina.


Jacob & Co. – Epic X

Introduced in the spring of 2022, the second generation of Epic X features a 44-mm steel case, X-shaped lugs and a vertically aligned skeleton movement with Clou de Paris-adorned bridges. A full rose gold version is also being released. They exhibit a new set of crown guards, a new lug design and introduce green, blue or black aluminum components.



La statua e l'orologio

Tra i passeggeri in attesa del tram presso una fermata del centro di Ginevra c’è questo signore elegante e silenzioso, che tollera con pazienza gli eventuali ritardi e l’oltraggio dei vandali che gli imbrattano il bavero della giacca. Ha nervi d’acciaio, anzi di bronzo come tutto il resto: il cappello, gli occhiali, la giacca, la cravatta, i pantaloni, le scarpe…

... e l'orologio. Pensavo si trattasse di qualcosa di generico, mentre mi avvicinavo per guardare meglio. Invece avevo sottovalutato lo scultore e la sua attenzione per il dettaglio. L'orologio è il riconoscibilissimo Royal Oak di Audemars Piguet. Inaudito: una creatura della Vallée de Joux celebrata a casa di Patek Philippe, Rolex e Vacheron Constantin!
Scherzi a parte, la statua - una delle tre esposte presso la fermata di Plainpalais, tutte create da Gérald Ducimitière e inaugurate nel 1982 - ritrae un personaggio reale quanto l'orologio che evidentemente amava indossare: André L'Huillier, importante collezionista ginevrino e mecenate d'artisti, scomparso nel 1998.



“Some old watches come with engraved dedications on their cases. It is occasionally possible to find out interesting stories and personalities behind these few words and digits …” 
The new mini-documentary series starts January 5. Stay tuned!



Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève – The prize list

The GPHG Academy - regrouping 650 key figures in the profession worldwide - and the 2022 Jury chaired by Nick Foulkes attributed 21 prizes including the “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix “best-in-show” distinction, which was awarded to MB&F for the Legacy Machine Sequential Evo watch.
Akrivia, Bulgari, Grand Seiko, Ferdinand Berthoud, Grönefeld, H. Moser & Cie, Hermès, Krayon, M.A.D. Editions, Parmigiani Fleurier, Sylvain Pinaud, TAG Heuer, Trilobe, Tudor, Van Cleef & Arpels and Voutilainen brands were also honored with one of the awards.
The 90 nominated timepieces, including the winners, are on display at the Musée Rath in Geneva until 20 November 2022. The 2022 winners will also be presented in New York from December 1 to 4.

Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix: MB&F, Legacy Machine Sequential Evo
Ladies’ Watch Prize: Parmigiani Fleurier, Tonda PF Automatic
Ladies’ Complication Watch Prize: Hermès, Arceau Le temps voyageur
Men’s Watch Prize: Akrivia, Chronomètre Contemporain II
Men’s Complication Watch Prize: Hermès, Arceau Le temps voyageur
Iconic Watch Prize: TAG Heuer, Monaco X Gulf   
Tourbillon Watch Prize: H. Moser & Cie, Pioneer Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton
Calendar and Astronomy Watch Prize: Krayon, Anywhere
Mechanical Exception Watch Prize: Ferdinand Berthoud, FB 2RSM.2-1

Chronograph Watch Prize: Grönefeld, 1941 Grönograaf Tantalum
Diver’s Watch Prize: Tudor, Pelagos FXD
Jewellery Watch Prize: Bulgari, Serpenti Misteriosi High Jewellery
Artistic Crafts Watch Prize: Voutilainen, Ji-Ku
“Petite Aiguille” Prize: Trilobe, Nuit Fantastique Dune Edition
Challenge Watch Prize: M.A.D. Editions, M.A.D.1 Red
Mechanical Clock Prize: Van Cleef & Arpels, Fontaine Aux Oiseaux automaton
Innovation Prize: Van Cleef & Arpels, Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier watch
Audacity Prize: Bulgari, Octo Finissimo Ultra 10th Anniversary
Chronometry Prize: Grand Seiko, Kodo Constant-force Tourbillon
“Horological Revelation” Prize: Sylvain Pinaud, Origine
Special Jury Prize: François Junod, automaton-maker and sculptor



New releases - Krayon Anywhere

The brand’s second creation indicates the length of the day and the time at which the sun rises and sets. Dedicated hands, placed in the centre of the dial, display the hours and minutes. A small sun circulates in perpetual motion upon an annular zone, indicating the time over 24 hours. The annular zone has two sectors: day (sky blue) and night (dark blue). The respective lengths constantly change, indicating by their position the sunrise and sunset times that can be read from the fixed indicator ring. A 39 mm pink or white gold case houses the 5 mm thick in-house movement. 
Nota per i lettori di lingua italiana: il Giornale degli Orologi ha pubblicato un articolo di Marco Strazzi su questo modello. Clicca qui per leggerlo.


Classic timepieces - Roamer Calendar (ca. 1950)

The latest mini-documentary from 10e10.ch's YouTube channel: a 100 percent in-house made watch of the early 1950s - complicated but reasonably priced. Enjoy!


Orologi vintage - Roamer Calendar (circa 1950)

Il nuovo mini-documentario dal Canale YouTube di 10e10.ch: un modello di manifattura dei primi Anni 50, complicato ma economico. Buona visione!



Timepieces at auction

The catalog of Christie’s 7 November Geneva auction includes a few timepieces that are remarkable for different reasons.

The Swiss mountain guide, chemist and oxygen specialist Jürg Marmet wore this Rolex Ref. 6298 on his successful ascent of the Mount Everest on 23 May 1956. He was only the third human ever to reach the world’s highest peak. Part of the route that the Swiss team chose to climb Everest enabled them to simultaneously conquer the world’s fourth-highest mountain, Lhotse, for the first time. 

The engraving on the case back refers to the 1953 expedition to Baffin Island (Canada). Estimate: CHF 20’000-40’000

This is the Number 1 Ref. 5402SA, the stainless steel and gold ‘Jumbo’ Royal Oak made from 1977 to 1985 in a total of 951 examples. Estimate: CHF 200’000-400’000.

This timepiece belongs to the Cartier ‘Paris Crash’ series released in 1991 as a tribute to the model produced by the brand’s London branch in the late 1960s. Jean-Jacques Cartier and the designer Rupert Emmerson were behind the creation of the original Crash. Estimate: CHF 120’000-180’000.

Only three examples of the Rolex Cosmograph Ref. 6263 'Paul Newman Lemon Dial' are known to exist. This is the oldest one, dating back to 1969, meaning that it predated some of the latest examples of the earlier 'pump pusher' Refs 6262 and 6264. Estimate: CHF 3,000,000-5,000,000.

Reference 1518 is the earliest Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch serially produced and the first produced by any manufacturer, ever. This one is the only known example double-signed and certified by Cartier. Estimate: CHF 1,500,000-2,500,000.