This Week in Watches – March 8, 2019
Welcome to This Week in Watches for March 8, 2019 and guess what? We have a new website!
With that kind of news, who needs more? Well, here at Fratello we aim to please, so we have a few stories for you and, once again, we’ll throw in a couple non-watch related topics that may be of interest. It’s This Week in Watches!
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon
We start things off with a bang this week – a 70,500 Euro bang(!) – with the new JLC Master Ultra Thin Tourbillon. Personally, I’ve always loved the Master Collection as I find them to be simply beautiful and mechanically admirable. While I’m not a huge tourbillon fan, I understand the fascination and this one is about as understated as it gets short of obscuring the movement entirely. This one comes in at 40mm and is cased in rose gold. The in-house 987G works away within a watch that’s a scant 11.3mm thick. Head to JLC’s official site for more details.
H.Moser Endeavour Centre Seconds Diamond Purity
I always enjoy a lovely dial from H.Moser and here’s another! Today, we have a 38mm steel case featuring a bezel with 60 diamonds surrounding a Blue Lagoon dial. The watch is powered by the in-house HMC Cal. 200 automatic. The watch will come on a hand-stitched grey alligator strap with pin buckle. It’s hard not to simply let the picture do the talking here – Moser does make a lovely looking watch. Head here for more information.
So here’s a brand I don’t know much about, but RJ and G2 happened to visit them and they came away impressed with the brand’s attention to details. With the 39 x 46.7mm V1+CTi, it seems difficult not to be intrigued by the fascinating case. Vault claims to be the first watch brand to use a case made of a unique composite of titanium and carbon. The layers making up the case are hand laid and then placed under enormous pressure (think sintering) in order to bond the materials. 32 hours of machining later, we have the finished case.
All told, Vault tells us that 158 days are needed from start to finish to craft one of these technical tour de force’s (not sure that would pass a grammatical test!). Inside, we have the V01 automatic made by Uhrteil AG. For sure, there’s a bit of a heavy metal/steampunk look, but it’s hard not to be impressed from a materials standpoint. We don’t have word on the pricing, but assume you’ll need to actually visit your bank versus a trip to the local Geldautomat. More information can be found on Vault’s official site.
Mido Baroncelli Midnight Blue
Mido has dropped a new midnight blue dial color for its Baroncelli line and it’s available for both its men’s and women’s watches. In rose gold PVD-coated steel or stainless, these are competitive pieces starting at 700 Euros ($870USD in the US) for the 38mm men’s automatics and heading up to a reasonable 910 Euros for the ladies model with featuring 12 diamonds on the dial. The rose gold PVD version will retail in the US for $1140USD. The gent’s version has the Caliber 80 movement (base ETA C07.611) that has an appropriate 80 hours of power reserve. The ladies model has an ETA 2671 movement with date. Mido has the midnight blue watches on their site.
The FHH Joins the Chronometry Competition in Le Locle
I hadn’t realized that the town of Le Locle, Switzerland and its museum had kicked off the Chronometry Compeition back in 2009. In what sounds like the timing competitions of old, the town has engaged METAS and the COSC to help set standards and determine the winners. Now, the Haute-Horlogerie Fondation (FHH) will lend its support as well. The deadline for entering this year’s competition is March 31, 2019, so bring your “A game”, closet watchmakers! Ah, but wait, this is for the Swiss only, which is a bit of a bummer. You can find more on the competition here. Our header photo is courtesy of patriceschreyer.com.
Breguet Marine 5527 Chrono
Breguet has a new release in the Marine 5527 Chrono. At 42.3mm in diameter, the watch will come in white gold (seen above), rose gold (with guilloche dial), and titanium with slate grey dial – that sounds like the watch for me. Either leather or rubber will keep this luxurious chronograph attached to your wrist. Inside, we have the in-house automatic, 28 jewel 582QA chronograph movement. No word on pricing or timing yet and the models haven’t yet hit the official site.
TAG Heuer Will Celebrate the Monaco
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the 50th anniversary of the Chronomatic movement and it seems that TAG Heuer will jump in on the fun with several new Monaco models to celebrate its 50th birthday. The brand announced a couple things. First, it would hold events in Asia, the USA, and Europe throughout 2019 and that a new special edition Monaco would be released at each event. They included some key timeline points in the Monaco’s history as well, so perhaps we’ll get something exciting. Also of note is a forthcoming book called Paradoxical Superstar about the history of the Monaco that will be available beginning in May on the brand’s site and at boutiques. Let’s see what comes, but I am hoping for some round pushers on that old square case!
The Brady Heywood Podcast on Apollo 13
So, firstly, I’ll give Jason Heaton credit for recommending the Apollo 13 episodes on the Brady Heywood Podcast. This is one compelling listen! If you don’t know who Brady Heywood is, a quick search will point you towards a namesake engineering firm in Brisbane, Australia of all places. Apparently, Mr. (it might be Dr.) Heywood has a real passion for forensic engineering and failure mechanisms, so he created a podcast to explain some of history’s greatest technical downfalls. I took a look through the library and the 20 or so episodes prior to his recent 5-part series last 20-30 minutes maximum. When you get into the Apollo 13 parts, though, they’re 45+ minutes each, so he put some serious time into these. Upon hitting play, you’re met with what sounds to me like an Irish accent and that’s a bit different for a story that’s always been told with an American tinge (I watched Apollo 13 last night for the first time and this podcast is better, trust me) – but it’s great! Heywood somehow explains some highly technical features of the spacecraft and what happened to those of us laymen. He adds just the right amount of emotion to the narrative that makes the whole thing very listenable. It’s yet another reminder that the power of something so simple like radio can be quite profound. This was a great 1 week of driving my normally boring autobahn route. Head here to download or just look it up in the iTunes store.
I know that commercial planes of today are far more advanced than those of 40-50 years ago, but they still largely look the same.
The Concorde’s Maiden Flight Turns 50
I must apologize because I had it in my head last week to mention that the Concorde Supersonic Jet took its maiden flight 50 years ago on March 2, 1969. I still recall touching down at Chuck De Gaulle Airport from Detroit in a 747 and when we finally had reached the gate, I looked to my left out the window. Directly next to me were two Air France Concordes flanked by another 747 from the airline. The planes had just completed their final flights the day before on May 31, 2003. I felt lucky to see them, but it was a sad moment. I mean honestly, I know that commercial planes of today are far more advanced than those of 40-50 years ago, but they still largely look the same. The Concorde was different and still looks amazing every time I see the one parked at the end of the runway at Heathrow. Aside from having toured the one parked at the Technik Museum in Sinsheim, Germany (a must do!), I never was able to fly in one. There are stories of colleagues who got to do it because of a last-minute business emergency, but it was certainly rare air. I did some searching on the web and I came across a really candid story of one person’s flight experience on the Concorde and it’s a great little read. Check it out…and let’s hope that supersonic flight really does return one day.
Enjoy your weekend and thanks for checking out This Week in Watches – see you next week!