This Week in Watches – May 4, 2019
Hola, watch fans! It’s time for This Week in Watches for May 4, 2019!
This week was fairly eventful, but we’ve already covered some new releases in normal articles (such as the Rado Golden Horse and the Mido Multifort Patrimony) as we felt they were significant enough to give you more detail. But, this episode of This Week in Watches packs some really good stuff. Granted, some might require raiding your pension fund or your kids’ university fund, but debt is good for everyone, right? Before we begin, I always like to start with some sort of anecdote. When I talk new watches with my Dad, he always makes comments like, “wow, that’s a lot of money” or “who buys these things” or, my all-time favorite – the combo of “there are a lot of watches out there, who buys these things!” Well, if you really think about it, there are a lot of watches out there and it gets a bit overwhelming trying to think about who might just go home with that oddball (insert brand name) that’s been sitting in the display case for the better part of two years. Well, I had “a moment” yesterday because I was out and about and saw someone sporting an IWC Portugeiser Perpetual Calendar in white gold. Yep, I saw a complicated dressy watch that retails for 40K Euros on the wrist and in the wild. It does happen apparently…
Robert & Fils
I’ll admit that I know little about Robert & Fils aside from the fact that they were first founded in 1630. That’s old! As an American, I’m often chided for thinking that things older than 1950 are old, but 1630 is old enough for even my European buddies to raise an eyebrow. Well, what’s not that old, but also eyebrow raising is this new Robert & Fils archaemodern ladies watch with an interesting lacework leather “strap”. And while one couldn’t call the 60’s or 70’s old, the movements in these watches date to that period and are of Robert’s own. “Robert”, as it turns out, is the last name of the company and they’re now on their 11th generation of watchmakers from the family. Set in either pink or white gold and in an edition of 10 pieces each, the pink includes 123 diamonds and the white comes with 187. The cases measure 37 x 21mm. Prepare to pay 35,000 for the pink gold pieces and 37,000 for the white gold. When I first saw these watches, I wasn’t so sure about as I thought they looked a bit “50 Shades” with the leather work. But, I’ve changed my opinion – these watches provide for a very different, yet dressy, take on a 30’s/40’s woman’s cocktail watch. They manage to take a relatively small watch head and bring it into the present with the use of leather. For more information, see the Robert & Fils 1630 official site.
RGM is a company that’s been successfully turning out American-made since 1992 out of Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania. If you don’t know where that is, it’s a stone’s throw from Lancaster, the former home of Hamilton and that puts the small company in what was once the “little Switzerland” of America. I’ll be in the US of A within the next several weeks and am going to do my best to stop by at RGM to take a look at their operations, but also to hopefully set my eyes upon their newest addition, the PS-801-Skeleton. The 801 was introduced in 2007 as RGM’s first in-house movement and now we have a skeletonized version.
The watch presents the time rather uniquely with the seconds shown on a register at 6:00. Essentially, there’s a scale that breaks the minutes into 3, 20-minute segments and a 3-pronged handset (each hand with a different length) points to the minutes on the scale. Therefore, the long hand mounted centrally is actually a sweep seconds hand. Both this hand and the hour hand are finished with the Pennsylvania “keystone state” insignia and everything is fashioned to provide a transparent view of the movement. The “dial” is made of silver and the gold scale below is actually gold. A polished 43.3mm stainless-steel case – also made right in Lancaster – houses this beautiful movement. The stainless version will cost $21,400 and a rose gold edition is also available for $34,200. Visit RGM’s site for more information.
We cover Edox on Fratello from time to time and this week we received word of a new 300M diver from the brand and felt it was perfect for This Week in Watches. Called the Delfin Date, the 43mm stainless diver brings back a name that first debuted way back in 1961 and has been made periodically by Edox since that time. In 1961, Edox debuted a “double O-ring” system and reinforced caseback to provide high levels of water resistance and that same sealing system carries over into today’s new model line. Of note, the Delfin contains a dodecagonal-shaped bezel (I count 12-sides) that reminds us of former quartz models from the 80’s. There are 5 variants within the Delfin line and they range from basic stainless steel to a PVD black version to some colorful gold PVD models with integrated rubber straps. Inside, we have the Edox Kaliber 80 automatic (ETA 2824 or Sellita SW200). Pricing is definitely on the side of affordable from 965 to 1,115 Euros depending on which model is chosen. In my view, these are good looking divers and in this price range, you’re getting a Swiss watch from a brand that’s slightly off the beaten path (i.e. it’s not from Swatch Group or Seiko – the usual suspects in the 1K Euro diver realm). I especially like the differentiation for the first 20 minutes of the bezel. For more info, take a look at the Edox official page.
Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor White Gold Limited Editions
The other day, I checked out new prices of Porsche 911’s and I was surprised to see that they now start at well over 100,000 Euros! I must have been sleeping as I thought one could drive an entry-level model (but who would dare! Lol ) in the low 90’s. Well, if that news saddens you, but you’ve been saving for some time, maybe you’d rather cut bait and spend 79,000 Euros on one of the new Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor white gold limited editions! There are three versions of this watch and only 10 pieces will be made of each. While the bulk of the dial is open-worked, the timekeeping displays are available in either white, black or blue oven-fired enamel.
At only 39.5mm, these Micro-Rotors are highly wearable as well. The bridges are palladium-treated and the micro-rotor itself is 22K gold. The mainplates have all been hand-frosted and finished with 4.5N rose gold. As I’ve mentioned before, these types of watches aren’t normally in my wheelhouse, but this is one gorgeous release. I like the relative symmetry of the dials juxtaposed against the various bridges. And, the size of 39.5mm x 12.9mm in thickness make for a watch that’s amazing enough to steal the show when seen, but can easily conceal itself under a shirtsleeve. Beautiful… Head here for far more information.
Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar – Limited Edition
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Perpetual Calendar, Glashütte Original sent us some info on their inclusion of this complication within their lineup over the past two decades. They also took the time to resend some info on the Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar, a limited edition pice that actually debuted at Baselworld 2018. It’s a watch that passed me by – admittedly, these types of watch weren’t my focus at the time – so I thought I’d present it as a reminder. G.O, often gets left out once people start talking about Lange, but I find this unfair. Glashütte Original makes some beautiful pieces and I enjoy their use of sporty colors at times. With this 100-piece edition, we get a handmade guilloche dial that comes from Pforzheim. On the dial itself, we have the time, moon phase, weekday, month, and leap year displayed. At 42mm in white gold, this is a bold watch. The automatic, in house, cal. 36-02 automatic has a power reserve of roughly 100 hours. Apparently, some of the pieces are still available (pricing is 35,000 on a folding 18K white gold clasp) – head here for more information.
MB&F LM SE Titanium Green
If there’s one brand that within the haute horlogerie camp that routinely strikes my fancy with its releases, it’s MB&F. Whether it’s the HM6 (want!) or one of their fantastic desk-based “machines”, I’m a fan. MB&F would definitely be my first stop if such watches were on my list. And with their latest release of the LM SE Titanium Green, they’re really tempting me. The 44mm x 17.5mm case comes in Grade 5 titanium and is paired with a green CVD (chemical vapor deposition) dial. That green, though! I won’t go into a lot of detail on the movement employed on these Legacy Machines, but it’s immediately recognizable for its split escapement and 14mm balance wheel suspended above the dial. Needless to say, I wouldn’t go jackhammering concrete with this one on, but man oh man is it beautiful. The hours, minutes, date, and power reserve are the lone complications at work here, but, honestly, that’s enough for me. Just 33 people will be lucky enough to wear one of these, but they’ll need to come up with 59,000 Euros first. If you’d like more information, head to the MB&F page – just ensure your keyboard is drool resistant.
Mini Museum – Mission Flown Apollo 11 Pieces
I was looking for something for our non-sequitur portion of This Week in Watches and I came across a fun site called Mini Museum. This site sells truly miniscule parts of famous things such as the Space Shuttle Columbia, part of a Concorde, and some of the Hindenburg. But perhaps most relevant for our readers, you can own a mission flown 1mm x 1mm piece of the foil from the Apollo 11 Command Module for $69. Now, I’ll admit that 1mm x 1mm is a size that I’m starting to need good light, or my head loupe, in order to see, but that’s not the full point here.
No, I’d say that owning a small piece of the module that went to the moon is the overall big deal and it seems to be presented well to boot. The Kapton foil comes in a small display case and fits within a folding card containing all kinds of pictures from the Apollo 11 mission. You can whine about spending $69 on something that amounts to little more than a speck, but if you’re a reader of this site, chances are good that you’ve spent far more on something that’s received far more of an eye roll from a relative, significant other or friend. (Oh, and RJ already ordered one – truth!) Check out Mini Museum here.
And folks, that’s all we’ve got for This Week in Watches – enjoy your weekend!