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Always"watching"

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About Always"watching"

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  1. I have always been a fan of the centre chronograph watch; a format that has been relatively unexplored by watch companies over the years. I was therefore well-pleased that H. Moser & Cie have decided to produce a particularly beautiful example of the genre, their new Streamliner chronograph. For now, this is the only Streamliner model but others are apparently to follow, including a three-hand timepiece. (Pic from ablogtowatch.com) The Streamliner chronograph appeared last November but was not officially launched until January this year, and any question that yet another so-called “sports-luxe” watch referencing the Seventies with an integrated case and bracelet would fall on deaf ears, so to speak, has proved to be wrong. The whole edition of 100 watches has already been sold, partly perhaps because Moser have steered away from a too direct emulation of other sports-luxe watches such as the Nautilus and Royal Oak. Indeed, the use of the centre chronograph in this context would appear to be an inspired choice. The Moser & Cie Streamliner chronograph is powered by Agenhor’s intricate and sophisticated AgenGraphe movement - the third model to use it (after Fabergé and Singer Reimagined) In the case of the Streamliner, this caliber has been engineered for a far less complex display than the Fabergé Visionnaire or Singer Track 1; it loses the rotating disks for hours and minutes, with hands for chronograph hours and running seconds disappearing altogether. Instead we have four central hands for hours, minutes, and chronograph minutes and seconds, plus the novel introduction of a centre flyback function for both chronograph minute and second hands. Moser calls this version of the AgenGraph movement caliber HMC 902. (Pics from static.watchtime.com and, below, Monochrome Watches at k8q7r7a2.stackpathcdn.comcdnstackpath.com) In terms of style, the Streamliner is influenced by bullhead designs (partly out of necessity), and Edouard Meylan, CEO at Moser, has himself referenced the Omega Chronostop bullhead chronograph as an influence on its design, as well as sports stopwatches from the Sixties and Seventies. In connection with styling, Meylan had to deal with the inevitable thickness of automatic chronograph movements even though the AgenGraphe is relatively slim at 7.3 mm, with the watch itself coming in at 14.2 mm thick. This size, together with the curving lines, gives the Steamliner a bulbous feel that could have been off-putting. The solution to this lies essentially in the superb integrated bracelet. I am aware that I can only gauge the Streamliner’s steel bracelet from illustrations and description, which in this case is a disadvantage because I feel that special attention needs to be focused on it. It reminds me of those slinky segmented silver bendy fish pendants or even fossil trilobites and Chris Hall gives a good description in his QP article on Moser (“Rise of the maverick,” QP magazine issue 93, Spring 2020): The bracelet “possesses an organic quality that I’ve never seen elsewhere. The closest I can think of is the hand-worked gold bracelets of the Fifties - think Andrew Grima’s work for Piaget, or various textured designs for Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet among others - but where they stood static as trees or stone, this glides like a fish, light rippling off the thin, finely polished strip at the base of each link. / The clasp is unobtrusive, the bracelet comfortable - your arm hairs are safe! - and despite that thick case, the immediate drop from caseband to links, without lugs, means it wraps closely to the wrist. It will be an unholy task to keep it looking mint, but the Streamliner has real showstopper quality”. I should also just add that the rear view of the movement through the display crystal is pretty nice too. (Pics from ablogtowatch.com and, below, revolution.watch) H. Moser & Cie have produced something special with the Streamliner chronograph, and it is only a shame that more of us won’t be able to share in the act of owning one, partly because of the price and partly because the edition is limited to 100. The firm and its boss have spun a marvel of maintaining continuity with previous watch styling that has returned to favour while also giving us a highly legible and functional chronograph wristwatch that is a thing of beauty in itself. If, as a final note, I churlishy wonder if a date feature could be added, then send me away with a flea in my ear. SPECIFICATION NOTES: The specifications not mentioned above are as follows: 42.3 mm stainless steel case; graded fumée grey dial with vertical brushing; hand inserts made from “Globolight,” a mix of Super LumiNova and ceramic; 55J automatic movement made by Agenhor comprising 434 components with rotor just beneath the dial; water resistance 12 ATM; price, US$39,900; (Pic from ablogtowatch.com) (Pic from hodinkee.imgix.net) (Above two pics from hodinkee.imgix.net)
  2. I just wonder, are there any musical wristwatches out there? It might be rather tricky to fit a musical complication into a mechanical wristwatch but I reckon a quartz watch could be fitted with a small musical element.
  3. Careful Davey, you're on dangerous ground there... I took ENORMOUS trouble to write a Forum topic about the Rolex spoons but as you are not interested, I won't give you the reference.
  4. The sublime Heuer silver dial mid-sixties chronograph on which the new Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition is based (pic from fratellowatches.imgix.net): The Heuer (later, TAG Heuer) Carrera chronograph has become one of the iconic motorsport-derived watches; it is named after the Carrera Panamericana, a Mexican border-to-border road race reminiscent of Italy’s Mille Miglia and Targa Florio, and the first run of Carrera chronographs dates to 1963. The design of the Heuer Carrera is recognised horologically and also as an important example of mid 20th century modern watch styling. Writing in his autobiography in 2013, the creator of the Carrera, Jack Heuer, recalled; “I wanted a dial that had a clear, clean design and a new technical invention came to my aid. A manufacturer of plastic watch crystals had invented a steel tension ring that fitted inside the crystal and kept it under tension against the surrounding steel case. I decided to use the inside bevel of this tension ring to carry the markings measuring one-fifths of a second… this was the secret behind the fresh, clean and uncluttered appearance of my first ‘Carrera’”. (Pics from ablogtowatch.com) Uhrenmanufakture Heuer AG was founded by Edward Heuer (grandfather of Jack Heuer quoted above) in 1860, and to celebrate the 160th anniversary of this birth of this company, TAG Heuer has released a recreation of the renowned monochrome silver-dial Carrera chronograph of 1964, featuring the original’s three counters and starburst silver-coloured dial, but with certain aesthetic and functional changes or updates discussed below, including a fundamental change of movement from the Ref. 2447S Valjoux hand-wind caliber that powered the 1964 original. This new commemorative model is the TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition chronoraph (shortened to Carrera 160th in this topic). The visible changes from the original silver dial Carrera due to the use of a recent caliber are the case size (up from 36 mm to 39 mm) and the swap of the running seconds register from 9 to 6 o’clock. The new Carrera 160th uses a true in-house chronograph movement which had been long in gestation, the Heuer 02. This movement started life as the caliber 1969 before being renamed the CH80; it’s final development was then put on hold for a while at about the time Jean-Claude Biver became CEO at TAG Heuer, until it finally made its debut in the 2017 TAG Heuer Heritage Autavia Caliber Heuer 02 Chronograph. The chronograph caliber Heuer 02 is a pedigree movement with column wheel, vertical clutch, and 75/80 hours power reserve; it represents an original TAG Heuer product as opposed to the earlier caliber Heuer 01, which was based on a Seiko movement. Other changes from the original 1964 silver-dial Carrera series are an improvement in “fineness” to the recessed sub-dials, hands and markers, the inclusion of a screw-down sapphire display caseback (through which the redesigned oscillating weight is visible) and a domed sapphire crystal, and a minor change in the shape of the minute and hour hands. Water resistance on the new Carrera 160th is a respectable 100 metres, and the hands and main markers are lumed with Super-LumiNova. (Pics below from ablogtowatch.com and, bottom, steffans.co.uk) Twenty years ago, TAG Heuer was focusing on tech-forward design with high-tech aesthetics rather than looking back at its heritage for inspiration. However, since then, the Heritage line has been introduced and the company has been catering to the considerable audience that enjoys the recreation of classic watches from the past. The TAG Heuer Carrera 160th is not an out-and-out reproduction of a classic, but it fulfils sufficient heritage criteria to place it in the Carrera line of descent from the original. Making no bones about the fact that this is an anniversary limited edition, the caseback is engraved with, “1 of 1860” and the oscillating weight has been redesigned and also carries the celebration message; I personally would have preferred a solid steel caseback given the aesthetic "clumsiness" of the "steering wheel" weight design and the fact that the back of the movement is not particularly attractive as a display item. The Carrera 160th is presented on a black alligator strap and is priced at £5,620 - a sum that might be the elephant in the room for some potential purchasers. I would estimate that the 1,860 buyers of this limited edition will be found after it comes on sale in June, and will comprise a satisfied tranch of customers; this watch carefully treads the line between historical homage to its predecessor and modern chronograph and, apart from the overdone display back, gets it just about right. (Pics from ablogtowatch.com and, below, s1.cdn.autoevolution.com)
  5. I've been with Kristina for nigh on 37 years but haven't received my gold Rolex, nor even a set of nice pens. What have I been doing wrong?
  6. I get it now; it's all in the username. Welcome to the Forum.
  7. I myself have sometimes found what I thought was a good idea or question falls on deaf ears when I post it on the Forum. Don't be embarrassed Ziggy, and good luck with taking apart a watch and putting it back together. You are braver than I.
  8. If you are a serious Rolex fan then there are certain specialist books on the subject which might be worth a look. Looking at Amazon, the most relevant and recently published tome is "The Book of Rolex", by Jens Hoy and Christian Frost, published last year and priced on Amazon at £24 (hardback).
  9. I myself am not an expert on military watches per se and so I wouldn't dare answer this question with any degree of authority. However, I can refer you to the following article, available online on Worn & Wound: "Military Watches of the World: Great Britain Part 2 - Post-WWII Through the Vietnam War Era", words by Oren Hartov and posted on 21 May 2013.
  10. As an Amazon-watcher, I have noticed quite a few bargains still being offered, but this is in the lower reaches of the market. I just wonder, dear deano, whether it will soon be cheaper to buy the Financial Times than toilet roll. At least with newspaper one gets two toilet uses in one - reading matter while sitting on the loo plus the necessary...
  11. No, you're right, this clock is NOT on my desk but I couldn't resist showing it. I am generally not a fan of Franklin Mint stuff but I couldn't resist this so called "Marie Antoinette" model when I saw one going for £35 some time ago. The movement is a design by Hermle and it chimes the hours and at the half hours. I hate to admit this but neither Kristina or myself are very good with mechanical wind-up clocks, and we tend to try out a mechanical before then reverting once more to quartz. In the case of this example, it stayed silent in my room for some time before eventually making its way downstairs to our sitting area. Then, after a brief spell interrupting our TV programs with its bell chime, it had to be silenced once again, and now sits there no doubt longing for someone to wind it up again.
  12. I believe that Brouly's @Brouly advert for a photographer here above is advertising spam; not the done thing here on the Forum. Indeed, I think you have summed up my view exactly, Alan, in your post before this one.
  13. In 1921, British railway engineer William Hamilton and horologist Frank Hope-Jones designed the Shortt-Synchronome free pendulum clock with the aim of reducing air resistance and producing a highly accurate timepiece. They did this by linking a “slave” synchronome clock on which the time was displayed via electromagnets to a “master” pendulum which swung free in a vacuum tank. These were the most accurate pendulum clocks ever commercially produced - accurate to about 1 second per year, with only 1 beat to the second - and in 1926 a clock of this type was used to detect tiny seasonal changes in the earth’s rotation rate. Only about 100 of these clocks were made and it would not be until the arrival of quartz technology that such clocks were surpassed in accuracy. A Shortt-Synchronome clock, no. 84 and dating to about 1925, caption heading from auction catalogue: William Hamilton Shortt N. 84 An English mahogany, copper and brass free pendulum observatory regulato. This was Lot 2 in Christies London sale (no. 7012)of "Magnificent Clocks" held on 15 September 2004 and realised a price of £40,630 (pic from christies.com): The idea then of creating a vacuum within a timepiece was not a new one when it was revived and developed for use inside wristwatches, although when this notion did later receive attention, the reduction of air resistance was not the major aim. Thus it was that in about 1960, Hans Ulrich Klingenberg, a young salesman for Glycine, came up with the idea of evacuating a watch case, primarily with the intention of removing dust, moisture, contaminants and oxygen, and preventing their re-entry; the removal of air was also seen as having the benefit of limiting temperature differences inside the watch. It should be explained at this point that water resistance itself in a watch is not the equivalent of creating a vacuum because water molecules are much larger than air molecules, so are more easily blocked - it all depends on the performance of gaskets and the quality of seal. Klingenberg designed a one-piece watch case with a flat mineral (later sapphire) crystal which was held against a thick O-ring gasket by specially designed bezel clamps. This was combined with an oversized crown fitted with three O-rings. To accompany this design, by which an 80% void was possible, Klingenberg also developed a special hand-held device that enabled the vacuum inside the watch to be re-established after the watch had been serviced - recommending a service interval of between 5 and 8 years. Klingenberg’s vacuum system was initially used at Glycine; the Glycine Vacuum range was introduced in 1962 and utilised various movements, mainly the ETA 2638 (and it seems, the ETA 2472) but on 5 January 1966, taking advantage of the repeal of the protectionist Statut Horloger that had made setting up a watch company in Switzerland difficult, Klingenberg established his own company, the Vacuum Chronometer Corporation, in Bienne. This company co-operated with a number of case-makers and watchmaking companies, producing vacuum watches for a number of brands including Glycine, Croton, Waltham and Dugena, all recognisable by the bezel clamps at 12 and 6 o,clock. Note that the use of the word “chronometer” in the company title has caused some confusion over the years, with doubts expressed as to Klingenberg’s right to use this term. A few more words will be said about this below; as for Glycine, their vacuum watches were produced up to 1972. 1960s Advert for the Glycine vacuum watch (pic from worthpoint.com), and the Glycine watchmaker's hand-pump for use when servicing vacuum watches - see text (pics from i.imgur.com): In 1967 [see NB at end of this topic text], Klingenberg changed the name of his company to Century Time Gems AG and produced watches under his own name. The logo he chose was a stylised illustration of the “Magdeburg Hemispheres”, a 17th century experiment designed to show the power of air pressure whereby two copper bowls could not be separated by two teams of eight carthorses once the air had been removed. In order to comply with the “chronometer” part of the original company name, it is said that Klingenberg paid extra to develop and obtain all the necessary adjustments for COSC to test the watches fully assembled and evacuated rather than as de-cased movements - a somewhat radical approach for the time. Also, in pursuit of greater accuracy, in the period subsequent to the change in company name, Klingenberg preferred to use high-beat (36,000 beats per hour) movements in his Century vacuum watches such as the ETA 2837. A mid-1960s Glycine vacuum watch powered by a chronometer-standard high beat movement (pic from iguanasell-pics.com): The use of an air-free environment inside a watch may have had some impact on improving accuracy over the long term, and on achieving longer service intervals. However, the watch industry as a whole did not prove to be receptive to Klingenberg’s innovation and it was not to be developed further by other manufacturers. To some extent, the Quartz Crisis was partly to blame for this because the arrival of highly accurate quartz movements at ever-decreasing prices in the 1970s swept away any sense of necessity for such a feature as vacuum cases. Ironically, the less bulky quartz movements offered Klingenberg greater opportunities in terms of creating his perfect watch and Century Time Gems survived the Quartz Crisis. Klingenberg himself continued to search for improvements in case materials and construction, being one of the first manufacturers to use boron carbide as a case material before moving on to cases made from corundum (sapphire); applying another of his patents, Klingenberg produced a diamond-facetted “Megalith” case created by fusing two discs of sapphire together, and his later work pre-empted watch companies such as Richard Mille and Hublot by decades. A rare Waltham Ruby Vac automatic vacuum watch from the late 1960s by Century Time Gems Ltd (and bearing the "Magdeburg" Century Time Gems logo), and a Japanese advert for Waltham vacuum watches from 1968 (pics from i.imgur.com): Today, Century Time Gems Ltd is based at Nidau, Switzerland and the company is headed by one of the founder’s sons, Philip W A Klingenberg. The company is a full member of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH. NB: that according to "Business Monitor", both Century Time Gems AG and The Vacuum Chronometer Corporation AG are still active and are essentially the mirror images of a single organization, both in Nidau, Bern, Switzerland; both companies were apparently registered in January 1966. I also have to report that one source has stated that Century Time Gems Ltd became the title of the Vacuum Chronometer Corporation in 1975; looking at the extant watches, however, indicates that this date is too late. An important Croton (100th anniversary) vacuum chronometer also branded for Century Time Gems Ltd. and dating to 1978. 35.5 mm (excl. crown) stainless steel case with solid 14 carat gold bezel and retaining blocks, bevelled mineral glass crystal, and powered by a high frequency, 36,000 A/h, ball bearing rotor ETA 2738R movement (pics from assets.catawiki.com):
  14. "What a web they weave," Norman, these watch companies and jewellers over time; unpicking the tapestry is often no mean feat.
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