TimeZone Carmel, California Gathering – January 2000

On Saturday, January 15, 21 lucky TZers gathered in scenic Carmel by the Sea, California. We met at the Rio Grill, where the food and service were super. Marvin Arnold did an excellent job organizing this get-together – thanks Marvin!

Our guests of honor were Hugues Beck of Chatel & Co. in Carmel, and Don Loke of Parmigiani Flurier USA. Lunch began at 11:30, but several of us arrived early to see Carmel and Chatel. After assembling at the restaurant, we spent at least an hour talking about, passing around and admiring watches of all kinds. A few folks brought entire collections, while others wore one special watch. There was plenty to see.

After we finished our meals, Hugues, an expert watchmaker who trained for 6 years in Switzerland, gave a presentation on movement development. He brought at least 20 movements for us to look at – most from his personal collection. He had everything from a 300 year old English fusee pocket watch movement with verge escapement to modern complicated movements. Ulysse Nardin provided 4 of their movements for us to see, including the Astrolabium and GMT Perpetual. Thanks go to UN for making these movements available!

After Hugues’ presentation, we adjourned to Chatel. There, Don Loke had the entire Parmigiani line for us to see and hold. Don flew in from Connecticut especially for this TZ lunch, so big TZ thanks go to Don and Parmigiani USA! Don explained and let us play with the entire Parmigiani line, including a platinum Minute Repeater. I examined several Parmigianis through a loupe, and the dials, cases and movements are absolutely wonderful. Don said every part in the Parmigiani movement is finished to the highest level, whether the part is visible or not. All parts go through a seven step polishing process, with five of the steps occurring after the part reaches “mirror” finish. Parmigiani makes their own cases and dials, and most of their own movements. They are working toward producing all of their own movements in-house. These are very impressive watches.

Don and Hugues also furnished some wonderful gifts that were given away in a series of drawings at Chatel. James Donabed, Drew Lunsford and I won copies of the book “A Guide to Complicated Watches” by Francois LeCoultre. Hugues said this book is used at the watch making school in Geneva. John Crowder and Michael Hickcox won Parmigiani ties. Mario Corona, Gloria Joachim and George Raiche each won lovely watch cases (I believe by Camille Fournet). Kent Lee and John Joachim won Parmigiani business card holders. John also purchased a beautiful new Minerva Pythagore II with Anniversary dial and tan ostrich strap – a great looking watch.

All in all, this was one of the best TZ events I’ve attended. The turnout was great, the watches were fabulous and the presentations and prizes were first rate. Everyone had an excellent time. I did not leave Chatel until 5:15 p.m. I didn’t want it to end.

Here are some scans from the day….

Here’s part of the group at the Rio Grill. L to R around outside of table: Michael Matteson, John Crowder, Mario Corona, Don Loke, Hugues Beck, Marvin Arnold, Gloria Joachim, John Joachim. Inside table, L to R: John Davis, Jeff Kingston and George Raiche.

Foreground facing camera, L to R: Kent Lee, Michael Hickcox and Richard Tucci. Background, backs to camera, L to R: John Davis, Jeff Kingston, George Raiche. Background facing camera, L to R: John Joachim, Larry Seiden.

L to R: Frank Keillor, Larry Seiden and Richard Tucci.

Left to right: Don Loke, Hugues Beck and Marvin Arnold, the men of the day.

A true WIS, John Crowder dons a visor to look at the 300 year old fusee pocket watch movement.

Drew Lunsford (left) talks with Michael Hickcox (right). James Donabed is in the background. (Photo by Frank Keillor)

Hugues Beck (left) explains a movement to Byron Desoto and John Davis. In the background, Marvin Arnold (left) talks with Larry Seiden.

Mark Petry studies a watch movement.

Marvin introduces Hugues Beck. (Photo by Frank Keillor)

The group listens to Hugues’ presentation. L to R: Jeff Kingston, Drew Lunsford, Kent Lee, James Donabed, John Davis, Byron Desoto, Michael Matteson.

After lunch, we adjourned to Chatel, which is located only a few steps from the Rio Grill. Here, Michael Matteson does some window shopping.

At Chatel after lunch, Marvin Arnold talks to Hugues’ wife Jeanie, commenting on her Blancpain Flyback. In the foreground (blue/white striped shirt) is Frank Keillor, and behind Marvin is Mario Corona.

Mario Corona checks out a watch at Chatel.

John Davis at Chatel.

John Joachim with his just-purchased Minerva Pythagore II with Anniversary dial. It’s a beautiful watch.

Well, that’s my report on the first TZ Carmel lunch. It was a memorable day. We’ll have to do it again soon.

Best regards,

Mike Disher