Early on Thursday morning, Cartier’s private jet whisked myself and a couple of other UK-based watch writers away from a cold grey London to a snowy La Chaux-de-Fonds. Less than 90 minutes after takeoff, we were walking into the factory located just five minutes from the single-strip airport. There,... Read more
Hi All, Patrick Heiniger ran Rolex for sixteen years, between 1992 and 2008; which might seem like a fleeting moment, compared to the 90 years at the helm of his two predecessors in the job, his father Andre and Hans Wilsdorf. But under his management, Rolex changed more than... Read more
For the last fifty years Rolex have pursued one policy with an almost myopic vision; that of self-sufficiency. In that period, they have purchased bought almost all of the sub-contractors who used to supply them. Genex, who made cases were one of the first to be bought, then they... Read more
Hi All; Hanhart made watches in the Black Forest area of Germany, close to the French border. During WWII their flyback chronographs were used extensively by the German Luftwafffe, and after the war they continued to manufacture these chronograph movements, but they were given to France as part of... Read more
On Wednesday evening, Seiko hosted a very special event at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Greenwich, whose name will forever be associated with the ‘G’ in GMT, is not only the place where the 0 meridian begins, but also houses some of the most important timepieces in the world. Walking... Read more
An English made Dent half hunter 18k watch with barleycorn guilloche engraving, with 3/4 plate movement, 2 piece cream enamel Willis dial and wonderful double ‘pear’ hour hand: Read more
One of my particular passions; these are but a few of mine. Read more
Hi All; Well, in Chronometer tested movements anyway! The 2011 numbers are really interesting. Rolex: 751,285 (23% improvement on 2010) Omega: 509,301 (49% improvement on 2010) Breitling: 154,456 (26% improvement on 2010) I am amazed at how much Omega has improved on their numbers. – James Read more
I was talking to a friend and fellow collector the other day, and as is often the way, we fell to chatting about how collections are formed. After an hour or so and more than a few glasses of wine we failed to come to any kind of agreement.... Read more
One of the things I love about watchmaking is that it is such a ‘broad church’; it covers such a wide spectrum of craftsmanship and design. In Geneva this year I met up with two gentlemen whose own eponymous brands but, whilst they both happily reside at the top... Read more
Hi All; I have been working on the Fourth edition of our book for the last few months, but the deadline is getting REALLY close (it has to be with the publishers by the end of this month), so I have had to concentrate on it to the exclusion... Read more
Hi All; At the end of the 1970s, Lemania made this manual wind two register chronograph and sold it to the Swedish & the South African airforces. It is quite a rare model (less than 1,000 made) and it took me a few years to find this one to... Read more
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Cartier invited around 100 of the world’s top watch writers and journalists to their La Chaux de Fonds factory, where they unveiled their second concept watch, the ID Two. Due to an oversight at Cartier, I was also invited. Here is my... Read more
For over fifty years, it has been the accepted knowledge that the history of the diving watch is intimately coupled to the history of recreational diving. Both Rolex & Blancpain (who equally claim to have invented the diver’s watch) use the introduction of the SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing... Read more
Cartier are the flagship brand of the Richemont group, with the biggest stand at the Salon (actually two of them), yet they seem to garner little interest on the forums or very much respect from Watchnuts. And I think I know why; their product range is so wide and... Read more
Guess where I was yesterday? by JAMES DOWLING
Hi All; I was on a flight at 7am yesterday, then a 45 min train ride through some stunning countryside. Past some amazing scenery. Then a short walk around a medieval town. I had been here on quite a few previous occasions, but i had never before noticed this.... Read more
Surprising: Rolex Sky Dweller The first, and surely the biggest surprise is that Rolex have made an Annual Calendar watch. I can’t even begin to list the number of times I have heard Rolex folk tell me that they had no interest in this market; that they knew what... Read more
Today I saw two more women wearing Daytonas in Everose, one with the new ceramic bezel and one conventional one. And it suddenly occurred to me that I haven’t actually seen one of these on the wrist of a man, but on probably 20 or more women’s’ wrists. Anyone... Read more
Hi All, I am wearing a tennis player watch. It is truly unbelievable just how light this watch is, I think if I dropped it in the bath, it would float. Please forgive the rather imperfect wrist shot, there was more than the normal amount of one handed camera... Read more
Hi All; A while ago, I wrote about why I go to Basel, the post is just below. I realised this year that this was my 16th or 17th Basel, my visits have expanded from my initial two-day jaunts to six days this year and I began to question... Read more
To anyone who has heard of the Battle of Britain, the name Biggin Hill airfield will strike a chord and I am sure that with its aeronautic connections it was no accident that Breitling chose this particular airport from which to transport a few English based watch writers to... Read more
Hi All; There was Edward Heuer (Jack’s father) and this Valjoux powered chronograph was made under his reign, most likely just after WWII. Read more
Hi All; The downturn in orders from the Far East is starting to have an effect in the Swiss watch industry, today two of the smaller suppliers, a dial maker and a bracelet maker announced layoffs. The totals involved are less than 20 employees, but the smaller suppliers are... Read more