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I wonder if OWC got the BBC licensing, or this is sort of a stealth homage. What's the packaging like?
I recognized the dial immediately as having been influenced from the pocketwatch David Tennant used in the episode Human Nature - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Nature_(Doctor_Who_episode), seen here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/gallery/concept_2007/730/37.jpg
2 days, 7 hours ago on Are You A Time Lord? OWC Watch Honors Doctor Who
@Fraser Petrick Wait until 2017, and you can have the Aqua Terra without the bumblebee markers. I have no idea if they'll offer you the bracelet with polished center links, though.
5 days, 6 hours ago on Hands-On With Omega’s Aqua Terra >15,000 Gauss Watch
@MarkCarson Have you given any thought to 3D printing some new platters for your music box? There's no technical reason they have to be made out of metal, although 3D printed ones might wear out more quickly.
I think it'd be entertaining to put on a platter of music that's more recent following the platters you inherited.
1 week, 1 day ago on MB&F MusicMachine By Reuge Hands-On: The $13,000 Music Box
The MB&F Music Machine is the modern day equivalent of the Jaquet Droz automata. There's no practical value, but it showcases the expertise and attention to quality that MB&F put into the Horological and Legacy collection.
The owner isn't using this as their only source of music or entertainment, but it is marvelous to look at, to ponder the mechanicals, to appreciate the precision with which it was made.
@Superstition @vmarks http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20130114383 is the link to the patent application that Rolex filed in May. They haven't made a watch with this (yet) but it would keep the crown pointing up.
The point of the application is to be able to have the crown pointing up without having to do intense quality work involved in doing this without the invention - it would mean indexing the tap that cuts the threads in the case for the crown tube, indexing the die that cuts the threads on the crown tube, and indexing the die that cuts the threads inside the crown. That's a lot of work to get precisely right, and the invention in the application appears to solve the problem without making it this hard in production.
1 week, 4 days ago on 10 Things To Know About How Rolex Makes Watches
@Superstition @vmarks It does. But they have a patent application on a crown that will always point up when you screw it down. They haven't made a watch with this implemented yet.
@Ulysses31 @trj66 It's a good question why Rolex hasn't moved to silicon springs and parts. I don't know the answer, but I do wonder what are the failure rates?
Rolex has moved to their parachrom and paramagnetic branding around springs and anti-magnetic movements, and haven't done so across their entire line. Parachrom is Zirconium and Niobium alloy fused at 2400 degrees C. The research that was required to make a hairspring like this is nothing to sneeze at- surely its an innovation.
I get it. Girard-Perregaux uses silicon. Patek Phillipe uses silicon. Ulysse Nardin uses silicon. Jaeger LeCoultre has a movement which requires no lubrication at all.
But Rolex gets some of the credit here, too - The Spiromax balance spring made of Silinvar that Patek uses? this patented silicon-based material is the result of research financed in partnership with the Swatch Group and Rolex.
1 week, 5 days ago on 10 Things To Know About How Rolex Makes Watches
@Ulysses31 Investing in exorbitantly expensive testing equipment co-developed with Comex (who we last publicly saw as a Rolex-Comex relationship in the 70s with some dive watches) is too decadent to care?
I'd say that there's a very conservative approach to outward design revisions, with Milgauss or the flowered dial Datejust representing the biggest visual move away from a traditional Rolex. But Yachtmaster II and Skydweller are engineering leaps away from the conventional Rolex, and Ariel's trip shows the investment in manufacturing processes back up these engineering innovations.
"One way of looking at Rolex is that they are an extremely competent and almost obsessively organized manufacturing company - that just happens to make timepieces."
This is a powerful statement. There's almost an unspoken 'want to buy one?' that follows it in my head, one that says, "We make the best manufactured things on Earth, we're fanatical about attention to detail and quality. Oh, and we make wristwatches. Wouldn't you like to have one?"
Not that I own one, I don't. This same kind of statement would be just as powerful from TAG with their new calibre. But Rolex clearly know why they exist and aren't afraid to invest in anything they perceive as quality. This shows in the application of robotization and in the research department where they have patent applications on better shock resistant movement mountings, down to the application on keeping the Rolex crown pointed up when you screw down the crown after setting the watch.
It wasn't always this way.
Prior to 2000, Beyeler, Singer, Lemrich, ZJ, Metelem and Stern all did work for Rolex as outside suppliers. Prior to this, Rolex did not make dials in house. It used to happen that dial manufacturers would create speculative dials and shop them to the watchmakers, bringing around albums (a catalogue) of dials with new designs for the coming year. It wasn't unusual for dial makers bring this round, let the buyers at Rolex peruse them and purchase an exclusive on a particular design.
In 2008 Jean-Pierre Jacquet was sentenced to four years in prison for his company's counterfeiting Rolex Daytona watches using some legitimate Rolex parts resulting in a counterfeit branded product that was assembled in Switzerland using real parts. The counterfeiting crime was discovered around 2002, but it's possible it could have been going on earlier. Nicholas Hayek likened it to the Cardinals robbing the Vatican bank.
It looks from my reading as if Rolex had already begun moves to prevent this kind of thing from happening, but this revelation probably accelerated their acquisitions.
Rolex severed its relationship with Singer and Stern, and bought Beyeler, bringing their operations in house. Rolex went on a buying spree, acquiring:
Beyeler - dials (cases and bracelets as well) - acquired 2000
Bonchini - crowns - acquired 2003
Gay Freres SA - bracelets - acquired 1998
I don't remember who they bought for making hands, or that they necessarily needed to- once they have the dials in house it's easy enough to use many of the same skills to make hand sets.
@DG Cayse @MarkCarson When you put an engineer in charge of a brand, you run the risk of getting a technically superior product, a technically identical product, or a carefully cost-reduced product, and you don't know which without knowing what the engineer values most.
Of course, you can get the same or worse results if you put a marketing-type in charge and they value high margins at low MSRP/RRP which leads to flagrant, careless cost-reduction measures. Thank goodness that didn't happen here.
Frequently, engineers aren't designers. Perhaps that explains some of the familiar design cues you can see here and in the Confidence X line they make.
2 weeks, 1 day ago on Kentex Marineman Sapphire Ceramic Watch Hands-On
@Kris C I understand what you're saying. The reason why they apply for a patent first is that they want the shock-resistant advantages to be a Rolex-only advantage (or to collect license fees from others who would implement it.) So they have to apply for the patent first in order for there to be any legal protection for the idea. Otherwise, competitors could buy a Rolex, copy it (I agree, there doesn't appear to be any great technical hurdle to copying here) and Rolex couldn't do anything to prevent it.
Having a 60% better watch in a drop to a hard surface does seem like a big deal. I can understand why Rolex would want it for themselves. The only other improvement on that kind of scale was the old Wyler Incaflex balance springs, where they dropped a watch off the Eiffel tower and it continued to keep time after impact. The Incaflex used spiral arms to connect pinion to the outer balance wheel instead of the more common straight spokes and the spiral arms would flex a little in a shock, absorbing the worst of it.
3 weeks, 4 days ago on Rolex To Create New Shock-Resistant Oyster Watch Case?
@gleam True - but fitting a 20mm wide movement into a 28.5mm space would mean two very wide and flat rings in this invention, or a third ring to fill the gap.
It would also have to have hands that extended out past its 20mm diameter and a datewheel that would reach past. That would require the center mounted datewheel rather than the normal datewheel for a man's Rolex which has a retaining ring and jewels that overlap its edges.
Thanks for bringing this up, I'm going to be thinking about it now.
3 weeks, 5 days ago on Rolex To Create New Shock-Resistant Oyster Watch Case?
@Ulysses31 @aBlogtoWatch There are plenty of opportunities for philanthropy in the watch world, but I can think of only a few who take advantage of them.Just off the top of my head, Rolex has scholarships for students and philanthropy via the Rolex Laureates. "Since 1976, the Rolex Awards for Enterprise have supported individuals whose courage and creativity advance human knowledge and well-being."Harry Winston, Inc. has TheHarry Winston Brilliant Futures™ Charitable Program, which supports leading organizations throughout its worldwide salon communities.
Omega’s support of Orbis International and its Flying Eye Hospital seems relevant.
Omega continued to develop its partnership with filmmaker/ecologist Yann Arthus-Bertrand and his GoodPlanet organization. In June, the Planet Ocean film directed by Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot and produced by Omega was screened at the Earth Summit in Rio. This is from Omega's annual report, 2012.
3 weeks, 5 days ago on Manchester United Gets Bulova As Official Timekeeper And Global Watch Partner
I have Pebble, MetaWatch, Nike Fuelband, and Fitbit. I've owned Jawbone UP and Fitbit Ultra in the past.
I also worked on Renew SleepClock (which uses radar to detect sleep cycle rather than something you have to wear like UP.)
The main thing to remember with any of these Quantified Self devices is where your data goes and how useful it is to you.
That is, if you use Fitbit, your data is in Fitbit and maybe Loseit.com. If your data is in Runkeeper, that's it. Similarly for Basis or UP. The most meaningful use of data is when it can be correlated with other data. If your food data that's automatically scanning barcodes is in Loseit, your weight info is in withings and runkeeper, your activity is in Nike or fitbit, then it's hard to really get a sense of what you're actually accomplishing or monitoring.
Note: Renew, the one I worked on, allows you to export to Runkeeper and CSV files readable by Excel and google docs. The point being, we have all these great devices, but your data has to be yours, not trapped in a silo, and especially not trapped in silos that don't talk to each other.
7 months ago on What Are The Best Personal Analytics Smartwatches?
Where's the rotor? How does this differ technically from the 2842 used in the 1990s-present Swatch automatics?
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Baselworld 2013: Swatch Sistem51- Only 100 Swiss Francs for a Mechanical Watch!
The car comparison is worth looking at.
Maserati uses Ferrari engines.
The MINI started its rebirth in the early 2000s using Chrysler engines rather than BMW (family) ones.
The legendary DeLorean used a Peugeot-Renault-Volvo joint concern motor.
Lotus cars ship in America with Toyota motors installed.
Ariel Atom ships in its original form with a Honda motor installed.
This sort of companies-buying-motors-from-competitor marques is pretty analogous to the ETA situation. But there are other variations on this theme:
Tesla shipped initially using their own motor, but the body and suspension of Lotus.
Chevrolet Cavalier was sold and branded as Toyota Cavalier for the Japanese market.
And there was the NUMMI, which produced the same car labeled as both a Toyota and Geo (first) and Chevrolet (later, when the Geo brand was eliminated.) Pontiac Vibe = Toyota Matrix. Geo Prizm = Toyota Corolla.
Porsche produced the Boxster both in Germany and outsourced to a non-Porsche-owned factory in Uusikaupunki, Finland (Valmet) - Is a Porsche made outside of Zuffenhausen really a Porsche? Yes, but somehow one contracted out feels similar to watch houses contracting out to buy ebauches.
Toyota and Subaru currently have this relationship. When you buy a Toyota GT86, you're getting the Subaru flat 4 boxer engine.
Conclusion: Car companies will sometimes source powertrains from their erst-while competitors just as Swiss Made watch houses will source ebauches from ETA, or perhaps Sellita when SWATCH group decide to cease all external movement sales.
It's not just ETA. JLC has sold movements to other brands for ages.
What I wonder is, does the impending restrictions on ETA movements lend itself to an opening in the market? Should a manufacture exist solely to produce ebauches and sell them to those who currently rely on ETA-Valjoux? Produce a clone or new design that happens to maintain the ligne, dial feet locations, stem height and canon pinion diameters, and you'd have drop in replacements. I think Hublot has already done this as an in-house for their chronograph, but no provider that I know of exists solely to produce replacement ebauches other than Sellita.
7 months, 2 weeks ago on NOMOS Tangomat GMT Watch Review
I was surprised by the DateJust II recommendation - it's too large and the proportions look wrong, especially when compared with the classic DateJust.
There's nothing wrong with the original DateJust size. If you want the bigger watch, Submariner, Milgauss GV or Explorer II with the large orange GMT hand are all better choices.
10 months, 1 week ago on Guide To Buying Your First Rolex Part 2: What To Buy
This and it's grandfather, the 6541 Milgauss, are among my favorites.
10 months, 2 weeks ago on Rolex Milgauss 116400GV Watch Review
@geoffbot I hope you enjoy your new watch.Manufacturing costs are not increasing, or not increasing dramatically. The BRAND that I had in mind when I wrote my comment has increased prices by 2000 USD since I began watching a specific timepiece at the local AD counter. It debuted at 6250 USD and is now at 8200 USD. For exactly the same watch that has been sitting below the glass counter.Costs increase for a few reasons:1) company needs increased margins to please shareholders/fill owners pockets/fund future development/marketing needs2) company needs to increase costs to cover increasing replacement costs - this is why gasoline/petrol prices go up. The replacement cost for materials/labor is higher than the cost of what it was to produce the unit on sale today.3) company raises prices to create a worth that isn't present or wasn't present in their initial go-to-market strategy.I'll elaborate a little on (3). A 1950 Bulova Director (10K case, 15 jewel swiss manual wind) cost $33.75 when new. Adjusting for inflation, that's 288.27 USD in 2011 money. A watch that cost $950 in 1980 should cost $2,795.16 today. Instead, the price for that model's replacement costs $7,500.A common practice in non-watch industries is to price goods at a price 80% of the target consumers can bear. This strikes a balance between selling enough and leaving some demand that people can strive for. In luxury goods I can see charging a higher price and setting that ratio so that less of the potential consumers are able to afford the product.The problem is two-fold. 1) It's really disheartening to see a product that was within budget and reach get re-priced out of reach. Instead of making the consumer aspire to ownership, it makes the consumer turn away. 2) Especially when there's no apparent justification, such as the replacement cost mentioned above.It's possible to say, "sure, you're just not their target customer." And I could live with that, although I would suggest that they're shrinking their market drastically.Another user pointed out that buying used was a good solution. And it is, but it does nothing for the manufacturer who has essentially lost a sale. You could argue that they never would have made that sale anyway, but I think they would have had they not raised prices each year, widening the disparity between used and new. You can also say that they'll get service fees. Even if there's huge margin in service, it's not as high a profit as they make on the initial purchase.
11 months, 1 week ago on What About Value? Won't Somebody Please Think Of The Value!
Another interesting part of the "luxury AD experience" is the experience of going to the counter and being told "you should really buy now, BRANDNAME is raising the prices in the near future and we'll have to charge you $1000 more next month."
Contrary to pressuring ADs to not discount, they're pressuring dealers to raise prices so that even fewer in the market can consider their products an option.
I understand that ADs are at the mercy of their contracts with the brands, but the brands should understand that having their representatives have to say this doesn't make them look good. It makes them look like they view sales as an unwanted unnecessary evil they have to engage in.
That experience doesn't increase desirability of their products, it's off-putting. It increases pricing, but not necessarily the value.
If manufacturers don't like customers, and they don't like service, and they regularly anger consumers by changing parts at service that consumers prefer to have been left well enough alone, it's a wonder they're in business at all.