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Bringing you the latest news, reviews and interviews from the world of watches - plus much more
Brand Focus: Urwerk
If there was a word that best summed up the Swiss watch industry, it would be 'conservative'. With manufacturers such as HYT, MB&F and Urwerk on the scene, that might seem a little contrived, but bear with me, because haute horlogerie hasn't always been this fruitful. Before HYT, and before even MB&F, there were two men who shared a passion for watchmaking: Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei. Felix, whose blood flows with horology, had just completed his training at the prestigious Solothurn School of Watchmaking, and Martin, a graphic design graduate from the Zurich School of Visual Arts, had founded a group called United Swiss Artists. In 1995, the two men met, establishing a partnership they would later call 'Urwerk'.
Brand Focus: Rolex
There’s no question about it—Rolex is the best known, most recognisable and biggest name in watchmaking. It’s a surprise to find out that Rolex is one of the younger watchmakers out there, its paltry century of watchmaking a mere blip on the horological calendar in comparison to the near three centuries of the likes of Blancpain. But despite the scrutiny the brand receives, despite the huge amount of awareness it has generated over the years, there are still a handful of lesser-known facts about the five-pointed crown that might surprise you. Join us as we rummage through the closet of the world’s number-one watchmaker.
Brand Focus: Tudor
There’s always a lot of pressure when you’re the younger sibling. You’re constantly fighting to keep up with your elders, and step out of their shadow to establish your own identity. This has been Tudor’s lot in life since it was founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1946. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it was this very same man who, forty years earlier, founded another company you may have heard of: Rolex.
Brand Focus: Vacheron Constantin
In July 1955, at the height of the Cold War, a meeting was held to discuss peace. The Geneva Summit, as it became known, was led by the 'Big Four' - USA’s President Dwight Eisenhower, Britain's Prime Minister Anthony Eden, France's Prime Minister Edgar Faure and the Premier of the Soviet Union, Nikolai Bulganin. In honour of this meeting to encourage global diplomacy, citizens of Geneva offered the four heads of state timepieces inscribed with the world leaders' names. The watch brand chosen for this great honour? Vacheron Constantin. It was a company that had come to symbolise superior quality, style - and enduring perseverance.
Brand Focus: Glashütte Original
The history of Glashutte Original is a long and winding one, and in order to understand how the brand became what it is today, it’s imperative to take a look back at the history of a small town deep in the Saxony region of Germany.
Brand Focus: Richard Mille
High-end watchmaking has always gone hand-in-hand with long-standing heritage - but Richard Mille has managed to earn its place in the ranks of ultra-luxury brands, despite being a comparatively young contender. Although only founded in 1999, the French watchmaker has packed a lot into the last 17 years.
Brand Focus: Zenith
At 22, most people are still sitting on their parents' sofa and dreaming about how they're going to make their fortune. But it was at this tender age that enterprising young watchmaker Georges Favre-Jacot set up his own watchmaking company in Le Locle, a Swiss municipality nestled amidst the Jura Mountains. He had dreams of doing things a little differently.
Brand Focus: Cartier
France in the 1800s was a difficult period to start a jewellery brand. Fresh out of a revolution and in the midst of another, with the economy in disrepair and Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte's coup d'etat just around the corner, Louis-Francois Cartier took over his master Adolphe Picard's Parisian workshop, founding Cartier. Fortunately for Cartier, trade grew with the rise of the Second Empire, and from its 1847 beginnings to six years later in 1953, the business managed to generate enough private clientele to require the upsizing of its workshop. A further six years later, and Cartier opens its first boutique.
Brand Focus: Omega
Omega. The name itself is a symbol of greatness and the quest for perfection. Long recognised as perhaps one of the two most famous and important Swiss watch brands - alongside Rolex - Omega is known for the incredible quality of its mechanical engineering and the trend-setting appeal of its designs.
Brand Focus: Ressence
It is said that there is no such thing as a new idea, that every one borrows from another before it, tracing all the way back to the very first independent and creative thought. That may be true, but sometimes, albeit rarely, an idea comes along that is as close to original as is possible to be. In 2009, one of those rare ideas took its first steps to becoming reality.
Review: Patek Philippe Nautilus 5740/1G
Forty-two years is a long time. It’s long enough to go from enjoying a carefree childhood to having a serious need to make a will, and for those who’ve spent that time hoping Patek Philippe would fit a grand complication into the quirky Nautilus, the wait was a long one. But now the wait is over.
Feature: £3,000 vs £12,000 vs £40,000 chronograph
The hand wound chronograph is perhaps the foundation of a high-end watch company’s ability to demonstrate its prowess, a complex, intricate assembly unencumbered by a rotor weight hiding the mechanical wizardry going on inside. There’s no better palette upon which to exhibit the art of fine watchmaking—but can you tell the difference between one that’s more affordable and one that’s very expensive?
Feature: Rolex Sea-Dweller vs Tudor Pelagos
If you’re looking to buy a serious dive watch, then the Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 is likely to be right at the top of your wish list. It’s got the history, it’s got the heritage—but it’s also got a problem: the Tudor Pelagos.
Feature: 3 Vintage Heuers
It’s had its ups and downs, TAG Heuer—and perhaps more recently, the ups have been outnumbered by the downs. There’s a positive future on the horizon thanks to the efforts of brand fixer-upper Jean-Claude Biver, but a look to the future isn’t always enough to give us hope—we need to look to the past as well.
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