The MB&F Melchior is the second product of MB&F and L’Epée working together. Last year in 2014, the two companies presented the MB&F Starfleet Machine Clock (hands-on here) which was equally impressive. Why do I think the MB&F Melchior will be more successful, though? Well, both of these items are clocks, and both are directly inspired by the world's of science fiction. While the Starfleet Machine Clock is supposed to be the tabletop rendition of a space station (Deep Space 9 from Star Trek), the MB&F Melchior emulates the robot companion, a futuristic battle buddy and compatriot that is so deeply engrained in the imaginations of so many people today. Like MB&F's Max Busser, I grew up with science fiction and still subscribe to its allures today. A "luxury quality" robot clock with the pedigree of a cool Swiss watchmaker is just too cool to refuse.
Welcome back to an aBlogtoWatch original series, where we discuss important stores that sell watches all over the world. Each store we profile has an interesting story to tell about where they operate and who they sell to. Whether you buy watches from brick and mortar retailers or prefer to buy watches online, these are the stores that help shape our watch culture around the globe. There is a long list of stores to cover, but if there is a retail location in your favorite city that we simply can’t miss, let us know in the comments below.
While the Perrelet Turbine Skeleton retains the case shape of some of its larger cousins, it comes in at a reasonable 44mm (water resistant to 50 meters) wide among a few model styles and even has a new strap option for the Turbine collection. Inside the Perrelet Turbine Skeleton is the Perrelet caliber P-381 automatic movement (with a sapphire exhibition caseback) which is a base Soprod (both Soprod and Perrelet have the same parent companies). Note the special "fold out" crown which has always been a cool part of the Perrelet Turbine watch collection's trademark design.
Earlier today we reported on the new Rolex Day-Date 40 watch release as soon as Rolex made the watch public, and now, we are following up with a hands-on with all versions of this new model. Having met Rolex today on the first day of Baselworld 2015 – which actually is a press day and not open to the public – not only could we see and photograph the new features on this latest release, but we also received detailed explanation about them. Let's see, now, first-hand how the Rolex Day-Date 40 is new, and what it offers for those in the market for a dressier – albeit highly versatile – classic piece from the manufacture.
The Ball Fireman Night Train SG50 can be best described as a Ball Fireman Night Train DLC with a custom dial. We will go into details of the dial later, but what a dial it is! The case comes in a very modern size of 45mm, offers a water resistance rating of 100 meters, and has a very nice DLC (diamond-like carbon) finish, which makes the watch case more resistant to scratches and wear. The finishing is done so well that it almost looks as if it has a ceramic case.
Speaking of manual labor, I had to ask Halvorson if the engravers ran into problems while decorating the cases and bracelets of these Rolex watches. Modern Rolex timepieces use a very hard form of steel which is an alloy called 904L. In addition to being very corrosion resistant 904L steel is very difficult to machine. Engravers typically like working with softer metals such as gold, silver, or brass. While I didn't have a chance to discuss it with the engravers, Blaine did respond that the engravers offered a lot of complaints about the difficulty of engraving each watch.
ETA cutting out the supplies of its semi-assembled movement kits entirely by 2011 and drastically and continuously reducing the amount of complete calibers it sells to third parties – read: non-Swatch Group – customers were some of the defining happenings for the 21st century watch industry. ETA had been the key supplier of movements to an incredibly high percentage of all Swiss watch brands – small or large, fashion or high-end – and with their cutting supplies starting at around 2007 (they intended to begin a couple of years sooner but were met with strong opposition from the Swiss competition agency), stopping movement kits entirely by 2011, and today, selling full movements far below demand, brands are forced to look for other sources for the engines of their watches.
It is true that you can go buy a watch for under that will tell you most of what you need to know, but these tend to be cheaply made items that we really don't have a lot to say about. aBlogtoWatch isn't just about helping people find items that can tell the time and might look interesting in the process, but about history, stories, mechanics, craftsmanship, engineering, and the art of perfection (or the pursuit thereof). The reality is that most of the watches that capture our attention and give us something to talk about come with high prices.
The radioactivity of tritium is so weak that it can be stopped by a 5mm-thick plexiglass and if you were so foolish and unfortunate all at the same time that you consumed all the tritium in your watch at once, that would account for the same amount of radioactivity (40 mSv, i.e., 40 microsievert) as you are exposed to when flying from New York to Los Angeles. In other words, 40 microsievert is 1/45th of the average annual background radiation that you are exposed to each year. And so, while it certainly is not recommendable to consume the tritium from your watch indices and hands, if it were to happen, you would still be fine.
Though I'm not entirely sure why, as I sat in the Bremont booth at Baselworld, confronted with a table of new models, I was drawn to the ALT1-ZT. Perhaps it is the more muted style or the subtle similarities to one of my favorite chronographs, the Jaeger-LeCoutlre Deep Sea Chrono. Regardless, it was not an easy one to put down.
Ulysse Nardin is likely best known for their eccentric and fascinating Freak watches, but the brand has been expanding its manufacture prowess: this week at Baselworld 2015 they announced the Ulysse Anchor Tourbillon. This limited edition piece packs an impressive amount of technology into a classic and nicely proportioned design that couldn't be further from the Freak.
This, of course, is in combination with the traditional date window which once again has been fitted with a magnifier crystal over it on the sapphire crystal. While Rolex does have the GMT-Master II and the Explorer II as their major GMT watches, the Rolex Sky-Dweller does it a little bit differently, offering yet another GMT watch, but with an indicator disc versus a hand. The design of this disc has proved a bit controversial but remains effective. For some fun, we played around with various alternations to the Rolex Sky-Dweller for a Watch Watch-If here. Taken as a whole, the open GMT disc is integrated about as well as one could hope, with a beveled edge window and a nice circular design that uniquely adds to the composition of the watch. Instant classic? Perhaps not, but it is certainly Rolex.
The Bremont Jaguar MKI watch is the three-hand version, driven by the same partially in-house made BWC/01 automatic caliber that runs on a La Joux-Perret base and that we saw in the Wright Flyer watch and in the E-Type limited edition. What is new is that the Bremont Jaguar MKI, beyond central hours and minutes and the seconds-subdial at 9, actually offers the added functionality of the date at 6. Despite that small change, the movement looks exactly the same as it did in the limited edition, which is good news, as the large sapphire opening does provide a nice view of the movement and its cool, vintage steering wheel-inspired winding rotor. The three-hand movement runs at 4 Hertz and has "50+ hours" of power reserve.