Bellusso Jewelers Blog

Bellusso Jewelers Blog

When you are buying a fine timepiece with a mechanical movement inside, the technical specifications for the caliber usually list the number of jewels. Typically, those jewels are synthetic rubies, but sometimes brands use synthetic blue sapphires, as well — for a bit of a different look. The thing is, unless the movement is visible via a transparent caseback, you don't even see those jewels. So then, why use them at all? The reason is simple and effective: using synthetic jewels in the movement as bearings actually reduces friction within the caliber and therefore gives the movement a longer life by reducing wear and tear.

Adding jewels instead of mechanical metal pieces to do the bearings' job helps ensure accuracy. It also enables the watch brand to make the movement smaller in size and in weight than it would if the parts were made of metal. Additionally, rubies can withstand temperature changes and so offer stability. However, setting these minuscule jewels into their designated spots on the movement is no easy task. In fact, seasoned watchmakers must do this job using tweezers and microscopes. In the end, though, the look is beautiful, and it is great if you get to see the rubies (or sapphires) in all their glory in the timepiece.

As noted, these jewels are synthetically developed. Most use aluminum and chromium oxide that undergo heating, fusing and crystallizing processes. These rubies are not as valuable as natural rubies.  The number of rubies that are used in each watch movement varies depending on the timepiece and its complexity. Typically, a three-hands watch will have about 11 to 17 rubies in it. Generally, though, more complex calibers and more moving components will demand the use of more rubies.


For a long time, IWC has been synonymous with pilot watches and other big, bold timepieces that go the distance. A lesser known fact is the brand also offers some pretty stunning watches for women, and has for a few years now. Of particular note are timepieces in the brand's famed Portofino collection. This line, named for the seaside village in Italy that has played home to movie stars and wealth over the decades, is all about elegance and sophistication.


Many of the pieces in the line offer small complications for women, such as moon phase indications and dual time zone readouts. The dials are exquisite mother of pearl in hues ranging from white to brown and blue. Additionally, galvanic dials with sunburst patterns and diamond markers grace the series. These are stunning watches that offer beauty and braun, as most are powered by self-winding mechanisms that keep today's savvy woman in tune with the times. We invite you to stop in any time and see our fine selection of IWC watches for women (and for men).


We've all heard the term "shock resistant" in the watchmaking world. However, what does this term really mean and is your timepiece resistant enough to absorb shocks caused by falling, dropping, exerting too much acceleration at once, and more?


It is a viable question in today's fast-paced world where active lifestyles put us on the edge of powerful sports and lifestyle engagements all the time. As such, today's top watchmakers are going to new heights to make their watches sturdier so they can withstand the rigors of daily life.

Essentially, a truly shock-resistant watch is one whose movement is not damaged when dropped or subjected to constant impactful motions (i.e., worn on the wrist during a tennis match). Generally, watch brands achieve this via different types of suspension systems for the balance wheel. Such systems include pivots that can hold a balance wheel in place, while offering enough "give" to go with the situation or even more complex multi-level suspension processes.


The most commonly used system is the Incablock — invented in the early 1930s and perfected time and again. Incablock is a trade name for a spring-loaded mounting system for the jewel bearings that support the mechanical watch’s balance wheel. Some brands today combine the Incablock system with synthetic jewels, silicon hairsprings, non-ferrous escape wheels, outer housing containers, ceramic ball bearings and other high-tech materials and trains that make the watch movement ever more resistant to blunt force trauma.


The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) has also issued certain standards of shock resistance. In the watch world, to be called shock resistant, a watch must meet certain tests and controls and adhere to the standards of shock resistance issued by the ISO, including keeping accuracy while undergoing shock of  +/- 60 seconds/day. Additionally, most watch brands using shock resistant movements also use top-quality case and crystal materials to avoid breakage.

Is your watch shock resistant? If you have purchased a certified chronometer, yes. Other watches that are shock resistant mostly include dive watches, pilot watches and certain high-tech sport watches. Stop in any time to discuss shock resistance with us and to find the watch that is right for your active lifestyle.


For those of you who love vintage inspiration, the new timepieces unveiled last week by Vacheron Constantin are going to grab your attention immediately — so be prepared. The cushion-shaped case, with inner round dial, is easily one of the more alluring vintage shapes of all time, and in the Vacheron Constantin Harmony collection, the brand has offered vintage looks with updated technology.

It was just over a year ago when Vacheron Constantin unveiled its first Harmony collection of cushion-shaped limited-edition watches (inspired by one of its first chronographs, produced in 1928) in celebration of its 260th anniversary. Now, the brand unveils 10 new models that are not limited editions and that will go into production. Each of the watches circles around complications, such as chronograph, calendar, dual time — with a couple of special pieces offering tourbillon escapement or pulsimeter functions.

Among the new models is a dual time zone piece, a double-pusher chronograph, a complete calendar, a monopusher chronograph with pulsimeter scale and a new tourbillon monopusher chronograph with big aperture at 12:00.

Harmony 7810S/000G-B142

Among our favorites is the Complete Calendar watch — a stunning representation of time with a harmoniously designed dial. Powered by a new in-house-made 308-part movement — the 2460 QC caliber — the watch offers date, day, month and moon phase indications and age of the moon. Created in 18-karat rose gold, the watch blends a black minute track with red date, day and month indications and a blue and gold moon aperture. The astronomical indications require adjustment only once every 122 years (instead of every three years for most conventional moon phase watches).

The Dual Time Zone watch is also a powerful and useful piece. Powered by the self-winding Calibre 2460 DT, this watch features a small subdial for the second time zone and another for day/night indication. There are multiple versions being offered for both men and women, crafted  in 18-karat white or pink gold, and some with gems. We invite you in later this month to see the wonderful new collection.

Harmony dual time small model 7805S/000G-B155

We are often questioned about what "power reserve" really means, so here we take an in-depth look at what the Swiss refer to as "Reserve de Marche."

Essentially, when a mechanical watch is fully wound, it will continue to work for a designated number of hours — even when laid on your dresser — before needing to be rewound. The length of time the watch will continue to run is called its power reserve. Watches have differing lengths of power reserve based on their mechanics.

This is how it works: To power a watch, a host of gears, teeth, barrels and springs must interact. But it is the spring and barrel that essentially keep the watch operating. A long piece of metal is tightly wound into a spring and then placed inside a cylinder or barrel. This is where the energy is stored. The spring releases its tension in a consistent manner, offering constant energy to power the watch at a regular rate.

The amount of power a watch has is determined by many factors, including the number of barrels and springs. A watch with a longer power reserve will usually have two barrels and two springs.

Additionally, power reserve can differ from watch to watch depending on whether the mechanical watch is manually wound (by the wearer) or is an automatic watch (wherein the rotor of the watch automatically winds during use). The norm on an automatic watch is 36 to 42 hours, while a manual wind watch can be equipped with enough power reserve to last for week (and in extreme circumstances, longer).

Some watches offer what is a called a power reserve indicator on either the dial or the case back. This tells how much power is left in the watch before needing to be wound. Indicators are most often shown via a subdial with a hand pointing to a number that shows the remaining power. Sometimes that indication shows a color palette instead of a number. This type of indicator often displays a blue or white color and then a bright red area. When the hand is in the red, it means it's time to wind the watch.

Other indications may use plus or minus signs, an up or down indication, or a linear read out. Some watches do not offer power reserve indications and you just need to know when you wore the watch last to know that it may need to be wound to avoid having to reset the time. Even better, you can use an automatic watch winder to keep your automatic timepieces wound perfectly all the time.


If you are a watch lover and plan to be in New York City on October 14 and 15, you are going to want to visit the Watch Time New York exhibition, with top watch brands, expert panel discussions, watch book signings and so much more.


Organized by WatchTime Magazine, the annual luxurious consumer event is held at Manhattan's Gotham Hall. This year, more than 20 of the world’s finest watch brands will not only be showing their latest and greatest timepieces, but also will be bringing in watchmakers, artisans and even celebrity brand ambassadors so that consumers can get a taste of watchmaking from every perspective.

Attendees can mingle with watch company executives, industry experts and fellow watch aficionados, including Instagram star Anish Bhatt, founder of the Watch Anish watch blog. A full lineup commences on Saturday, October 15th, including a talk on “Vintage Collecting” presented by Phillips Auctions, with WatchTime Editor-at-Large Joe Thompson; an expert panel discussion of the distinctive quality of hand-made luxury mechanical watches, moderated by Media Personality and Reporter Bill McCuddy; a presentation on the history and evolution of dive watches by WatchTime Editor-in-Chief Roger Ruegger; and book signings with authors and industry experts, including 33-year watch veteran journalist Roberta Naas, author of six books on watches and timekeeping.


Brands strutting their stuff at Watch Time New York will include A. Lange & Sohne, Armin Strom, Bell & Ross, Blancpain, Breguet, Carl F. Bucherer, Corum, Harry Winston, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jaquet Droz, Jean Rousseau, MB & F, Moritz Grossmann, Nomos Glashutte, Omega, Perrelet, Romain Gauthier, RGM, Seiko, Peter Speake-Marin, Tutima, Urban Jurgensen and Vacheron Constantin.


It's the time of year when the auction houses are getting all their timepieces prepared for the start of an exciting season.

We've said it here many times before, vintage watches — and gently used newer, collectible watches — hold their value and even gain in value. The auctions are evidence of that. In fact, this fall, we will see top lots coming from Christie's, Sotheby's, Antiquorum and Phillips Auction houses, as well as from a few smaller auctioneers.


Antiquorum Auctioneers has just announced its October sale of “Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces” to be held on October 8th at The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. There will be 324 outstanding timepieces up for bid, including an impressive selection of A. Lange & Sohne, Breguet, Patek Philippe, Omega and Rolex watches, among others.


Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, has also announced its November sale: FOUR. This auction is expected to break all records — as several truly unusual finds will be sold, including a rare stainless steel Patek Philippe Reference 1518 that has never been on the block before. Additionally, there is a fine prototype Omega Alaska II watch being auctioned.


There is also a Breguet Type XX “Sir Jack Brabham” watch on the block. It is a tribute to the three-time world champion of Formula One in 1959, 1960 and 1966. Expected to sell for between 20,000 and 40,000 CHF, this watch was gifted to Brabham – who built his own car – by Esso. Brabham actually appeared in several Esso Extra Motor Oil ads. The watch, sold to Esso in 1960, is a stainless steel chronograph and the caseback is engraved: “Esso J.B. Champion Du Monde 1959.”

We will keep you posted of auction results, but want to remind our watch lovers that a watch can be a true investment item. Stop in any time to talk to us about vintage timepieces.


Last week we covered how new materials are influencing watch performance both inside and out. In one of those posts we discussed how materials for cases, bezels, bracelets and straps are becoming more advanced in terms of durability, lighter weight and scratch resistance.

However, what we haven’t talked about is the very essence of the watch: the case itself. In fact, one of the most important design elements of a timepiece is its shape. From round to rectangular, from square to oblong, the look of a watch determines its appeal – and that starts with the case shape and its profile.

All cases are not created equal. A watch case can be artful, thoughtful, simple and elegant, or it can be bold, three dimensional, rugged and high tech in nature. One case may be easier to machine and put together than another case. In fact, cases can be milled from a solid block of material or can have dozens — even hundreds — of parts that must be put together.


In the early years of the 20th century, during the Art Deco period, many cases were square and rectangular (such as the famed Cartier Tank or the iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso). The Roaring Twenties yielded unusually shaped geometric cases and ergonomically curved cases, as well. However, by the late 1930s and into the 1940s and 1950s, we began seeing more round watches. This is because people were beginning to demand water resistant watches, and it was much easier to make a round watch water resistant than a square one with so many edges and angles.

Once the utilitarian need of water resistance was conquered, brands began working on cases that became art – and new shapes appeared, including sculpted cases, coin cases, Dali-inspired shapes and more.


Today’s luxury watch brands offer a case for everyone. While certain sports watch companies may mill a case from a single block of metal to render it more sturdy and rugged, other brands build complex cases with dozens of parts to demonstrate their abilities to produce a case worthy of the movement inside. These multiple-part cases are no weaker or less water resistant than a solid-block case, as long as the brand has focused on gaskets, fittings, screw-lock casebacks and crowns, and an overall precision interplay of parts.


The making of a watchcase starts from a mold—a plaster-like or 3-D printed rendition of what the case will look like. When all the parts and angles are approved, the case material is selected and high-precision cutting machines mill the case parts (lugs, sides, back, bezel, etc.). Each of these parts is then fitted together and properly fastened and finished with stunning angles, bevels and more — all of which lead to a highly recognizable finished timepiece.


It is no easy feat making a case that is distinguishable from across a crowded room, but top watch brands do it. Stop into our store anytime and we can do a side-by-side comparison of some of the finest cases and shapes on the market.


A mechanical watch is filled with hundreds of tiny gears, teeth, ball bearings and other parts that work together harmoniously to tick off the seconds, minutes, hours and other functions a watch may hold. Typically, these mechanical movements, like the engine of a fine car, are lubricated to keep everything running smoothly.

The constant wear and tear of metal against metal, however, often causes friction, wears down the parts and eventually, causes the oil to dry out. This is much of the reason servicing of a fine luxury watch is typically recommended every several years (just as a car needs to be serviced).

With the advent of new materials, though, certain watch brands have eliminated much of the friction — and the wear and tear — meaning a watch can go significantly (years) longer without needing that lubrication or servicing. Such materials include silicium and ceramic ball bearings.


There are several pioneers in the industry that have led the way when it comes to developing and using new movement materials. Breguet is one such brand. The company has been using high tech materials for movement parts for decades – ensuring longer life for its calibers. It also continues to develop new realms and to collect new patents for its inventions.

We invite you in any time to get a hands-on experience with some of these and other high-performance brands.


While watchmaking technology has been steadily improving for more than five centuries, there always seems to be room for improvement. Today’s finest watchmakers continually push the boundaries when it comes to innovation – offering new and exciting technology, functions and even materials.


Gold, platinum and steel will forever be forged into watch cases, but today, many brands also take their inspiration from the space, aviation, automotive and medical worlds when it comes to super high-tech materials.


Among the favorites are engineered ceramics, multiple grades of high-tech titanium, hypoallergenic alloys, aluminium (a derivative of aluminum that can be colored and is super light weight), carbon fiber (a dense yet light-weight material that is super strong thanks to the layering or weaving of thousands of strands of fibers), kevlar and more. Some brands are even working with transparent sapphire to create cases that are virtually see through.


The point behind these materials is not just to offer an exciting marketing angle, but, more to the point, to offer more durability, more scratch- or shock-resistance and lighter weight. Indeed, the materials used have to meet a clear objective, whether that is achieving a certain color, a certain weight or a certain aesthetic appeal.

Some brands are even building their own alloys of gold that will keep the gold from scratching or wearing in any way. This, of course, makes them even more precious in the long run.


Additionally, brands are even perfecting the coatings they apply to the materials. Years ago, when one wanted to add a different color to a metal, the piece was bathed in an electroplating process. Today, at the high end of the luxury watch spectrum, a host of coating methods can be employed, including PVD (physical vapor deposition), DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) applications and other methods that make the coating last longer and resist scratching.

We invite you in any time to see our vast array of timepieces that utilize high-tech materials in their cases, bracelets, bezels and straps.

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