Bellusso Jewelers Blog

Bellusso Jewelers Blog
2018-08-29

In the world of watchmaking, one term seems to continually recur: Meters. The word has multiple meanings, depending on how it is used. Here, we offer a quick and simple guide to the most popular uses of the word as it relates to timepieces.

Meter: As a free-standing word, meters refers to depth. A watch is water resistant to a particular number of meters. There are approximately 3 feet to a meter, so a watch that is water resistant to 100 meters, for instance, is water resistant to almost 300 feet.

Diameter: As with other facets of life, the diameter of a timepiece refers to its size from side to side.

Tachymeter: This is generally a scale that, much like a car speedometer, allows for measuring speed on a chronograph watch. Generally, a tachymeter scale is found on the bezel of the watch or on an inner chapter ring.

Pulsometer: As its name implies, the pulsometer function on a watch enables one to measure heart beats. The user starts the chronograph when he or she feels the first pulse and then counts 15 or 30 pulse beats before stopping the chronograph. The seconds hand points to the corresponding number of heart beats per minute.

Telemeter: This feature on a chronograph watch enables the wearer to calculate distance in relation to the wearer by using the speed of sound. It sounds a bit daunting to use at first, but is generally simple (depending on the watch). The wearer starts the chronograph when the event begins, and stops it when the event ends. The seconds’ hand points to the telemeter scale that approximates the distance from the wearer and the event.

Chronometer: A chronometer is not a tool, per se, that offers a calculation. Instead, it is a watch whose movement has passed a series of intense timing tests under different conditions (heat, humidity, pressure, etc.) and is deemed to accurate enough to  receive  an official chronometer certification by the testing facility. The most well-known Swiss facility, Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, offers the COSC certification, but other testing observatories exist.

2018-08-22

As people lead more active lifestyles, shock resistance has to come into play with top watches. As such, certain watch brands are creating timepieces that are ever more resilient and can withstand the shock of being dropped or otherwise being subjected to outside forces.

In order for a watch to be shock resistant, the movement, and particularly certain parts of it, must be protected. This includes the tiny pivots that hold the balance wheel in place. Generally, by using a spring suspension system for the balance wheel, watch brands can compensate for small shocks. If you hear that the watch is equipped with an Incabloc system, you can rest assured your watch can withstand shock. The Incabloc system was one of the first shock-resistant methods. Invented in 1934, it is a spring-loaded mounting system for the jewel bearings that support the balance wheel. Since its invention, it has pretty much become a standard in the industry for accomplishing shock resistance as it enables the balance wheel to move laterally or vertically when subjected to shock.

According to the International Organization of Standardization (ISO), a watch must undergo certain tests to be deemed shock resistant. One of the tests includes simulating a watch falling from about three feet onto a hardwood surface. If, after that drop, the watch remains accurate to a  range of +/- 60 seconds/day, it is shock resistant.

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Photo courtesy: Incabloc

Of course, the Incabloc system and other spring-loaded systems are not the only way to render a watch shock resistant. Some top-notch brands are also turning to high-tech materials that are less susceptible to shock in movements. Some are developing containers for the housings, and yet others are developing all new case constructions that offer shock-absorbing components, or have pulleys and other moving parts suspending the balance wheel. If you are active, you may want to inquire about the shock resistance of your watch.

2018-08-15

Often we get questions from customers about mechanical watches. Generally, they'd like to understand the difference between mechanical self-winding watches and hand-winding watches. Here, we explain the difference in simple terms...

A mechanical watch is made of hundreds of tiny parts that work together without using batteries (as in quartz watches) or without use of solar power. The mechanical components power the watch and track the time (and often a lot more than just the time).

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Hand-Winding Mechanicals

Essentially, a hand-wound — also sometimes referred to as a manual-wind watch — is a timepiece that has an inner movement that must be wound by the wearer on a regular basis. The watch is generally wound via the crown in a singular direction to wind the inner spring and power the watch. As the crown is turned, it sets a small dance into motion thanks to a complicated system of gears that slowly transmit the energy from the crown to a main spring that is coiled inside a barrel. When the crown won't turn any longer, the spring is fully wound. It then slowly starts to unwind, releasing power to the watch via another series of gears and wheels, including a main balance wheel that helps to regulate the release of energy for consistent timekeeping. If the wearer forgets to wind the watch, the energy runs out and the watch stops working until it is set and wound again.

Automatic/Self-Winding Mechanicals

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In an automatic watch — also referred to as a self-winding watch — the movement is built differently than that of a hand-wound watch. It consists of a "rotor" or "oscillator" that is powered by the movement of the wearer's wrist. As the wrist moves, it automatically moves the rotor, which, as it swings, winds the mainspring inside its barrel. The power lasts for a specified amount of time (referred to as power reserve) if the watch is not being worn, but as long as the watch is worn, it will continually wind itself. Stop in any time to check out our wonderful array of mechanical watches.

2018-08-08

As more and more watch brands delve into the realm of high-tech materials for watch cases and bracelets, we are witnessing a host of wonderful new ceramic watches emerge on the market. However, not all ceramics are the same. High-tech engineered ceramic is one of the hardest and most scratch-resistant materials for watches. The cases and bracelets — as long as the watch is water resistant — can get wet without any impact, as the material is durable. As such, this is a great material for summertime watches because they can weather the elements and go the distance.

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Additionally, ceramic is a very lightweight material, so the watch doesn't feel heavy on the wrist. It also is temperature resistant and won't stick to the wrist in humid climates the way a leather strap would.

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Properly engineered ceramic is typically a blend of oxides, carbides, nitrates and zirconium that are mixed, compressed and heated to offer a great polished look that disguises its rugged factors. Because of the luster of ceramic, it also looks great on the wrist so a sporty watch can take on a more urban chic elegant tone, as well.

The first engineered ceramic watches were introduced in the mid-1980s by Swiss watch brand Rado. It took some time before other brands made their foray into ceramic, but in the past years, it has become all the rage. Typically, ceramic for watches is white or black, but some brands are finally experimenting with adding color for gray, brown or even bold red.

2018-07-25

Just like your car needs regular maintenance, so, too, does your fine mechanical watch. Let's face it, it is comprised of hundreds of tiny mechanical parts, as well as lubricants that — if they get old, dry or sticky — can affect the way your watch performs.

How often a watch should be serviced is the real question... and the answer varies depending on the age of the watch, the brand and the movement inside. Today's mechanical watches do not necessarily need servicing as often as older watches because today's haute horology watches often have silicon parts inside, or ceramic ball bearings or other components that reduce friction and wear and tear. Generally, we suggest that new watches be serviced at least every five to seven years.

Similarly, if you have a watch you bought more than a decade ago, it should also be serviced every five years at minimum to keep it running smoothly. Other vintage watches (generally watches made before 1985) need more frequent servicing. Our suggestion is once every three or four years.

Essentially, full servicing of a watch entails removing the case back, disassembling the movement, cleaning of the components and then a reassembling of the movement with all new lubricants. All new gaskets are also added to the watch and a final testing is done to ensure it is fully water resistant and in prefect running order.  Because full servicing can be time consuming, we do ask our customers to be patient, but we will keep you apprised every step of the way. If you are unsure if your watch needs to be serviced or not, stop in any time to discuss it with us.

2018-07-18

Recently, a relatively new auction house based in New York City, Fortuna, held its two-day Summer Auctions of jewelry and its first-ever Important Watches auction. In two days, the auction total topped $2.1 million, with about a third of that coming from the watch auction.

The hot tickets of the night included a Rolex Daytona "Paul Newman" and a very impressive Breguet Tourbillon. The particular model that attracted attention is an 18-karat gold watch with white enamel dial with retrograde indications and off-set hour/minutes sub-dial at 12:00 to balance the tourbillon aperture at 6:00. The reverse side of the timepiece features a sapphire crystal that allows for viewing of the meticulously engraved gold plate.

Other notable Breguet watches included the Breguet Type XX pilot's watch, first created in the 1950s and a benchmark ever since for aviation timepieces, as well as the brand's flyback and calendar chronograph timepieces. Stop in any time to see our selection of fine Breguet watches.

2018-07-16

We are pleased to partner with ATimelyPerspective.com, the most authoritative source for watch reviews and news, to bring even more in-depth content to our blog. This article first appeared there.

A. Lange *& Sohne 1815 Tourbillon Enamel watch.

If you are a regular reader of ATimelyPerspective, you know that I have tremendous respect and affinity for German watch brand A. Lange  & Sohne. This brand experienced its rebirth around the time I was just starting in the watch industry, so I have witnessed its tremendous growth and success. Each year, the brand surprises me with new timepieces that either offer pioneering technology or stunning classic aesthetics. Now, the brand once again delights us with the A. Lange & Sohne 1815 Tourbillon with Enamel Dial that is as classically beautiful as they come.

A. Lange *& Sohne 1815 Tourbillon Enamel watch is powered by the L102.1 caliber with two patented mechanisms.

The special edition of A. Lange & Söhne’s first tourbillon watch is now equipped with stop seconds and ZERO-RESET mechanisms. The caliber L102.1 features a large aperture at 6 o’clock to reveal the tourbillon escapement suspended beneath a black polished bridge in addition to the mechanisms. The patented Zero-Reset mechanism was first introduced in 1997 with the Langematik model. It interacts with the stop-seconds mechanism (that was first unveiled by the brand for the tourbillon and patented in 2008) to assure one-second accuracy when stopping and setting the timepiece. This new edition of 100 pieces with white enamel dial pays tribute to the precision that the brand is recognized for. The movement is meticulously finished and visible via a sapphire caseback.

A. Lange & Sohne 1815 Tourbillon Enamel watch is powered by the L102.1 caliber with two patented mechanisms that include zero-reset and stop-seconds.

The  39.5mm watch is crafted in platinum and each piece is numbered. The white enamel dial requires more than 30 steps to create and is an incredibly time-consuming process. With red  “12” fired on, and stylized black numerals, the watch is finished with a railway minute track and blued steel hands for a rendition reminiscent of the finest pocket watches of the 19th and 20th centuries. It retails for $197,200.

Anthony de Haas, Director Product Development at A. Lange & Söhne, answers questions on the new 1815 Tourbillon with enamel dial:

What has inspired you to equip the 1815 TOURBILLON with an enamel dial and what is the message that A. Lange & Söhne is sending with this watch?

“In a way, the 1815 TOURBILLON is one of the most quintessential A. Lange & Söhne timepieces because it offers a well-balanced blend of the brand’s traditional aspects and pioneering inventions of the new era. The large tourbillon is combined with two patents, the ZERO RESET and the stop-seconds feature for the tourbillon. These intricate mechanisms are characteristic of our understated approach to fine watchmaking. They work behind the scenes like “hidden heroes” with the single purpose of enhancing the accuracy and the functional performance of the watch. The enamel dial accentuates the classic design, which is adapted from Lange’s pocket watches with their Arabic numerals, “chemin de fer” minute scale and blued steel hands. The basic idea was to build a credible bridge from the origins of watchmaking to the present.”

What is behind the decision to print the 12 in red?

“The red 12 is a design statement with a nod to the history of fine watchmaking. It brought liveliness to the dial of a pocket watch – and does it still today. Lange’s dedication to historic authenticity comes at a price: The red 12 has to be separately imprinted and stoved.”

What is the biggest challenge in making the enamel dial of the new 1815 TOURBILLON model?

“Enamel is capricious and can’t be hurried. The process takes several days, during which the various steps have to be repeated over and over again. Absolute cleanliness is paramount because the inclusion of even the smallest particle of dust or dirt would mar the flawless surface.”

Why does the watch have a different case height compared to the standard version?

“Compared to the standard version with a case height of 11.1 millimeters, the new model is 0.2 millimeters higher. The applied enamel results in a slightly thicker dial than the standard dial made of solid silver.”

What is so special about the patented stop-seconds mechanism and how does it interact with the ZERO-RESET function?

“While a stop-seconds mechanism is quite common in a modern wristwatch, it was for a long time not to be found in a tourbillon movement. The reason is that it was considered to be impossible to stop the oscillating balance wheel inside the rotating tourbillon cage. Lange overcame this problem with a stop lever featuring a hinged V-shaped braking spring. It reliably stops the balance wheel, even if one arm of the spring is resting against one of the three cage posts. By interacting with the added ZERO-RESET system, the tourbillon cage stops instantaneously and the seconds hand jumps to the zero position, much like in a chronograph. That makes it easy to synchronize the watch to the second.”

2018-07-11

One of the key questions we get from novice collectors when they read about watches and the technical specifications of the movement is, "Are the rubies inside the watch real?"

In fact, unless a new watch utilizes high-tech ceramic ball bearings in certain parts of a watch movement, all mechanical movements utilize synthetic gemstones as bearings instead of metal bearings that need oiling.

The synthetic gems — typically rubies, but sometimes sapphires — eliminate the need for oiling and significantly reduce friction and wear and tear on the movement parts,  enhancing the life of the movement. Sometimes, those rubies are visible via a transparent sapphire caseback, or via a skeleton movement where so much of the metal is pared away to allow viewing of the superb mechanisms.

Rubies have other added benefits to watchmakers, as well. Because they can withstand temperature changes without any reaction (unlike metal bearings) they offer higher stability. Synthetic rubies are generally created using aluminum and chromium oxide that are heated, fused and crystalized. They are not as valuable as genuine rubies, making them more affordable to use. This is especially important because a watch can have anywhere from a few rubies to dozens inside the movement.

Setting these minuscule jewels into their designated spots is no easy feat and watchmakers use microscopes and tweezers to accomplish the job.  In the end, the look is beautiful and the purpose is practical.

2018-07-04

The Fourth of July is here — a day to celebrate America's freedom and independence, and to show off our patriotism. It's a time to pull out the red, white and blue clothing and accessories and to have a good old-fashioned American barbecue. Looking for the perfect watch to show off your American spirit not just on Independence Day, but all year long? Look no further than the bold Corum Bubble Flag watch.

The Corum Bubble watch is a real icon in time. Introduced back in the late 20th century, the Bubble features a bold domed sapphire crystal that makes it immediately identifiable from across a room. Corum offers two versions of the Corum Bubble Flag watch and two sizes:  Bubble 47mm and Big Bubble 52mm.

Each watch is crafted in titanium for ultra-light weight. The Bubble 47 Flag watch is powered by the CO 082 automatic movement with 42 hours of power reserve, while the Big Bubble 52 Flag watch is powered by the CO 403 automatic movement. There are two versions of the 47mm Bubble Flag watch. Each of the American flag timepieces is water resistant to 100 meters, finished with a vulcanized rubber strap and features red and blue SuperLumiNova hands for easy reading at night when the fireworks are done.

2018-06-27

It is official: summer is here, and with it comes short sleeves, more casual attire and a host of wonderful outdoor activities — many including water. As such, this is a good time to offer a little insight into the right watch strap to wear during the summer, as we often get questions about rubber straps, bracelets and leather.  If you are thinking of switching a strap, or even buying a new watch for summer, here are a few pros and cons to know about the variety of straps on the market for both men and women.

Rubber Straps

Pros: Rubber straps generally offer a sporty look and can withstand many of the outdoor elements, including sun, rain, water and rough activities. The fact that rubber can weather the elements makes this material great for water sports, kayaking, boating, swimming and more. Generally, it dries quickly, as well, and it shouldn't lose its color or fade.

Cons: Perhaps the only drawback to a rubber strap is that if you live in a hot climate, and are not indulging in water sports, the inside of the strap could get a little sticky in humid weather.

Leather Straps

Pros: Very comfortable, leather straps come in innumerable colors, leather types and textures. From calfskin to exotics, such as snake, stingray, iguana, alligator and more, leather straps can be thin or thick and can look brand new or have a distressed, vintage appeal. Variety is a great plus here, because you can pretty much find the look you want with no problem at all. Because leather straps are relatively easy to take care of, and can be cleaned with just a wipe of a damp cloth and dish detergent, they are a good choice for anytime wear. The look is not as casual as a rubber strap, and can easily go from  weekend to work.

Cons: However, like rubber straps. In severe heat and humidity, certain leather straps also tend to get a bit sticky on the wrist.

Fabric Straps

Pros: Fabric straps are a great alternative for summer. Also available in a variety of types, fabrics and colors, the most prevalent fabric is canvas or nylon because they are rugged and durable. Fabric straps do not get sticky with heat or humidity and dry quickly once out of the water.  Many people prefer a fabric NATO-style strap because the system of attaching the strap acts as extra security, because there are no spring bars.

Cons: Sometimes NATO straps can be a bit confusing to change. The strap usually slips through the top lugs, passes over the case back and then loops though the bottom lugs. However, until you have changed them a few times, it can be tricky.

Metal or Ceramic Bracelets

Pros: These bracelets can go the distance with you, especially if the they are made of titanium, high-tech ceramic or stainless steel.

Cons: Gold bracelets generally scratch easily, so we don't recommend taking the gold watch bracelet mountain climbing with you. Additionally, the heavier material will feel heavier on the wrist and could induce perspiration.

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