As 2014 comes to a close, and as we await — eagerly — the dawn of 2015, we wish to take a few moments to reflect on the year and to thank our readers. It has been an exciting year for us. Among other news, we embarked on strengthening our watch coverage so that we can better keep our customers and potential customers educated and well informed. We look forward to bringing you more news and exciting products in the New Year. For now, we wish you a peaceful and happy end to 2014.
It is well known that pocket watches were sometimes adapted to be worn on straps around the wrist perhaps as early as the late 16th century, but debate still lingers about which company developed the first true wristwatch — a watch precisely intended to be worn on the wrist.
Watch historians can confirm that the wristwatch was used on the battlefield in the late 1880s. The innovation proved to be a far more efficient way for soldiers to read and synchronize time. Previously, they had to rely on a pocket watch that had to be pulled out of their uniforms. Girard-Perregaux was the first brand to produce large quantities of wristwatches for the German military in the 1880s. While the wristwatch was a great innovation for the military, the truth of the matter is that the first wristwatch in the world was created decades earlier.
Both the Guinness Book of World Records and a company known as the World Record Academy have deemed the first wristwatch to be a jewelry item made in 1868 by Patek Philippe. The elaborate gold bracelet watch was made for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary and was designed specifically for use on the wrist.
Breguet, however, also lays claim to having created a watch specifically for a woman’s wrist — half a century earlier. Its archives state that in response to a commission from the Queen of Naples, dated 8 June 1810, Abraham-Louis Breguet began creating a unique wristwatch. Completed two and a half years later on December 21, 1812, the Breguet No. 2639 timepiece for the wrist featured a gold guilloché oblong-shaped case and was a repeating watch held by a wristlet of twisted hair and gold thread. Unfortunately that first wristwatch is untraceable today.
Capt & Freundler a’ Geneve
What is known is that in the Musee d’Horlogerie du Locle, Switzerland, there is a bracelet watch on display made by Capt & Freundler a’ Geneve, circa 1813, that seems to be a small pocket watch on an gem-adorned bracelet.
With the holidays here, you may be searching for some great stocking stuffers or an extra small gift. Maybe the watch lover in your life would enjoy one of these great reads revolving around time and timepieces.
For the lover of luxury watches and the true collector, try “The World’s Most Expensive Watches” by Ariel Adams. The book is a compendium of some of the finest luxury watch brands and the most expensive watch each brand has to offer. The hardcover coffee table book features great images and details of each watch so the savvy reader can fully absorb what makes these timepieces a cut above the rest.
For the woman watch collector, “Jewels of Time” by Roberta Naas is a great hardcover coffee table book that goes into great depth about the evolution of women’s watches, the history and the most exciting current-day women’s watches on the market. Chapters include a look at mechanical watches, artistic dial watches, secret watches, enamel watches and so much more.
For those who love a good novel, you won’t want to miss reading “The Timekeeper” by author Mitch Albom (who also wrote "Tuesdays with Morrie"). The work of fiction revolves all around the meaning of time and how one man actually became Father Time. The first man on Earth, who figured out how to count the hours and create a clock, also suffered great punishment for trying to measure this gift from God. It is a great read and an impressive tale.
Finally, for those who love history as well as timepieces, and maybe even have a penchant for sailing, take a close look at “Longitude” by Dava Sobel. While not a new release, this fact-based, soft-cover book takes a look at how many sailors lost their lives in shipwrecks around the world back in the 1500s, 1600s and 1700s because they had no navigational tools to assist with finding longitude. It then traces the all-out competition to find a chronometer that would be seaworthy to assist sailors in their travels. It is a good read for history and sailing lovers.
Once inspired by these books, you may want to stop in to take a close look at the great watches we're offering for the holidays.
This week, we invite you to join us for a rare and exclusive exhibition of the legendary Montres Corum brand. Beginning on December 24 and running through New Year's Eve, we will have a special viewing of the incredible collection of Corum timepieces on display and for sale.
Bellusso is proud to be one of only four sites in the United States that will host this special showing of historical pieces and unique pieces, as well as current production watches. Included in the lineup are several diamond and precious stone Golden Bridge watches for men and women — as this is the largest exhibition of the iconic Golden Bridge with famed vertical baguette mechanical movement.
Also on display are several highly complex watches, such as the brand’s Titanium Minute Repeater and the stunning Golden Bridge watch with a hand-carved 18-karat gold dragon encased within. The event marks the world premiere of the brand’s new double tourbillon mechanism — and we are so excited to share these mechanical wonders with our customers.
With integrated Manufacture located in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, Corum is renowned for regularly creating unique timepieces. Since its inception in 1955, the brand has released watches that have come to be 20th century icons: the Coin Watch, the Golden Bridge and the Admiral’s Cup. Today, Corum continues its creative, visionary path.
The brand works closely with one of the foremost watchmakers of our time, Vincent Calabrese, who is the original inventor of the Corum Golden Bridge watch. A self-taught watchmaker, Calabrese became a street watchmaker in Italy when he was just a young teenager, having first garnered a few years of experience at a local watchmaking shop – where he started when he was just 12.
Years later, living in Switzerland and working for a variety of watch brands, Calabrese ventured out on his own, creating a host of incredible mechanical pieces. His passion was for the mechanics and he wanted the movements to be seen, not hidden behind a dial. Hence, the invention of the Golden Bridge — a highly unusual vertically built movement with linear gear trains that seems to be suspended in air and are visible via a transparent exterior.
Calabrese developed a working patented prototype that won a distinguished award in 1977 at the Geneva International Inventor’s show. Then-Corum owner and founder, Rene Bannwart, took notice of the watch and immediately struck up a relationship with Calabrese and purchased the patent. It was in 1980 that Corum introduced its first Golden Bridge watch under the direction of Calabrese. That watch drew immediate attention globally and, today, more than three decades later, the Golden Bridge is an iconic masterpiece.
Other icons of the brand include the famed Admiral’s Cup nautically inspired watch. This collection also continues to be a best seller for Corum internationally — and is especially coveted by sailors and seafarers. We are thrilled to have an extensive collection of Corum watches in our store at all times, but we encourage you to visit us this week for the exhibition. If you prefer, you can call us to schedule a private viewing.
Recognized as the rarest and most precious metal on earth – platinum is intensely coveted. This shimmering white material has been used in watch designs for more than a century and in jewelry designs for even longer. Indeed, if one owns a ring or necklace passed down from a grandmother, odds are it is crafted in platinum. Same, too, with an early 1900s wrist watch. Its rarity is attested to by the fact that it is estimated that all the platinum mined in the world, to date, could fit in an average-sized living room.
Because platinum in its purest form is particularly difficult to work, it is sometimes alloyed with a tiny amount of copper to attain the flexibility needed to create a particular piece. For this reason, platinum is usually 90 to 95 percent pure – making it ever more irresistible and inviting. Due to its rarity, it is naturally quite expensive—but the personal satisfaction one gets from owning something crafted in platinum is great. We invite you in to see our selection of platinum watches – they may shine as brightly as the holiday lights and will warm the heart.
Those who know A. Lange & Sohne are aware that this German brand got to spread its wings again after the reunification of East and West Germany. It was in 1994 that the brand released its first Lange 1 watch to the world — a watch that has become an icon ever since. Thus it comes as no surprise that it is the Lange 1 — in a variety of different formats — that kicks off the brand’s 20th anniversary.
The one we particularly appreciate is the A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst in platinum. The superb watch features a one-minute tourbillon escapement nestled into a black enamel dial, and a patented stop-seconds mechanism —all wrapped up in a 38.5mm platinum case. The mirror-polished hour markers against the black dial make for a classically elegant appeal and complement the superbly polished tourbillon cock.
The subseconds dial — made of black solid German silver — is slightly recessed into the main dial. The craftsmanship and finishings of the caliber L961.3 manufacture-made movement are visible via a sapphire case back that lets one admire the solarized three-quarter German silver plate and the decorated mainspring barrel. The tourbillon bridges and intermediate wheel cocks are elaborately engraved in a motif that clearly belongs to A. Lange & Sohne.
Just 20 of this piece will ever be made. While we may not have this one in the store when you stop in, we do have an incredible selection of A. Lange & Sohne complex timepieces. So if you're looking for the right watch, stop in and see us.
Last week’s series of luxury watch auctions by the finest auction houses, such as Christie's, Sotheby’s and Antiquorum, leave us ecstatic about the ever-increasing interest in watch collecting. All indications point to the fact that today’s watch buyer may well be purchasing not only an heirloom timepiece, but also a great investment watch.
Among the standouts that sold last week and made headlines around the world were several important Vacheron Constantin watches (a brand we are proud to carry in our store). Sotheby’s Important Watches sale in New York fetched $7.2 million, bringing the auction house's worldwide watch sales to $100 million for 2014. One of the top sellers there was a highly important Vacheron Constantin.
The property of a Southeastern family, the extremely rare yellow gold pocket watch was pearl set and features an enamel scene on the dial. The painting, “Le temps et les parques” was done by Jeanne Vauthey. The watch was made in 1930. It was estimated to sell for $120,000 to $180,000 but actually achieved $233,000. Stop in and see our great selection of Vacheron Constantin timepieces. Who knows, your investment today could be an “important sale” of tomorrow.
A close look at watch dials today reveals a lot. Some wear their country of origin like a badge of honor — with labels such as “Swiss” or “Swiss Made.” Sometimes, however, these labels can be misleading. Exactly what governs whether a watch can bear the words “Swiss Made” has been the subject of much debate for years in Switzerland.
Granted, at the very high end of the luxury spectrum, where most brands are fully integrated Swiss Manufactures, the concept of Swiss Made leaves nothing to interpretation or nuance. Most of these Manufactures make every component in house or rely on nearby specialists for parts (like hairsprings) that they may not be able to produce.
However, at the more affordable level — where watch brands might buy components from one place, assemble movements in another place, purchase bracelets, cases, etc., from still other places, and then finally assemble the entire watch — many variables come into play. Let’s face it, in today’s global economy, many products we believe are made locally are often produced in China, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and other countries. While that may be fine for a phone, a computer, a motorcycle or car, it is not necessarily acceptable for fine watchmaking.
Granted, not all customers care where a watch is made; not all customers want or need a timepiece made in Switzerland. Granted, too, many great watches are made outside of Switzerland. However, watches made in Switzerland are usually more highly valued and, generally, a Swiss Made label translates into a hallmark of quality.
The words “Swiss Made” are protected trademarks for the watch industry, and are defended by the Swiss Watch Federation. To be labeled Swiss Made, a watch must contain a movement made (parts, assembly, inspection) in Switzerland and cased up in Switzerland. What's more, the manufacturer must carry out the final inspections in Switzerland. A movement is considered Swiss if it has been assembled in Switzerland, inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland and the components of Swiss manufacture comprise at least 50 percent of the value of the movement itself.
To the consumer, these very strict guidelines offer protection against lesser standards and act as a seal of quality. It should be noted, though, that many affordable Swiss brands source movement component parts, cases and even bracelets from Japan and Hong Kong, and several have even established their own companies overseas to not only supply these parts to the Swiss manufacture sibling, but also to ensure their quality. By doing so, these brands are able to keep the retail price of Swiss Made watches in check — yielding affordable, fine-quality Swiss timepieces.
This past weekend wrapped up a pretty significant event in Florida: Art Basel Miami 2014. Every year the event grows and more artists and luxury brands partake. This is especially true of the watch brands. A strong number of luxury watch brands choose this venue as their playground. This year was no exception. In fact, IWC Schaffhausen used the platform to not only officially unveil its Portofino midsized watch brand (which we have written about here before), but also to unveil the superb collection of approximately 60 photos that were taken by Peter Lindbergh of celebrities that are friends of the IWC brand.
The unveiling of the photo exhibit — called Timeless Portofino — was held at the W in Miami Beach. The black and white photos selected were just a tiny portion of the thousands (21,000 photos, in fact) that Peter Lindbergh took of celebrities such as Emily Blunt, Cate Blanchett, Christoph Waltz, Ewan McGregor and Zhou Xun during a three-day weekend in Portofino where they were all —of course — wearing Portofino Midsize watches.
On hand for the press event and the evening star-studded gala were a host of celebrities, including models Adriana Lima and Karolina Kurkova, comedian Jason Alexander, actor James Marsden, and famous athletes, such as Lennox Lewis and Martina Navratilova. Following a gala dinner, guests were treated to a private afterparty with a surprise performance by singer Solange Knowles.
“IWC is thrilled to be in Miami during such an expressive festival, celebrating the artwork of Peter Lindbergh and our new Portofino Midsize collection through our ‘Timeless Portofino’ exhibition,” said IWC CEO Georges Kern.
The event was the perfect place to showcase the photo exhibit and the intriguing new Portofino Midsize collection of watches. Stop in and see our selection of IWC timepieces any time.
IWC CEO Georges Kern and model Karolina Kurkova
Bulgari has long been known as a brand that understands luxury. Founded in Rome, the brand continues to operate in the ancient city — but with a visionary eye. Additionally, it has taken its Italian designs to Switzerland, where it creates all of the Bulgari timepieces.
Among those watches is the new alluring Lvcea collection, whose sexy bracelet and overall design was inspired by the rigid, yet incredibly ergonomic, bracelet of Serpenti. True to the brand’s DNA, the dynamic new collection is geared for the sophisticated Bulgari customer who wants her watch to be noticed from across the room. Noticed and identifiable. That is exactly what Lvcea is.
With a bracelet design similar to the Serpenti – but with a different execution – those who know Bulgari will recognize the watch from 30 feet away. Offered in a variety of diamond-adorned variations in steel, two tone and gold, the Lvcea has the right balance between smoothness and sharpness, between rigidity and comfort. The Lvcea is available in quartz or automatic versions and is definitely one to see and try on to fully appreciate the sex appeal and beauty of the look. Stop in anytime.
Urwerk, an independent Swiss watch brand founded by two modern-day watchmaking geniuses, offers a host of futuristic-looking watches with functions and materials that boggle the mind. The UR-EMC is one such watch.
Housing a mechanical movement, the watch incorporates its own integrated intelligence. For URWERK, a precision timepiece should have a movement that is accurate, reliable and long lasting. Such a movement should meet specific criteria, including accuracy in 5 positions between -4 seconds and +6 seconds over 24 hours. However, while it is one thing to regulate an accurate watch in the controlled world of a workshop, performance in the sometimes-extreme real world (i.e. on the wrist) can be very different. Changes in position and temperature, and shocks, can all adversely affect isochronism (timing regularity) of a wristwatch. The challenge with EMC was in developing a mechanical watch that can be regulated by its owner to obtain the finest chronometric performance. EMC is the first precision mechanical watch that enables timing to be both easily monitored and easily adjusted by its owner.
With EMC (Electro Mechanical Control), not only can the wearer obtain the precise timing rate on demand, they can then use that information to accurately adjust the timing of their watch to suit their own personal rhythm. The interactive watch is totally mechanical, but it also houses electronic portions that have no effect on the movement and are only used to monitor the precision of the movement much like a car’s speedometer.
EMC features a dial with four separate indications: on demand, precision indicator ranging from -20 to + 20 seconds per day; seconds dial with counter-balanced seconds hand; hours and minutes; and 80-hour power reserve indicator. Turning EMC over reveals the in-house movement with the integrated circuit board (the EMC brain), the top of one of the two mainspring barrels near the crown and optical sensor on the winding handle side.
The objective of EMC? Triple fold: to demonstrate how external parameters (positional changes, temperature and pressure) influence the timing of the movement; to enable the wearer to adjust the timing; and to offer interactivity between the timepiece and its owner. EMC is conceived, developed and crafted in the URWERK ateliers in Zurich and calibrated by URWERK in Geneva. The movement meets stringent quality control, with its chronometric performance tested in five positions during a 30-day cycle. Stop in and see our collection of Urwerk watches.