Legendary Future…and Past.

One of the most fascinating aspects of my trip to New York for the Breitling Road Show was the presentation by Fred Mandelbaum on the history of Breitling watches.

Fred Mandelbaum

As CEO Georges Kern discussed, even he wasn’t aware of some of the incredible firsts in Breitling’s history.

For instance, in 1915 Breitling developed the first independent chronograph pushpiece.

In 1923, Breitling perfected the system by separating the stop/start functions from that of resettling. This innovative breakthrough meant it was possible to add several successive times without returning the hands to zero. As a feature, it proved invaluable for timing sporting competitions and calculating flight times.

In 1934 Breitling created the second independent reset pushpiece, something that was soon copied by nearly every watchmaker on the planet.

In 1969, Breitling presented the first self-winding chronograph movement.

Breitling has always been at the forefront of innovation, and the new Navitimer 8 has that heritage of creativity on full display.

To learn more, visit breitling.com

Von Doren says…checkmate.

One of the beautiful things about the game of chess is that when a player reaches a certain level of sophistication, the moves, the pieces and the strategy have a transcendent quality. Meaning, that the game itself can be applied to life itself. A true chess player begins to take the angles, the maneuvers and the tactics of the game, and lays them against the backdrop of the world around them.

It’s what makes the game so timeless.

Oyvind Von Doren enjoys his chess, and his timepieces are the better for it.

Newly released is the Grandmaster Mark II.

This was not a watch that was thrown together without thought and contemplation. Every detail, from the domed sapphire crystal, to the stunningly simple yet beautiful dial, to the logo itself, all show the work of a craftsman at the height of his game.

The logo, for instance. It isn’t just a design scheme sketched out on a cocktail napkin after work one day. It is the Norsemen’s and Viking’s rune JERA, the rune of Success and Continuity. This particular rune is No. 12 and represents the 12 months of the year. It implies fruitfulness, profit or achievement of a goal. It also means the cycle of seasons, implying movement and change. The Vikings believed it to be a good luck charm.

The Von Doren Grandmaster Mark II features a 43mm 316L polished steel case. Inside is a Swiss made (26-jewel) self-winding STP 5-15 movement, whose beauty is visible in an open-style design. The steel blue hands add a pop of color, and draw even more attention to the charismatic appeal of this fine Norwegian watch.

In the world of chess, the “Grandmaster” is the highest title possibly earned. And once it has been achieved, it is the player’s for life.

The Von Doren Grandmaster Mark II has earned itself a place in the discussion of fine mechanical watches, and its lucky owners will enjoy a lifetime of marveling at the strength of its game.

To learn more, visit VonDoren.com/GrandmasterMark2

 

 

 

 

 

A Legendary…Future

Georges Kern, the new CEO of Breitling, is an admirer of the book The Tipping Point. The key point of that book, greatly paraphrased, is that when a few key elements come together at the right time, the force created is unstoppable.

That Tipping Point may well turn out to be Mr. Kerns himself.

Daniel Ames, of WatchYouSay.com, on the left, and Mr. Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling, on the right.

As the man behind the stunning success of IWC, Mr. Kerns has set a clear and definite path for Breitling, starting with the past. The hashtag #legendary future is the key. It epitomizes Breitling’s incredibly impressive history, which will be the focus of a future blog post, and also points to the vision of the future.

Everything will be rooted in the brand. “An authentic brand for men and women of style, purpose and action.”

 

Breitling, in the past, has been about large, heavily accented timepieces. Some might say, a bit over the top. Breitling will stay true to its heritage, and its fan base, but it will also forge a bold path ahead. The lines will be simplified. The quartz watches will disappear, and the sweet spot for most of the brand will be between the $3,000 and $8,000 sweet spot.

First up is the Navitimer 8 watches. The “8” stands for the “Huit” Aviation Department of Breitling.  These watches, too, will be receiving their own post shortly. However, here is a quick glimpse:

 

In the meantime, a few words about the Road Show. It’s been to Singapore, Zurich and Germany, but touched down this past weekend in New York City. The main event took place in the Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn and featured some celebrities along with the true stars of the show, the watches.

Stay tuned for posts about vintage Breitling, a more in-depth look at the new watches, and a few surprises.

In the meantime, be sure to check out www.breitling.com

 

 

Bringing the BOOM.

In an age of interactivity, where everything is designed to make an individual a part of the process, BOOM watches arrived at the perfect time. What is it about the interactive process that makes it a worthy goal? It’s called vested interest and it’s the product of collaboration. In other words, when you buy a watch and wear it, you’re the consumer, nothing more. However, when you actually play a role in the designing, mixing and matching, using your creativity, even though it’s in a well-structured process, the consumer is now co-creator.

The consumer now has personal equity in the watch, which is a beautiful thing. With equity comes loyalty, passion, and inherent marketing. As in, “Check out this watch I helped put together.”

Niklas Dahlgren, the CEO of Boom Watches, agrees. “Consumer trends are still steering towards customized and personalized design. People strive to create their own, unique style, not least when it comes to accessorizing the outfit with a matching watch.”

A Boom watch allows the wearer to go from everyday wear to a sporty look, to more formal gatherings easily and seamlessly.

Not only is the strap interchangeable but so is the outer case, bezel and the inner case which contains the movement.

My BOOM watch kit arrived in a handsome leather bound case and I was immediately struck with the quality of the watch. Everything is well-engineered, solid, and comfortable.

It was easy to put the different combinations together, no tools required. The design is clean, elegant and sporty. It was great to fun to try the different combinations and enjoy the feel of well-crafted design.

BOOM watches come with a standard 2 year international repair warranty.  Register your watch online for an extended and unique 3 year warranty, unmatched by anyone in the industry, and BOOM guarantees an instant in-store replacement of any faulty or defective BOOM watch.

To learn more, visit https://www.boomwatches.com/en/

Also, check out some cool BOOM Watch video:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BeAymUvHu3K/?taken-by=jakobkonnbjer)

or www.youtube.com/boomwatches

 

MB&F is an MVP.

When I spoke with the folks over at MB&F, after expressing my appreciation for the incredibly creative talents, they mentioned their average numbers:

250 pieces per year.

Average price: $100,000.

With that price in mind, I picked out my five favorite MB&F watches:

The HM 4.

The HM3 Frog Face.

The MegaWind

The Legacy Split Escapement.

The HM2.

To pick yours out, head over to:

mbandf.com

 

Brooklyn Born

It was said that when Charles Bukowski sat down to write, he would grab a bottle of wine and set it on his desk. He would look at it, and think to himself, ‘yes, there’s probably a poem or two in there.’ And then of course, he would drink the wine and the poems would appear.

I’ve always thought that a carpenter does the same thing. In his workshop, he sees pieces of wood, maybe exotic, maybe not. His tools. His workbench. And of course, his imagination. Much like Bukowski’s vision, he sees the pieces he’s going to build.

 

Neil Carpenter has that same vibe.

A student of both industrial and furniture design, he creates functional objects of beauty. It came as no surprise to me that some of his early horological loves were brands such as Elgin, Illinois and Waltham.

 

One can see it in his powerful yet intricate designs. I, for one, was immediately drawn to the robust, masculine nature of the watches, the natural materials, and the obvious quality. In my mind, Carpenter watches are some of the finest yet affordable watches being sold today.

If you haven’t yet checked out Carpenter Watches, it’s time you did:

 

https://carpenterwatches.com

 

In addition to what’s on the site, Neil gave me a few tidbits of what’s to come:

-Carpenter watches will soon be offering the following products in order:

-The original M1 & M2 with very subtle changes simply due to an influx of demand (next week).

-The Carpenter Field Watch in the M1 & M2 style with an ETA 2824-2, custom rotor and screw-down crown that’s 3 mm thinner. Again due to popular demand (2 months out).

-The original Carpenter Field with 3 earth-tone dials (3 Months out)

-A new 36MM Carpenter Model called the “Brooklyn Gent” at 36MM with a vintage style acrylic crystal, screw down crown and a Miyota 9015 movement. Think Vintage Date-Just. This will be offered in Solid Brass, Solid Bronze and SS. Available with a bracelet (4 months out).

-All of these guesstimated dates are subject to change based on QC.

Stay tuned for the WatchYouSay interview with Neil Carpenter, coming soon.

 

 

Adoring…Von Doren.

In a previous blog post I mentioned my family’s Norwegian roots. The family name ‘Rockne’ came from a group of my ancestors centered around Voss, Norway. So, naturally, I have a fondness for Norwegian art, culture and timepieces.

Von Doren was founded by Oyvind VonDoren Asbjornsen and the watches have a distinctive, high-quality aesthetic with a nod to vintage style.  Soon, the company will be officially launching the Grandmaster Mark II, a unique and elegant watch with a robust yet refined design.

We sat down with Von Doren’s creator to get a better feel for this innovative company and its boldly elegant product line.

Q: How would you describe the Von Doren watch aesthetic?

A: Clean lines, Art Nouveau inspired distinct design with a touch of vintage flair.

Q: What was your inspiration for the Grandmaster Mark II?

 A: The Grandmaster Mark II is inspired by the game of chess. This, in my opinion, handsome timepiece reflects the game of chess itself – it is a resounding victory born of patience and the application of knowledge and skill.

 

Q: Tell us about the first time you envisioned the Von Doren Watch Company.

 A: It all started at the age of 12, when I inherited my great-grandfather’s Swiss watch. I spent countless hours reading and becoming more and more fascinated about the universe of watches. I soon realised that I wanted to make my own one day. I wanted to create something that lasts. Something that can transcend generations and will be passed on for my children’s children when I’m gone. So that they might experience the same awe and fascination that i did.

In these days, with the digital revolution and all that, where one innovation succeeds the other, constantly creating obsolete products and over consuming – I love the idea of creating a product that consists of quality mechanical parts, something concrete. A product which is unaffected by the technological innovation race, but based on almost 100 year old fine mechanical engineering – product with a soul and heart, an open one, that is.

 

Q: What is your daily inspiration?

 A: Art, passion and craftsmanship of high standards. For example we have entered a cooperation with what might be Norway’s most renowned strap maker; Atelier Petrov. This Oslo based leather-master; Mr. Petrov has made a limited amount of very high quality luxury straps. Working together with him in his atelier was also very inspiring.

 I can also be inspired by a beautiful game of chess and film and literature.

Q: What surprises are in store for fans of Von Doren?

 A: As we recently launched our limited edition Grandmaster Mark II – this will naturally be in focus for a while. The watch is limited to 200 open heart and 300 regular dials. As we only created these few, I feel I almost have a personal connection to them, and therefore it’s important for me that the right people buy them. By that i mean that a person purchasing a Von Doren timepiece can appreciate the time and effort put down in creating them. That they can value the design aesthetics of it. That this is a watch that will be taken good taken care of, and used – And not locked down in a bank-box somewhere. But as far as surprises goes, we like to keep them as just that – surprises. But i can reveal that we are playing with the idea of a watch that would work very well below sea level….

 

Q: What is the state of the luxury watch industry in Norway right now?

 A: The way I see it, this a growing market. For a lot of people there has been an increased interest in the horology-field. The challenge earlier years was that people had nowhere to go, or to talk to, but now with social media, It’s much easier for people to connect – I’ll give the digital revolution some credit as such.

 

Q: Finally, what one quality must every artist possess?

 A: Passion – A profound passion and patience is a must. If you’re in it for anything else, it most likely will fail. If you are driven by the ambition for profit or fame i don’t think you will last long. Passion and, of course skill, and a will to excel is the most important.

 

To learn more about VonDoren watches, visit vondoren.com

 

Better than…’57.

The words “classic,” “iconic,” and “throwback” have never been used more than they are today. While today’s luxury watch market is a maelstrom of wildly inventive and creative designs, there are more than a few nods to the past. Specifically, the 1950s haven’t been this hot since JFK first enamored the public eye.

Superocean Héritage II 46

The Breitling Superocean first appeared in 1957 and now, it has been evolved into an even more stunning timepiece than the original. To celebrate the Superocean’s 60th anniversary in 2017, Breitling reinvigorated the its iconic design while maintaining its unique character.

 

The main development took the form of a new steel bezel with an ultra-hard high-tech ceramic ring that is scratchproof and extremely shock-resistant.

Superocean Héritage II Chronographe 46

The unusual shape of the hands, along with the slightly cone-shaped hour-markers, reinforces ties with the 1957 model.

 

The Superocean Heritage II is interpreted in two watch sizes (42 and 46 mm) and as a 46mm chronograph, all available in three colors: black, blue and bronze. The latter versions are available with an exclusive brand-new rubber-leather strap in the same color and enhanced by contrasting stitching. In addition to the leather, crocodile or rubber straps, all of the models maybe fitted with a steel mesh bracelet echoing the legendary 1957 version.

Superocean Héritage 1957 – 2017

In terms of performance, the Superocean Heritage II has all the technical qualities that have made it the perfect companion for the finest adventures on land, at sea and in the air.

 

It’s the new spirit of discovery.

Superocean Héritage II 42

It’s not 1957 all over again. It’s 1957…better than ever.

 

From Breitling. Instruments for professionals.™

 

To learn more, visit www.breitling.com

Schofield Part II – Giles Ellis

Having just reviewed the Schofield TeleMark, I was curious to learn more about the watch’s creator, Giles Ellis.

 

Have you ever been to Miami? If so, what did you think?

I’ve never been to Miami, though I would love to. Interestingly, in a very obscure way the colours of Miami have influenced some recent leatherwear design. I was after a colour palette that was similar to Miami deco and opted for more a slightly more subdued version of this by looking at Japanese matchbooks from the 1920s. Even if you were to take away Miami vice, Miami Ink and David Beckham’s latest news I still think Miami would be a fundamentally cool place to visit. 

How would you describe the American watch ethos?

Not dissimilar to the British in regards to manufacturing, by that I mean that there are so few of us that American made or American designed watch companies are considered niche and specialist. I have always admired the likes of RGM sticking to their guns with modesty. With regards to consumers we are fortunate that 40% of our sales come from the US and Canada, I suspect that British-ness has something to do with it although I’m convinced that it’s more to do with their discerning taste. 

Much has been made about the downturn in Swiss watch sales. What are your thoughts?

Being a super-niche British brand the downturn in Swiss sales barely affects us. We sell globally and direct so if our aesthetic, narrative and technology meets with your approval then it leaves price as the only hurdle. Although we watch closely what the Swiss get up to they rarely influence our decision making with one caveat, the acquisition of swiss made mechanical movements, which we use in all of our watches. 

Tell us about the first time you envisioned Schofield Watch Company.

Schofield Watch Company was never envisaged as a whole but evolved from vanity. Having been ensnared by mechanical wristwatches and upon realisation that I couldn’t afford them I decided to make my own. Being such a particular guy the project of making one watch for myself soon escalated into a situation where I had 99 watches left to sell, ironically I had now spent more than 30 of the watches I had originally coveted. 

What is your daily inspiration?

I’m not sure if you want something trite, like my wife, my children, my dog, the rugged British coastline, the moon, or the female form but actually I am motivated by trying to impress you… and debt. 

What surprises are in store for fans of Schofield?

This might be a good opportunity to point you in the direction of our behind the scenes website https://undercurrents.info as this is the first place that ideas and developments are revealed. What we can say now is that naturally there are more watches and some of these will be variants of existing models and some wholly new models. 

Your TeleMark was inspired by the film The Heroes of TeleMark. Are there any other movies that may inspire new watches?

At first I was going to say “absolutely not” but in fact our forthcoming watch, The Obscurer has been influenced by many science fiction films, perhaps the most obvious would be Tron (the first one). 

What is your favourite type of cuisine?

I’m trying to answer this question with something witty and amusing but I have nothing to give you other than I am a complete nutrition and fitness bore with a contradicting sweet tooth- I like ALL food sans meat and dairy. 

If you could have the singing voice of one person throughout history, who would it be?

Fiona Apple 

Finally, what one quality must every artist possess?

Risk

 

Thank, Giles! To learn more about these fascinating watches, be sure to visit:

SchofieldWatchCompany.com

Make Your TeleMark

My roots go back to Norway on both sides of my parents. I’m related to Knute Rockne, the famous Notre Dame football coach, from Voss, Norway. So, naturally, I’m a fan of the movie The Heroes of Telemark. It’s a classic action film starring Kirk Douglas and is widely regarded as an example of classic men’s fashion.

So when I learned that Schofield had developed a watch called the Telemark, I was naturally very interested.

And I’ll give you a spoiler: the sequel more than lives up to the original.

 

But first, a little background. Schofield Watch Company is a brand known for its luxury watches based in Sussex and England. British watchmakers are few and far between but at the forefront of this growing industry stands Giles Ellis with his own particular view on luxury. Whether it be the clean white dialled watch, the Telemark, or its rather craggier brother, the Daymark.

 

The Telemark stands alone as a bold addition to the Markers collection. It is Schofield’s first white dialled watch, Schofield’s first fully numerated dial and even Schofield’s first design to be inspired by a coastline outside of the British Isles.

Schofield’s founder, Giles Ellis describes it best in his own words; “The Telemark is a little off-piste, a watch initially inspired by a film, ‘The Heroes of Telemark’ is often cited as being the best dressed men’s film of all time and this fact set the Telemark’s course as being both sartorial and elegant but also functional – as if lives depend on it. Clarity in all light conditions, rugged architecture and a refined finish. Overall I’m proud to say that this watch has exceeded my own expectations and it’s among the finest pieces I’ve designed to date.”

 

The Telemark case is precision machined, vapour-blast stainless steel with a unibody construction thereby using the best of German engineering to realize a very English watchmaker’s design.

The iconic Schofield case shape is bold and austere but there is detail here too, like the small notch under the crown for your nail and the crystal set below the lip of the bezel. The double O-ring crown is engraved with a lighthouse symbol and the extravagant laser-engraved image of Jomfruland lighthouse dominates the case-back.

 

At 24mm between the lugs this watch will take any straps manufactured by Schofield, meaning that the overall aesthetic can be personalized by the individual wearer with ease.

 

The dial is asymmetrical with the date marker at 4:30 surrounded by the Unicode symbol for a lighthouse or a naval contact mine depending on the point of view. The hour markers in the chapter ring are black anodized appliqués filled with Super- LumiNova C5 adding subtle color to an overall monochromatic design. The word ‘Schofield’ replaces the nine minute marks on the chapter ring, ‘Telemark’ appears at 9 o’clock on the dial but probably more striking than both of these is the fully numerated dial.

The Telemark’s hands are oversized making them perfect for visibility in all conditions. The tips of which are filled with Super-LumiNova C3 giving them a subtly different tone to the appliqués.

 

The second hand tapers at either end and the counterpoise is filled with lume which provides a visual contrast to the other end which is pink.

 

Everything about this watch embodies the highest levels of expertise in watchmaking and component manufacture from England to Germany and Switzerland.

THE DETAILS:

 

Powered by a Swiss movement, ETA 2824, the watch is a 3-hander, hours, minutes and seconds and date function. The case has a 44mm diameter with a solid engraved case back. The price shown is with UK VAT, if you are outside of Europe then VAT will be deducted at the checkout.

  • Fully numerated submarine dial
  • The word ‘Schofield’ replaces 9 minute marks on the chapter ring
  • The hour markers in the chapter ring are black anodized appliqués filled with Super-LumiNova C5
  • Date disk reprinted for horizontal readability at 4:30
  • All the parts of the hands and the windows line up when overlapping
  • The second hand tapers towards the tip and the counterpoise
  • The second hand counterpoise is filled with lume
  • The case has a nail rebate for pulling out the crown
  • The crown also has a groove for your nails to grip to pull out
  • The case has a slight radius on the outer edge of the bezel
  • The box is Osmo ash, the queen of English timbers

 

To learn more and take a look at their bold, innovative designs, head over to:

 

SCHOFIELDWATCHCOMPANY.COM

 

On The Ball

 

The Ball Hydrocarbon NEDU initially caught my eye for two reasons. One, it’s a beautifully constructed watch. And two, for many years I was the lead creative director and copywriter on the U.S. Navy’s advertising account.

 

So when I saw that Ball had a watch named after the Navy Experimental Diving Unit, I was already hooked.

 

First, the details:

 

Movement

◆ Automatic caliber BALL RR1402-C
◆ Chronometer certified COSC

Functions

◆ Patented Helium System
◆ Underwater operable chronograph with accumulated measurement up to 12 hours
◆ 21 micro gas tubes on hour, minute, chronograph second hands, dial and buttons for night reading capability
◆ Hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds, day and date

Shock resistance

◆ 7,500Gs

Water resistance

◆ 600m / 2000ft

Antimagnetic

◆ 4,800A/m

Case

◆ Titanium
◆ Ø42mm, height 17.3mm
◆ Top ceramic luminous unidirectional rotating bezel
◆ 3.7mm anti-reflective sapphire crystal
◆ Patented crown protection system

Band

◆ Stainless steel and titanium bracelet with patented folding buckle & extension system

Dial

◆ Black or Blue

 

The NEDU arrived in a wonderfully impressive case, complete with a diving buoy.

 

But the real star of the show immediately made its presence known, and felt. It is a thick, rugged work of startling sophistication.

The black dial is striking, clean and offers hours, minutes, sub seconds, day and date along with a central seconds hand for the chronograph measure and a maximum resolution of 12 hours.

 

A collection of micro gas tubes deliver startling visibility in restricted light. No matter the hour of night, you will always know exactly what time it is. Comes in handy at a movie theater when you’re stuck watching a romantic comedy and literally counting the minutes.

 

The stainless steel and titanium bracelet includes Ball’s flawless folding buckle. Not surprisingly, the design of the bracelet allows it to be worn over a diving suit.

 

After a week of wearing the NEDU, I can say it has inspired many looks and comments, all of them positive, even envious.

 

As I will be traveling to Tahiti next season, it will be great fun to put the NEDU to the test in those crystal clear waters.

 

For more information, head over to ballwatch.com