Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
2017-03-23

Every year since we can remember, the world's largest and, perhaps, most important watch exhibition, BaselWorld, has taken place in Basel, Switzerland, in March. This year, the exhibition runs from March 23 until March 30. This is a huge affair, with hundreds of watch brands unveiling their newest timepieces — watches that are sure to set wrist trends for another year.

BaselWorld is a meeting of minds, of technology and craftsmanship. Here, in five separate buildings, as well as off-site, some of the best brands in the world unveil the watches that they have been secretly working on for years.

While we will bring you specific watch brand information after the show, here are five trends we expect to be prevalent this year:

Affordability. As global economics have a huge effect on watch lineups, we expect this year to see some more affordable timepieces with quality movements and great design. These will appeal more to the younger audiences and those being a bit more frugal this year.

Over the Top.  We also still expect to see some truly over-the-top watches: timepieces with astronomical complications, musical features, and top-of-the-line complexities. Along with that, we expect that diamond- and gemstone-set watches will be strong.

Color. This is the year for brands to make a color statement. From blue to red and from pale pink to white, color should abound this year. Along with colorful dials and straps, we may find some interesting new interchangeable straps.

Sporty Appeal. Chronograph watches, pilot watches, dive watches and watches inspired by the world of automotive racing will continue to steal the spotlight. We look forward to seeing the newest affiliations and iterations from the brands we carry.

Connectivity. Smart watches in the "traditional" watch world continue. Let's see what is unveiled this week.

2017-03-21

We all know Rolex has a pristine reputation, but that fact has been proven by the Global RepTrak 100 rankings. According to the Reputation Institute that publishes the list on corporate reputations, Rolex topped the ranking — for the second year in a row.

Interestingly, Rolex was the only watch brand listed on the Top 100 ranking. It scored high for such factors as “offering high-quality products and services” to “stands behind its products and services."

Rolex's position at the top is key, as the brand beat out names like Amazon, eBay, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren. The company that ranked second was Lego Group, with Walt Disney coming in third and Canon in fourth.

We invite you into our store anytime to see our grand collection of Rolex timepieces — from the most highly reputable company in the world.

2017-03-16

If you love clocks and their history, you may well be interested in the upcoming webinar being offered by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC). The webinar is entitled "Hidden History: Clock and Watch Records in the Riggs Archive at Winterthur."

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Taking place on Sunday, March 19, at 7 p.m. EST, the presentation will be made by Bob Frishman, a full-time restorer of antique clocks since 1992. He regularly lectures on the history, science and culture of timekeeping. The webinar is free. You can register for it at NAWCC.org. If you are interested but not available on March 19, you can view a recording of the session as long as you have registered.

Winterthur's clocks number more than 100 and include chiming shelf clocks made in America more than a century ago. The Riggs Archives at Winterthur are part of the Winterthur Garden and Museum in Delaware. Winterthur was opened to the public almost 60 years ago by collector Henry Francis du Pont. It is considered one of the premier museums of decorative arts with nearly 90,000 objects on display. Winterthur is set amidst a 1,000-acre preserve of rolling meadows and woodlands in the town of the same name, about 7 miles northwest of Wilmington.

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2017-03-14

The results are in from the latest Antiquorum auction of Important Watches & Jewelry, where nearly $4 million was generated from the sale of nearly 300 collectible timepieces and some top jewelry items, once again proving that the best of the best in watches can hold — and increase — their value over decades.

Top lots included a Patek Philippe rare perpetual calendar watch with baguette diamond bezel that sold for $227,000. Also at this auction, watches by Franck Muller and Vacheron Constantin performed well, as did Richard Mille and a host of others.

In fact, there was some fierce bidding for the  Franck Muller Calibre 97 Unique Grande et Petite Sonnerie Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar in platinum with diamonds [lot 270]. Originally estimated to sell for $20,000, it went for a whopping $221,000.

Also achieving a spectacular result was the Richard Mille Ref. RM 011 Ivory Felipe Massa Annual Calendar Flyback Chronograph in pink gold [lot 123]. The extremely rare annual calendar wristwatch exceeded its estimate and sold for $143,000.

As usual, rare pieces from Rolex attracted interest from collectors. The Rolex Ref. 116599 Daytona Baguette Diamond Ruby watch in white gold [lot 267] sold for $75,000; while the Rolex Ref. 116759 GMT-Master II Diamond Sapphire and White Gold timepiece [lot 268] sold for $50,625.

A Vacheron Constantin Honeycomb dial yellow gold watch, circa 1950, that was in very fine condition was estimated to sell at $3,500, but it ended up fetching nearly 10 times that amount.

2017-03-10

This weekend you will lose an hour of your time... that is because Daylight Saving Time 2017 will start on Sunday, March 12, at 2 a.m. That's the bad.

The good is that we will finally gain a little more sunlight in our day. In fact, on Saturday, March 11, sunset is at 5:59 pm (EST) and on Sunday, March 12, it will set at 7 pm.

Thankfully, with many high-tech devices in our lives being automatically aligned, we don't need to worry about adjusting the time on our phones or computers, for example. But, we will need to do the manual reset on our traditional watches and clocks.

Germany was the first country to implement Daylight Saving Time in 1916. It was during World War I and the change was made to conserve electricity. In the United States, Daylight Saving Time was first established in 1918, although it is not currently observed in every state. Hawaii and parts of Arizona do not change times. Standard Time resumes on Sunday, Nov. 5.

Credit: Image by BigstockPhoto.com.

2017-03-07

Chronographs are watches that track intervals of time. For instance, they can monitor laps around a track, the time it takes to hike a mountain or how many minutes it took you to grill that burger. A basic chronograph has an independent sweep second hand and typically hour-counters and minute counters. Generally, a chronograph can be started, stopped and returned to zero by successive presses on a chronograph button on the case side.

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The amount of time a chronograph can track varies depending on the watch. Most offer up to 12 hours, 60 minutes and fractions of a second. There are also different types of chronographs, including some that can time multiple events at once. Also, chronographs often incorporate other useful functions, including tachymeters to measure speed or distance.

It was Louis Moinet in 1816 who invented the first chronograph. He wanted to track astronomical objects. In fact, Moinet’s device was called a “compteur de tierces” (three-thirds) and was started in 1815 and completed in 1816. It was one of the most accurate watches of its time. Because Moinet used two pushbuttons to start, stop and reset the central hands, the watch is considered a chronograph (though the term wasn’t coined until later).

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A few years later, French watchmaker Nicolas Rieussec unveiled his version of the chronograph, which he patented in 1821. It was then, as he presented his watch with seconds counter to the Academy of Sciences, that the watch was termed a chronograph (time writer). Rieussec’s chronograph was developed to measure laps of horse racing, and the early versions used ink dots to calculate the duration of events, and often were large clocks encased in table boxes.

Centuries later, we have come a long way in the development of the chronograph. Most today have small sundials on the main dial, wherein the hours and minutes are recorded. The seconds are usually tracked via a central seconds hand on the main dial. Of course, different brands use different methods of indication, but the concept is virtually the same. We invite you in any time to explore and discover our wonderful array of watches offering this historic function in modern time: the chronograph.

2017-03-02

We haven't even hit spring yet and the Pantone Color Institute has already named its fall colors. The Institute has taken its cues from the runways of New York and Paris to create a color palette that will serve as a reference throughout the rest of the year for fashion enthusiasts, reporters and retailers. That means we expect to see some nice red watch straps this fall for men and women alike.

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According to the Fall 2017 Fashion Color Report, an annual overview of fashion designers’ use of color for the season, the hot hues will be sizzling Grenadine Red, Tawny Port, and autumnal hues. Pale pink Ballet Slipper — a hue that borders on nude — will also be important.

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Secondary colors include Navy, Neutral Gray, Butterrum and Marina Blue. The Institute analyzed collections at both New York and London fashion weeks to determine the trending colors.

"There is a commonality between the colors we are seeing on the runway in New York and London," says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. "However, individuality is evident and we are seeing a distinct difference between the shows in the two cities in the way these same colors are being combined."

Color Palette for New York

“Bookended by a dynamic Grenadine red and a tawny Autumn Maple, the color palette for Fall 2017 leans more to warmth," Eiseman noted in reference to the trends seen in New York. “Standout shades include a pale pink Ballet Slipper, a refreshing Golden Lime and a bright Marina blue. These hues add a striking touch when paired with the classic autumnal shades of Navy Peony, Neutral Gray, Butterrum and Tawny Port.”

  • PANTONE 17-1558 Grenadine
  • PANTONE 19-1725 Tawny Port
  • PANTONE 13-2808 Ballet Slipper
  • PANTONE 16-1341 Butterum
  • PANTONE 19-4029 Navy Peony
  • PANTONE 17-4402 Neutral Gray
  • PANTONE 19-4524 Shaded Spruce
  • PANTONE 16-0543 Golden Lime
  • PANTONE 17-4041 Marina
  • PANTONE 17-1145 Autumn Maple

Color Palette for London

“Led by a vivid Flame Scarlet, the color palette for Fall 2017 is comprised of strong classic colors complemented by a few unpredictable shades for the autumn and winter seasons,” Eiseman said in reference to the London trends. “Unexpected combinations, such as Royal Lilac and Otter Brown or Lemon Curry with Bluebell, are eye-arresting and create an unusual color dichotomy.”

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  • PANTONE 18-1662 Flame Scarlet
  • PANTONE 12-2904 Primrose Pink
  • PANTONE 16-1331 Toast
  • PANTONE 14-4121 Bluebell
  • PANTONE 18-3531 Royal Lilac
  • PANTONE 18-1018 Otter
  • PANTONE 19-4029 Navy Peony
  • PANTONE 16-1338 Copper Tan
  • PANTONE 15-0751 Lemon Curry
  • PANTONE 16-0639 Golden Olive

Credits: Swatches by Pantone.

2017-02-28
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Always wish you could own a piece of Hollywood? Well, this could be your chance, as Bonhams gets ready to auction the jewelry and art that famed writer Jackie Collins kept in her much-loved Beverly Hills home from 1992 until her death in 2015. Collins was an avid collector of fine art, sculpture, jewelry and watches. Portions of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to support the empowerment of young women in the arts and education.

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The auction, "Jackie Collins: A Life in Chapters," will take place on May 16 and 17 at Bonhams Los Angeles. Highlights include a  6.04-carat diamond and platinum ring (estimated at $100,000-$150,000), and watches by Patek Philippe, Harry Winston, Chanel and Chopard, among others. There will be 1,000 lots in total.

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The British-born star published her first novel, The World is Full of Married Men, in 1968, marking the start of a 47-year writing career. She passed away in 2015 at the age of 77. Like all auctions, this one only reconfirms the fact that watches and jewelry hold their value and, depending on the life you lead, could become nearly priceless.

Photos courtesy of Bonhams auction house.

2017-02-25

Sadly, an amazing trilogy of watches from Audemars Piguet is coming to a close. At this year's SIHH, the brand unveiled its third and final gemstone delight: Outrage. Offered with all diamonds or with multi-hued blue sapphires, the incredible watch features more than 40 gemstone-set spikes reaching out from the 18-karat white gold cuff bracelet.

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Nestled somewhere beneath the gemstones is a hidden watch, whose cover opens to reveal a mirror-polished dial. Each watch is a one-of-a-kind and retails for $1 million and up. The Diamond Outrage represents the last installment in a trilogy from the brand — with one watch being released each year. It takes the master gem setters at Audemars Piguet about 2,500 hours to handcraft each watch with more than 10,000 gemstones. The final product boasts a gemstone total weight of more than 65 carats.

2017-02-24
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At SIHH this year, Panerai surprised and delighted us once again with the unveiling of the super high-tech LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech watch. The bold timepiece is crafted in  Carbotech — a composite material based on carbon fiber.

Rarely used in watchmaking, Carbotech has matte black appearance offering a unique finish every time. The material is made using sheets of carbon fiber that are compressed, joined with a polymer substance known as PEEK and bonded at high temperatures. The result is an ultra-strong, ultra-durable case. The "LAB-ID" part of the watch's name stands for Laboratorio di Idee, the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchatel, Switzerland.

Making the watch even more alluring is the fact that the dial utilizes carbon nanotubes to achieve a deep black color, said to be the blackest of blacks. The top of the dial is coated with these nanotubes that absorb light, reducing reflections. A lower dial is coated with Super-LumiNova in an electric blue hue that glows in the dark. Referred to at SIHH as the 50-50-50 watch, it is offered in a limited edition of 50 units each retailing for 50,000 Euros, with an incredible 50-year warranty. It is powered by the  P.3001/C hand-wound in-house movement with a semi-skeletonized design. The movement parts are all treated so they will not need lubrication for at least 50 years or more.

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