Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
2017-10-19

Most of our clients own more than just one watch. In fact, many have started a nice collection. So, the question we hear all the time is "How do I keep my collection safe? How do I secure my watches when I'm at home or traveling?"

In addition to carrying insurance on your watches at all times, here are a few other suggestions.

1) Watch Winders and Boxes.  If you have just a small collection of watches and they are covered under your homeowners insurance, you may consider tucking them away in automatic watch winders and specific watch boxes in a closet in a less-trafficked room of your house. Granted this is not a lock-and-key, keep-out-the-thieves answer, but your watches will be all in one place and properly wound. You could even set up a special hidden closet that doesn't look like a closet — i.e., a door behind a mirror, etc. Again, we only suggest this idea for small collections of not very expensive watches that are covered under your homeowners insurance.

2) Safe Deposit Boxes. If you don't have the space in your house for a luxurious safe, or even an in-wall, larger-sized safe, then at the very least, rent a safe deposit box at a bank or local Wells Fargo. It is important to ask, however, how much the boxes are insured for. You don't want to be left without enough insurance if something were to go wrong.  It should be noted that the drawback to the safe deposit box is the fact that if you change watches often, you may be making multiple trips per week to the bank.

3)  At-Home Safes. The best safe storage of watches you are not currently wearing is an at-home safe. Today, there are a host of safe companies that offer stunning safes meant to look like pieces of furniture, with wood finishes, brass elements, and drawers, doors and winders within. Buying a small safe that can be carried away is not the answer. Invest in a safe that is anchored in place and that can protect your watches from both theft and fire.

Photos courtesy of Orbita Watch Winders.

2017-10-17

Late last month in Evanston, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, a new museum of rare timepieces and inspirational stained glass opened to the public. The Halim Time & Glass Museum features one of the most comprehensive timepiece collections, with approximately 1,100 pieces on display. The museum also showcases faithfully restored 19th century stained glass works of art.

The collection of extraordinarily rare timepieces consists of clocks from all over the world. The Museum was founded by Cameel Halim, who — along with his family — own most of these pieces as part of their personal passion.

The watch collection is so extensive that the museum has hired two full-time clockmakers, who are skilled in repair and restoration. They are also entrusted to keep the clocks wound and running.

The earliest piece in the museum’s collection is an Egyptian sundial. There is also a room dedicated to the imperial Chinese clocks and an English room with important British clocks made by such masters as Thomas Tompion and George Graham, among others. There is also a nice collection of American clocks that details the history of how U.S. clockmakers led advances in mass manufacturing in the early 1800s.

Special pieces include a clock made for Napoleon, an elephant clock from 1750 said to have been in the summer palace of Russian empress Catherine the Great, and a German longcase clock from 1785 that contains a dulcimer and a pipe organ. It is one of just eight of its kind known to exist in the world.

So, if you find yourself in Chicago, you may want to carve out a little extra time for a visit to this new museum.

Credits: All images courtesy of the HALIM TIME AND GLASS MUSEUM.

2017-10-12

With Halloween around the corner, some of you may be considering heading to Salem, Mass., for a little witch hunt. If so, you may want to plan a side trip between October 26 and 28th to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to see an exhibition sponsored by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC). The presentation is called "HOROLOGY IN ART."

It is interesting to note that since the 13th century, when clocks and mechanical timekeeping came into vogue, famous artists such has Titian, Jamie Wyeth, Brueghel and Dali have regularly portrayed timepieces and the subject of time in their works.

The NAWCC, in its almost 75 years of existence, has a membership of more than 12,000 watch lovers and experts from around the world. Some of those have studied the relationship between time and art — and this is the subject of the NAWCC's annual educational conference.

The 2017 symposium of "Horology and Art" will bring together 18 experts, including art historians, curators, professors, scholars and horologists, each of whom will present different aspects of the topic throughout the three-day event.

The programs begin on October 26th and will be presented at the Boston MFA’s Alfond Auditorium. Three days of museum admissions are included with full registrations. There will be a concluding dinner banquet at the Harvard Club of Boston. For more information and to register, visit http://www.horologyinart.com.

Credits: Images courtesy NAWCC: 1994 Jamie Wyeth, Orca Bates; c1850 Erastus Salisbury Field, Skinner 2013.

2017-10-10

Inspired by the bestselling watches of the 1940s, Vacheron Constantin has created two new Triple Calendar watches in its Historiques collection. These watches, slated to be in store next month, are the first new pieces in the Historiques line in two years.  This is a collection we love because it offers new renditions of archival pieces.

The two new Triple Calendar Historiques watches also feature new movements. One watch takes its inspiration from a piece built in 1942, while the other is inspired by a 1948 watch with moon phase indication.

These watches also use design codes of the 1940s and are offered with silvered dials sporting calendar indications in either rich burgundy or midnight blue.  The 40mm cases of these watches feature a triple gadroon edge (stepped and curved) with ergonomically engineered lugs. As with all Vacheron Constantin watches, these timepieces carry the Hallmark of Geneva Seal.

Our friends over at ATimelyPerspective wrote extensively about these watches:

"The Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 watch (Ref. 3110V) is crafted in stainless steel and is inspired by the legendary reference 4240 that was made in 1942 in yellow and pink gold, as well as in steel. For this watch, the hours, minutes and seconds are indicated via blued steel hands (with the seconds read off of a subsidiary dial at 6:00). Additionally, the date is read via a red-arrow hand on the outer edge of the dial. Positioned at 12:00 beneath the logo, two windows display the day of the week and the month of the year. On this version the hours are indicated using Arabic numerals. The watch is powered by the 225-part Caliber 4400 QC, developed in house by Vacheron Constantin. It is a mechanical manual-wind movement with 65 hours of power reserve.

The Historiques Triple Calendrier 1948 watch (Reference 3100V) offers the day and month indication via apertures beneath the logo at 12:00, and has hour, minute, and calendar hands. However on this version, the subsidiary seconds dial at 6:00 also boasts an astronomical moonphase indication. This watch is created in 18-karat 4N pink gold and has Roman numerals and triangular markers on the silvered dial instead of Arabic numerals for the hours. Also offered with burgundy calendar functions or with blue calendar functions, this watch is created in a limited edition of just 200 pieces in each of the two colors. The Caliber 4400 QCL – with the L representing the high-precision lunar function — powers this timepiece. The manual wind caliber consists of 253 components and 21 jewels, and offers 65 hours of power reserve."

2017-10-05

If you are a watch lover planning a trip to New York City in mid-October, you won't want to miss one of the best events/watch shows happening in the Big Apple. On October 13 and 14, the WatchTime New York show takes place at Gotham Hall. Here, approximately 20 top brands are exhibiting their newest watches that were unveiled to the world earlier this year in Switzerland. Additionally, on Saturday the 14th, there are a host of panel discussions going on.

There is a pre-show panel to Meet the Watchmaking Stars, which will feature top watchmakers from Switzerland and America discussing how they started their careers in this field. Slated for later in the day is panel of watch experts from the publishing and retail fields, as well as another event called "Meet the Brand Executives." An historical exhibit will be on location, and there will be a review of all of the James Bond Watches — six decades worth — presented by WatchTime. The full-day event ticket costs $39, and you can register at Watchtimenewyork.com.

It should be noted that no watches are bought/sold at this show. It is geared for getting a closer look at some of the finest brands, as well as for meeting watch collectors, watch makers and executives in the industry.

2017-10-03

Here we are once again to remind you that watches — at least the right ones — can be incredible investments. In the recent Sotheby's London Fine Timepieces auction, a single pocket watch became the most valuable English watch (made in England by an English watchmaker) ever sold at auction. The "Space Travellers" watch conceived by famed watchmaker George Daniels sold for $4.3 million — twice the price it achieved when it was auctioned in 2012.

For those who may not know of George Daniels, he is one of the 20th century's great watchmaking minds. Born in 1926 and having died just six years ago in 2011, Daniels is the inventor of the revolutionary co-axial escapement, which he developed in the 1970s. Omega was the first brand to utilize and implement the co-axial escapement in its watches, and worked very closely with the inventor.

The Space Travellers watch that sold at auction was crafted circa 1982 and was actually a replica of an earlier Space Travellers watch that Daniels made and sold to a collector. The auction watch is crafted in 18-karat yellow gold and its chronograph movement houses Daniel's independent double-wheel escapement. One of only two ever made in this style with a chronograph function, the watch is said to honor the 1969 moon landing, and Daniels supposedly described it as a watch you would need on a tour of Mars. Four bidders clamored for the watch, which sold within 10 minutes of going up for bid.

Just a little more proof that watches of substance can one day fetch very high prices.

2017-09-28

Ever since the dawn of man, the moon has fascinated us. It is said that the moon governs the tides, our moods and even our love influences. Today, it often also governs our watch-buying habits. The finest watch brands in the world have developed some of the most ethereal and technically precise moonphase indications available on the market — and most of the time, we can't stop looking at the disk on the dial.

Moonphase functions, which are often built into calendar watches, indicate the phases of the moon throughout its monthly cycle. Typically, moonphase readouts operate via a small disk within the case that has been painted to depict the different phases of the moon. The disk rotates on a cam in proper time to reveal the moonphases for months, years and even leap years.

Moonphase functions have their origins in the astronomical clocks of centuries ago. The first well known astronomical clock was di Dondi's, created in the mid 1300s, but it was not until the 15th and 16th centuries that clockmakers began creating clocks with moonphases on them. Over the centuries those moonphase indications have evolved and become ever more tiny and precise. In fact, some brands are able to offer moonphase indications that are accurate for 122.6 years before needing an adjustment by a watchmaker.

Additionally, some brands are portraying moonphase indications in larger format, often surrounded by a dial with shimmering stars, or in dark midnight blue enamel hues. Some turn to lapis lazuli and aventurine to present their moonphase beauties. The possibilities are endless — like the night sky. We invite you in any time to see our vast selection of romantic moon and celestial-inspired watches.

2017-09-26

Since 2011, German watch brand A. Lange & Sohne has been introducing an exclusive series of watches with artistic dials and top-notch craftsmanship in a collection it calls the "Handwerkskunst." This year, the newest 2017 Handwerkskunst is a delight both inside and outside. With a celestial theme, the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst watch features a dial of blue enamel and white gold stars created in relief engraving.

The watch offers rattrapante or flyback chronograph functions for timing multiple events. It also boasts perpetual calendar functions, including day, date (no matter the length of the month), month, leap year indication and moon phase indication — accurate for 122.6 years.

The moon-and-stars theme from the dial carries over to the half-hunter case back, where an image of the Goddess Luna is engraved on a white gold medallion surrounded by blue enamel. Open the hunter case back and, via a sapphire crystal, one can view the meticulously finished movement, which has starry night motif.

The watch is powered by the 631-part movement, manufacture caliber L101.1 with 42 hours of power reserve. The 41.9mm white gold 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst is created in a limited edition of just 20 pieces. We have an incredible selection of A. Lange & Sohne watches and invite you in any time to take a look at fine German watchmaking.

2017-09-22

Earlier this month, the prestigious Elite Traveler Magazine — authorities on all things luxury — published its "Top 50 Watches of 2017" list. The multi-page cover feature is a behemoth reportage of the top watches to enter the market in 2017. The carefully curated selection was made by Elite Traveler contributing editor, Roberta Naas. The 34-year watch-industry journalist is the author of six books on watches and founder of www.ATimelyPerspective.com — the online e-zine.

The Top 50 Watches were selected based on a host of important criteria: 1) they had to be new this year; 2) they had to carry a retail price of more than $10,000 (to meet the discerning tastes of the Elite Traveler loyal readers); and 3) the watches could not have received prior print coverage in the magazine.

Additionally, brands could not have entries in multiple categories.

In fact, the 50 top watches fall into one of these nine categories: Astronomical Watches, Chronographs, Calendars, Complications, Innovations, High-Jeweled, Métiers d’ Arts, Skeletons and Sport Watches. Also included were a number of "honorable mentions."

All watch brands named in "The Top 50 Watches of 2017" will receive a certificate from Elite Traveler Magazine honoring them for being selected. Additionally, many watch brand executives — as well as collectors — will be attending the grand Cover Party at our Wempe Jewelers New York store later this week.

We are very happy to say that here at Wempe we carry a majority of the brands that grace the 18-page special section in Elite Traveler Magazine. In fact, of our more than 30 brands, just about 20 are represented in Elite Traveler's Top 50. (Some of our more affordable brands did not make the cut because of the retail price point criteria).

Stop in any time to see the brands of Elite Traveler's "Top 50 Watches of 2017." For the full story and all 50 picks, visit Elite Traveler Magazine.

2017-09-21

Each season the Pantone Color Institute evaluates collections from the top fashion designers at New York Fashion Week and determines the key colors of the next season — reporting them in The PANTONE Fashion Color Report. Generally, the Institute highlights the top 10 colors for men’s and women’s fashions and accessories.

This fall's color palette runs the gamut from pale shades of pink and gray to blue, green, and burgundy — and you can expect to see those colors on watch straps, as well. Hues include Grenadine red, tawny Autumn Maple, pink Ballet Slipper, bright Marina blue and classic autumnal shades of Navy Peony, Neutral Gray, Butterum and Tawny Port.

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