Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
2017-02-16

The Swiss Federal Council recently approved a partial revision of its "Swiss made" ordinance for watches, effective as of January 1, 2017. The revision strengthens the label requirements for watches and movements and aligns them more with the new "Swissness" legislation that has been updated since its 2013 adoption by the Swiss Parliament.

Any watch bearing the indication "Swiss" or "Swiss made" must be backed by Swiss watchmaking expertise. According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, a number of studies have shown that consumers are willing to pay up to 20% more for Swiss watches, in general, and up to 50% more for certain mechanical watches. The revision of the "Swiss made" ordinance for watches is designed to strengthen the link between "Swiss made" watches and Switzerland, and to counter any possible abuse of the label.

The "Swiss made" ordinance for watches fine-tunes the "Swissness" legislation, stating that from here forward at least 60% of the production costs of a finished watch must be Swiss based. At present, only the cost of its movement is taken into account in determining the Swiss origin of a watch. The movement will still enjoy pride of place, however, as Swiss-made components must continue to represent at least 50% of its value, while at least 60% of its production must be generated in Switzerland.

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Additionally, the new rules of the "Swiss Made" ordinance state that the technical development of a "Swiss made" watch and movement must be executed in Switzerland.

2017-02-14
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Valentine's Day — flowers, chocolates, dinner... Yes, these are all great, but now you can give her something even more meaningful: time. We offer a great selection of watches that are perfect for Valentine's Day. Some feature floral-inspired dials, while others actually may have heart motifs on them. Still others declare your love for her with pink or red straps.

No other gift is as timeless and everlasting (like your love) as a fine watch. It tells her you made a special effort to give her something that would remind her of you every time she glances at her wrist.

Not sure what she would like? Afraid it's too late? Just stop in. We can help you find the perfect watch for the one you love and send you on your way with a gift-wrapped box that blends flowers, hearts and romance all in one.

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2017-02-09
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Move over women, pink is not just exclusively for you. Today, especially when it comes to the watch world, some of the hottest luxury watches for men – from sporty to sophisticated and ultra complicated – are crafted in 18-karat pink gold. This is a great thing with Valentine's Day around the corner — it gives you the perfect gift idea.

Rose gold has roots dating back to the Second World War, when steel and white metals were needed for military arms. The jewelry industry added the copper alloy to the gold to use less solid gold, and the result was a super rich rose color that quickly became in high demand. Today, watch brands offer pink or rose gold in varying degrees, with 3N the palest shade, 4N a bit deeper pink, and 5N being the darkest reddest rose gold. While jewelry is also made in rose gold, the color has translated magnificently to watches.

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2017-02-07

One million counterfeit Swiss watches were confiscated around the globe in 2016, according to statistics released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. The message to bargain hunters is that they should think twice before plunking down their hard-earned dollars on offers that seem too good to be true. The best protection against buying a fake is to work with an authorized dealer.

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The majority of fake watches were seized in China, reports Jean-Daniel Pasche, president of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH), adding that it does not mean other counterfeiting hubs don't exist. For example, 130,000 fakes were seized in Turkey, 70,000 in Dubai and 9,000 in Russia.

The FH has been working diligently to monitor the internet and social media networks for advertisements for fake watches. As a result, more than a million internet ads for fakes were removed last year. Since July 2008, Swiss customs has the right to seize counterfeit goods found on travelers entering the country, and it has been vigilant about doing so.

In 2015, Hong Kong and China accounted for 80% of all intercepted fake goods that had been shipped to Switzerland by mail, and Turkey was the leading destination from which travelers brought fake goods into Switzerland. The FH has also trained authorities to spot fakes in vulnerable spots around the world, including San Francisco, Dubai, London and other cities.

Buying from an authorized retail jeweler has never been more important.

2017-02-01

Just last month, the watch world enjoyed its first-of-the-year luxury watch exhibition: Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva. It was a whirlwind show with hundreds of retailers and members of the press converging on the massive Pal Expo site to visit with 30 watch brands that unveiled their newest timepieces — some that were years in the making.

Additionally, around town, a host of other brands took advantage of the throngs of buyers and journalists moving about the city and held their own exhibitions — showcasing at least another dozen watch brands with new wares. Over the coming months we will be bringing you a look at the all-new timepieces unveiled at SIHH — watches that will be making their way to the U.S. market this spring, summer and fall. For now, we present a look at just three of the top trends witnessed during the show that you can expect to see in our store this year.

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Complications. Yes, complicated timepieces continue to rear their heads and promise to make a splash on the wrists of the most discerning consumers this year. Many of the new watches being shown are super-complications, such as Grande Sonneries that chime the time automatically, carillons that chime the time using multiple gongs and tones, and watches that offer a chiming reminder. Additionally, tourbillons mixed with functions, such as chronographs and world timers, also make a strong showing.

Calendar and Moon Phase watches. This category is at the top of the list when it comes to offering simple complications that today's wearers can use. The annual calendar and the more complex perpetual calendar are coveted functions that display the day, date, month and phases of the moon — and these watches are definitely making a statement in 2017.

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Women's Watches. For the third year running, women's watches are getting their fair share of the attention. Not only are brands that predominantly showcase men's watches showing women's pieces, but also brands known for their women's collections are stepping up the pace, unveiling complicated watches for women — and never forgetting the diamond accents.

It's going to be a great year with innovation and imagination running strong. Keep checking back as we bring you all the news of today's top timepieces and trends.

2017-01-26

In the luxury watch world, a lot of intriguing substances are used for dial making. Earlier this month we brought you news about meteorite dials. Today, we take a look at the use of aventurine in watches.

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Aventurine is a part of the quartz family. It is translucent in appearance but is most known for its many mineral inclusions that give the material a shimmering effect. The stone gets its name from the Italian word "a ventura" which means "by chance." The most common color of aventurine is green, but it can be found in brown, gray, red or orange in its natural form. There is also aventurine feldspar — sometimes referred to as sunstone or goldstone — that can be confused with red aventurine.

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Additionally, there is aventurine glass that was invented in the early 18th century by a glassmaker in Murano, Venice, who accidentally mixed metal (copper) powder into his glass paste. The glass format was actually invented before the stone format was discovered. Predominantly, watch brands use the glass version of aventurine in watchmaking. The glass is specially cut to form dials and disks for moon phase and other indications. The stone is less often used than the glass because of the difference in color and vibrancy.

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2017-01-24

Chinese communities around the world are preparing to launch their New Year celebrations, as they welcome in the Year of the Rooster (which takes over for the Year of the Monkey). The rooster is a proud bird, known for his consistency, reliability, confidence and vocal assets. With the new zodiac sign in place, several watch brands have honored the Year of the Rooster with artistic renditions for the wrist.

Vacheron Constantin, for instance, has released two renditions of its Métiers d’Art “Legend of the Chinese Zodiac” watches. The watches have no hands, so the time is depicted via a technically advance mechanical movement that shows the hours, minutes, day and date via apertures on the dial. This design gives ample space to the rooster, which is carved, enameled and engraved in all its glory. The watch is offered in 18-karat white gold against a blue Grand Feu enamel dial and also in 18-karat rose gold against a copper-colored Grand Feu enamel dial. Only 12 pieces of each version will ever be made.

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Additionally, Chopard continues its tradition of releasing the Chinese zodiac series of Urushi painted watches. This year, the brand uses an ultra-thin movement in its L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rooster watch, created in a limited edition of 88 pieces. The Urushi technique is an ancient Japanese art and combines hand painting with lacquer made from sap of the Urushi tree, with mother-of-pearl dials.

2017-01-19
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It's no secret that many a U.S. president has loved wearing watches. Over the years, we have brought you a variety of stories about their preferences. However, with the inauguration taking place tomorrow we found an interesting story to share. It seems that nearly all of the U.S. presidents since the late 1950s have received a Vulcain Cricket Alarm watch at the inauguration.

Vulcain is an old Swiss brand that once had strong U.S. distribution. The company is best known for its invention of the Cricket alarm wristwatch — one of the earliest and loudest alarm watches. The first was unveiled to the world in 1847 as a mechanical marvel that sounded so much like a cricket when sounding that it was once mistaken by the Secret Service as a bomb.

Former President Harry Truman often wore his own Vulcan Cricket watch during his presidency. Since then, it became a sort of tradition for the brand to gift a Cricket to each president for his inauguration. The brand's Cricket watches retail for about $7,000 to $20,000 and it is expected that one will be gifted to Donald Trump. It is still unclear which model he will be gifted.

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2017-01-17
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Yesterday, in Geneva, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) opened its doors to retailers and press from around the world. This by-invitation-only watch exhibition is one of the two most important shows of the first quarter of each year (Baselworld in March is the other). At this exclusive event, more than two dozen top watch brands and independent brands are showcasing their newest watches — watches destined to set the trends on wrists around the world for 2017.

The majority of the luxury brands exhibiting here are from the Richemont Group and they have spent years preparing their newest movements, calibers, complexities and works of art. Additionally, many other brands take advantage of the fact that so many watch lovers flock to the city for SIHH and piggy-back on the event — showing their newest timepieces in hotels that dot the city and surround the famous Geneva lake and fountain. The event promises to be full of new products, news and excitement, all of which we will bring to you in the coming weeks.

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2017-01-12

For those who believe that every second counts, this story is for you, because the year 2016 got an extra second added to it. That second, referred to as a "Leap Second" was added right as 2016 turned to 2017 — or at 23:59:59. Instead of the atomic clocks jumping to 00:00:00, they officially stood at 23:59:60.

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This was done to keep time as precise as possible, much like the reason we add a Leap Day once every four years.

Leap seconds are added to compensate for the fact that Earth's rotation is gradually slowing down, and to make sure that our precise clocks remain in sync with how long a day lasts on Earth.

"This extra second, or leap second, makes it possible to align astronomical time, which is irregular and determined by Earth's rotation, with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) which is extremely stable and has been determined by atomic clocks since 1967," noted the Paris Observatory in France in a statement. The Observatory houses the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS), which is responsible for synchronizing time.

While Leap Days are predictable, Leap Seconds are sporadic. In fact, over the past 45 years, we have added a Leap Second 27 times. The less predictable nature of the Leap Second makes it virtually impossible to build into a watch or clock.

For those who want more information about the Leap Second, universal time, the evolution of GPS and satellite timing, we suggest you take a look at the extensive report by Jack Forster of Hodinkee. You can read his story at this link.

Credit: Image by NASA.gov.

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