Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
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.

2017-09-19

Many watches today feature mother-of-pearl dials that are shimmering with light and different hues. Generally used on women's watches, mother-of-pearl has become a favorite for men's watches, as well, especially in darker hues. Not all mother-of-pearl dials are natural in color. Dials can be enhanced with color by painting a lacquer or varnish on the back.

The making of a mother-of-pearl dial is not easy. It begins with ultra-thin sheets of mother-of-pearl that are often brittle and can break easily. Those sheets are then cut into orbs, squares or rectangles, depending on the shape of the watch case.

The precise and painstaking task requires expert craftsmen and specialty tools. Often, the job is delegated to a special dial-making company that can handle the pressure. Even then, a dial maker with a strong team can produce only a few thousand top-quality mother-of-pearl dials annually. Watch brands typically buy the base dial already cut and then add their hands, indices or other accents in their workshops.

The best natural mother-of-pearl dial is extra bright white and is sourced in Australia, the South Seas or regions in the Pacific Ocean. Black pearl dials are typically Tahitian in origin. Natural mother-of-pearl is also found in very pale shades of pink, cream and beige. Sometimes the mother-of-pearl is engraved or decorated with sunray or other motifs.

2017-09-14

This year marks the 17th edition of the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve — a top watch awards event. An expert jury has pre-selected 72 watches that will vie for the winning prize in each category. The winners will be announced at a gala affair in Geneva on November 8, 2017.

Earlier this year, the jury, consisting of 28 multi-disciplinary experts from around the world, selected six watches to compete in each of the 12 categories. Categories include Ladies watches, Ladies High-Mech, Men's, Chronographs, Calendars, Artistic Crafts and more. In addition to the categories, there are some other prizes being offered — for a total of 15 — including the prestigious “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix.

Leading up to the final awards ceremony, there will be a traveling exhibition of the 72 watches that will tour to Milan in October at the Palazzo Clerici, in partnership with BMW. They will continue to Mexico, where they will be shown at the retail location of Berger Joyeros before headlining at the SIAR - Salón Internacional Alta Relojería exhibition.

The watches will travel to Taipei, and then on to Geneva, where they will be on exhibit from November 1 to 12 at the Museum of Art and History (MAH). The winning watches will make a final trip Dubai, where they will be exhibited during Dubai Watch Week organized by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons.

We are happy to carry many of the brands that have made it to the final selection, and will bring news of the winners in November.

Credits: Photos courtesy of GPHG.org.
2017-09-12

Today, so many watch brands offer timepieces with hands or numerals that glow in the dark, but did you ever wonder how they bring luminescence to the dial? Over the years, the materials used to make dials easy to read at night or underwater have evolved, from dangerous and life-threatening substances, such as radium in the early 1900s, to today's safer and  brighter methods.

Easily the most common product used today to make the hands and markers luminous is a material that was developed in the early 1990s: Super-LumiNova. The patented product comes in a variety of glowing colors, ranging from blue to green and even orange. It is made from a mix of materials, predominantly strontium aluminate, and is not radioactive.

Since its creation, the strength of Super-LumiNova has evolved to the point where now, depending on the amount and type used by the individual watch brands, it can be as much as 10 times brighter than earlier materials. The substance is applied in various strengths or coatings to the hands, the numerals, indices or other accents on the dial. It absorbs UV light and subsequently can glow in the dark for hours.

Other materials sometimes used by professional sport watchbands include “gaseous tritium light source” (GTLS) — tiny tubes of tritium placed together to offer an intense brightness stronger than Super-LumiNova. The material is radioactive and so it is hermetically sealed in the tiny tubes. The company best known for supplying these tiny tubes is MB-Microtec. While Super-LumiNova can dim after 20-30 minutes if it doesn't get further UV exposure, the tritium capsules don't dim for 20 years. However, this substance is banned in some countries.

2017-09-06

Those of you who love tennis are surely watching the events taking place at the US Open Tennis Championships — an exciting tournament that will crown its champions in New York this weekend. We are paying attention, as well, because certain players are also brand ambassadors for watch brands we carry in our store.

One such relationship is that of Ukrainian professional tennis player, Elina Svitolina, who is a brand ambassador for Ulysse Nardin. She wears the Lady Marine Chronometer. She signed on with the brand earlier this year and has even visited its manufacture in Switzerland. Ulysse Nardin has been committed to creating women's watches and the Lady Marine is just one example of the vast collection of mechanical watches for women unveiled over the past few years. Earlier this year, Ulysse Nardin also released the Lady Grand Feu enamel watches in a host of shimmering colors, and the Jade watch in artistic renditions. The Lady Marine, however, underscores the brand's long-standing relationship with the marine world.

Another brand we carry that has a presence at the US Open is Baume & Mercier. This brand recently signed on the Bryan brothers as brand ambassadors. Identical twins Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan are both tennis stars with a host of accomplishments behind them, and each wears a watch from the brand's new Clifton Club collection.

And then, there is Rolex. This brand has a host of sports pros on its brand ambassador list, but for now the one we are watching is tennis great Roger Federer. We invite you in any time to see the watches these stars wear, and our collections from each of these brands.

Credits: Brand ambassador and watch images courtesy of the respective watch brands.

2017-08-30

Car and watch lovers take note, TAG Heuer has unveiled the new Special Edition Monaco watch that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the famed Gulf Racing stripes. The square-shaped chronograph features the Gulf Racing stripes in all their colorful blue and orange appeal, along with the Gulf logo on the watch dial.

The first Monaco watch was unveiled to the world in 1969 and is the first Swiss-made automatic chronograph that was both square and waterproof. It was released in honor of Heuer's long-standing relationship with the Monaco Brand Prix. That first watch featured a metallic blue dial, domed crystal and a crown positioned on the left side of the case. It was powered by the Caliber 11 — the brand's first automatic chronograph movement. The watch was immediately identifiable from across a crowded room.

Steve McQueen wore a Monaco 1133B Calibre 11 automatic timepiece in the 1971 film Le Mans — winning it a legendary place in watch and car history. McQueen’s character was sponsored by Gulf Oil and his Porsche 917 car was decorated with the Gulf Stripes.

This makes the new watch ever more special. It is powered by the TAG Heuer Caliber 11 and offers 48 hours of power reserve. The 39mm case is crafted in steel with a steel bezel and domed sapphire crystal. The watch, with perforated blue leather strap with orange stitching, is water resistant to 100 meters. The dial has a blue sun ray, and blue and orange Gulf stripes. We are excited to have this watch in our store by mid-September. In the meantime, stop in and see our great assortment of TAG Heuer Monaco watches.

2017-08-24

If you are a car lover as well as a watch lover, then you know that this past week was filled with exciting motorsports events, including the famed Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and all of the gatherings, tours, races and exhibitions that take place around it. Easily one of the most prestigious auto events in the world, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance takes place on the 18th Fairway of the famed Pebble Beach Links Golf course — with a rich Pacific blue ocean backdrop.

For the event, Rolex — a brand we are proud to carry — is the Official Timepiece and is also the title brand for the Rolex Best of Show award, which is given to only one car out of a couple of hundred on display at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance event. While there are awards given for best of each category, only one car — the one judged to be restored with the most authenticity and style — can win Best of Show. The winner this year was the 1929 Mercedes Benz S Barker Tourer in blue and silver owned by Bruce McGaw. McGaw also received a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41 watch in gold and stainless steel for the win.

Additionally, during the week, Rolex sponsored the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at the 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where more than 400 cars converged for four days of ultimate racing on a challenging course with hairpin turns and bold changes in elevation. In fact, that raceway celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. A few famous drivers — also Rolex brand ambassadors — were on hand for that classic car racing event, as well. Sir Jackie Stewart, a three-time Formula One World Champion, attended and Tom Kristensen, nine-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, was a featured speaker.

Rolex also had a grand presence at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering and at the Tour d'Elegance. Rolex's relationship with the world of automotive sports is a long and storied one that reaches back to the Daytona races more than half a century ago. We invite you to stop in any time to see our collection of Rolex watches and maybe even talk about cars.

All photos Courtesy of Rolex.

2017-08-17

Solar Eclipse Photo Credit: The Exploratorium/NASA

Time and astronomy have long been linked. Since the dawn of man, we have planted and harvested according to the moon. Many an ancient ritual was performed to honor the sun, and our first abilities to measure time came with the advent of sundials and similar structures. Over the centuries, we learned to better measure time — moving from tracking seasons to tracking months, then days, hours, minutes, seconds and fractions of a second. Additionally, today, many watch brands track the moon and its phases, along with a host of other information, in astronomical timepieces that are a true wonder.

Because time and astronomy are inextricably linked, we want to bring your attention to the fact that next Monday, August 21, 2017, those of us living in North America will be treated to the eclipse of the sun — the first one seen here since 1979. Depending on where you live, you may even get to see the total solar eclipse. The eclipse, which happens when the moon on its path comes between the sun and Earth, obliterates the sun from the sky for just a couple of minutes. The path for the total eclipse runs from Oregon to South Carolina, and is about 70 miles wide, but others will get to witness at least the partial eclipse.

Beware, though, of looking directly at the sun during the eclipse. There are only a handful of safe methods for looking directly at it, including solar eclipse glasses that can be purchased online or at certain museums or photo stores. We advise you to check NASA's solar eclipse site about ways to safely watch the eclipse, which, from beginning to end, will span about four hours — with times varying depending on where you live in the United States. For those of you more interested in the watches that bring astronomy to the wrist, stop in any time and see our selection of moon phase and other astronomically inspired watches.

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