Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
2016-12-02
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It's been a wild and wonderful ride at auction this year for timepieces. As the month of December sees several final auctions, we are already getting great results — results that bode well for the argument that a watch is a fine investment in your future.

Just this week, Phillips Auction House sold, among others, several watches previously owned by watch lover and musician Eric Clapton. The auction, which concluded on Tuesday, November 29, along with a Rolex Milestones auction the House held the evening before, achieved almost $25.5 million in sales.

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In its sale a couple of weeks ago, Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo, sold a Patek Philippe watch that achieved a world record — selling for $11 million. The watch had been made in 1943 and a was a stainless steel Reference 1518 perpetual calendar chronograph with moon phase. In that auction, a total of nearly 180 watches from more than a dozen different brands sold — to the tune of $27.8 million.

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According to Aurel Bacs, senior consultant with Phillips, the world record accomplishment "is a strong testimony that the watch market is universally accepted as an important pillar of the international art collector community."

2016-12-01

This year, IWC Schaffhausen put a strong renewed emphasis on its entire Pilot’s Watch collection, releasing some pretty impressive pieces, including the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph that incorporates important functions and technology that are well worth a close-up look.

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The combined chronograph and world-time automatic watch is the first that enables the user to set a new time zone time and date with just the twist of the bezel. Additionally, the black and red 24-hour hand indicates day or night on the inner 24-hour ring. The watch holds two patents for its technology.

At the risk of getting a bit techy, let us outline a few key features: The watch incorporates a sprung rotating bezel concept that was developed in the 1980s when IWC was creating the Porsche Design watches, and that has been used in IWC’s Aquatimer watches. The bezel is linked to a  gear train that rotates the city ring bezel (with 24 cities listed) and transmits to the hour wheel, the 24-hour hand and the date advance wheel that all three displays should move back or forth by one-hour increments. That same city ring features a small "s" to indicate the cities that are in Daylight Saving Time.

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An inner 24-hour ring indicates day or night in the other time zone, and the watch takes into account when the wearer crosses the International Date Line, advancing or returning the date by one day. In addition to time functions and world time zone functions, the watch is a chronograph for recording events, and can make calculations of speed or fuel consumption. It offers 68 hours of power reserve. We invite you in any time to see our great selection of IWC Pilot's watches.

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2016-11-29
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If you are into Marvel, you no doubt have seen or are planning to see the new Marvel Studios movie, Doctor Strange. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch — and a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual watch.

The movie is about well-known neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange, whose life changes forever after a terrible car accident. Throughout his search to regain the use of his hands, he encounters unseen forces and is armed with new magical powers, and then must deal with a host of choices.

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The action-packed movie showcases the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Perpetual watch, worn by Cumberbatch in his role as Dr. Strange. It is a wonderfully complicated watch that is easy to use and offers both form and function.

Part of the brand's ultra-thin series of watches, the calendar watch offers day, date, month, leap year and moon phase indications in addition to time. We invite you in to see our selection of complex Jaeger-LeCoultre watches any time — or, maybe, after you've seen the movie.

2016-11-23
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It's almost here —  Black Friday — and with it the stress and joy of holiday shopping. We want to help take the stress out of the shopping experience by offering a bit of advice about what to look for when buying a watch for a loved one.

Watches actually make a wonderful gift for a variety of reasons, including the fact that a watch is timeless.  It also requires a bit of personal thought and decision-making, which means it shows you cared enough to take the time to give the recipient time. Besides which, every time he or she puts that watch on the wrist — and looks at it throughout the day — a thought of you will come to mind. So, relax, stroll on in to our store, and let us help you pick the perfect timepiece using these key tips in making your selection.

1. Think about the person you are buying for, especially their hobbies and interests. Are they sports lovers? If so, what kind? There are a lot of watches that offer chronographs for timing laps, or tachymeters for tracking speed, for instance. Is he or she an dive-, auto- or aviation-lover? If so, water-, car- and pilot-inspired watches work beautifully.

2. Consider where the person lives and what the climate may be. These factors will help influence whether you select a watch with a metal bracelet, or a rubber or leather strap. Warm climates are often suitable for bracelets, so the strap doesn’t get clammy or sticky on the wrist. Colder climates may call for the warmth of a leather strap. Rubber straps work in all climates and in cases where the person is very active. Interchangeable straps are a great concept because they enable versatility.

3. Don't forget to take age and career into account when selecting a watch. Generally, teenagers and young adults are more interested in what is stylish and trendy, than the functions of the watch, while older people may want a larger, easy-to-read dial. Additionally, lifecycle may come into play. Buying for someone just starting a career versus someone already well entrenched in his or her career may mean the difference between a fashion statement and a "success" statement.

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While these three easy tips will help you out, we also urge you to keep your own budget in mind. You should have a set amount you want to spend already figured out and stay within that range. Now that you are thinking about your loved one’s interests and personality, we invite you to visit our store and take a close up look at the gift of time.

2016-11-17

More than 50 years after her tragic death, legendary starlet Marilyn Monroe still has legions of fans and admirers. Thanks to the upcoming sale by Julien's Auctions, you may have a chance to bid on a wide array of Monroe's personal artifacts, including two of her watches.

The sale will take place over a three-day period from November 17 to 19, with the items on display in Los Angeles. The watches are set to hit the auction block on November 18.

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Culled from multiple sources, including the Collection of David Gainsborough-Roberts, The Estate of Lee Strasberg and Déjà vu Property From The Life and Career of Marilyn Monroe, this may be the most comprehensive sale of Marilyn artifacts ever.

Included in the sale are notes scribbled on paper, letters, makeup cases, lipsticks, costumes, handbags, furs, the original sequined dress she wore when she sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy, jewelry and several timepieces.

While Monroe did not own glitzy jewelry, she did possess several watches, including a diamond cocktail watch by Blancpain (with movement stamped Blancpain and Rayville Watch Co.) The Art Deco piece, to which diamonds have been added, is believed to be gift from her third husband, Arthur Miller. The watch is expected to sell in the range of $80,000 and  $100,000.

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A second Art Deco watch possessed by Monroe is also up for sale. The watch houses a movement made by Marvin and features a gold-tone metal bracelet with diamonds that were added later. It is expected to sell in the range of $15,000 to $20,000.

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2016-11-14

Last week we brought you a story about the annual watch awards known as the Grand Prix de Horlogerie Geneve (GPHG) and showed a few brands we carry that were in the final running. Well, the winners have been announced and we are pleased to bring some of the results to you now. Oh, and make note, you can view these award-winning brands in our store any time.

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Montblanc won the Chronograph category with its 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition. Housing a manual-wind mechanical movement with 50 hours of power reserve, this limited edition chronograph (100 pieces) pays tribute to the legendary Minerva chronographs.

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As we had hoped, Audemars Piguet won the Mechanical Exception category for its Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie. Eight years in the making, the manual-wind mechanical movement also offers tourbillon, chronograph and striking functions.

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The Tudor Black Bay Bronze self-winding watch, which uses bronze on the case, won the Petite Aiguille award.

Finally, TAG Heuer won the Revival category with its affordable Monza Chronograph. This self-winding mechanical watch recalls the brand’s involvement in the auto-racing world.

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2016-11-09
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One of the watch industry's biggest events —The Grand Prix de Horlogerie Geneva (GPHG) — takes place tomorrow in Geneva. Every year for the past 15 years, the GPHG has celebrated the finest timepieces on the market by honoring one watch in a host of different categories.

This year there are 12 categories, including Ladies, Ladies High-Mech, Men’s, Chronograph, Tourbillon, Calendar, Travel Time, Mechanical Exception, Petite Aiguille (best in show), Sports, Jewelry and Artistic Crafts. There is also a People’s Choice Award that is selected based on votes from the general public.

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Approximately 160+ watches were submitted to the GPHG for consideration this past June. These watches were then culled down by a jury to the final pre-selected nominations of six per each within the 12 categories, for a final 72 watches. We will bring you the results of the awards next week, but here are a few nominees from the brands we are proud to carry in our store.

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2016-11-03

Daylight Saving Time in the United States ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6, when the clocks fall back by an hour, and many of us will certainly enjoy an extra 60 minutes of much-needed sleep. Meanwhile, our friends at ATimelyPerspective.com offer a fun look at the origins of DST, which happen to stretch back to the days of our Founding Fathers. Here is a little insight into the history of DST for true time junkies.

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Some credit the concept of DST to American politician and inventor Benjamin Franklin, who, in a 1784 essay entitled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” suggested people get out of bed earlier in the morning to use the light instead of candles.

More than a century later, in 1895, a New Zealand entomologist, George Vernon Hudson, who liked to collect insects in his free time, wanted more daylight time for his studies, so he presented a report to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight savings time program. Though the concept wasn’t embraced internationally, it laid the groundwork for what would come later.

In 1905, British builder William Willett proposed the idea of DST, suggesting setting clocks ahead in April and switching them back in September. His idea caught the attention of Robert Pearce, who introduced a bill to the House of Commons in 1908. The concept was opposed by farmers in England and did not pass, but it laid more groundwork.

In 1916, Germany was the first country to implement DST and several countries followed suit, including America.

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In the United States after World War II, states could choose whether or not they wanted to impose DST and on which dates. However, mass confusion caused Congress to establish the Uniform Time Act in 1966, which set a protocol for DST times/dates. Still, some U.S. states/territories don’t participate, calling out the dubious usefulness of DST.

As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the length of DST in America was extended by four weeks, starting in 2007. Additionally, while it is recognized around the world, not all countries practice DST, and those that do, do so on different dates.

Daylight Savings Time image: karenroach/Bigstockphoto.com

2016-11-01

We have so many watch aficionados asking us all the time about what they need to know when it comes to buying vintage watches. Now, the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors (NAWCC) has put together a three-day course entitled "Luxury or Lie? How to Identify a Genuine Watch."

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Now, you know that if you buy a new watch from an authorized retailer you are safe. But when it comes to buying vintage watches from a source you don't know you need to be careful.  The course — being offered in Santa Paula, Calif., November 12-14 — reviews watch terminology, complications, movements and more. Additionally, it teaches which components are the most important to study when buying a vintage watch, including dials, hands, strap and even the case.

The course instructors are also bringing in both genuine and fake watches for participants to examine close up.  Among brands covered throughout the two day event are Omega, Rolex, Rolex-Tudor, Breitling, Cartier, Tag Heuer, Panerai, Bell & Ross, Montblanc, Girard-Perregaux, Audermars Piquet and others.

There is a fee for the class and interested parties should visit NAWCC.org. Of course, you can typically trust vintage watches sold by authorized retailers as well as the major auction houses.

2016-10-27

Halloween is around the corner and that makes this the perfect time to talk about skeletons. Well, not the kind we usually think of at Halloween, but the kind we think of when we think luxury timepieces: Skeleton watches. Referred to as skeletons or skeletonized watches, these timepieces are intricate and alluring because the majority of the metal movement parts have been cut away and sculpted to offer open-worked magnificence.

To create a skeletonized watch, skilled master artisans and watchmakers spend hours upon hours slimming pieces to their tiniest possible size so that only the minimum metal is visible.  Sometimes the skeletonizing — the act of paring away the metal and then finely finishing it — can take several weeks to a month. It is also a fine balancing act, because as the metal is removed, the strength of the material can be compromised, affecting the integrity of the watch. The perfect skeleton is bare bones, but still generates maximum efficiency and precision.

Generally, once a movement has been fully finished, it is cased between a sapphire crystal and sapphire case back, enabling stunning see-through visibility of the beautiful work of art. While many brands offer top-notch skeleton watches, Cartier — a brand we are proud to carry — is a master at this art. We invite you to stop in any time and take a look at the masterful work inherent in a skeleton watch.

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