Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
2017-06-22

If you own a mechanical watch, you need to be aware that magnetism can affect its accuracy. Mobile phones, microwaves and certain electrical instruments can have an effect on the accuracy of a mechanical timepiece, depending on the proximity and duration of exposure. Additionally, certain medical testing equipment can have an adverse effect, which is why patients are often advised to leave their watch at home or in a locker during testing.

Of course, there are watches on the market that are designed to be anti-magnetic. Essentially, an anti-magnetic watch can run with minimal deviation in time tracking when exposed to magnetic fields. The International Organization for Standardization has issued a standard for magnetic resistant watches: ISO 764 Horology - Magnetic. It states that a watch must keep its accuracy to +/- 30 seconds a day to be magnetic resistant.

Among the ways certain brands build anti-magnetic watches include building movement components using alloys that are insensitive to magnetism. Such alloys include Glucydur, Nivarox and Elinvar — which you will find in some of the finest sport and dress watches in the world. They have been used for more than half a century for different parts. Today, many brands are also using alloys for their mainsprings and hair spring, which also helps.

Additionally, some brands avoid the magnetism issue by housing the movement in a soft iron (or similar material) case. This is especially true of pilot watches and sport watches. It should be noted the magnetic fields we encounter day to day are typically not strong enough to do damage to your mechanical watch. If you have a job where you are continually exposed to magnetic fields, stop in and talk to us about the right watch for your wrist that is anti-magnetic and still suits your needs.

2017-06-20

Tomorrow marks the first day of summer, and with it comes a host of wonderful outdoor activities — most of which involve water. Before you dive in, make sure the watch on your wrist is ready to take the plunge with you.

Even though a watch may say it is water resistant, it may not be resistant enough — plain and simple. In order for a watch to be classified as water resistant — and to rate the depth to which it can be submerged — it has to undergo rigorous pressure tests. If your watch doesn't say water resistant, it isn't.

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If the watch you are wearing says it is water resistant, it will typically have the depth to which it can be worn. It's important to note that watch brands use a number of methods to mark their watches for water resistance, including feet, meters, Bars and ATM (atmospheres). To simplify these terms, we offer some basic breakdowns:

1 Meter = 3 feet rounded (actual is 3.28 feet)
1 Bar = 33 feet rounded (actual is 33.455 feet)
1 ATM = 1 Bar or 33 feet rounded

No watch is water resistant to just three feet or 1 meter. Most will say 5 bar, 10 bar, 20 bar and up, for instance. You can find the markings denoting the water resistance of the watch either on the dial or on the caseback.

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Generally, a good rule of thumb is if a watch isn't water resistant to at least 50 or 100 feet it shouldn't go in a pool. For instance, if a watch is water resistant to 30 feet, it may not have water-tight gaskets or screw-in crowns, and water could seep inside when the watch is exposed to pressure or direct flow. Our guidelines: We will swim with a watch that has a screw-in crown and is water resistant to at least 200 meters. We will dive with one that is resistant to at least 300 meters. Additionally, never operate the crown or try to set the watch while in the water or while it is wet.

2017-06-15

The season of Dads and Grads has arrived and both of these events present perfect opportunities to give the gift of time — in the form of a wristwatch, of course. Even better, we have watches to suit all budgets and all types of fathers and graduates.

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Not only are watches a constant reminder to the wearer that you took the time and effort to find the right gift, but also they will think of you each time they glance at their wrist. Additionally, some watches have casebacks that are perfect for engraving a special, heartfelt message.

Maybe the college graduate in your life would like a sporty watch, or has an eye on something a little more dressy, but still casual enough to be worn to work? Perhaps that father of yours — or the father of your children — has a hobby that would be a perfect fit for a chronograph, a water watch or an aviation watch?

Whichever the case, we have the right watch for you, so please stop in and see us soon and we can help to steer you in the right direction, while you buy with confidence.

2017-06-13

With Father's Day around the corner, we think it is a good time to take a look at a gift that will track time for him until the year 2100 (at least): a perpetual calendar watch. Essentially, a perpetual calendar watch is a mechanical timepiece that tracks a wealth of calendar information and properly displays it. That information typically includes day of the week, date of the month, leap years and moon phases.

The most important thing to understand about a perpetual calendar watch is that the mechanics inside the watch accurately and automatically track and portray the exact date of the month, whether the month has 28, 30 or 31 days in it. It even accounts for leap year.

Most are built to track time until the year 2100, when they will need to be opened and readjusted by a watchmaker (ideally on March 1) because in the year 2100, we will be skipping our regularly scheduled leap year. Leap years occur every four years, with the exception of century years. There is an exception to the exception, however. If the century year can be divided by 400 (as in 2000), it remains a leap year.

Perpetual calendars are extremely complex and typically hold hundreds of tiny mechanical parts inside. Among those parts are date, day and month wheels, and, in the case of a moon phase indication, a specially made disk. Because of the extensive work that goes into building one, a perpetual calendar watch generally commands higher prices, but these are very popular watches today thanks to the useful functions and classic look. Each watch brand that offers a perpetual calendar has a slightly different design or display. We invite you in to take a look at our perpetual calendars perfect for Father's Day.

2017-06-08

Today marks World Oceans Day, which has been celebrated unofficially since its inception in 1992, when objectives were set into place to globally celebrate our waters. In 2008, World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the United Nations. Events focus on cleaning up beaches, working at aquariums and getting involved in charitable causes.

Additionally, certain watch brands support ocean conservation programs and help to raise awareness. Many even create water watches wherein a portion of their proceeds goes to help the oceans or different organizations.

IWC supports several ocean-related projects, including working with the Charles Darwin Foundation in the Galapagos for conservation and preservation there. The brand also works with the Cousteau Society to explore the oceans and to offer discovery under the sea.

Rolex is also a huge supporter of ocean exploration and scientific studies, and supports the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society that provides information on underwater disciplines for people considering careers in the field. Through its Deep Sea Pole sponsorship and the Deep Sea Challenge sponsorship, Rolex continues to increase the world’s knowledge of our seas.

2017-06-02

If you are a watch lover, you most likely dream of visiting Switzerland, the luxury watch capital of the world. This summer, you may want to indulge yourself, and while there, maybe even visit one of these three top watch museums...

One of our favorites is the Beyer Zurich Clock and Watch Museum, which has hundreds of watches and clocks, as well as early timekeepers, on display. You will marvel at the early clepsydras (water clocks), hour glasses and sundials, and then move forward in time to long case clocks and scientific/navigational instruments. It is in the heart of Zurich and is an easy stop.

If you travel up into La Chaux-de-Fonds, one of the key birthplaces of watchmaking, don't miss the chance to visit the International Watchmaking Museum. Here one can witness automatons, astronomical clocks of yesteryear and more.

Stop three is the Brodbeck Guilloche Museum, which focuses on the tools of watchmaking, with lathes, rose turning machines and other tooling from the 18th to 20th centuries. And as a bonus, if you are hitting Geneva, do not miss Patek Philippe's extensive library of watches, pocket watches, clocks and other instruments from a host of brands.

2017-05-31

This past weekend in Bermuda, sailing lovers were treated to the kickoff of the 35th America’s Cup presented by Louis Vuitton. The competition for the oldest trophy in international sports dates back to 1851. Defending the Cup is America’s Oracle Team USA (which won the 2013 America’s Cup races and the 2010 series before that). Five challengers are now racing one another over the course of nearly a month to determine which will be the final challenger.

Officine Panerai is the Official Watch of the 35th America’s Cup. It is also the Official Watch of the Defenders: Oracle Team USA, skippered by Jimmy Spithill, and the Official Watch of challenger Softbank Team Japan.

Panerai also unveiled watches to celebrate the event and the teams. Top among them is the Official Watch of the America’s Cup, the Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 America’s Cup 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 44mm. The 44mm stainless steel watch features Panerai’s patented crown protecting lever device and is water resistant to 300 meters. It displays the words “America’s Cup” on the dial. Powered by the in-house-made automatic caliber P. 9010 movement with three days of power reserve, the piece is being made in a limited edition of 300 units. Additionally, the brand has a host of other America's Cup-related timepieces. We invite you in any time to see the complete line up.

2017-05-25

Earlier this week, we reviewed the pros and cons of different types of watch straps, including fabric, rubber and leather. Today, we take a closer look at bracelet watches.

Easily one of the most durable materials on the market, metal can have its advantages over straps. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on lightweight titanium and stainless steel bracelets, as those are the most popular with summer sports and outdoor enthusiasts.

Generally, a bracelet is made of individual links that are held together with pins, screws or both. Because of their labor-intensive construction, and their material, bracelets are typically more expensive than straps. However, bracelets can last for years compared to straps and are relatively easy to take care of. Generally, one just needs to wipe them down with a soft wet cloth or with a little dish soap. Additionally, bracelets are preferred in hot, sticky climates because leather straps that can stick to the skin.

Thanks to processes, such as PVD (physical vapor deposit) and IP (ionic plating), steel and titanium can be coated in a range of colors. While their natural silver hue is typically preferred, black has become the new stealth look, and sometimes blue, as well. Two-tone bracelets (a mix of steel and gold or gold-plate) are also becoming popular again.

Perhaps the only real disadvantage of a steel bracelet is the fact that it is heavier than both titanium and leather. Some people, however, like the feel of the weight on the wrist. As with all choices regarding straps and bracelets, the best advice is to buy what you most like to wear.

2017-05-23

With summer around the corner and more short sleeves and bathing suits being worn, it is a good time to address the issue of leather vs. rubber vs. fabric watch straps. While the decision about what type of strap to wear is typically a matter of personal preference, there are some factors that may influence your decision. These include climate, temperature, exposure to water and activity.

Leather

Leather straps are comfortable to wear and can be found in a variety of colors and textures. Leather ranges from calfskin, ostrich and stingray to crocodile, alligator, snake and more. Generally, leather straps are relatively easy to take care of in the right temperatures — often with just a wipe of a damp cloth and dish detergent. In severe heat and humidity, though, these straps tend to get a bit sticky on the wrist.

Rubber

Rubber straps are the perfect choice if you are a water person. Rubber weathers the elements beautifully: water doesn't bother it and it dries quickly without sticking to the wrist. Typically rubber doesn't fade or lose its luster. Many of today's top rubber straps feature embossed details or have tire treads or other motifs on them. Additionally, most are blends of polycarbonate and other materials that keep them from becoming dry or brittle.

Fabric:

Fabric straps come in all types and fabrics. Easily the most preferred fabric for outdoor use is a woven material typical of a NATO strap. Sometimes referred to as military straps, NATO straps have roots dating back to the early 1970s when British soldiers used nylon straps that were highly durable, could be easily cleaned and were not expensive to buy. NATO straps are easy to change and usually slip through the top lugs, pass over the case back and though the bottom lugs. The system acts as double security, too, because one need not worry about spring bars breaking or popping as with typical straps. They are very durable and highly functional, as they dry quickly, don’t stick to the wrist and are designed for extreme wear.

2017-05-18

Jackie Kennedy © Getty Images courtesy of Christie's Auction House

Christie's Auction House has announced that at its upcoming June 21 New York Rare Watches and American Icons Sale it will put up for auction a watch owned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The Cartier Tank watch, which the former First Lady wore for years and can be seen in many photos of her, is estimated to sell for between $60,000 and $120,000.

Apparently the watch was a gift from her brother-in-law Prince Stanislaw “Stas” Radziwill in 1963 and has an engraving on the caseback: "Stas to Jackie 23 Feb. 63 2:05 AM to 9:35 PM.” The 2:05 a.m. to 9:35 p.m. engraving references the beginning and end times of the 50-mile hike that took place in Palm Beach in 1963. The hikes were part of Kennedy's concept for people to get healthy.

Making the lot even more exciting is the fact that it is being sold with an original painting by Jackie in 1963 as a gift for Radziwill also commemorating the hike and with the same date and times on it. Her painting also features a handwritten note to Radziwill: "Jackie to Stas with love and admiration."

The watch and painting are being put up for sale via Christie's from an anonymous donor who says a portion of the proceeds will go to the National Endowment for the Arts.

All photos courtesy of Christie's Auction House.

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