Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
2018-03-28

Easily one of the biggest watch trends spotted at Baselworld this year was the influence of car design and technology. Many brands unveiled watches that had some auto inspiration, whether it be a design detail or an outright auto partnership.

The love affair between cars and watches has been going on almost since the dawn of wristwatches and of automobiles back in the early 20th century. The synergies of precision timing, excellence and even high-tech materials and design make this a perfect match. While some watch brands offer designs that incorporate carbon fiber dials, rubber straps and bold racing colors, other brands form alliances with drivers, particular races and even racing teams — and then create watches in their honor.

Rolex, for instance, has almost become synonymous with the name Daytona, as has been intricately involved in endurance racing. The company sponsors the Rolex 24 at Daytona and is responsible for timing Le Mans and more. Endurance racing  is one of the most grueling disciplines in motor sports thanks to the straight 24-hour, non-stop, top-speed battle. Rolex was spotted on the wrists of drivers at the Daytona speedway decades ago — and by the 1960s and 1970s the watch and the brand had become so entrenched in the auto sports world that it made sense to become the official timekeeper of certain Daytona races, such as the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

That said, the watch that is most identifiable with such racing — and with motorsports in general — is easily the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. This high-performance watch is a marvel of mechanical engineering designed to deliver the highest degree of precision and reliability. The watch is built with a vertical clutch system that engages the chronograph function. It is built using Rolex's proprietary Cerachrom high-tech ceramic for the bezel, and features a host of different accents that draw the eye to the watch. We have a beautiful collection of Rolex Cosmography Daytona watches that may rev your engines. Make a pit stop here anytime.

Another brand that has taken the car and watch relationship to new heights is Breitling. For more than a decade now, this brand has worked side-by-side with Bentley, creating Bentley by Breitling watches with auto-inspired dial colors, straps and more. These high-precision watches underscore the brand's commitment to not just aviation, but also land sports.

Similarly, IWC has created a partnership with racing and with the world of vintage cars. The Swiss watch brand is a partner of Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 racing team, and driver Lewis Hamilton is an IWC brand ambassador. Because IWC has been a partner with Mercedes-AMG since 2004, when the auto brand got involved with F1 racing, IWC naturally signed on, as well. The two partner brands have a host of synergies, so as Mercedes-AMG celebrates its 50th anniversary, IWC is right there. The brand's newly released Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition “50th Anniversary of Mercedes-AMG" is a 44mm titanium watch with an in-house-made self-winding chronograph. Additionally, IWC is unveiling another new watch this month at GoodWood, where it is the official timing partner of the Members Meeting.

2018-03-22

The Baselworld Fair opened today, and already we are seeing key trends emerge, including an emphasize on interchangeable watch straps, the introduction of new materials and a general downsizing of case sizes for men and women.

Interchangeability and versatility. As witnessed already at SIHH, watch brands are recognizing that consumers today like choice. As such, we expect to see a lot more brands offering interchangeable watch straps — with new methods for easy-click changeability and with grand diversity of leathers, metal bracelets, finishes and colors.

Continued use of new materials. While gold, steel and titanium remain the staple of watchmaking, we continue to see an evolution of new materials. Our favorite is the use of bronze because it develops its own patina over time, making the watchcase unique to its owners. On the flip side is the innovative use of sapphire, with more sapphire box cases being unveiled at the high-end of the spectrum, allowing for ultimate visibility of the movement, and with some brands unveiling new colors of sapphire. Additionally, certain cutting-edge brands are unveiling new alloys and new colors of alloys that bring an edginess to the timepiece.

Smaller case sizes. While the much-loved 44mm size for men and 36mm size for women will never go away, this year we are seeing a reduction in case sizes. For women, these reductions mean a emergence of "mini" cases (24mm) from couture brands, as well as from fashion-forward brands, and of 32mm and 34mm sizes that sit nicely on a thinner wrist. For men, 38mm sizes in a classic watch are beginning to populate the offerings. For comparison's sake, a US quarter measures about 24mm.

2018-03-14

The first few months of every year are filled with so many events in the watch world, starting in January with the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) exhibition in Geneva and then running into the biggest watch show of the year, Baselworld, in Basel, Switzerland. This year, the Baselworld Fair official opens on Thursday, March 22, with pre-show events taking place on the 21st. The show runs through March 27.

This show is important for many reasons. To begin with, this is where the majority of watch brands — from Patek Philippe to Rolex — unveil their newest timepieces, watches destined to set the wrist trends for the coming year. During Baselworld, thousands of new timepieces are shown, many of which will start to make their way to stores later this summer and fall. This is where the trends are set, this is where the new materials in watchmaking are unveiled and this is where brands, retailers and even customers congregate to get the newest info on time and timekeeping.

About 800 brands will exhibit at the show. This list includes big name brands, niche brands, dozens of top independent watch brands and even some top jewelry brands. Additionally, around the city of Basel, another 30 or so brands are showcasing their new timepieces for those adventurous enough to step outside the show's cavernous halls.

We anticipate that this year's Baselworld exhibition will bring us some great new trends and directions for the coming year, and will keep you posted with more news and information very soon.

2018-03-07

This upcoming weekend we are all going lose a bit of sleep. That’s because at 2 o'clock in the morning on Sunday, March 11, we set our clocks ahead by one hour for the start of Daylight Saving Time. The Spring-Ahead concept has roots dating back to the 18th century.

In 1784, Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.” He suggested that people should get out of bed earlier in the morning in spring and summer months to use the light instead of candles. No one knows for sure how many people advocated for Franklin's idea, but we do know that no formal action was put in place to bring the concept to reality for the next 130 years.

Many European countries implemented a Daylight Saving program as early as 1916 when Germany first started, but the USA lagged behind for decades. In fact, here in America, starting just after World War II, the government suggested Daylight Saving Time, but left the implementation of it to the individual states. Each could decide if they wanted to impose it and on which dates.

This caused such confusion about what time it was in different states that in 1966 Congress established the Uniform Time Act – setting the protocol for exact dates and times to start and stop Daylight Saving Time. As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the length of Daylight Saving Time in America was extended by four weeks, starting in 2007. Still, some U.S. states/territories don’t participate, and argue the usefulness of it.

Credits: Top image by BigStockPhoto.com; Old timepieces by The Watch Blog.

2018-02-28

Each season, Pantone unveils the newest colors that will grace fashions, styles, home decor and accessories. Generally, the Pantone Color Institute is pretty specific. This year, though, with the spring 2018 colors "variety" is the buzz word.

As issued in the Pantone Fashion Color Trend Report, the colors for spring 2018 consist of four essential classic neutral tones (this is the first time that Pantone has issued a classic color report) and 12 standout hues that run the gamut from pastels to bright acid tones of the 1970s, as well as darker jewel tones.

Meadowlark Yellow tops the charts as the most important color for spring. However, it takes a certain person to wear this bold hue, even if it does embrace optimism. Other key hues come in the red family in the form of Cherry Tomato (obviously red-orange) and Chili Oil (reddish brown), and in the pink family, with tones such as Pink Lavendar and Blooming Dahlia. Additionally pale blues and cool greens come into play.

For the classic side, because, let's face it, one needs to pair these tones with some neutrals, Pantone says the key colors are Warm Sand, Sailor Blue (navy), Harbor Mist (silver gray) and Coconut Milk (creamy white). The names make it sound  like we're in for a beach-and-water adventure this spring.

In all, the colors of the season seem to be more about individuality and personal statement-making. So, what's the best way to use the shades to your advantage this spring? Easy: colorful watches, watch straps and jewelry.  We have the answer; stop in any time to see.

Credits: All images courtesy of Pantone.

2018-02-21

Monday was President’s Day, so to honor our American leaders, we shine a spotlight today on some of their favorite watches.

Throughout history, pocket watches and, later, wrist watches have accompanied many of our leaders on their journeys, to the podiums for speeches and more. In some instances, our leaders purchased those watches and in other instances they were gifts. Either way, time has always had an important role in the White House.

Our very first president, George Washington, owned a Jean-Antoine Lepine pocket watch during his presidency. It is said he asked a friend to purchase the watch for him while that friend was abroad. Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, as well as our fifth president, James Monroe, each owned a pocket watch made by Daniel Vaucher, a famed French watchmaker. Monroe also wore a Gabriel pocket watch. Years later, our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, was regularly seen with an American-made Waltham watch.

As the 19th century gave way to the 20th century, wristwatches came into vogue. One particularly favored brand with presidents was the Vulcain Cricket alarm watch, a favorite of both Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Franklin Delano Roosevelt wore a calendar watch by Tiffany & Co., whose movement was made by Swiss brand, Movado. In fact, Tiffany has created a tribute timepiece in honor of FDR's watch.

Post-World War II presidents also owned top-notch Swiss watches. John F. Kennedy, in the early 1960s, wore a Cartier and an Omega. He was also gifted a watch by Marilyn Monroe, but swiftly gave that watch away without ever wearing it. Other presidents, including Richard Nixon and Lyndon Baines Johnson, carried on the Vulcan Cricket alarm watch tradition. Although LBJ also owned and proudly wore a Rolex.

LBJ_Vulcain_Cricket_560

Our more recent US Presidents were less likely to sport the more expensive gold Swiss watches. Former President Bill Clinton has been seen wearing a Shinola, and, while in office, often wore a Timex. Similarly, President Barack Obama was seen wearing more affordable brands, such as Jorg Gray, TAG Heuer and a Shinola during his time in office. However, in his recently unveiled official portrait (done when each president leaves office), he is wearing a Rolex. As for President Trump: He has been seen wearing a Rolex and a vintage Patek Philippe.

2018-02-14

Happy Chinese New Year! This Friday, February 16, marks the start of the Year of the Dog, the 11th sign in the Chinese Zodiac. To mark this momentous occasion, the master artisans at Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet and Panerai have created limited-edition dog-themed watches.

The dog embodies certain important traits that include loyalty, bravery, honesty and devoted attention. The dog is smart and incredibly lively. These are the features that Ulysse Nardin strives to depict in the dial of this exquisite watch. Created in Grand Feu enamel in a Champlevé technique, the dial of the watch shows a long-haired pup, ears erect, playing in the forefront of a midnight blue dial.

The dial is made in the Donze Cadrans manufacture, owned by Ulysse Nardin, where all of the brand's dials are created. This one is done by chiseling the dial and then filling in the chiseled areas with enamel that is then fired in a kiln. The delicate and time-consuming process ensures that each dial is unique. The 18-karat rose gold watch is powered by the COSC-certified self-winding UN-815 mechanical moment with 42 hours of power reserve. Just 88 pieces will be made.

Another dog-themed beauty is from Vacheron Constantin. Part of the brand's Métiers d’Arts “The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac” collection, the new 40mm watch is a hands-free timepiece with a magnificently sculpted dog occupying the entire center of the dial, with leaf pattern scrollwork in the background. Without traditional hands to indicate the time, the hours, minutes, day and date are shown via apertures surrounding the dog. The watch is offered in platinum with a blue dial or in rose gold with a red dial and just 12 of each will be made.

Breguet also weighed in this year with a version of man's best friend in the Breguet Classic 7145 Chow Chow watch. Powered by a mechanical movement that can be viewed through the sapphire caseback, the  Classic 7145 watch features the dog in the center of the dial, happily stealing the show. The fully engraved white gold dog sits atop some coins and is set against a hand guilloché dial. The detailing of the dog on the dial requires hundreds of hours of engraving work, as well as dozens of hours creating the guilloché ivory background. Just eight pieces will be made.

Another brand we carry here, Panerai, has unveiled a Year of the Dog watch in the form of a fully engraved and pierced hinged-cover on the Panerai Luminor 1950 Sealand 3 Days Automatic Acciao watch. The cover opens to reveal the dial beneath, but it is on the cover where the gold-and-black engraved and lacquered dog sits in majesty against a plum-flower background. Panerai will produce 88 pieces of this watch.

This may be the best year to demonstrate your love for man's best friend.

2018-02-07

OK, men, Valentine's Day is just around the corner and you want to be on top of your game for that special woman in your life, be it a wife, a girlfriend or mom. While flowers are beautiful, they are so cliché — besides they die in a few days. Chocolates are sweet, too, but who isn't trying to watch their weight these days? Dinner — yes, romantic for a night. However, we suggest you look to give her something much more meaningful and long lasting: give the gift of time.

A watch makes a perfect gift. It says you care and that you took time to find the right timepiece for her. What's' more, it will last so much longer than all those other things — and as long as your love (Well, some watches might need a new battery if they are quartz, but you can stay on top of that five years down the road). Additionally, there is a watch for any budget. Here we bring you three tips for buying the right gift this year:

1- Think about the colors she loves. Watches come with all sorts of stunning straps, with vibrant hues, pastels and neutrals. Unsure of her favorite color? You can't go wrong with red or pink on Valentine's Day.

2- Think about those flowers you were considering. Certain watches have stunning floral motifs on their dial that let you give both concepts at once. Others also have heart motifs. You may want to look at those, or even better, just a beautiful swirl or hand-guilloché pattern on the dial that adds depth and dimension (much like that woman in your life has).

3- Think about her hobbies. Is she active and sports involved? A chronograph might be the right watch. Is she a business woman, busy traveling the world? Perhaps a dual timer or world timer watch would be a good pick. Does she like things simple and uncomplicated? Maybe a three-hands watch with date? Is she a hopeless romantic? Then you have to go with a moon phase watch.

Still not sure? Stop into our store any time in the coming week and we would be happy to help you find the watch that suits your message, your budget and your loved one. We can even send you on your way with a gift-wrapped box.

2018-01-31

International watch brands seem to have their attention focused squarely on the American market. This year, for the first time ever, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) is bringing its "Watches & Wonders" exhibition to the USA. Previously held in Asia, the Watches & Wonders show will be held in conjunction with the Miami Design District and is open to the public.

More than 21 brands will be exhibiting at the Miami Design Center over the President's Day weekend (February 16-19), and visitors will be marveling at some of the recently unveiled timepieces seen at the Geneva Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) earlier this month. Mind you, the watches previewed at SIHH are not yet available in the US market, and when they are, they will be featured in our showcases. For now, visitors to Watches & Wonders may be able to see and touch some of them.

In addition to showcasing the newest trends, the Watches & Wonders show is also promoting a host of exciting programs, events and speakers, who will offer interesting takes on watches, jewelry and design, in general. Expect to see pop-up structures, too, from independent brands, such as Armin Strom, Romain Jerome, Roman Gauthier, Kari Voutilainen, F.P. Journe and Ralph Lauren.

Organized in partnership with Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie and the Miami Design District, this four-day event will run concurrently with the 30th annual Miami Yacht Show and the Miami Design District Concours exotic car show.

2018-01-24

As we mentioned last week, women's watches were an important trend at the SIHH exhibition in Geneva, the first important watch show of the year. Cartier certainly pulled out all the stops with its newest elegant watches for women, with scintillating designs enhancing several key collections. In fact, for the Cartier Libre collection, the brand focuses on revelations and transformations.

After reviewing its finest archival pieces, Cartier unveils a host of new watches with an emphasis on black-and-white design and on diamonds and high jewels — in true Cartier style. The concept herein was to play with shapes — something this brand has done with panache since its inception. It has transformed, mixed and blended the shapes of its Crash and Baignoire, offering disruptive volumes and proportions for truly feminine pieces.

These newest watches were just unveiled and we are bringing you a close-up look here, but please keep in mind, they won't be making their way to the markets until late summer, early fall ... just in time to don some real glamour for the holidays.

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