Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
Summer Sports Review: How IWC Sailed Into the Sunset IWC-celebrates-ADOR-victory-30.59f53be443edabbe6bfe36204ba276b4

Earlier this summer, IWC continued its participation in the all-important around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race (2014-2015), and the brand sailed to success with the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing victory. IWC is a partner and Official Timekeeper of the race and also sponsors the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team (ADOR), led by Skipper and two-time Olympic silver medalist, Ian Walker. ADOR was the overall victor — declared at the final destination in Sweden.


The sailing race, one of the toughest in the world, took the teams on a nine-month, 72,000-kilometer journey to seven continents, where they made stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Newport (USA), Lisbon (Portugal), Lorient (France) and a pit stop in The Hague (The Netherlands) before finishing in Gothenburg (Sweden).

As sponsor of the IWC 24-Hour Speed Record Challenge, IWC Schaffhausen presented every member of the ADOR crew with a Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph “Ocean Racer” (Ref. IW390216), a watch dedicated to the spirit of the sailing. The winning team covered a distance of 550.8 nautical miles in 24 hours – the best performance over the course of the entire race.


The Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Ocean Racer is part of the brand's all-important Portugieser line, one of the brand's most robust and alluring collections. This watch has  a diameter of 45.4 millimeters and is powered by the IWC-manufactured 89361-calibre movement. The self-winding chronograph features a flyback function and aggregate timing of up to 12 hours, shown by an analog display with two hands in a subdial. Just 1,000 pieces of this watch will be made. But fear not, we have many IWC Portugieser watches on hand to show you. Stop in any time — especially before your next sailing adventure.


We want to take a few minutes to remind you of a few protective steps you can take to keep your watches running smoothly and looking great.

A mechanical hand-wound watch should be wound in a clockwise direction, preferably at about the same time each day.

A mechanical automatic (self-winding) watch typically has a set number of hours of power reserve in it, and if worn continually (or within the hours of power reserve), it will wind itself without needing to be set again.

A good method to keep your automatic watches wound when not being worn is via an automatic watch winder. These come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and materials. Some can be locked and others can show off your watches as though they are on display. Most have timers that can be set to accommodate each of your automatic watch’s individual winding needs.

photo, courtesy, Wolf

Photo courtesy: Wolf

While many watches today are shock resistant, they should not be subjected to rigorous activity unless proven to be able to withstand intense treatment (such as a COSC-certified chronometer). Be careful to avoid holding your watch over a wood or granite floor while putting it on. Dropping it can cause damage, and we have seen this sort of thing all too often.

If your watch crystal is scratched or has a hairline fracture, get it replaced fast — before dust or moisture seeps inside, which can do greater harm.

Don’t assume your watch is ready to join you for a dive into the ocean or pool just because it says water-resistant. We wrote about water resistance here a few weeks ago, and we suggest you scroll back and see what your watch can or can't do, depending on its depth of water resistance.

For quartz watches: If your battery dies, get it fixed. Do not leave a dead battery inside a watch or it can eventually corrode, leak and ruin the timepiece. Always take your watch to an authorized retailer or a retailer with a properly equipped service department to have the battery replaced.

If you have any other questions or concerns, stop in and see us, or call anytime.


Cartier this year introduces an all-new watch line: Clé de Cartier – a unisex watch in a reimagined round shape. Translated in French as key, Clé features an unusual crown. Instead of being a round fluted crown in the classic shape, the crown is, instead, a tubular shape inset with a tubular-shaped cabochon to resemble a key.


Among the distinctive elements of the new line, in addition to the crown, are its ergonomically curved profile that fits the wrist beautifully, a rounded bezel with tapered lugs. The watch is powered by the 1847 MC automatic movement with 42 hours of power reserve. The movement is equipped with a specially developed lever system with the dual direction winding mechanism and barrel that helps to ensure precision. Clé de Cartier is being offered in three sizes: 31mm, 35mm and 40mm. The sumptuous watch is a sexy new addition to Cartier’s lineup and will steal the hearts of both men and women.


A1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A owned by Jim Patterson Collection took Best-of-Show. Photo: Rolex, Tom O'Neal.

Easily one of the most anticipated vintage car events of the year globally, the Monterey Classic Car Week took place this past week in the California's picturesque seaside city. Among the events were the Tour d'Elegance, presented by Rolex; the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion; The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, presented by Rolex and — the culmination — the 65th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, for which Rolex is the Official Timepiece.

Here, we bring you a look at some of the highlights of the week, the winners of the big events, and a look at the Rolex watch lovingly referred to as the driver's watch, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona.

The Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance Best of Show award — judged for design, restoration and authenticity — went to a 1924 Isotta Frashini Tipo 8A, owned by Jim Patterson Collection of Louisville, Kentucky.


Chris MacAllister's 1976 Ferrari 312 T2 racing at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion; Photo: Rolex, Stephan Cooper.

At Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Zak Brown's Lola T332, driven by Richard Dean, won Sunday's Formula 5000 race. When the last professional Formula 5000 race was held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 40 years ago (October 12, 1975), it was won by Mario Andretti in the same car.

rolex awards

 Rolex awards at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion; Photo: Rolex, Stephan Cooper

It was Californian Dick Deluna and his 1917 Hall-Scott The Four-A-7A (racing Saturday in Group 1A for Sports Racing and Touring Cars pre-1940) who stole the show overall. He was awarded the most coveted "Spirit of Monterey" prize, determined by an independent panel to honor the driver who most "excelled in the spirit of the weekend." He was awarded a specially engraved 18k yellow gold and stainless steel Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. Rolex Awards of Excellence were presented in each of the 15 race categories.


Stop in any time to see the watch that blanketed the Monterey Classic Car Week.


Watch lovers may delight in a watchmaking weekend in Switzerland. The iconic Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich is offering the “Luxurious Watchmaking Experience.” Running until September 30, 2015, the event is operated as a special package by the famous hillside hotel, and is designed as a unique watchmaking experience for guests. Bucherer is working with the hotel to present the the watchmaking class, which enables participants to gain a rare look inside the fascinating world of timepieces and their mechanics.


A trained watchmaker will teach travelers the art of beautiful timepieces, giving them a once-in-a-lifetime look into one Switzerland’s greatest legacies. The package includes a two-night stay at the hotel, which also boasts an award-winning spa. Packages start at just about $3,000 per person.


All watch brands offer a warranty with their timepieces. Many offer a one-year warranty, while others offer two or three years. It is rare that a brand offers more than three years, but it does happen.

Exactly what  a warranty offers you varies company by company. Some guarantees and warranties cover repairs of any sort; others are more selective. It is always a good thing to know what type of warranty is offered with the timepiece you are buying. Our associates are always pleased to review the warranty, but if you are looking around, here are a few important things to know about a warranty.

stamp warranty in red over white background

-- How long is the warranty? One to two years is the norm.

-- What exactly will the warranty cover? Most warranties will cover manufacture defects and/or material defects, but will not cover repairs needed due some sort of accidental  breakage. Sometimes the warranty will only cover the case and movement, not the crystal, dial or strap. You need to know what is covered.

-- If there is a repair needed on the watch, will it be fixed by the brand itself, or by a third party? The answer to this question often impacts the amount of time you will be without your watch. Shipping a timepiece to the brand's service center, if it is not in the USA, can add weeks to the process simply because of the vast amounts of paperwork involved and because of customs regulations.

-- Is the warranty void if repairs are not carried out by authorized service centers? Often, if a watch is repaired without going through the proper channels and service centers, the warranty becomes void, because the brand does not know if the service or repair was done to its standards.

If you have any questions at all about a warranty, we are here to help.

Image: BigStockPhoto.com


Trying to beat the summer doldrums? We have the solution. Check out your wristwatch knowledge as we bring you some great Fun Facts you may not know. Today we ask you five questions about watches and water sports – an appropriate topic during these long dog days of summer.


photo courtesy IWC

Q: Why do true dive watches have bezels that turn in only one direction?

A: The uni-directional bezel found on top-notch dive watches is there as a safety feature. The one-way bezels turn counterclockwise only so that if the watch is accidentally banged in a dive, the bezel will not move clockwise. An accidental clockwise move would mean that elapsed dive time indicated on the watch would be less than the actual elapsed time, which could cause the diver to think he has more oxygen than he actually has.

Q: What is a yacht timer?

A: A yacht timer watch is one that offers the 10-minute count down before a yacht race starts. The pre-race minutes are critical to the participants, as this is the time they use to maneuver their boats to the starting line and get a good position for when the signal sounds. Some yacht timers offer a different color for the 10-minute countdown and the final five-minute countdown.

Imperia photo C: R.NAAS

Q: Who invented the chronometer?

A: The development of the chronometer is a long and storied one. A shipwreck in 1707 of four British warships claimed the lives of 2,000 sailors when they crashed into the Scilly Isles near the UK because the sailors did not know their longitude. In 1714, the Longitude Act was established by England – providing a prize of 20,000 pounds (about $5 million today) for anyone could devise an effective method of measuring longitude at sea. John Harrison developed the first accurate marine clock, but Pierre LeRoy completed his marine clock a few years earlier in 1766 and it is believed his detached escapement paved the way for others.

Q: What is a Cyclops eye?

Also known as a magnifying lens, the Cyclops eye is incorporated into the watch crystal and lies above the date window to make viewing the date easier. The concept was conceived of in the early 1950s and often, today, is used to magnify other information on a watch.

Q: In 1927, which brand proved its water resistance in the English Channel?

A: The first British woman to swim the English Channel was Mercedes Gleitze, who accomplished the swim on her eighth try on October 7, 1927. Certain questions were raised about her swim, so she announced she would repeat it on October 21. On that date – her ninth swim — she carried a Rolex watch with her to prove its water resistance. While she was unable to complete that swim, when she emerged from the water, the watch was still working. Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex, named the watch the Oyster.


Photo: R.Naas

Oh, and here is a question NOT related to watches, but to time:

Q: Why are the days of August referred to as Dog Days?

A: This is the sultry part of summer that occurs during the period that Canus Major — or Sirius — the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun. This is typically from July 3 to August 11. It is supposed to be a period marked by lethargy and inactivity.


Watch collectors and watch lovers alike all have a grand affinity for Rolex. This brand has been on the cutting edge of time since its inception. After all, Rolex did introduce the first water resistant watch, the Oyster, back in the 1920s and made headlines around with world with it when Mercedes Gleitz swam the English Channel wearing the watch, which still worked when she emerged from the water.

Then, in 1956, the brand unveiled the Rolex Day-Date watch – created by founder Hans Wilsdorf. The watch is also often referred to as the President’s watch because of the great number of important presidents and socialites who have worn it.

Now, Rolex brings its famed Day-Date model to new heights consistent with the 21st century. The brand has built the all-new Caliber 3255 mechanical movement that further underscores the dial description of “Superlative Chronometer.”


The caliber, which was years in the making, surpasses the criteria developed by the COSC for certified chronometers thanks to a new chronometrically precise mechanical system. In fact, the technology in this timepiece holds 14 individual patents. The bidirectional self-winding Caliber 3255 beats at 4 Hz (or 28,800 vibrations per hour), and consists of several cool new inventions that are typical of Rolex’s innovative and advanced spirit. Among them are the following: the blue Parachrom hairspring, large balance wheel with variable inertia weights, state-of-the-art Chronergy escapement with Paramagnetic nickel-phosphorus pallet fork and escape wheel. For rugged functionality, the movement also is equipped with high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers. All of these inventions together make this timepiece both more accurate and more efficient – with 70 hours of power reserve.

The new Day-Date watches are offered with either a top-quality leather strap or with the much-loved President’s bracelet, which has also been improved and updated with features such as ceramic inserts inside the link, and a concealed attachment to the case – both for added wear and durability. The watch will be created in a 40mm version that will complement the existing 36mm version, and will be offered in yellow gold and platinum.


Underscoring its confidence in its timepieces, Rolex has announced that the international warranty on all watches sold after July 1, 2015, will be an impressive five years.


A little over a month ago, on the night of June 30th (stretching into July 1), a "leap second" was added to time. It was the 26th such “second” added to the “clock” since 1972, though no fuss was made about it in the media. The reason for the extra second, according to scientists at the International Earth Rotation Service in France, was to compensate for the slowing of Earth’s rotation, which has been occurring over time—partly because of our warming oceans.


Recalibrating time scales is no easy feat – especially in light of atomic timing. According to HH Magazine (the magazine of the Haute Horlogerie Fondation): “Meteorologists long measured time based on astronomical data. One day corresponded to the interval between two transits of the Sun above the Greenwich meridian at noon. Defined as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), this duration could be subdivided, using the sexagesimal system bequeathed to us by ancient civilizations, into 24 equal hours, then into 1,440 minutes and 86,400 seconds. All that changed, however, in 1955 [with] the advent of cesium atomic clocks. They measure time with unprecedented accuracy, varying by a single second every three million years. And so international atomic time (TAI, from the French temps atomique international) supplanted astronomical time. In 1967, the International Time Bureau at the Paris Observatory introduced the atomic hour based on the atomic second. Since then, some five hundred atomic clocks spread between different laboratories have helped define it.”

However, as scientists tried to define exact time, they were met with a single reality that the atomic clocks cannot ascertain: Earth does not rotate with exact precision. It slows with moon phases, tides, earthquakes and other natural phenomena. The general consensus is that as the polar caps melt, the water moving toward the equator changes Earth’s energies and rotation. Of course, that change is miniscule – amounting to fractions of a second over decades. To compensate, science conceived of the “leap second” in 1972.


Photo: Courtesy of Alpina

According to Christophe Roulet’s article in HH Magazine: “Suspending atomic time compensates Earth's drift to give Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) or international civil time, which is atomic time adjusted for the Earth's rotation.”

Interjecting these leap seconds is not an exact science. Because Earth’s geophysical make up changes, the addition of a second can’t be planned in advance. It is added only when the scientists at IERS deem it necessary (when the gap exceeds 0.9 seconds). Then, it is added either on June 30 or December 31 — whichever is nearer.

Opponents to the added leap second come mostly from the business side, claiming it wreaks havoc on computer systems. Scientists naturally disagree, stating that our lives are most in sync with solar time. Apparently, it is an issue up for review this November, when the International Telecommunication Union meets.