Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
2015-12-30

As we wind down 2015 and look to new experiences in 2016, we want to take a moment to thank our loyal customers, our sometimes customers and our future customers. After all, we wouldn't be able to bring you so much exciting news in the world of watches without your avid interest in beauty, mechanics and — time.

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It was an exciting year. We brought on some new brands and a lot of new timepiece collections. We introduced stunning watches and even some personalities along the way. From January through December, we enjoyed every moment of working with you to find the best purchase, the best gift and the best time.

This was a strong year for women's watches, an important year for complicated watches and a connected year for Smart watches (wherever that category may lead). It was a year of color, sports, diamonds, mechanics and of high-tech materials. But most of all, it was a year of bonding and working together — just like the cogs and wheels and pallets of watches form a single cohesive masterpiece. We wish you a wonderful, peaceful year-end and an incredibly special New Year.

2015-12-23
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We know you have put a lot of time and effort into searching for just the right gift for that special someone. But many of you are expressing concerns that either you don't have everything you want, or that you are still seeking that single meaningful statement. This is where we come in.

A timepiece is something that one uses to make a statement about himself or herself, about interests, hobbies and likes. A watch expresses something very special about that person and is a timeless treasure looked at many times each day. It may be the single most important gift you can give — one that says you have put thought and effort into this moment.

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You can spend a little or you can spend a lot — it is totally up to you. The point is that we have a great selection of dress watches, casual watches, dive, pilot and other sport watches in-store now, and we are happy to work with you to find just the right gift for your loved one. Stop in. There's still time.

2015-12-22
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Yesterday, our blog reviewed what brand ambassadors and other celebrities wear on their wrists. At the risk of seeming starstruck, we want to point out another starring role: John Travolta, as Breitling brand ambassador.

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In fact, the actor and pilot has been working with Breitling for several years now, and most recently posed with the legendary North American X-15 plane for some Breitling advertising campaign shots. Additionally, Breitling has added to its brand ambassador roster pilot Aude Lemordant, who won the FAI World Aerobatic Championships 2015 held in Châteauroux (France).

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2015-12-21
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You may recall that back in November we brought you news about the Only Watch Charity Auction that took place in Geneva. The proceeds from the auction, held every two years, are donated to the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy to help finance research for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

What we didn’t tell you then, but we have now learned, is that the famed 51-year-old actor, Brad Pitt, spent more than $7 million at that auction on single timepiece: a one-of-a-kind Patek Philippe wristwatch. The Reference 5016A stainless steel Calatrava (Lot 16) was the highest priced wristwatch ever sold at the Only Watch auctions. It sold for 7.3 million Swiss Francs.

The watch houses a tourbillon, minute repeater and perpetual calendar with moonphase display against a blue enamel dial. Brad Pitt is known to be a watch lover and has purchased collectible watches for himself and Angelina Jolie in the past. In fact, back in the early 2000s he was even a brand ambassador for TAG Heuer.

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Other celebrities who love watches include Leonardo DiCaprio, a current TAG Heuer brand ambassador. In fact, TAG Heuer has even made a watch in honor of this actor. The Leonardo DiCaprio Link Caliber 16 Chronograph with a blue dial and smoked sapphire caseback carries DiCaprio’s engraved signature. Proceeds from the sale of this watch go to the actor’s charity partners: Green Cross International and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

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IWC teams (as the Official Engineering Partner) with the racing legends of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, including three-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton and his teammate Nico Rosberg. Each of these men wear special editions, created in their honor, of the Ingenieur Chronograph made with some of the same high-tech materials as are used in the cars.

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Of course, the list goes on and on. So many great celebrities have teamed with watch companies. This is a subject we will revisit after the holidays, but if you have a celebrity heartthrob, or want to buy the perfect gift for someone in your life who has a celeb crush, stop in anytime and we can show you the vast array of brands with star-studded brand ambassadors.

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2015-12-18
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Watches made from noble metals are exquisite in look and feel — and in the message they convey. Earlier this week, we wrote about how noble metals of gold and platinum are used for watch cases. These materials bring a certain luster and luxe to the wrist.

We recognize that selecting a watch is a highly personal process, and are happy to carry a strong array of fine timepieces that can suit your needs or the needs of those you love. Whether purchasing for a man or a woman, giving the gift of gold (or even platinum) is a lasting statement.

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We invite you in any time to get a close-up look at some of our finest timepieces crafted in the noble metals.

2015-12-16
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Watches made of noble metals are exquisite in look and feel. Such is the case with the Vacheron Constantin Harmony collection. Earlier this year, we introduced you to the luxurious new collection of cushion-shaped watches that had been unveiled at the SIHH (the world’s foremost luxury watch exhibition) in Geneva. Now, we are happy to say, "They're here," and we want to show them again because they're worth another look.

Inspired by the past, but with an eye to the future, the cushion-shaped Harmony line pays tribute to the brand’s 260th year of continuous production. It is inspired by a chronograph first introduced in 1928, yet the renditions are timeless — and ultra thin. There are eight ultra-thin watches in the collection, including a Dual Time watch, a Monopusher split-seconds chronograph, a Monopusher Chronograph with a Tourbillon and others — for both men and women. Additionally, these watches boast new movements that have been designed and manufactured in-house over the course of the seven years that it took the brand to develop the collection. They all bear the Geneva Seal and, depending on the model, are offered in gold or platinum.

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The Harmony Dual Time

Available in both pink and white gold, the Harmony Dual Time displays the second time zone at the four/five o’clock position and a day/night indicator at the seven. It is powered by the self-winding caliber 2460DT comprised of 233 parts, and features a decorated oscillating weight. Additionally, the Harmony Dual Time comes in several versions, including a smaller diamond-adorned stunner that features the same movement as the larger model. Exactly 500 pieces of the diamond version are being produced.

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The Harmony Chronograph

The Harmony Chronograph is a stunning interpretation of the 1928 chronograph by the brand. It is a monopusher chronograph with a pulsimeter scale. It is powered by the 252-part hand-wound caliber 3300 and offers a 45-minute timer at three o’clock and a 60-second timer at nine o’clock.  Similar to the Dual Time, there is a diamond-adorned version, as well.

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Harmony Tourbillon Chronograph

The Tourbillon Chronograph is a monopusher chronograph powered by the hand-wound caliber 3200 and is housed in a platinum case. The dial displays a single register chronograph at three o’clock. The Tourbillon escapement is at 12:00 for balance. The chronograph displays a 45-minute timer, which is highly unusual. The Tourbillon sports a robust 65 hours of power reserve.

We invite you to stop in any time to take a close-up look at the elegance, precision and craftsmanship inherent in the watches made by Vacheron Constantin, the oldest continuously running watch manufacture in the world.

2015-12-15

With the holidays aglitter around us, we turn our attention to noble metals – in the form of stunning timepieces. The noble metals of gold and platinum make incredible watch cases and bracelets.

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Gold — long sought after as a status symbol and given as a symbol of love — comes in a host of hues. Mined from the Earth, it has been used in jewelry since the early Egyptian days. Today, nearly 70 percent of all gold mined is used in jewelry and watchmaking. To work the gold, which is purest in its 24-karat state (and softest), alloys must be added to give it strength. Gold that contains 75 percent pure gold, along with an alloy, is called 18-karat gold. By comparison, 14-karat gold contains less pure gold (58.3%) and more alloy.

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Often, alloys and other metals added to the pure gold lend color, as well. Hence, the appearance of white, pink and rose gold. White gold is achieved by adding nickel or palladium to the yellow gold, while pink gold is created using copper – the more copper, the deeper the pink, rose hue. Sometimes today you hear of brands creating watchcases in red gold — this is the richest of the pinks, denoted as 5N. Of course, some brands also create their own special hues and finish of gold, but rose and white are the most popular today.

Platinum — one of the earth’s richest and rarest metals — is also sometimes used for special limited-edition and one-of-a-kind watches. Thirty times rarer than gold, platinum is difficult to work and is more expensive because it is generally used in purities of 95% to 99%. It is beloved for its rich luster and timeless elegance.

Later this week, we will present a host of different watches that utilize the noble metals — watches that make great holiday gifts.

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2015-12-10

As we continue on the journey we started this month to understand the different materials used in watchmaking, today we shine the spotlight on ceramic and aluminium.

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Engineered ceramic is lightweight, durable, scratch proof and can hold up in any weather conditions, including being exposed for long periods to saltwater. The material is a blend of oxides, carbides, nitrates and zirconium that are engineered to become a long-lasting, impressive material. It is often used as a watch bezel or as a bracelet. Depending on the watch brand, the level of sophistication of the ceramic can vary. It can be developed with stronger material, such as aluminum and carbon fiber, and can be made in black, white or other colors. All ceramic is made via an extreme heating and cooling process, and the finished product must be worked using diamond bits.

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When using the ceramic as links for a bracelet, some brands insert steel as a base metal before applying the ceramic. Top-quality engineered ceramics can withstand extreme temperatures, are hypoallergenic and resistant to scratches. In its finished form, ceramic has a high sheen that makes it lustrous and attractive.

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Aluminium, as its name implies, is a derivative of aluminum. The high-tech alloy is used by watch brands to offer new material options. It is lightweight and can be made in a multitude of colors, making it a highly prized material for accents on dials and as bezels. However, it is also prized by fashion and affordable watch brands for its ultra light weight and is sometimes formed into a watchcase by these types of brands. It is an affordable material to use and relatively easy to work with. Its advantages are comfort on the wrist and cool appeal. It is, however, not as durable as certain other high-tech materials.

2015-12-08
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Last week we discussed the attributes of titanium. Today we want to discuss another high-tech material known as carbon fiber. Carbon fiber – borrowed from the world of automotive sports – is a very strong, lightweight synthetic fiber that must be compressed at high temperatures to form a case or dial.

Essentially, it all starts with carbon fiber strands (made of thousands of threads of carbon) that are rolled on large spools (much like a spool of thread). Depending on the watch brand, there are a variety of methods used to compress or forge the fibers into the case shape and mold it.

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Sometimes the fibers are precisely measured, cut and placed (layered) into a mold and pressed. Sometimes the fibers are not layered but rather simply pressed into the mold and then compressed. In both instances, once the fibers fill the case mold, they are heated at well over 400 degrees for a long period of time and put under intense pressure to fuse the fibers. Once the mold has cooled, it is opened and the case is removed. Depending on the treatment (layered or just bunched), the case can have a striped or mottled look after the heating process.

Carbon fiber is extremely strong and durable. It is also lightweight and has a stealth, yet luxurious, look to it. Because it is expensive to buy the fiber, and because it is not easy to make a carbon fiber case (it requires special equipment for the compression and heating process), the material is usually reserved for use in the luxury watch industry.

2015-12-03

As the watch industry reaches out of its own comfort zone and into the worlds of aviation, motorsports and other high-tech realms, a new breed of watches is emerging. That new breed is one where new materials come into play for watch cases, bracelets and even dials.

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Among the most frequently used alternative (to steel and the noble metals) materials on the market today are titanium, ceramic, carbon fiber, aluminum (aluminum alloys) and polycarbonate, or resin. Within each of these categories, the materials are not all treated equally. Over the coming weeks, we will delve more deeply into the differences, features and benefits of many of these materials, but today, we are focusing on titanium.

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There are some distinct advantages to using titanium for cases and bracelets, but the most important has to do with the material’s weight and strength. In fact, when you pick up a titanium watch, the first thing you notice is how lightweight it feels compared to a steel watch. Sometimes, people mistake that lighter weight as being “inexpensive.” In fact, it is the opposite, because titanium is so tough, it is harder to mill than steel and therefore more expensive.

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Titanium, a gray metal similar in look to steel, is found in earth and sand. The material is approximately 30 percent harder than steel and is about 50 percent lighter in weight than steel. It is also highly corrosion resistant — making it the prefect metal of choice for dive watches and other sport timepieces. Used predominantly in aviation and space fields, titanium was first brought to the forefront of the watch industry about 20 years ago. It makes a great watchcase and bracelet, as it is not affected by the elements (weather, temperature, etc.). Additionally, the material is hypoallergenic and can be recycled. Some brands also offer black titanium cases for a truly alluring appeal. Perhaps the only downside to titanium is that it scratches easily.

2015-12-01
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With Thanksgiving behind us and the holidays upon us, we want to start the busy shopping season with a few messages about taking time this month. We like to reiterate that there is nothing as special as giving or receiving the gift of time – something we all seem to have so little of.

Whether it is a dinner out, a few hours at a spa, or a small vacation — the concept is all about moments, relaxation and reflection. And another delight — and a great self purchase — that reflects how much your appreciate time is... a watch.

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Not all watches are created equal. So, this month we will bring you some informative articles that will help you pick the right watch. Starting this week, we will publish blog items about noble metals, high-tech materials and complex functions in watches. We will also bring you news of the hottest timepieces on the market and of the most collectible.

We are always happy to talk with you in our store about timepieces and the news, but we know you are busy this season, too. So before the bustle gets the best of us, we want to wish you a glimmering holiday season and peaceful times.