Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
2016-02-29

Today we celebrate Leap Year, the special time when February gets an extra day. The concept behind Leap Year has to do with keeping consistent time.

(photo courtesy: timeanddate.com)

Graphic courtesy: timeanddate.com

It takes the Earth approximately 365.242189 days – or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds – to circle once around the Sun. But the Gregorian calendar year consists of only 365 days, so if we didn't add a leap day on February 29 nearly every four years, we would lose almost six hours off our calendar every year. After only 25 years, our calendar would be off by around 6 days.

By adding a day once every four years to our Gregorian calendar, we keep our measured time in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. This extra day will be added every four years to our calendar until the year 2100—when we will need to skip the leap year to get the timing in sync again.

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With all of this in mind, we can’t think of a better time to indulge in a calendar watch. There are annual calendars and perpetual calendars on the market and both are nice devices at different price points.

Essentially the annual calendar watch tracks the information of each month on the wrist, including offering day, date and month – taking into account months that are 30 and 31 days in length. However, this type of watch requires a resetting of the date every year at the end of February (which can be 28 or 29 days, depending on if it’s a leap year).

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The annual calendar’s more exclusive and expensive sibling is the perpetual calendar. In addition to tracking all of the info the annual tracks, the perpetual also counts a few other dates, including leap year. With a perpetual calendar, the watch mechanism changes the date no matter how many days are in a month, taking into account leap years. Unlike annual calendars that need an annual adjustment, perpetual calendar watches will not need an adjustment until the year 2100 when, as mentioned we will skip a designated leap year.

2016-02-25

Last year, Baume & Mercier surprised and delighted us with its exceptional unveiling of the Capeland Shelby® Cobra collection of watches. Created in partnership with Carroll Shelby in Las Vegas, the line was a captivating success. Now, the brand brings us the newest generation, the Capeland Shelby® Cobra Limited Edition "Spirit of Competition" watch.

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It represents a deft blend of Shelby confidence and endurance, and great Baume & Mercier design and craftsmanship. The Swiss-made self-winding movement delivers quality and accuracy at the highest standards. The case back is engraved with the name of the collection, as well as the words “one out of 1963” in reference to the number of limited-edition pieces and to the year that witntnessed Cobra’s first victory at the American championship.

The watch features a 44mm case in polished and satin-finished steel. It is also available in steel with black ADLC coating. The striking black dial is accented with racing yellow colors for the chronograph counter and Cobra hand. The Cobra logo is forged into the seconds hand of the chronograph as a symbol of the timeless pursuit of speed.

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The watch offers a tachymeter for measuring speed, and features green light emission Superluminova markers, combined with anti-glare on the crystals for easy readability. This is one great new watch and we can't wait to have it in stores when it delivers later this year.

2016-02-23
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If you've been following our blog, you know that we are keeping on top of the trends emerging from the world's first watch exhibitions. Last month at the SIHH Geneva, we witnessed the emergence of an all-new Cartier collection: Drive de Cartier.

The line is designed for those who appreciate cars and have a penchant for style and freedom. The line is distinguished by its signature cushion-shaped case. Offered, depending on the version, in steel or in pink gold, the Drive de Cartier line has several models — each powered by a different caliber.

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Among the models are the Drive de Cartier time and date watch and the Drive de Cartier small complication with large date, retrograde second time zone and day/night indicator. There is also, at the very high end, the Drive de Cartier Flying Tourbillon watch. We will bring you more details about these watches when they make their way to our store later this year, but for now, we wanted to give you a quick look to whet the appetite.

2016-02-18

We know the Smart Watch idea is an important and real concept in today's world. As such, some watch brands have opted to create their own connected watches. Such is the case with Breitling, which has unveiled its Exospace B55 technology watch with Swiss roots. Designed for professionals, the watch is not technically a "Smart" watch. Instead, it interfaces with the cell phone, allowing users to easily set time zones, alarms, night mode, displays and operating parameters on the timepiece via the phone app.

The watch can also transmit Excel spreadsheets of recorded lap times, split times, etc. The watch can display text messages, email alerts, appointment reminders and callers name and number for incoming phone calls, and it can help pilots record and keep track of information necessary for completing a flight log. The watch is powered by the brand's  SuperQuartz battery and boasts two month's life when fully charged. It is charged via a magnetically linked cord.

2016-02-15
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With President’s Day here, and with this year being an Election year, it is interesting to take a look at what our presidents have worn on their wrists. In fact, just the other night, former President Bill Clinton was seen with candidate Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea, where both father and daughter were wearing Shinola watches.

Over the years, our presidents have worn everything from inexpensive to expensive watches — both gifts and self-purchases — to time their moments in the White House.

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Way back to our first president, George Washington, watches accompanied our leaders. Washington owned a Jean-Antoine Lepine pocket watch during his presidency, and Thomas Jefferson, our third president, and James Monroe, our fifth president, each owned a pocket watch made by Parisian watchmaker, Daniel Vaucher. Monroe also wore a Gabriel pocket watch. Abraham Lincoln famously wore an American-made Waltham watch.

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Years later, several of our presidents (including Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower) were seen wearing Vulcain Cricket alarm watches. Franklin Delano Roosevelt wore a calendar watch by Tiffany & Co., whose movement was a Movado. Post-WWII presidents also went with top-notch Swiss watches. John F. Kennedy, in the early 1960s, wore a Cartier and an Omega. Later, Richard Nixon wore a Vulcain Cricket alarm watch, as did Lyndon Baines Johnson, who also owned and proudly wore a Rolex.

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The list goes on and on. President Barack Obama has been seen wearing a Jorg Gray, a TAG Heuer and a Shinola. What the next president wears remains to be seen.

2016-02-10

Valentine's Day is around the corner — so you have just a few days left to get that ultimate gift of love for that special person in your life. While candy is good (if he/she likes chocolate), and roses smell sweet, the best gift is the gift of time.

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A wonderful pink- or red-strapped watch for her, or watch with a floral motif, a moon-and-stars look, or even a heart motif will remind her at every glance of your love. So, too, will watches with a shimmer of diamonds. Don't underestimate a woman's love of sparkle.

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Ditch the candy and stop in to check out our red-hot Valentine-appropriate watches.

2016-02-08

Today marks the Chinese New Year, and according to the Chinese zodiac, it is the Year of the Monkey — the playful but witty creature that symbolizes luck and long life. Now, several top watch brands celebrate the intelligent Monkey with all-new watches.

Vacheron Constantin unveils its newest “Metiers d’Art, Legend of the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Monkey” watch. The brand offers two versions, one with a blue dial and one with a Chinese red dial — each bearing the Hallmark of Geneva. The watch dials demonstrate the arts of engraving, enameling and sculpting to depict a realistic rendition of a monkey amidst foliage created via iconography etched directly into the metal. The watch is powered by the Caliber 2460 G4 movement with hands-free time display, achieved via four apertures that show the hours, minutes, days and date. It is offered in platinum with a blue dial (12 pieces) and 18-karat red gold with a red dial (also just 12 pieces).

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Chopard has been creating timepieces utilizing the ancient art of Urushi for several years now. This year, the brand again turns to the art for its L.U.C XP Urushi “Year of the Monkey” watch, with a dial created using Japanese decorative lacquer. The varnish, or lacquer, is made from sap that is harvested from the Urushi tree just once a year. The Urushi technique is coupled with the art of Maki-e, wherein gold dust is applied via a thin bamboo tube. The monkey is shown gathering peaches. The 39.5mm watch houses the self-winding ultra-thin (3.30mm thick) L.U.C Caliber 96.17-L with twin barrels and 65 hours of power reserve.

2016-02-08
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Tudor, a brand we are pleased to carry in our stores, has a rich history in diving, exploration and 20th century expeditions. The brand’s North Flag collection recalls those activities thanks to its rugged style and new movement.

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The watches in this collection are 40mm timepieces crafted of a monobloc stainless steel middle case and sapphire crystal and caseback. The watch features a screw-down crown to offer water resistance to 100 meters. There are two versions in the line, one with a solid steel bracelet (with satin-finished link surfaces) and the other with a matte black leather strap with yellow stitching and lining.

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A technical advancement, the Manufacture movement MT5621 was developed in house. Visible via a sapphire caseback, the movement of this watch instrument depicts a finished caliber with sand blasting and sunray details. We invite you in any time to see the North Flag line and the other distinguished Tudor collections.

2016-02-05
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Earlier this week we brought you a look at the four key trends we saw emerging in women’s watches based on the brands exhibiting in January at the SIHH luxury watch exposition, and on brands showing their new timepieces in other locations throughout the city of Geneva. Now we bring you a look at the top four trends we expect to see making their way to men’s wrists this year.

Blue. Just as color played a starring role in watches for women, the hue of blue is king of the stage for men this year. The luxe, rich hue is gracing everything from luxury watch dials to sport watch dials – often with soleil finishings, grid patterns and even in graduated tones.

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Skeletons. The art of carving away more than 70 percent of the metal from a watch components is no easy feat, but top watch brands are doing it, nonetheless. The beauty of these watches is visual. One can see the gears, wheels and other components — often in motion — through the dial side. It makes for a great statement of art and sophistication.

Date Obsession. This year’s unveilings of calendar watches will be very impressive. From annual calendars (that need an adjustment manually once a year) to perpetual calendars, watch brands are offering today’s busy consumer the ability to track days, dates, leap years (yes, this is a leap year) and moon phases on the wrist in new and easy-to-use renditions. Of course, a host of other important complications are also continuing to be re-invented and revised — but that is another story.

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Sport Watches. From aviation to auto-racing, timepieces that go the distance are all the rage — in every price point. Most of these watches have great design aspects, such as bold, legible dials for pilot watches, and stealth, high-tech materials with a burst of racing colors for auto-inspired watches. Chronographs (watches that time individual events) also continue to be staples in the men’s watch arena – often with vintage inspirations.

2016-02-03

Last month we brought you news of the first luxury watch exhibition of the year — SIHH —in Geneva and shared the highlights of new products introductions. Concurrently with that first show, a host of other watch brands exhibited throughout the city — all showing off their newest timepieces that will determine wrist trends for the entire year. Here we bring you a quick rundown of four top trends that emerged for women during our eight days in Geneva:

Mechanicals. Predominantly, mechanical watches for women have come out strong again this year, with many brands offering small complications, such as calendars, dual timers, moon phase indicators and chronographs. Some brands unveiled poetic complications, such as new automated power reserve indicators in the form of birds or butterflies.

Color. In addition to the mechanical craze for women, we are going to witness some great new trends in the diamond and color area this year. Some brands joined forces with noted shoe designers for new color straps and dials that are ever more edgy — with hues that include stunning metallics.

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Diamonds. At the high end of the market, diamonds are shimmering stronger than ever, with many brands releasing haute joiallerie watches that are totally diamond set. Some brands turned to baguette diamonds to bedeck dials, cases and bracelets, while other brands employ diamond brilliants to tell their story. Many of the new pieces are incredibly feminine, with sleek shapes and curves, while others are bold and daring with angular, geometric appeal.

Art. The prevailing statement in each of the above categories becomes a trend in and of itself: artistic dials. This year's newest motifs include marquetry with mother of pearl, wood and other materials, gold sculpting and inlays of carved gemstones. Yes, 2016 promises to bring a little something for everyone.

Stay tuned. We will bring you top trends in men's watches soon.