Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
2016-06-28
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Every watch lover should indulge in the beauty and watchmaking prowess that Switzerland has to offer. In fact, this cradle of mechanical watchmaking is rich with places to visit to get out of the heat this summer.

It is the country of watch museums – with each one offering a different and unique perspective on time. Watch lovers can travel the country, region by region, and never be at a loss to indulge in the history of timekeeping.

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Among the cool picks this year: the Beyer Zurich Clock and Watch Museum, which showcases pieces from all over the world and dating back to clepsydras (water clocks), oil clocks, hour glasses, sundials, long case clocks and scientific/navigational instruments. Located in Zurich it is not to be missed.

Moving off to La Chaux-de-Fonds, a veritable birthplace of watchmaking, one can visit the International Watchmaking Museum for a close-up look at time measurement from the beginning to modern day.

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For those more interested in how clocks and watches are made, a visit to the Brodbeck Guilloche Museum offers insight into the use of lathes, rose machines and other tooling to present engine-turned works of art from the 18th to 20th century.

It is in Geneva, though, where a host of museums await the timely traveler. Not only is this city home to the Musée d'art et d'histoire, housing one of the finest horological collections of artistic timepieces in the world, but also Geneva plays home to the Patek Philippe Museum. But sure to reserve at least a few hours to stroll through and view automatons, repeaters, tourbillons and so much more.

Photos: 1) courtesy of Beyer Museum; 2) courtesy of Musee International Horlogerie; 3) courtesy of Beyer Museum; 4) courtesy of Musse d' Art History.

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2016-06-23
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Think that old watch that belonged to your grandfather isn't worth anything? Think again. Recently a 1962 Wittnauer Electro-Chron electric watch sold at an online auction held by Analog/Shift for $10,000. Granted, the watch had previously been owned by a famous 1930s Major League Baseball shortstop, "Rowdy" Richard Bartell, but it just shows that vintage pieces can escalate in value. Bidding on the watch started at $500.

The watch had first been presented to Bartell in 1962 when he attended an Old Timers Day at Yankee Stadium. He had begun his baseball career in  1927 and played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Giants, Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers. He is ranked, today, as the 38th Best Shortstop in Major League Baseball history. At the Old Timer’s Day, Bartell — along with others in attendance — was given the Yankee Special Edition Wittnauer Electro-Chron watch, which is powered by a Lantern 4750 electric movement that was revolutionary at the time of its unveiling in 1960.

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The stainless steel watch had been found by Analog/Shift (procurers of vintage timepieces) and then came to be owned — briefly — by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who opted in partnership with Analog/Shift to put it up for auction, with all proceeds of the sale going to the Horological Society of New York.

Photos courtesy of Analog/Shift.

2016-06-21
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Recently, the Breitling Jet Team — the world's largest civilian jet team to fly formation — began making its way across America for its second American Tour. The team is an incredible aviation force that flies seven jets in perfect formation, and completes a host of thrilling, precisely timed aerobatic maneuvers that stun, startle and have onlookers watching in disbelief.

The team has worked with Breitling for  more than a dozen years. Most of its members are former military pilots, and their work is all about perfect timing. These pilots fly their jets at speeds of more than 400 miles per hour, and withstand G forces of 5 and 6 on a scale that would have most of us, well, sick.

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Having the Breitling Jet Team tour America for a second year is exciting, as it gives more people access to see the perfectly choreographed blend of man and machine — much like the Breitling timepieces. Breitling has been working to bring even greater ingenuity to its flight instruments, with ultra-light materials, connected watches and the tried-and-true slide-wheel and navigation tools in new and updated timepiece.

Stop in any time to see our selection of Breitling watches, and if the Breitling Jet Team comes to a city near you for an Air Show, don't miss it. The schedule for the rest of the year includes stops in Utah, Oregon, Canada and Michigan this summer. The final shows will be this fall in Toronto, and then in California at Miramar, San Francisco and Huntington Beach.

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2016-06-16

Father's Day is around the corner — this Sunday, in fact. While a tie, a power tool or some other uninspiring gift may be on your mind, snap out of it. A watch is the perfect gift for dad and here are three great reasons.

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1- Gifting a watch shows that you have spent your precious time trying to find just the right statement for him. After all, you need to consider his likes and dislikes, his hobbies and his personality when picking the perfect watch. Showing that you gave that much thought to the purchase says more than you can imagine.

2- Giving a watch shows that you know his time is valuable and you respect that. It shows that you know how important time is in life, and that it should be measured with a timepiece that he enjoys wearing. Besides, a watch is an everlasting gift, and every time he glances at his wrist, he will think of you.

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3-  A watch does not have to break the bank. We carry watches in a range of prices and styles and we can help you find just the right thing for your dad, or the father of your children. Stop in and let our knowledgeable staff offer you tips and hints on just the right watch.

2016-06-14
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Just last month, Panerai surprised us with an all new Luminor watch: the Due. While inspired by the classic 1950s Luminor, the Due is designed to be more versatile thanks to the thinner, lighter weight case. The line is offered in rose gold or in stainless steel, in two sizes and in either a hand-wound P1000 movement or with an automatic caliber with three days of power reserve.

The Due series is not a dive watch line; instead, the watches are water resistant to 30 meters. Among the timepieces making their debut: the 42mm hand-wind Luminor Due 3 Days Acciaio and the automatic Due, also in gold or steel, but in a larger, 45mm size.

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2016-06-09

The past few weeks have been a busy time in Hong Kong and New York with auction houses making important sales and setting some world records. Here's a rundown of some of the newsworthy sales in both watches and jewelry.

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At the Phillips Auction, in Association with Bacs & Russo, in Hong kong, new records were set for wristwatches. A Patek Philippe sold for $2,537,964 – making it the highest price ever paid for a wristwatch at auction in Asia. The piece was an unknown world time wristwatch with dual crowns.

At Christie's in Hong Kong, an 18-karat white gold partially skeletonized Tourbillon prototype wristwatch built by Greubel Forsey, master watchmaker Philippe Dufour and Michel Boulanger sold for $1.46 million. Also at the Christie's New York Rare Watches and Exceptional Complications auction just a couple of days ago, an extremely rare platinum minute repeater from Vacheron Constantin, circa 1951, was expected to fetch between $200,000 and $400,000. After heavy bidding it sold for $605,000.

Lot 55_$605,000_VACHERON CONSTANTIN. AN EXTREMELY FINE AND RARE PLATINUM MINUTE REPEATING WRISTWATCH WITH SILVERED VERTICAL SATINED DIAL

So, what to look for when you are buying that new watch you hope will hold its value? Limited editions, one-of-a-kinds, pieces with stone dials and a little more. Stop in any time and talk to our knowledgeable sales staff about what makes a watch collectible.

On another note, jewelry is also a great investment. During the Christies’ Hong Kong Spring Sales of Magnificent Jewels (which realized upwards of $60.6 million overall), the 5.03-carat Aurora Green ring sold for $16.8 million — a world auction record for a green diamond. Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Co. LTD purchased the diamond after heavy bidding by nearly 200 buyers from 19 countries.

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2016-06-07
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Recently, divers discovered ancient coins, metal statues and other treasures at the site of a merchant ship that sank more than 1,600 years ago near the ancient port city of Caesarea, about 40 miles north of Tel Aviv, Israel.

The salvage efforts have yielded unusual statues and lamps in the shapes of sun and moon gods and animals. The materials, found by divers last month in the waters near Caesarea National Park, date back to the late Roman period, and are believed to be from a merchant ship that left the Mediterranean port of Caesarea before most likely being crushed into the rocks during a storm.

The divers immediately reported their findings to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

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While gold coins, bronze statues and even ship parts are being recovered, we wonder if there will be any remnants of some sort of time-measurement devices. While the ship pre-dates watches and clocks as we know them, there were sundials and water clocks in that era.

Essentially tracking of time then was fairly rudimentary, with time divided into day and night. Since the length of sunlight varied with the seasons, the day — always starting at sunrise and ending at sunset — was shorter in winter and longer in summer. The sundial, a tall obelisk standing straight out of the ground, enabled ancient Romans to more precisely measure times of day by looking at where the shadows fell. It was the first time man could divide the day into 12 equal parts, or hours. Large sundials were erected in various places, but only the wealthy had their own portable versions.

The water clock was another method of measuring time more precisely. Generally, the water clock was a container with a hole in it through which water flowed out to mark the passing of time. The inside of the container was notched with "hour" marks. In an outflow water clock, water is drained slowly and evenly out of the container. As the water leaves the container, an observer can see where the water is level with the lines and tell how much time has passed. An inflow water clock works in basically the same way, except instead of flowing out of the container, the water is filling up the marked container. As the container fills, the observer can see where the water meets the lines and tell how much time has passed.

Again, only the wealthy could afford to own these as personal home items. Thus, we wonder if on further dives, some timekeeping devices may be found.

Already pulled from the rocky sea bed were thousands of coins weighing more than 40 pounds. Some coins depict the image of emperor Constantin (ruler of the Western Roman Empire (312–324 CE), who became known as Constantine the Great. Later, he ruled the Roman Empire (324–337 CE). Other coins are adorned with the image of his rival, Licinius, an emperor who ruled the eastern part of the Roman Empire and was later taken down in a battle between the two leaders.

IAA continues to recover the cargo, which it will then put on display.

Credits: Photos by Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

2016-06-02
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Montblanc, a brand we are proud to carry in our store, unveils the new TimeWalker Pythagore Ultra-Light concept watch that weighs in at 14.88 grams (just about half an ounce). The one-of-a-kind watch is dedicated to the brand’s ambassador Lin Dan, world-famous badminton champion and two-time Olympic champion, who helped design the piece.

The TimeWalker Pythagore Ultra-Light Concept watch may well be the lightest mechanical watch on the market. It offers hours, minutes, small seconds, and 50 hours of power reserve. It is equipped with an all-new movement, the Montblanc Mechanical Caliber MB M62.48, which is based on the Minerva Pythagore movement from 1943, but has been totally updated. The 153-part movement is skeletonized and features bridges made of titanium — and it weighs just 4.73 grams. The Lin Dan detailing includes an engraving at 8:00 that depicts five stars to recall Lin’s five most important wins of the Badminton Grand Slam. The watch is just another example of the pioneering spirit of Montblanc.

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