Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog

Halloween is around the corner and that makes this the perfect time to talk about skeletons. Well, not the kind we usually think of at Halloween, but the kind we think of when we think luxury timepieces: Skeleton watches. Referred to as skeletons or skeletonized watches, these timepieces are intricate and alluring because the majority of the metal movement parts have been cut away and sculpted to offer open-worked magnificence.

To create a skeletonized watch, skilled master artisans and watchmakers spend hours upon hours slimming pieces to their tiniest possible size so that only the minimum metal is visible.  Sometimes the skeletonizing — the act of paring away the metal and then finely finishing it — can take several weeks to a month. It is also a fine balancing act, because as the metal is removed, the strength of the material can be compromised, affecting the integrity of the watch. The perfect skeleton is bare bones, but still generates maximum efficiency and precision.

Generally, once a movement has been fully finished, it is cased between a sapphire crystal and sapphire case back, enabling stunning see-through visibility of the beautiful work of art. While many brands offer top-notch skeleton watches, Cartier — a brand we are proud to carry — is a master at this art. We invite you to stop in any time and take a look at the masterful work inherent in a skeleton watch.


There is an enticing exhibition taking place until the end of the year at the National Watch & Clock Museum. Entitled Sacred, the exhibit focuses on the symbolism and religious concepts of time. The exhibit is designed to give visitors an inside view about how various religions view the passage of time.


Time has been used for millennia as a major focus in many religions. Christians focus their feast days around different times of the year, the Islamic and Jewish community focus on the stages of the moon, while the Buddhists see time as a wheel that focuses on the movement of the sun. Similarly, many ancient religions view time differently. The Druids measured time by the solstices, the Egyptians by the stars and rise and fall of the Nile, and the Mayans and Aztecs around a solar year."

The exhibition showcases many of these views of time for both the ancient and modern civilizations. The museum, home to America's largest timekeeping collection, is located in Columbia, Pa., and has an impressive collection of watches and clocks — with revolving special exhibits such as this one.


Once you're there, don't forget to visit the ongoing "James Bond Wore the Quartz Revolution" exhibit, which showcases many of the timepieces worn by Bond stars in EON Productions movies from 1973 through 1995.


Those who know our store and visit regularly are well aware that we have spent a great deal of time building and expanding our space. Now, we are pleased to announce the grand opening of our newly enlarged flagship store at its central location at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street – where Wempe has resided since moving to New York in 1980.

The new boutique has more than doubled in size, following an extensive investment and two-year renovation. It now boasts 5,500 square feet of sales area and eight display windows that stretch a half a block along the facade of the time-honored Peninsula building. The guiding principle of the redesign was to increase space to make the shopping experience even more indulgent. The store now boasts integrated salons by Patek Philippe and Rolex.


Fine materials, such as granite from the quarries around Verona, have been used for the renovation. The ceilings have been raised, and many of the numerous display cases and presentation areas are now directly accessible to customers. The entrance area is devoted to the luxurious jewelry collection from Wempe’s own goldsmiths’ studio.

To further celebrate the new expanded space, Wempe presents a special 5th Avenue Limited Edition Wempe Zeitmaster watch that will be available exclusively at the New York showroom. The timepiece is offered with either a silver-plated or black dial and features a large-format date at 12:00 with double window aperture. Situated harmoniously at 6:00 is a subsidiary dial that displays time in a second zone (New York). To mark the store’s Fifth Avenue address, the seconds’ hand and the numeral 5 are created in red. The stainless steel watch is a certified chronometer made in Wempe’s Glashütte Manufacture.


The 42mm watch is powered by the Caliber TT 651.00 (base: ETA 2892-A2 automatic movement) and offers stop-seconds function and central second hand. The case back is engraved with an image of the Peninsula building. Just 55 pieces of each version will be built, with each retailing for $2,890.

We invite you to stop in any time to see the new store and the wonderful watches and jewelry.


When you are buying a fine timepiece with a mechanical movement inside, the technical specifications for the caliber usually list the number of jewels. Typically, those jewels are synthetic rubies, but sometimes brands use synthetic blue sapphires, as well — for a bit of a different look. The thing is, unless the movement is visible via a transparent caseback, you don't even see those jewels. So then, why use them at all? The reason is simple and effective: using synthetic jewels in the movement as bearings actually reduces friction within the caliber and therefore gives the movement a longer life by reducing wear and tear.

Adding jewels instead of mechanical metal pieces to do the bearings' job helps ensure accuracy. It also enables the watch brand to make the movement smaller in size and in weight than it would if the parts were made of metal. Additionally, rubies can withstand temperature changes and so offer stability. However, setting these minuscule jewels into their designated spots on the movement is no easy task. In fact, seasoned watchmakers must do this job using tweezers and microscopes. In the end, though, the look is beautiful, and it is great if you get to see the rubies (or sapphires) in all their glory in the timepiece.

As noted, these jewels are synthetically developed. Most use aluminum and chromium oxide that undergo heating, fusing and crystallizing processes. These rubies are not as valuable as natural rubies.  The number of rubies that are used in each watch movement varies depending on the timepiece and its complexity. Typically, a three-hands watch will have about 11 to 17 rubies in it. Generally, though, more complex calibers and more moving components will demand the use of more rubies.


For a long time, IWC has been synonymous with pilot watches and other big, bold timepieces that go the distance. A lesser known fact is the brand also offers some pretty stunning watches for women, and has for a few years now. Of particular note are timepieces in the brand's famed Portofino collection. This line, named for the seaside village in Italy that has played home to movie stars and wealth over the decades, is all about elegance and sophistication.


Many of the pieces in the line offer small complications for women, such as moon phase indications and dual time zone readouts. The dials are exquisite mother of pearl in hues ranging from white to brown and blue. Additionally, galvanic dials with sunburst patterns and diamond markers grace the series. These are stunning watches that offer beauty and braun, as most are powered by self-winding mechanisms that keep today's savvy woman in tune with the times. We invite you to stop in any time and see our fine selection of IWC watches for women (and for men).


It isn't every day a Swiss watch brand in the affordable luxury category, such as Baume & Mercier, unveils a more expensive complicated watch. In fact, for this brand, it is only about once a year. To demonstrate its technical savior-faire and true watchmaking capabilities, once annually for the past five years, Baume & Mercier has released a specially made complicated piece in its much-loved Clifton collection. This year, that piece is a perpetual calendar watch.


The Clifton Perpetual Calendar features a silver opaline dial with day, date, month, leap year and moon phase indications. The perpetual calendar tracks day, date (taking into account different lengths of the months), month, year, leap year and moon phases via a mechanical memory of 1,461 days (four years).

Crafted in 18-karat 5N rose gold, the watch is powered by an automatic Vaucher 5401 base caliber that features a Dubois Depraz 5100 module for tracking the celestial factors, such as moon phase and perpetual timing.

Baume & Mercier designed and developed the concept in its Geneva headquarters, and the finishing and  assembly in the its Les Brenets (Jura Mountains) workshops. The dial — harmoniously balanced with four sundials — is slightly domed, and its fine silver opaline finish gives it a vintage appeal. The watch deftly achieves what it set out to do: demonstrate the abilities of the Baume & Mercier designers and watch makers.

Stop in any time to see our selection of fine Baume & Mercier watches.


We've all heard the term "shock resistant" in the watchmaking world. However, what does this term really mean and is your timepiece resistant enough to absorb shocks caused by falling, dropping, exerting too much acceleration at once, and more?


It is a viable question in today's fast-paced world where active lifestyles put us on the edge of powerful sports and lifestyle engagements all the time. As such, today's top watchmakers are going to new heights to make their watches sturdier so they can withstand the rigors of daily life.

Essentially, a truly shock-resistant watch is one whose movement is not damaged when dropped or subjected to constant impactful motions (i.e., worn on the wrist during a tennis match). Generally, watch brands achieve this via different types of suspension systems for the balance wheel. Such systems include pivots that can hold a balance wheel in place, while offering enough "give" to go with the situation or even more complex multi-level suspension processes.


The most commonly used system is the Incablock — invented in the early 1930s and perfected time and again. Incablock is a trade name for a spring-loaded mounting system for the jewel bearings that support the mechanical watch’s balance wheel. Some brands today combine the Incablock system with synthetic jewels, silicon hairsprings, non-ferrous escape wheels, outer housing containers, ceramic ball bearings and other high-tech materials and trains that make the watch movement ever more resistant to blunt force trauma.


The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) has also issued certain standards of shock resistance. In the watch world, to be called shock resistant, a watch must meet certain tests and controls and adhere to the standards of shock resistance issued by the ISO, including keeping accuracy while undergoing shock of  +/- 60 seconds/day. Additionally, most watch brands using shock resistant movements also use top-quality case and crystal materials to avoid breakage.

Is your watch shock resistant? If you have purchased a certified chronometer, yes. Other watches that are shock resistant mostly include dive watches, pilot watches and certain high-tech sport watches. Stop in any time to discuss shock resistance with us and to find the watch that is right for your active lifestyle.


Patek Philippe is considered one of the benchmark Swiss watch brands, and one we are happy to carry in our store. This year, we have all been anticipating the unveiling of the brand's newest Nautilus watches that celebrate the 40th anniversary of their unveiling in 1976. Well, the watches were unveiled last week and they are beauties.

Much like the first ever Nautilus, they feature the port-hole-inspired case shape with hinges on the sides. There are two models that — unlike the original steel version — are crafted in platinum for the three-hands version and in 18-karat white gold for the flyback chronograph watch.


Ref. 5711/1P Nautilus three-hands watch is being built in a limited edition of 700 pieces in platinum. It is powered by the self-winding 324-SC movement that offers three hands and date indication at 3:00. The more complicated 49.25mm Ref. 5976/IG Nautilus Flyback Chronograph in 18-karat white gold is being built in an edition of 1,300 pieces. This watch is powered by the CH 28-520 self-winding flyback chronograph 327-part movement.

Both watches are offered with alluring blue plated 18-karat gold dials with alternating horizontal stripes of dark and light blue. Each dial is inscribed with a notation that recalls the 40th anniversary: “1976 - 40 – 2016.” Additionally, both of the timepieces hold the Patek Philippe Seal.


Known for its marine-inspired past and for supporting so many classic yacht races around the world, Officine Panerai unveils an all-new Luminor 1950 3 Days Acciaio - 47mm Marine Militare watch. In fact, the "Marine Miitare" words are engraved on the black dial of the special-edition watch.

The new timepiece recalls the precision instrument Panerai watches used for special military missions in the 1940s. The new watch, created in a limited edition of 1000 pieces is distinguished by its pure lines and highly readable dial. It offers three days of power reserve and its use of Grade A Super-LumiNova® on the dial makes night visibility a snap.


The 47mm case is crafted of AISI 316L stainless steel with a polished finish and has the same proportions as the watch created by Panerai in the late 1940s. Like the vintage models, which had crystals made of polymethyl methacrylate, the dial of the new Luminor is protected by a slightly domed Plexiglas® crystal. The back features a sapphire glass porthole for viewing the  P.3000 hand-wound mechanical calibre.

The watch is finished with a brown Ponte Vecchio strap, which is crafted and treated in traditional Tuscan leather workshops.  The strap is imprinted with the OP logo and sports contrasting beige stitching. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters. We invite you in to see our vast collection of Panerai watches.


We are often questioned about what "power reserve" really means, so here we take an in-depth look at what the Swiss refer to as "Reserve de Marche."

Essentially, when a mechanical watch is fully wound, it will continue to work for a designated number of hours — even when laid on your dresser — before needing to be rewound. The length of time the watch will continue to run is called its power reserve. Watches have differing lengths of power reserve based on their mechanics.

This is how it works: To power a watch, a host of gears, teeth, barrels and springs must interact. But it is the spring and barrel that essentially keep the watch operating. A long piece of metal is tightly wound into a spring and then placed inside a cylinder or barrel. This is where the energy is stored. The spring releases its tension in a consistent manner, offering constant energy to power the watch at a regular rate.

The amount of power a watch has is determined by many factors, including the number of barrels and springs. A watch with a longer power reserve will usually have two barrels and two springs.

Additionally, power reserve can differ from watch to watch depending on whether the mechanical watch is manually wound (by the wearer) or is an automatic watch (wherein the rotor of the watch automatically winds during use). The norm on an automatic watch is 36 to 42 hours, while a manual wind watch can be equipped with enough power reserve to last for week (and in extreme circumstances, longer).

Some watches offer what is a called a power reserve indicator on either the dial or the case back. This tells how much power is left in the watch before needing to be wound. Indicators are most often shown via a subdial with a hand pointing to a number that shows the remaining power. Sometimes that indication shows a color palette instead of a number. This type of indicator often displays a blue or white color and then a bright red area. When the hand is in the red, it means it's time to wind the watch.

Other indications may use plus or minus signs, an up or down indication, or a linear read out. Some watches do not offer power reserve indications and you just need to know when you wore the watch last to know that it may need to be wound to avoid having to reset the time. Even better, you can use an automatic watch winder to keep your automatic timepieces wound perfectly all the time.


If you are a watch lover and plan to be in New York City on October 14 and 15, you are going to want to visit the Watch Time New York exhibition, with top watch brands, expert panel discussions, watch book signings and so much more.


Organized by WatchTime Magazine, the annual luxurious consumer event is held at Manhattan's Gotham Hall. This year, more than 20 of the world’s finest watch brands will not only be showing their latest and greatest timepieces, but also will be bringing in watchmakers, artisans and even celebrity brand ambassadors so that consumers can get a taste of watchmaking from every perspective.

Attendees can mingle with watch company executives, industry experts and fellow watch aficionados, including Instagram star Anish Bhatt, founder of the Watch Anish watch blog. A full lineup commences on Saturday, October 15th, including a talk on “Vintage Collecting” presented by Phillips Auctions, with WatchTime Editor-at-Large Joe Thompson; an expert panel discussion of the distinctive quality of hand-made luxury mechanical watches, moderated by Media Personality and Reporter Bill McCuddy; a presentation on the history and evolution of dive watches by WatchTime Editor-in-Chief Roger Ruegger; and book signings with authors and industry experts, including 33-year watch veteran journalist Roberta Naas, author of six books on watches and timekeeping.


Brands strutting their stuff at Watch Time New York will include A. Lange & Sohne, Armin Strom, Bell & Ross, Blancpain, Breguet, Carl F. Bucherer, Corum, Harry Winston, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jaquet Droz, Jean Rousseau, MB & F, Moritz Grossmann, Nomos Glashutte, Omega, Perrelet, Romain Gauthier, RGM, Seiko, Peter Speake-Marin, Tutima, Urban Jurgensen and Vacheron Constantin.