Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
2017-02-28
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Always wish you could own a piece of Hollywood? Well, this could be your chance, as Bonhams gets ready to auction the jewelry and art that famed writer Jackie Collins kept in her much-loved Beverly Hills home from 1992 until her death in 2015. Collins was an avid collector of fine art, sculpture, jewelry and watches. Portions of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to support the empowerment of young women in the arts and education.

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The auction, "Jackie Collins: A Life in Chapters," will take place on May 16 and 17 at Bonhams Los Angeles. Highlights include a  6.04-carat diamond and platinum ring (estimated at $100,000-$150,000), and watches by Patek Philippe, Harry Winston, Chanel and Chopard, among others. There will be 1,000 lots in total.

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The British-born star published her first novel, The World is Full of Married Men, in 1968, marking the start of a 47-year writing career. She passed away in 2015 at the age of 77. Like all auctions, this one only reconfirms the fact that watches and jewelry hold their value and, depending on the life you lead, could become nearly priceless.

Photos courtesy of Bonhams auction house.

2017-02-25

Sadly, an amazing trilogy of watches from Audemars Piguet is coming to a close. At this year's SIHH, the brand unveiled its third and final gemstone delight: Outrage. Offered with all diamonds or with multi-hued blue sapphires, the incredible watch features more than 40 gemstone-set spikes reaching out from the 18-karat white gold cuff bracelet.

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Nestled somewhere beneath the gemstones is a hidden watch, whose cover opens to reveal a mirror-polished dial. Each watch is a one-of-a-kind and retails for $1 million and up. The Diamond Outrage represents the last installment in a trilogy from the brand — with one watch being released each year. It takes the master gem setters at Audemars Piguet about 2,500 hours to handcraft each watch with more than 10,000 gemstones. The final product boasts a gemstone total weight of more than 65 carats.

2017-02-24
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At SIHH this year, Panerai surprised and delighted us once again with the unveiling of the super high-tech LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech watch. The bold timepiece is crafted in  Carbotech — a composite material based on carbon fiber.

Rarely used in watchmaking, Carbotech has matte black appearance offering a unique finish every time. The material is made using sheets of carbon fiber that are compressed, joined with a polymer substance known as PEEK and bonded at high temperatures. The result is an ultra-strong, ultra-durable case. The "LAB-ID" part of the watch's name stands for Laboratorio di Idee, the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchatel, Switzerland.

Making the watch even more alluring is the fact that the dial utilizes carbon nanotubes to achieve a deep black color, said to be the blackest of blacks. The top of the dial is coated with these nanotubes that absorb light, reducing reflections. A lower dial is coated with Super-LumiNova in an electric blue hue that glows in the dark. Referred to at SIHH as the 50-50-50 watch, it is offered in a limited edition of 50 units each retailing for 50,000 Euros, with an incredible 50-year warranty. It is powered by the  P.3001/C hand-wound in-house movement with a semi-skeletonized design. The movement parts are all treated so they will not need lubrication for at least 50 years or more.

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2017-02-22
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In a big announcement, Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer has unveiled its newest fresh face for women's watches in its "Don't Crack Under Pressure" ad campaign: supermodel Bella Hadid. Signed to IMG Models, the 20-year-old has already walked the runways for some of the finest fashion houses in the world, including Chanel, Givenchy, Dior, Versace, Fendi, Michael Kors and Victoria's Secret. Additionally, she was named the ambassador for Dior Makeup last year. Her sister Gigi is also a model, as was their mother before them.

“My family taught me to be strong and confident. I believe that everything happens for a reason and no matter what it is that happens, you will get through it," says Hadid.

Heading into the TAG Heuer relationship, the brand released a teaser video revealing that Hadid spent 1,500 hours in six-inch heels and made 34 wardrobe changes in fewer than 10 seconds — signifying that she doesn't crack under pressure. The new TAG Heuer ads with Hadid are shot by American photographer Cass Bird.

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Says Hadid, “I have always thought that watches are very classic. When you wear one it is classy and beautiful. I also think their ‘Don’t Crack Under Pressure’ message is incredible; it is about being strong and this is who I am.”

Appearing with Hadid at the big announcement in New York City was Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of the LVMH watch division, who said the campaign should bring a new millennial customer to the brand.

2017-02-16

The Swiss Federal Council recently approved a partial revision of its "Swiss made" ordinance for watches, effective as of January 1, 2017. The revision strengthens the label requirements for watches and movements and aligns them more with the new "Swissness" legislation that has been updated since its 2013 adoption by the Swiss Parliament.

Any watch bearing the indication "Swiss" or "Swiss made" must be backed by Swiss watchmaking expertise. According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, a number of studies have shown that consumers are willing to pay up to 20% more for Swiss watches, in general, and up to 50% more for certain mechanical watches. The revision of the "Swiss made" ordinance for watches is designed to strengthen the link between "Swiss made" watches and Switzerland, and to counter any possible abuse of the label.

The "Swiss made" ordinance for watches fine-tunes the "Swissness" legislation, stating that from here forward at least 60% of the production costs of a finished watch must be Swiss based. At present, only the cost of its movement is taken into account in determining the Swiss origin of a watch. The movement will still enjoy pride of place, however, as Swiss-made components must continue to represent at least 50% of its value, while at least 60% of its production must be generated in Switzerland.

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Additionally, the new rules of the "Swiss Made" ordinance state that the technical development of a "Swiss made" watch and movement must be executed in Switzerland.

2017-02-14
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Valentine's Day — flowers, chocolates, dinner... Yes, these are all great, but now you can give her something even more meaningful: time. We offer a great selection of watches that are perfect for Valentine's Day. Some feature floral-inspired dials, while others actually may have heart motifs on them. Still others declare your love for her with pink or red straps.

No other gift is as timeless and everlasting (like your love) as a fine watch. It tells her you made a special effort to give her something that would remind her of you every time she glances at her wrist.

Not sure what she would like? Afraid it's too late? Just stop in. We can help you find the perfect watch for the one you love and send you on your way with a gift-wrapped box that blends flowers, hearts and romance all in one.

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2017-02-09
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Move over women, pink is not just exclusively for you. Today, especially when it comes to the watch world, some of the hottest luxury watches for men – from sporty to sophisticated and ultra complicated – are crafted in 18-karat pink gold. This is a great thing with Valentine's Day around the corner — it gives you the perfect gift idea.

Rose gold has roots dating back to the Second World War, when steel and white metals were needed for military arms. The jewelry industry added the copper alloy to the gold to use less solid gold, and the result was a super rich rose color that quickly became in high demand. Today, watch brands offer pink or rose gold in varying degrees, with 3N the palest shade, 4N a bit deeper pink, and 5N being the darkest reddest rose gold. While jewelry is also made in rose gold, the color has translated magnificently to watches.

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2017-02-07

One million counterfeit Swiss watches were confiscated around the globe in 2016, according to statistics released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. The message to bargain hunters is that they should think twice before plunking down their hard-earned dollars on offers that seem too good to be true. The best protection against buying a fake is to work with an authorized dealer.

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The majority of fake watches were seized in China, reports Jean-Daniel Pasche, president of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH), adding that it does not mean other counterfeiting hubs don't exist. For example, 130,000 fakes were seized in Turkey, 70,000 in Dubai and 9,000 in Russia.

The FH has been working diligently to monitor the internet and social media networks for advertisements for fake watches. As a result, more than a million internet ads for fakes were removed last year. Since July 2008, Swiss customs has the right to seize counterfeit goods found on travelers entering the country, and it has been vigilant about doing so.

In 2015, Hong Kong and China accounted for 80% of all intercepted fake goods that had been shipped to Switzerland by mail, and Turkey was the leading destination from which travelers brought fake goods into Switzerland. The FH has also trained authorities to spot fakes in vulnerable spots around the world, including San Francisco, Dubai, London and other cities.

Buying from an authorized retail jeweler has never been more important.

2017-02-01

Just last month, the watch world enjoyed its first-of-the-year luxury watch exhibition: Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva. It was a whirlwind show with hundreds of retailers and members of the press converging on the massive Pal Expo site to visit with 30 watch brands that unveiled their newest timepieces — some that were years in the making.

Additionally, around town, a host of other brands took advantage of the throngs of buyers and journalists moving about the city and held their own exhibitions — showcasing at least another dozen watch brands with new wares. Over the coming months we will be bringing you a look at the all-new timepieces unveiled at SIHH — watches that will be making their way to the U.S. market this spring, summer and fall. For now, we present a look at just three of the top trends witnessed during the show that you can expect to see in our store this year.

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Complications. Yes, complicated timepieces continue to rear their heads and promise to make a splash on the wrists of the most discerning consumers this year. Many of the new watches being shown are super-complications, such as Grande Sonneries that chime the time automatically, carillons that chime the time using multiple gongs and tones, and watches that offer a chiming reminder. Additionally, tourbillons mixed with functions, such as chronographs and world timers, also make a strong showing.

Calendar and Moon Phase watches. This category is at the top of the list when it comes to offering simple complications that today's wearers can use. The annual calendar and the more complex perpetual calendar are coveted functions that display the day, date, month and phases of the moon — and these watches are definitely making a statement in 2017.

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Women's Watches. For the third year running, women's watches are getting their fair share of the attention. Not only are brands that predominantly showcase men's watches showing women's pieces, but also brands known for their women's collections are stepping up the pace, unveiling complicated watches for women — and never forgetting the diamond accents.

It's going to be a great year with innovation and imagination running strong. Keep checking back as we bring you all the news of today's top timepieces and trends.