Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog

With Halloween around the corner, it's a perfect time to take a close-up look at the watch world's use of "black" in creating watches of substance. Black-clad timepieces are all the rage these days, thanks to their mysterious, and often stealth, look. Depending on the watch, the black color is obtained in a variety of manners. Some brands turn to black materials, such as carbon fiber or black ceramic for their cases and then finish the watch with a black strap. At the high-end of the luxury spectrum, some brands even turn to new high-tech materials that include layered carbon and other sophisticated alloys borrowed from the auto and aviation fields.

Generally, however, black is achieved using either a PVD or DLC process. In PVD — physical vapor deposition — a thin black coating is applied to stainless steel or titanium cases and bracelets. The coating techniques for PVD can vary, and the thickness of the coating can also vary. Typically PVD vaporizes materials using a high-tech vacuum process and then the vaporized material is deposited onto the case or bracelet. The process is carefully monitored and controlled in order to achieve the desired hardness, film structure, depth of color and other features. PVD processes can include ion plating (IP) and Ion Beam Deposition (IBD). The advantages of PVD is that the coating, once applied, adds hardness to the piece and typically won't scratch or corrode.

Diamond Like Carbon, DLC, is another method used, typically at the high-end luxury side, as it is more expensive. In this process, amorphous carbon material is used. It is applied as a coating to the watch and/or bracelet. There are seven different types of carbon coatings, all of which have hybridized carbon atoms in them that endow them with diamond-like properties, including hardness and high sheen. This coating is even more resistant to scratches, abrasions and corrosion. We invite you in anytime to take a close look at our black-clad timepieces.


Every month like clockwork, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) carefully tracks and reports on global watch exports. Recent trends show an uptick in Swiss Watch exports, reversing a period of lackluster performance caused by changing economic and political circumstances around the globe.

For the past four straight months, export numbers have been on the rise, and for the month of August 2017 — over the month of August 2016 — there was a 4.2 percent increase in Swiss watch exports. The total value of exports as of the close of August this year was 1.4 billion Swiss Francs ($1.41 billion).  The solid 4.2 percent rise in overall exports supports the notion that consumers around the globe continue to view Swiss watches as highly desirable luxury items.

In a world where no one really "needs" a watch, we are seeing more self purchases and gift purchases of watches — both new and vintage. We encourage you to stop in and see our great selection of watches. Your next timepiece could be the single most important statement about yourself that you can make.


Most of our clients own more than just one watch. In fact, many have started a nice collection. So, the question we hear all the time is "How do I keep my collection safe? How do I secure my watches when I'm at home or traveling?"

In addition to carrying insurance on your watches at all times, here are a few other suggestions.

1) Watch Winders and Boxes.  If you have just a small collection of watches and they are covered under your homeowners insurance, you may consider tucking them away in automatic watch winders and specific watch boxes in a closet in a less-trafficked room of your house. Granted this is not a lock-and-key, keep-out-the-thieves answer, but your watches will be all in one place and properly wound. You could even set up a special hidden closet that doesn't look like a closet — i.e., a door behind a mirror, etc. Again, we only suggest this idea for small collections of not very expensive watches that are covered under your homeowners insurance.

2) Safe Deposit Boxes. If you don't have the space in your house for a luxurious safe, or even an in-wall, larger-sized safe, then at the very least, rent a safe deposit box at a bank or local Wells Fargo. It is important to ask, however, how much the boxes are insured for. You don't want to be left without enough insurance if something were to go wrong.  It should be noted that the drawback to the safe deposit box is the fact that if you change watches often, you may be making multiple trips per week to the bank.

3)  At-Home Safes. The best safe storage of watches you are not currently wearing is an at-home safe. Today, there are a host of safe companies that offer stunning safes meant to look like pieces of furniture, with wood finishes, brass elements, and drawers, doors and winders within. Buying a small safe that can be carried away is not the answer. Invest in a safe that is anchored in place and that can protect your watches from both theft and fire.

Photos courtesy of Orbita Watch Winders.


Late last month in Evanston, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, a new museum of rare timepieces and inspirational stained glass opened to the public. The Halim Time & Glass Museum features one of the most comprehensive timepiece collections, with approximately 1,100 pieces on display. The museum also showcases faithfully restored 19th century stained glass works of art.

The collection of extraordinarily rare timepieces consists of clocks from all over the world. The Museum was founded by Cameel Halim, who — along with his family — own most of these pieces as part of their personal passion.

The watch collection is so extensive that the museum has hired two full-time clockmakers, who are skilled in repair and restoration. They are also entrusted to keep the clocks wound and running.

The earliest piece in the museum’s collection is an Egyptian sundial. There is also a room dedicated to the imperial Chinese clocks and an English room with important British clocks made by such masters as Thomas Tompion and George Graham, among others. There is also a nice collection of American clocks that details the history of how U.S. clockmakers led advances in mass manufacturing in the early 1800s.

Special pieces include a clock made for Napoleon, an elephant clock from 1750 said to have been in the summer palace of Russian empress Catherine the Great, and a German longcase clock from 1785 that contains a dulcimer and a pipe organ. It is one of just eight of its kind known to exist in the world.

So, if you find yourself in Chicago, you may want to carve out a little extra time for a visit to this new museum.

Credits: All images courtesy of the HALIM TIME AND GLASS MUSEUM.


With Halloween around the corner, some of you may be considering heading to Salem, Mass., for a little witch hunt. If so, you may want to plan a side trip between October 26 and 28th to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to see an exhibition sponsored by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC). The presentation is called "HOROLOGY IN ART."

It is interesting to note that since the 13th century, when clocks and mechanical timekeeping came into vogue, famous artists such has Titian, Jamie Wyeth, Brueghel and Dali have regularly portrayed timepieces and the subject of time in their works.

The NAWCC, in its almost 75 years of existence, has a membership of more than 12,000 watch lovers and experts from around the world. Some of those have studied the relationship between time and art — and this is the subject of the NAWCC's annual educational conference.

The 2017 symposium of "Horology and Art" will bring together 18 experts, including art historians, curators, professors, scholars and horologists, each of whom will present different aspects of the topic throughout the three-day event.

The programs begin on October 26th and will be presented at the Boston MFA’s Alfond Auditorium. Three days of museum admissions are included with full registrations. There will be a concluding dinner banquet at the Harvard Club of Boston. For more information and to register, visit http://www.horologyinart.com.

Credits: Images courtesy NAWCC: 1994 Jamie Wyeth, Orca Bates; c1850 Erastus Salisbury Field, Skinner 2013.


Inspired by the bestselling watches of the 1940s, Vacheron Constantin has created two new Triple Calendar watches in its Historiques collection. These watches, slated to be in store next month, are the first new pieces in the Historiques line in two years.  This is a collection we love because it offers new renditions of archival pieces.

The two new Triple Calendar Historiques watches also feature new movements. One watch takes its inspiration from a piece built in 1942, while the other is inspired by a 1948 watch with moon phase indication.

These watches also use design codes of the 1940s and are offered with silvered dials sporting calendar indications in either rich burgundy or midnight blue.  The 40mm cases of these watches feature a triple gadroon edge (stepped and curved) with ergonomically engineered lugs. As with all Vacheron Constantin watches, these timepieces carry the Hallmark of Geneva Seal.

Our friends over at ATimelyPerspective wrote extensively about these watches:

"The Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 watch (Ref. 3110V) is crafted in stainless steel and is inspired by the legendary reference 4240 that was made in 1942 in yellow and pink gold, as well as in steel. For this watch, the hours, minutes and seconds are indicated via blued steel hands (with the seconds read off of a subsidiary dial at 6:00). Additionally, the date is read via a red-arrow hand on the outer edge of the dial. Positioned at 12:00 beneath the logo, two windows display the day of the week and the month of the year. On this version the hours are indicated using Arabic numerals. The watch is powered by the 225-part Caliber 4400 QC, developed in house by Vacheron Constantin. It is a mechanical manual-wind movement with 65 hours of power reserve.

The Historiques Triple Calendrier 1948 watch (Reference 3100V) offers the day and month indication via apertures beneath the logo at 12:00, and has hour, minute, and calendar hands. However on this version, the subsidiary seconds dial at 6:00 also boasts an astronomical moonphase indication. This watch is created in 18-karat 4N pink gold and has Roman numerals and triangular markers on the silvered dial instead of Arabic numerals for the hours. Also offered with burgundy calendar functions or with blue calendar functions, this watch is created in a limited edition of just 200 pieces in each of the two colors. The Caliber 4400 QCL – with the L representing the high-precision lunar function — powers this timepiece. The manual wind caliber consists of 253 components and 21 jewels, and offers 65 hours of power reserve."


If you are a watch lover planning a trip to New York City in mid-October, you won't want to miss one of the best events/watch shows happening in the Big Apple. On October 13 and 14, the WatchTime New York show takes place at Gotham Hall. Here, approximately 20 top brands are exhibiting their newest watches that were unveiled to the world earlier this year in Switzerland. Additionally, on Saturday the 14th, there are a host of panel discussions going on.

There is a pre-show panel to Meet the Watchmaking Stars, which will feature top watchmakers from Switzerland and America discussing how they started their careers in this field. Slated for later in the day is panel of watch experts from the publishing and retail fields, as well as another event called "Meet the Brand Executives." An historical exhibit will be on location, and there will be a review of all of the James Bond Watches — six decades worth — presented by WatchTime. The full-day event ticket costs $39, and you can register at Watchtimenewyork.com.

It should be noted that no watches are bought/sold at this show. It is geared for getting a closer look at some of the finest brands, as well as for meeting watch collectors, watch makers and executives in the industry.


Here we are once again to remind you that watches — at least the right ones — can be incredible investments. In the recent Sotheby's London Fine Timepieces auction, a single pocket watch became the most valuable English watch (made in England by an English watchmaker) ever sold at auction. The "Space Travellers" watch conceived by famed watchmaker George Daniels sold for $4.3 million — twice the price it achieved when it was auctioned in 2012.

For those who may not know of George Daniels, he is one of the 20th century's great watchmaking minds. Born in 1926 and having died just six years ago in 2011, Daniels is the inventor of the revolutionary co-axial escapement, which he developed in the 1970s. Omega was the first brand to utilize and implement the co-axial escapement in its watches, and worked very closely with the inventor.

The Space Travellers watch that sold at auction was crafted circa 1982 and was actually a replica of an earlier Space Travellers watch that Daniels made and sold to a collector. The auction watch is crafted in 18-karat yellow gold and its chronograph movement houses Daniel's independent double-wheel escapement. One of only two ever made in this style with a chronograph function, the watch is said to honor the 1969 moon landing, and Daniels supposedly described it as a watch you would need on a tour of Mars. Four bidders clamored for the watch, which sold within 10 minutes of going up for bid.

Just a little more proof that watches of substance can one day fetch very high prices.