Author: Arsene Wargas

Moon phases in watch-making: measuring life with time.

Moon phases in watch-making: measuring life with time.

Watchmaking is a beautiful blend of technical mastery and poetry. Watchmakers are often considered as artists and from their ingenuity comes marvelous creations that keep your time. Some of the watches can do much more. What we usually call complications, bring an added value to the measure of time. This month, our watch blog decided to talk about a very interesting and one of the oldest complications in watch-making: the Moon Phases. Moon Phases and the measurement of life The lunar phase or phase of the moon is the shape of the illuminated (sunlit) portion of the Moon as seen by an observer on Earth. The lunar phases change cyclically as the Moon orbits the Earth, according to the changing positions of the Moon and Sun relative to the Earth. The Moon’s rotation is tidally locked by the Earth’s gravity, therefore the same lunar surface always faces Earth. This face…

Everything You Wanted To Know About Mechanical Watches And Never Dared To Ask

Everything You Wanted To Know About Mechanical Watches And Never Dared To Ask

Since Quartz watches and lately Connected watches slammed the market, people got more and more interested in mechanical watches. They represent state of the art watchmaking and like a car, a mechanical watch would be worthless without its engine, called movement. Many people see how it looks like but do not have a clear understanding on how this works. The aim of this article is to provide you with a general understanding of the mechanical watch principles. So probably you will finally have the answers to your questions. Manual vs Automatic, What Does It Means? Very often you see the denomination of Manual or Automatic watch. This refers to how the watch gets its power to work. If it is a manual watch, it means you need to use the crown to wind it up, at least once a day or once every 2 days if you wish to maintain…

Vacheron Constantin Pre-SIHH 2019: Les Cabinotiers

Vacheron Constantin Pre-SIHH 2019: Les Cabinotiers

Creativity never sleeps. This fall, Vacheron Constantin is revealing 2 amazing novelties that will be presented during the 2019 SIHH in Geneva. The two following timepieces are a beautiful tribute to Geneva watchmakers who used to work in the roof tops of buildings. Their workshops were called “Cabinets” and the watchmakers working there were named “Cabinotiers”.  Here are the full details for these two intriguing watches. Pre-SIHH 2019: Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix Vacheron Constantin has a long tradition in perpetuating the “Cabinotiers”. This is how prestigious watchmakers were named when they used to work on the top floors of Geneva’s buildings. These artists used to get inspiration in nature as well as in science and the whole creative universe would bath in the light of the Enlightenment century. They dare to craft exceptional timepieces of rare technical and aesthetic complexity: a beautiful blend of science and art. Vacheron Constantin…

Hermès Arceau Robe Du Soir, Beautiful!

Hermès Arceau Robe Du Soir, Beautiful!

Hermès has a fantastic gift to combine watchmaking and poetry. Here is an outstanding work made on a 41 mm-diameter Arceau watch:  2,200 tiny juxtaposed leather squares form a horse profile inspired by the Hermès “Robe du Soir” silk scarf designed by Florence Manlik in 2018. Set against an electric blue backdrop and matching strap, the colourful fragments are lit up by the rose gold glow of the round case with its asymmetrical lugs and slim leaf-type hands. This horological creation imbued with the Hermès saddle- and leather-making heritage is issued in a 12-piece limited numbered edition. Hermès has year after year celebrated watchmaking craftsmanship with a specific focus on dials. Very often the French luxury house developed its own techniques, some of them carefully built in order to bring true wonders. For the Arceau Robe du Soir, it took a full year and a half of R&D to master…

A Brief History About The Hands Of A Watch – Types and Origins.

A Brief History About The Hands Of A Watch – Types and Origins.

It is hard to find good information about watch hands despite the fact they are very important in watch making. In deed, how can you see time without them and how can you celebrate watchmaking accuracy, know-how and performance without them? Nevertheless we it is hard to find good information about the different types, the history and who is doing what. Here is what we know. Hands Of A Watch, A Bit Of History It is said that the first hands factory in Switzerland was founded in 1812. It was Wagnon Frères in Geneva. The founder is Charles Wagnon and his grand-son, Ami Wagnon exhibited the company products in Paris in 1878, in Zürich in 1883 and in Chicago in 1893. By 1896, Wagnon Frères were producing around 400 different sorts of hands. By the the years 1900’s, there were more than 60 factories in Switzerland producing hands for the…

Is Baselworld Not Interesting Anymore? Here Key Insights About The Current Situation.

Is Baselworld Not Interesting Anymore? Here Key Insights About The Current Situation.

This year several watchbrands and watchmakers decided to quit Baselworld. Each one had probably a different reason but at the end a common context is about to set the fate of the international watch fair. Baselworld used to be the unique touch point between retailers and brands…. not anymore. From a contextual point of view, Baselworld has gone through different phases and it is not the first time people say the international watch fair is over. Why today, more than never the risk of a non-happy-ending is there? It all starts with the alignment of a specific context. Economic crisis generates an ongoing discussion all year long Since 2009, economic crisis hit the watchmaking industry very hard. Sales were uncertain and sell-in stagnated while sell-out was stuck in an economic desert. Let’s imagine the stress of watch companies welcoming potential buyers once a year at Baselworld and hoping they will…

Claude Meylan, Watchmaker and Sculptor of Swiss Heritage

Claude Meylan, Watchmaker and Sculptor of Swiss Heritage

There are hundreds of watchmakers producing their watches in Switzerland. Some brands are for sure more outstanding than others and a few brands have an interesting story to be told. Claude Meylan is a hidden gem in the history of Swiss Watchmaking. Expert in the savvy technique of skeletonisation the Swiss manufacturer will sculpt the Swiss heritage as a leightmotiv to innovate and surprise the watch aficionado. Each year, Claude Meylan crafts its watches in ways that only an artist would care for his precious creations. This year more than never, Swiss heritage is at honor. From Swiss icons to Swiss traditions, Claude Meylan creates an original and endless universe. The Skeleton Watch Art by Claude Meylan A skeleton watch is a mechanical watch, in which all of the moving parts are visible through either the front of the watch, the back of the watch or a small cut outlining…

The Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type 390

The Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type 390

Probably one of the most outstanding pieces seen during the SIHH is the extraordinary Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type390. This partnership between two amazing brands, has produced outstanding master-pieces for more than a decade. During the SIHH 2018, we were lucky enough to attend to a private presentation of this model, a great moment that allowed us to ask more about this great watch. « Parmigiani Fleurier’s Bugatti collection is a bit like the court jester. It dares to do it all, defies limits and explores the field of possibilities without fearing conventions, or the guillotine. » – Michel Parmigiani The Bugatti Chiron, The Watch Inspiration The partnership between Parmigiani Fleurier and Bugatti takes deep foundations in shared values: the passion, the mastery of technology, the aim of a “jusqu’au-boutisme” approach. The exclusive approach in watchmaking, underline the precision and the extraordinary know-how of the French automotive company. Bugatti has a very precise…

MIDO Commander Big Date: Celebrating 100 Years of Quality, Innovation And Design.

MIDO Commander Big Date: Celebrating 100 Years of Quality, Innovation And Design.

When Georges Schaeren founded MIDO one hundred years ago, he set the principles that would allow the Swiss watchmaker to evolve through the years: impeccable quality, always-on innovation philosophy and perfect design. To start this year of celebrations, MIDO launched a Commander Big Date. It reflects the spirit of the company as an international benchmark in terms of watchmaking. MIDO Commander Big Date, the very best of MIDO. One hundred years is a great anniversary and MIDO decided to make things BIG. With the launch of the Commander Big Date, the Swiss watchmaker capitalized in the great design codes of the Commander and added something new. This new line adopts the codes that have given the Commander its legendary status: a sunray satin-finished dial, protected by an elegant round case in satin-finished stainless steel and enhanced by a polished bezel. The Commander line is a true hymn to iron, to the curves…

SIHH 2018: The Renaissance of the Parmigiani Kalpa Line

SIHH 2018: The Renaissance of the Parmigiani Kalpa Line

The SIHH is also the moment in the year that Geneva sees what we could call successful comebacks. This year, it is with great pleasure we see the return of the Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa line. Launched in 1998 by Michel Parmigini himself, the Kalpa line remains a very contemporary watch. Celebrating the 20th anniversary, Parmigiani brings back the Kalpa line with a very interesting model and variations. This watch is, as any watch manufactured by Parmigiani, a true wonder in terms of watchmaking. Every single detail is taken good care and the more you look to this watch, the more you think it is a great watch. The first striking element is the watch case and its distinctive tonneau shape. It became a true classic in watchmaking. With the Kalpa line, Parmigiani has shaped the movement in ways that fit the watch case perfectly. A very interesting detail of design…

SIHH 2018: Inside The New Hermès Exhibition Booth

SIHH 2018: Inside The New Hermès Exhibition Booth

One of the novelties this year at the SIHH is the arrival of Hermès as new exhibitor in the luxury tradeshow. LuxuryActivist took the time to give you a snapshot of how the new Hermès Booth looks like. Get into this insider experience and discover the world of La Montre Hermès, now in Geneva. The principle at the SIHH is that every stand is similar in the outside, which provides a contemporary and modern ambiance. What brands can do is to create its own universe inside each stand. Hermès mandated Denis Montel, from the RDAI interior architecture agency, to design a warm, sophisticated, contemporary setting. The furniture offers a unique journey on which sound, colour and light promotes serenity. Everything is done to welcome visitors in a great hospitality. There is a vast atrium with maplewood screens as well as steles serving as showcases. For Hermès, each detail is important and…

SIHH 2018: Audemars Piguet Celebrates The 25th Anniversary Of The Royal Oak Offshore

SIHH 2018: Audemars Piguet Celebrates The 25th Anniversary Of The Royal Oak Offshore

This year, Audemars Piguet has a strong inspiration to be revealed during the Geneva SIHH. It is the 25th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore. The Royal Oak became one of the icons of modern watchmaking. Distinctive and highly qualitative, it signs with golden letters the reputation and the style of the brand. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak range, timeless and iconic For over a century, Audemars Piguet has devised endlessly inventive horological masterpieces. Throughout the years, Audemars Piguet watchmakers have surpassed technical and theoretical boundaries to craft ever more demanding mechanisms. Audemars Piguet is the oldest fine watchmaking manufacturer still in the hands of its founding families (Audemars and Piguet). Since 1875, the company has written some of the finest chapters in the history of Haute Horlogerie, including a number of world firsts. In the Vallée de Joux, at the heart of the Swiss Jura, numerous masterpieces are created in…

SIHH 2018 – New brands, new configuration… new year!

SIHH 2018 – New brands, new configuration… new year!

In two month time, the 28th edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) will open its doors. Last year there was already big changes, especially with the open day to the public. In 2018, the luxury watch trade show will pursuit its development in welcoming new brands, some of them moving from Basel (the other fair) to Geneva. Here is what we know so far. SIHH 2018, new brands For this 28th edition, the SIHH will welcome 6 new prestigious brands bringing the total number of exhibitors to 35, with 18 Historic Maisons and 17 brands in the Carré des Horlogers. The new brands are: Hermès Armin Strom DeWitt Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud F.P. Journe Romain Gauthier These new brands contribute to the ambition of SIHH to become the biggest luxury watch-making trade-show in the world. While its Swiss rival, Baselworld is struggling to find its new cruise…

Pre-SIHH 2018: Hermes Arceau Chrono Titane

Pre-SIHH 2018: Hermes Arceau Chrono Titane

The 2018 edition of SIHH will be very interesting as there are big positive changes. New brands are joining and one of them is Hermès. After several years in Basel, Hermès has decided to join Geneva and the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. We welcome Hermes and are thrilled to share here a first hint of what is coming in January. The first open window to what Hermès will reveal at its first participation to the Geneva trade-show is the new Hermès Arceau Chrono Titane. Hermès Arceau, a poetic story since 1978 Hermès and watchmaking is a long passionate story. Founded in 1837 by Thierry Hermès, the French luxury brand immediately made its name as one of the most high-end equestrian manufacturer for the wealthy and the major Royal courts in Europe. Already in the 1910’s, Hermès started commercializing watches that had already the Hermès philosophy and this only…

Single-hand watches, less is more.

Single-hand watches, less is more.

In Watchmaking, time is a serious matter. Hours, minutes and seconds are the pulse of a watch heartbeat. And time never stop. Despite the fact this might sound incredibly strict, some watchmakers brought a different way to measure time thanks to single-handed watches. Single… What? A watch hands are the reason why we look to our watch In watchmaking one key component are the hands of a watch. Without them you cannot see time. They have the function of transmitting the time indication from the movement to the dial in which you have the time marks. Or then it means you have a digital display. And do you know why they turn right around the dial (and not left)? This is because of the first solar clocks. The shadow projected on the clock dial would follow the sun position and so would turn around to the right side. Probably by…

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