One reason for MB&F's success is of course the watch lover and collector. The other side of the equation is the retailer. MB&F has select retailer partners all over the world that sell its timepieces. These retailers come with their own passion, marketing expertise, and client bases. So MB&F experimented by making a retailer the star of the watch - a sort of ambassador to the limited edition set. In the past brands have offered limited edition models for specific retailers, but that isn't what is going on here.
The watch itself is in metal and plastic with a crystal. It has a quartz movement and a more or less Movado-simple dial in all white with the "O Clock" logo. The deviously simple system offers the wearer to buy various case/straps and change colors as often as they like. As you can see, the O Clock comes in a ton of different colors. I have to admit they look cool - are there days when you could pull this off? Certainly a great gift item for young people.
Ian Skellern was able to get a great video of the movement in action. Really how else can I describe that? This is one of the most steampunk - gadgetorageous - machinatastic watch movements I have seen in a long time. Interesting type of rendition on the concept of a tourbillon by having the the escapement component column rotate on its own axis like that when the hour changes. The hour indicator blocks are all placed together on a tank tread like chain with a system for moving it that looks like the rod which turns wheels on a steam powered locomotive. Totally complex, but you don't need to train me to like it (worst pun ever!).
The case is also interesting. Which the dial is round with sloped, polished bezel, the case is a square with rounded edges. It is 45mm wide in steel. The crystal is mineral glass with AR coating on the inside. Apparently there are a few special (more expensive) Versions of the GMT watch with sapphire crystals. Water resistance is 100 meters, and it has a aviator style crown. While the watch is large and more or less flat, it looks neat on the wrist and is comfy with its thick leather strap. MoVas throws in two straps. The brown one you see here as well as a black leather strap. Price for the MoVas GMT is 0. Really a nice price for a watch with a design like this. I like the designs of most all their pieces, and if you learn how to take care of the movement, this isn't a bad addition to the collection.
Most people haven't followed Montblanc's ascension to a high-end watch maker like I have. The path they made from even making timepieces in the first place to where they are now is interesting, and only took about 10 years. Villeret 1858 collection watches are among their highest-end pieces and rely on Montblanc Villeret - which was formerly Minerva. This Grand Chronograph Enamel Dial is like an old-world pocket watch in wrist watch form. Even the back of it opens up like a pocket watch. The enamel dial (here in blue) is quite amazing, and at 47mm wide - this isn't your usual petite classy timepiece. Oh, and the movement decoration is really good.
The steel case is done in what Linde Werdelin calls "steel microbille" That is fancy talk for it having a sand or bead-blasted case finish. There needs to be some serious naming standards in the watch industry applied to keep us from being permanently confused.
The movement is visible through a sapphire caseback window and has a power reserve of about 50 hours. Being an El Primero is operates at 5 hertz (36,000 bph). This means that it is theoretically more accurate and allows the column-wheel based chronograph to be accurate to 1/10 of a second. If you've been wanting an El Primero by need a bit more than just a chronograph in your life, this Captain Winsor might be a good choice.
The base movement is an ETA 2671 automatic. It has a modified rotor that has three other mini rotors on it that spin around leisurely. The rotors have tiny copper wire wrappings on them. They spin around for the sake of added fun to the movement. On the dial of this Artya Tesla Squelette Quadri Rotor (by the way, "squelette" means "skeleton") are Artya style hands (look at the little copper wires in the hands) and a tapestry of copper wires arranged to look organic, symmetrical. The copper color looks rick compared to acid colored elements of the case. In the middle of the watch over the movement are hand-applied pieces of gold-leaf. In fact, this was is all hand-done, and again, is one of a kind. All Artya watches are one of a kind.
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Even with its relatively complex design, all the information is displayed conveniently. I love that despite this there is some skeletonization on the dial as the date of the week and month discs are transparent sapphire over sections of the movement. Why are there two power reserve indicators? One is for the time functions and one is for the power reserve functions.
A few years ago the Chronomat 44 watch came out and contained Breitling's first in-house made movement called the Caliber 01 chronograph automatic. 44mm wide and in Breitling's lovely polished steel case, this watch serves as a fitting base for the limited edition. This model with its black textured dial and red accents is a real handsome piece. The case and dial design are aging very gracefully and this is truly a handsome piece. Breitling is actually one of the only brands that does make watches simply too large for my wrists, and I almost never say that. This 44mm wide version of the Chronomat isn't one of them however.
The included rubber strap. Same as Helson, scented Isofrane-style. Big vents are good for super hot or humid weather.
His English is bad and my French is non-existent, so we talked about what any two nerds discuss: Model airplanes. What little I knew about Ludovic Ballouard is that he was a watchmaker who recently started his own brand, and that he liked to build small planes. I met him at an event recently by approaching him and simply saying "Ludovic, what's up?" We'd not yet met before, but the tall watch maker has a distinctive look that you can't really miss. With long hair and shaped facial hair, he sort of looks like someone you'd expect to see in a Three Musketeers movie.
Fellows is a UK auction house, established in 1876. For this auction the estimate range is a fairly reasonable £200 - £50,000. Clearly not pocket change, but there are dozens of pieces in there for a person looking for a deal, or just filling out a themed collection.
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You'll notice that the collection has two distinct dial types. One is more practical with a machine guilloche engraved dial and Roman numerals. Notice the slick looking black oxidized hands. Of course there is the "heart-beat" window showing the escapement (which runs at a rate of 28,800 bph). The second dial is a semi-skeletonized version with mostly cotes de Geneve stripes and some exposed gears. This version of the Heart Beat Manufacture Dual Time Automatic does look cooler but is going to be must harder to read in the long term. While there is a dedicated ring of indicators around the periphery of the dial, the hour markers are not distinct enough from the minute markers, and the hands are too short to reach them. Plus, the hour hand in the second time zone dial goes right over the exposed gear which hampers its legibility. Much of these issues could have been resolved by simply improving the size and design of the hands.
The Combat B7 is a lot like today's Jeep Wrangler. It certainly has a military vibe to it, but is refined looking, and focuses subliminally suggesting to you activities you should perform while wearing it. Put one on and look at the high-tech looking carbon fiber dial in the dark matte gray case and tell me you don't just want to go straight in to a group of trees and get lost? The steel case is 43mm wide and PVD coated to a dark gray, but not quite black. It has a satin finish to it. The crown is large, and voila... I finally have in my possession a LUM-TEC watch with a signed logo on the crown. What prevented this before was LUM-TEC not yet deciding on a good logo in this size.
Legacy Machine No 1 – Technical Specifications from MB&F
Ceramic is a bit lighter than steel, and is very (very) scratch and wear resistant. For me, this makes it a really tough to pass up material. Aside from the screws, I think most of the case and bracelet are ceramic. There is also supposed to be a black tinted sapphire crystal over the caseback - but the prototype I saw didn't have that.
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