Breguet’s triumphant return to the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève

Conspicuously absent from recent editions, Swatch Group brands took four distinctions at this year‘s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, with Breguet claiming the most prestigious award. Independent watchmakers were also out in force, while Seiko took the honours in one category.

Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann had some home truths for the audience gathered at the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG). “It would be impossible to imagine Switzerland’s industrial fabric without watchmaking,” he declared, “Just as we could not imagine our modern world without time measurement, the only truly universal measure. It is behind our market economy and, transposed to Replica Breitling Watches for Men , Switzerland’s finest ambassador.”

One that would be certain to agree is Breguet, recipient of the Grand Prix de l’Aiguille d’Or, the highest distinction of the evening, for its Classique Chronométrie. In recent years, Swatch Group had left the ceremony empty-handed; this year marked a return worthy of the prodigal son. In addition to the Aiguille d’Or, Breguet also took the Public Prize for its Classique Dame. Omega swept the board in the Revival Watch category with its Speedmaster “Dark Side Of The Moon”, a tribute to the brand’s role in the conquest of space. As for Blancpain, also in the multinational’s portfolio, its Women Off-Centred Hour came first in the Ladies’  Replica Watches category.

Seventeen chances

This turned out to be a memorable evening overall for the industry’s major groups, particularly as the number of awards continues to creep upwards. This year, seventeen prizes were presented at a ceremony that likes to bill itself as the horological equivalent of the Oscars. Lining up for the photo were A. Lange & Söhne (Richemont) in the Calendar Watches category, joined by Hublot, Zenith and Bulgari (LVMH) in the Striking, Sports and Jewellery Watch categories respectively. Another of the sector’s leading names to take its place on the winner’s rostrum, after a long journey, was Seiko. Its Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT was singled out for the Petite Aiguille, a distinction reserved for Offical Replica Watches UK under CHF 8,000. A full-fledged manufacture with numerous major innovations to its credit, the Japanese firm was clearly delighted to earn the recognition of its Swiss peers. “This is the greatest possible encouragement to continue in our chosen direction,” the company’s Vice President declared.

Seiko wasn’t the only winner from beyond Swiss borders. Luxembourg’s Helmut Crott, who owns Danish brand Urban Jürgensen & Sonner, took home the Men’s Watch Prize; Dutch brothers Bart and Tim Grönefeld scooped the Tourbillon Watch Prize; Finnish watchmaker Kari Voutilainen, who is based in Môtier, won in the Artistic Crafts Watch category for Hisui, a stunning creation featuring lacquerwork by one of the most prestigious Japanese studios that took over a thousand hours to achieve. Completing this line-up of independent brands were Christophe Claret, winner of the Ladies’ High Mech Watch Prize, De Béthune in the Chronograph category, and Urwerk whose EMC took both the Innovation Prize and the Mechanical Exception Prize. The last word goes to Walter Lange, the man who engineered the revival of A. Lange & Söhne and winner of the Special Jury Prize: “Watches are a passion!”.

Sotheby’s sells Patek Philippe’s masterpiece of horology for CHF 23.2 million

At Sotheby’s Geneva, The Henry Graves Supercomplication re-established its supreme status as the most valuable timepiece in auction history, selling CHF 23.2 million (USD 24 million / EUR 19.3 million / GBP 15.1 million), thereby beating the record of USD 11 million it established in 1999[1]. Five bidders competed for this masterpiece of horology which went to an anonymous buyer in the room after 15 minutes of suspense. Completed by Patek Philippe in 1932 and estimated in excess of CHF 15 million, The Henry Graves Supercomplication is the most Famous Breitling Replica Watches in the world and the most complicated watch ever made by human hands – without computer-assisted technology. Tonight’s record bid brought the total of the Important Watch auction to an outstanding CHF 31,603,375 (USD 32,618,159 / EUR 26,270,011 / GBP 20,584,475).

Commenting on the results of the sale, Daryn Schnipper, Chairman of Sotheby’s Watch Division and Tim Bourne, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Watches, and this evening auctioneer said: “This stellar result confirms the “rockstar” status of The Henry Graves Supercomplication. It is more than a watch. It is a masterpiece which transcends the boundaries of horology and has earned its place among the world’s greatest works of art. The fascination it has attracted over the past few months, as Patek Philippe celebrates its 175th anniversary, is a fitting tribute to the genius of the Swiss manufacturer.”

In 1925, Patek Philippe was commissioned by Henry Graves, a prominent New York banker, to produce the most complicated watch in the world. The product of three years of research and five years’ effort by the most skilled technicians, this extraordinary timepiece is a gold openface minute repeating chronograph clock Replica  Cartier  Watches  with Westminster chimes. Among the features it incorporates are Perpetual Calendar, moon phases, sidereal time, power reserve, and indications for time of sunset and sunrise and the night sky of New York City. With a total of 24 horological complications, The Graves watch retained the title of the world’s most complicated watch for 56 years and even then was only surpassed by technicians working with the aid of computer-assisted machines.

Other highlights in today’s sale include:

A very important example of Patek Philippe Reference 3974 in yellow gold, with automatic perpetual calendar, minute-repeating and moon-phases, circa 1991 achieved CHF 329,000 (USD 339,564) (lot 344, est. CHF 230,000 – 350,000 / USD 245,000 – 373,000).

Rolex performed strongly today. A rare Daytona “Paul Newman” in yellow gold, circa 1968 tripled its pre-sale low estimate, selling for CHF 245,000 (USD 252,867) (lot 306, est. CHF 80,000-120,000 / USD 85,500-128,000).

The IWC Pilot’s Breitling Replica Watches for Sale Chronograph Edition “The Last Flight”, designed to commemorate 70 years since the tragic death of celebrated writer and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, sold for CHF 40,000 (USD 41,284) (lot 180). All the proceeds from the sale will benefit the Antoine de Saint Exupéry Youth Foundation and go to support the Hospital Pequeno Príncipe in Curitiba, Brazil’s largest children’s hospital. The fund will help to build a library for young patients of this centre, which specializes in highly complex heart operations, organ and bone transplants and cancer treatment.

The search is (still) on for new escapements

At its recent Study Day, the Société Suisse de Chronométrie highlighted the impressive chain of innovation in regulating organs.

One is the Genequand Escapement, the other the IsoSpring. Both result from ongoing research at Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique in Neuchâtel (CSEM), and the recently launched Instant-Lab, part of Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), sponsored by Patek Philippe. Unveiled last September during the Société Suisse de Chronométrie Study Day, these two inventions have ignited interest within the industry. The Genequand Escapement and the IsoSpring replace the balance spring with vibrating blades to produce oscillations. The former incorporates a conventional regulator system with escape wheel, pallet and oscillator. The latter takes a less travelled road.

Phenomenal power reserve

Pierre-Marcel Genequand, a now retired engineer at CSEM, invented the Genequand Escapement in 2000. A decade later, Vaucher Manufacture came onboard and the project took shape. Engineers are now working to make the system reliable, after the Handsome Breitling Replica Watches for Men all-important first stage of miniaturisation. Their objective is to launch production within a three- to five-year timescale. Vaucher Manufacture will enjoy exclusive rights to use the escapement through sister brand Parmigiani Fleurier.

The Genequand Escapement significantly increases power reserve thanks to its low energy consumption. Test phases showed that a standard calibre equipped with this new escapement ran for a month and a half instead of eight days. Its principal characteristic is to replace the balance spring and pivot by two micro-blades which intersect to produce a regular alternating movement. The virtual pivot corresponds to the point where the two blades intersect. The Wittrick balance, named after William Henry Wittrick, a specialist in vibration systems, is in permanent contact with the pallet. Inspired by Harrison’s grasshopper escapement, the movement of the pallet is controlled by flexible blades. A corrector above the balance slows its movement if necessary to maintain isochronism. The parts of this innovative escapement are made from silicon. The current prototype operates at a frequency of 2.5 Hz, although Takahiro Hamaguchi, who is head of movement research at Vaucher, has announced that the second prototype is already at 18 Hz or 129,600 vibrations per hour.

Is one direction the only direction?

Developed by Instant-Lab at the Swiss federal institute of technology (EPFL) in Lausanne under Professor Simon Henein, the IsoSpring system replaces the conventional escapement with a unidirectional regulator, in the form of a two-dimensional structure which vibrates in a regular and controlled manner. The IsoSpring, which is still at the experimental stage, therefore Great Discount for Replica Watches has two degrees of freedom. It comprises two independent blade-springs, positioned at an angle of 90°. Using a structure first theorised by Isaac Newton in 1687, the two blades produce an elliptical, unidirectional and highly regular movement. Even if speed varies, the time period remains constant, ensuring the regularity required to measure time. The team is working to reduce the size of the imposing prototype, which is currently driven by a crank handle turning in one direction.

The Genequand Escapement and the IsoSpring follow on from a series of breakthroughs made possible by the introduction of silicon parts in the early 2000s. Ulysse Nardin’s Dual Escapement and, more recently, Girard-Perregaux‘s Constant Escapement with flexing blade are excellent examples. However, De Bethune is the only brand to have dared ditch conventional systems for its “Résonique” regulator. It differs from the IsoSpring in that there is Beat Omega Replica Watches  no mechanical connexion; a magnetic rotor transfers energy to the oscillator. Unusually, De Bethune has published all its research on a blog launched at the same time as the project, with the as yet unfulfilled aim of encouraging other researchers to join in. Identical in principle but with different applications, the IsoSpring and Résonique could open up some serious new perspectives.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon

 

For 2015, with the Excalibur Spider collection, the Manufacture takes the skeleton theme beyond the movement alone, now extending it to encompass a skeletonized case, flange and hands. Named after another typical skeleton-work theme seen in nature through the complexities of the spider’s web, this Latest  Replica Breitling Watches collection is entirely  in keeping with the typically unconventional twist that Roger Dubuis has given to the principle of skeleton-work. It actively endows the latter with the stature of a true contemporary art form serving a three-fold purpose: improved visibility, intricate sculptural effects and enhanced transparency.

The Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon picks up the signature features of Roger Dubuis skeleton  Fake Breitling Watches, the star-shaped design, the tourbillon carriage shaped like a Celtic cross and the high-end finishes including a circular-grained plate. Moreover, in keeping with the determination to push boundaries in all directions while fearlessly defending its territory that befits the world of the Warrior, the light yet robust 45 mm titanium case is also openworked. Spurred on by the mechanical hand-wound RD505SQ movement, the Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon rides out to battle against gravity with a blend of gravitas and exceptional lightness in the saddle…