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Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Look At The History Of Citizen Watches

Citizen watches first came to the public’s attention in 1924. Up to then watches tended to be heavy objects that were fashionable ornaments as much as they were practical items used to tell the time. Citizen watches changed all that by creating a new brand that was thin and light on the wrist as well as having the added benefit of looking good. And what a success they were.

In a few years they became one of the biggest selling watches in history and continue to sell well today.
The reason they have achieved such a niche in the market is due to their quality. A quality that has never diminished, despite the ever growing competition and the temptation to appeal to a broader market.
Secondly they are one of those rare companies that are not afraid to take risks. In a world where major co-operations continue to regurgitate the same old thing, Citizen is intent on reinventing the market. They just won’t sit on their laurels, taking the meaning of the word citizen to the extreme.

When Citizen first got going in 1930 there aim seemed to be the first watch company to do everything. They wanted to wipe out the competitive by being inventive. It was the Citizen that first introduced shock resistance to their watches. Up to then watches were easily broken and as a result few people paid out their hard earned cash unless they could afford to replace or fix them. An image of people in expensive suits pulling a pocket watch out of their breast pocket is what springs to mind. Citizen managed to bring watches to the poorer classes by making them more durable.

Later on Citizen made the first professional diving watch. This watch was not only waterproof but featured an electronic depth sensor. Nowadays this is seen on many brands of watches yet it was Citizen who first put them into the market place.

There latest innovation is perhaps the most impressive. It is called the Eco Drive System and as the name suggest it an environmentally friendly watch, using an inbuilt solar panel instead of batteries. Again this is now used by many watch companies, none of them with the originality of citizen. No doubt they will continue with this line while citizen thinks up something else. In fact this seems to be the pattern in the watch world, no one really moving on until Citizen do.

All this has made the company one of the biggest and richest in the world. Today it employs three thousand people continuing to search for new ways to develop the wristwatch. Long may it continue.

Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Beach Florida. Find more about this as well as quality wristwatches at www.watchesplusmore.com

Previous Articles:
Why Wenger Watches Continue To Be One Of The Most Desired Expensive (1)
...and then in 2003 the Swiss Business Tools globally. The Wenger Company have always maintained a high quality which also means expensive and today their watches are on sale for between $150 to $500. With the high quality of these watches that may well me a bargain. Gregg Hall is an author...
How To Turn An Online Business Idea Into A Money Making Reality In 5 Easy Steps Track (2)
...the Internet. You can conduct research in a few ways Ask for customer feedback Keep track of where web hits are coming from Conduct an email campaign Look for similar web sites Start a newsletter This research will provide you insight as to who your strongest...
How Clocks And Watches Have Evolved Over Time Introduce (3)
...rendering this invention useless for anything but a fashion accessory. But the attempt had been made and obviously it was not in vain because only a few years later Texas instruments came...
How Luminox Watches Became Famous From Their Military Watches Night (4)
...breakthrough for the company and a big seller. It became popular particularly with men who bought it for its now masculine image. The first Navy SEAL watches were made out of plastic but it wasn't long before they bought out a new brand with a metal casing another success. These watches although just a small change...

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Swatch has time for sales of $5 billion

THE fascination of the wealthy for expensive, handmade Swiss watches shows no sign of abating, as Swatch Group lifted sales to more than SFr5 billion ($5.07 billion) for the first time last year and predicted more to come.

The Swiss watch and components company said demand for luxury watches and jewellery, sometimes costing $US100,000 ($127,000) or more, was extremely strong, thanks to rising wealth, notably in Asia.

Swatch's full figures will not be revealed until March. However, its foretaste of bumper profits in 2006 and a bonanza this year came with many of the world's luxury goods makers reporting vibrant market conditions from Moscow to Macao.

"The strong increase in sales in all segments of the group will lead to an above-average increase in the operating profits for 2006," said Swatch in a trading statement.

"The group expects 2006 to be a record year and ... expects this pleasing trend to continue in 2007."

Swatch Group shares closed up 0.68 per cent at SFr281.7 on Monday and other luxury goods makers, such as Richemont and Bulgari, also rose.

Swatch said group sales had jumped 12.3 per cent to SFr5.05 billion, with growth fuelled by watches and jewellery, its biggest division, where revenues rose nearly 14 per cent to SFr3.91 billion.

The greatest growth was in the group's most expensive brands, such as Breguet and Blancpain, while Omega continued its recent expansion and pushed further upmarket.

Encouragingly, the core Swatch brand continued to recover, after a period in which sales and margins were squeezed by competition from fashion watches made in low-cost Asian countries.

Swatch said: "The profitability of the watch movements and components sector will be very good in tandem with the watch segment.

"The increased sales volumes and the positive development of the product mix will have a positive and sustained effect on margins."

Premium brands owned by the group, such as Longines, and mid-priced marques, such as Certina, also gained market share, as their strategy of countering fierce competition in their segments through specialisation paid off.

"We see no slowdown in the current boom in luxury watches and Swatch as the world's biggest watchmaker is best placed to benefit from the trend," Jon Cox at Kepler Equities said.

In its only warning note, Swatch said demand for its most complicated watches, which could show everything from the time on different continents to the phases of the moon, continued to cause bottlenecks and capacity constraints, because experienced watchmakers were in short supply.

However, it said "substantial additional investments" in staff and facilities had paid off, with more benefits becoming evident this year.

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Truly unique watch is made to order

Platinum is a precious metal, the natural choice to create things that are considered "eternal" or emblems of something eternal, such as wedding rings, symbols of love. If platinum is scratched, the metal is merely displaced, none of its volume is lost - it remains what it always was.

Thus, platinum is also the perfect choice for timepieces that one wishes to wear a lifetime and hand down through the family.

Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin has been making beautiful watches from platinum since 1820. Most recently, the 252-year-old high-end watch maker brought to China its limited edition, "Collection Excellence Platine," to celebrate the opening of its largest flagship store on the Chinese mainland in neighboring Hangzhou.

The watchmaker announced its first ever "Made-to-Order" watch service, saying it would meet the specifications of the discerning Chinese buyer, even to providing the kind of movement desired. The service would be the first for high-end watches, it said.

At the opening ceremony, visitors walked through a "platinum journey" specially designed for the event so that they could acquire a basic idea of how platinum is mined and processed in South Africa. Later, to the accompaniment of mellow jazz, they appreciated 20 watches selected from Vacheron Constantin's limited platinum series, including 13 heritage platinum pieces from its museum in Geneva and seven new models.

The "Maitres Cabinotiers Skeleton Minute Repeater" is known as the world's slimmest skeleton minute repeater watch. A labyrinth of sparkling reflections of light and shade, only 15 pieces were made.

It is distinguished by its highly elaborate decoration. Half of the basic movement is exposed by a transparent case, resulting in lightness and elegance. For optimal transparency, the sapphire dial is never more than 30 one-hundredths of a millimeter thick.

The "Platinum Malte Chronograph" is equipped with a hand-wound mechanical chronograph movement with traditional column-wheel construction and intricately decorated parts, as well as a rare platinum dial. Its spirit is marked by the excellence of its technology and craftsmanship and the purity of its material - the dial, the case and the buckle of the wrist strap are all made of platinum. The true collector's watch is made in a limited edition of 75 pieces.

The seven new models are available in limited quantities for the Chinese market. Customers are invited to check with Vacheron Constantin's boutiques around the country.

The luxury watch brand launched its first boutique on the Chinese mainland in Beijing in 2000. In the past 12 months, it has opened three stores in Anshan in the northeastern Liaoning Province, Chengdu in the southwestern Sichuan Province and most recently Hangzhou in neighboring Zhejiang Province.

Currently, the Swiss luxury watch company has a eight boutiques and 24 points of sale in China. According to Jean Michel Paray, managing director of Vacheron Constantin Asia Pacific, the Chinese government has recently issued a new regulation imposing 30 percent tax on watches purchased aboard. This will "give back a lot of competitiveness to the Chinese mainland watch retail industry," he says.

"We will continue our development strategy in China and keep on strengthening our leading position in this market," says Paray. "Our growth is only limited by our production capacity and China is, on the worldwide basis, showing the strongest rate of growth."

Paray also mentions that Vacheron Constantin has launched a special "Made-to-Measure" department that will cater to the needs of those who want something absolutely exclusive. Watches will be designed especially to their specification, including dials, cases and movements if necessary.

This is the first time Vacheron Constantin offers this service in its history and it is also the first such service in the high-end watch industry, the watchmaker says.

"We are certain that Chinese watch lovers and collectors will soon take advantage of this new department and service," he says.

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Scratched and Dented: The Ugly Truth About Watches

Few things are more frustrating to the owner than a high-end watch sitting in a box rarely used. These watches, which we spend hundreds of dollars on, sit unused in boxes because we don't want them to wear down.
Few things are more frustrating to the owner than a high-end watch sitting in a box rarely used. These watches, which we spend hundreds of dollars on, sit unused in boxes because we don't want them to wear down. We'd rather reserve them for an occasion that happens only once each year, and strap on that $10 Timex for the rest of the year.

Yet, when we really think about it, this all seems like nonsense.

When else would we make such a large purchase and rarely use the item out of fear that it would break or scratch? Would we do that with a brand new high-end car? A major appliance? Or what about a house?

Would we purchase a beautiful house by the ocean, but choose to squat in a condemned shack instead, so we could be sure that our real home, the one we spent all of our money to purchase, was unscathed the few times we did decide to use it? Of course we wouldn't. That would be ridiculous.

We shouldn't do this with our expensive watches, either, but until now, there was no clear alternative. No matter what watch you put on, regardless of the price, you are likely to hit it on walls and tables; and to dent or scratch the overlay.

In the past,you had two options: you could wear that cheap watch most of the time, let it bear the brunt of daily scratches and dents; and then put on your high-end watch for special events. But that's no longer the case.

Recently watch-makers have pioneered a number of new techniques to make high-end watches both better looking AND far more durable. This means that you no longer need three to four Timex watches and a high-end watch. Instead, you can get a beautiful high-end watch that you can wear no matter the occasion, no matter the reason. Isn't that what you wanted when you purchased that fabulous watch in the first place? Didn't you want to be able to use all of those extra features and show off the watch's intricate design every day, not just on rare occassions?

Some of these new techniques involve constructing watches out of materials that rank higher on the MOHS scale, which ranks minerals based on their relative hardness. Diamonds, for instance, hold the highest rank on the MOHS scale; whereas weak metals, such as gold and silver, hold low ranks on the MOHS scale, indicating that they will scratch, bend, or dent quite easily.

When purchasing a new high-end watch, you should always look for one that uses sapphire rather than glass, and stainless steel, rather than gold and silver. Additionally, you will want to look for a jeweler who uses the latest techniques and technology to create a robust, long-lasting, scratch-resistant chronograph, rather than settling for a typical high-end watch, which looks nice, but has to be kept in a box most of the year.

SARO-Gem watches are the most scratch resistant watches available on the market today and have been for over 25 years. The firm produces limited edition Jewelry Watches, each piece hand made in Switzerland. SARO-Gem's intention is not to be another luxury watch, but to be the watch you want to own, wear, and keep. To learn more, visit the SARO-Gem website at Fine Hand Made Watches

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Tag Heuer to partner with ModeLabs on luxury handset?

It looks like the competition in the luxury phone market is heating up, as folks still trying to choose between Gresso, Vertu, GoldVish, the D&G RAZR, or the ridiculously pricey Black Diamond could see one more alternative in addition to the recently-unveiled LG Prada. According to Sybarites, Tag Heuer -- the folks responsible for Jeff Gordon and Tiger Woods' sumptuous wristwatches -- is teaming up with ModeLabs to introduce "a completely new phone" for deep-pocketed talkers. While details (including a sneak peek) are scant, the phone is "expected to be made of stainless steel and have many similarities to Tag watches," but it seems we'll just have to wait this one out before making any other far-reaching predictions.

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A watch virtuoso from Harry Winston - Opus 6

opus6.jpg
Yet another tourbillon? Yes indeed, but as one has come to expect from an Opus, this is not just any tourbillon. Truly novel and totally apart, Opus 6 makes its own distinctive contribution to the quest for precision. This double tourbillon reigns supreme, freed visually as well as from the going trains thanks to three time display counters for the hours, minutes and seconds. In a word, the ultimate tourbillon system! The Opus series for Harry Winston have produced some of the most phenomenal timepieces in history. Designed and built by "mechanical architects" Robert Greubel & Stephen Forsey, the sixth in a series of collaborations with independent watchmakers taking complications to a new level of complicated.

The Opus 6 is a massive white gold case which seems to contain nothing but a tourbillon; but on closer examination one can see that it is no ordinary tourbillon, in fact not only is it a double tourbillon with a one minute cage rotating inside a four minute one, but the whole cage is also inclined at 30° from the horizontal. The twin attributes of a double tourbillon and the 30° incline combine to produce a mechanism that is essentially immune to any positional errors. There is a band of polished gold running through face of the watch which also forms the number 6; this is to signify that this is the 6th Opus watch, that they are in the 6th year of the third millennium and that the total number to be produced will also be just six, making this the most exclusive model of the Opus series yet to be produced. First deliveries are expected in June with the rest following at 6 to 7 week intervals.

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IWC: Flying High With The Pilot’s Collection

Born in 1965 to the renowned Düsseldorf jeweller, René Kern, he grew up in a home with two languages - a French father and a German mother. He was surrounded by the world of jewellery, gems and luxury watches. After his youth on the Rhine, he studied politics in Strasbourg and then business management in Swiss St. Gallen.

You managed to steal the limelight with the launch of the new Pilot’s Collection at SIHH last year. How was the feedback from the distributors & retailers?
IWC has been producing professional timepieces for pilots and passengers since the mid-1930s so the launch of the new Pilot’s collection was expected to be well received and the distributors and retailers were only too happy.

IWC were the first watch manufacturer to introduce a wristwatch that fulfilled all contemporary needs in a cockpit as early as 1936. It was a professional instrument then essential in navigating a plane. IWC has produced many more professional watches for military as well civilian use ever since.

We offered a wide choice between the Classic collection of five watches in the traditional instrument look or the more elegant models from the Spitfire collection.

The launch itself was very well attended with friends of IWC including Hollywood celebrities, sports legends, watch connoisseurs and around a thousand guests comprising elite members of society in attendance.

Who were these friends of IWC that you mention?
The launch party was attended by Hollywood actors Orlando Bloom & Cate Blanchett, tennis legend Boris Becker, athlete Edwin Moses, former French Formula I star Jean Alesi, Japanese actress Kumiko Goto, Spanish dancer Joaquin Cortes and art dealer Tim Jefferies to name a few.

How did you manage to stand out in a crowded setting such as the SIHH?
We used the SIHH platform for the world premiere of IWC’s short film titled “Pilots” starring actor John Malkovich. In true Hollywood style, the fast paced film introduced the new Pilot’s Watches, including the legendary Classic Line, the Spitfire Line and the Edition Antoine de Saint Exupery.

The event was organised inside a plane hangar, at the Geneva International Airport. The guests were taken on a journey back to the 1930s and 40s - an important phase in aeronautical development - when flying was still an adventure for courageous pilots.

What are the strengths of the IWC brand that have endured over the years?
Our strong brand image is one of our major strengths. Our predecessors in the past 150 years have made our job much easier. This Swiss German image, the engineering competency, and the brand have been well positioned.

Secondly, the teams in Schaffhausen and on a worldwide level are doing an exceptionally good job; they have the right attitude, the right spirit. A good brand combined with the right workforce and the tradition of Schaffhausen i.e. probus scafusia or good solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen has endured over the years.

IWC's marketing campaign is frequently tagged as male-oriented?
Our campaigns were originally designed to effectively communicate a very masculine brand image.

Today, IWC is an international brand, and we are differentiating and customizing our campaigns in different markets.

We want to be fair to the consumers in terms of price, features and quality. Everything we are doing has to be true and efficient for the consumer.

Would you call yourself a watch connoisseur?
I was raised with jewellery and watches, as my father was a jeweller by profession. I have a natural relationship with them. I love watches and I was exposed to them from childhood. What I got from my father is his taste and judgment. Watches must be nice and suit the brand image.

What are the plans for IWC?
We will work continuously with both the high end and the entry-range level, there will be complication but we have our feet on the floor, and there will be new products at our entry-level watches. It is essential to keep the balance. We will have some very exciting products.

In summary the real key elements for success are good products and good communication, not logistics, not IT, not finance nor any other thing.

We are continuously improving our products. We need to invest more in communication to gain brand awareness. We need to make clear who we are, our roots, our traditions and where we come from.

Describe Georges Kern in a few words?
A person with a sense of humour, a true friend, a straightforward & easy-going person.

What you do when you travelling around the world?
My work has been evolving over the years and today, I am doing something completely different compared to what I was doing five years ago. IWC was like a sleeping beauty so I had to revive the brand and its fortunes and today the company is growing strongly. I have a good team that I am really proud of. I do travel a lot to see how business can be improved in our key target markets, as this can’t be done from behind one’s computer screen.

You have been to Dubai in the last 12 years, what are the changes you notice?
I see Dubai as an amazing success story. The emirate has grown by leaps and bounds and its pace of growth is akin to Shanghai with several new projects in abundance from commercial and residential real estate projects to infrastructure developments.

Alongside Dubai, now Abu Dhabi too has stepped up the pace of development and is growing at a fast pace and that is one of the reasons why IWC is planning to open a Boutique in the capital city.

Do you see these changes as progress?
Of course all these changes are part of the progress of the country and will benefit the business community and the people at large.

Tell us about IWC’s involvement with the Laureus Foundation?
IWC is a socially responsible corporate entity and we strongly believe that sport is an ideal medium to tackle a wide range of social issues and generate a positive impact.

The Richemont Group is one of the Founding Patrons of the Laureus Academy and we provide core funding for Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Laureus has devoted itself entirely to sport since its establishment in 1999.

The Laureus World Sports Academy is a truly outstanding body of internationally respected and successful sportsmen and women comprising 42 sportsmen and women who between them account for 100 Olympic medals, over 50 of them gold, 100 world championship titles and 200 world records.

Laureus thinks globally but acts locally by supporting projects that are tailored precisely to the needs of children in around the world.

National Sport for Good Foundations currently exist in the USA, South Africa and Argentina. In Europe, there are currently three national foundations: one in Germany, one in France and one in Italy. About 40 projects all over the world are working to provide disadvantaged children with social improvement, solidarity and improved prospects for the future through the strength of sport.

The potential behind the concept is best illustrated by the fact that more national foundations are currently being set up, in Spain and in Switzerland. IWC Schaffhausen will be responsible for establishing the Laureus Foundation in Switzerland.

The Foundation’s second pillar is the Laureus World Sports Academy. This consists of 40 sporting legends that act as ambassadors for the projects and, at the same time, function as the jury and prize-givers for the annual Laureus World Sports Awards.

Prominent sports personalities who are ambassadors of Laureus Foundation include: Severiano Ballesteros, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Kapil Dev, Michael Johnson, Michael Jordan, John McEnroe, Edwin Moses, Nawal El Moutawakel, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Jack Nicklaus, Pelé, Vivian Richards, Daley Thompson and Yasuhiro Yamashita to name a few.


What kind of sport you love & practice?
I play tennis and like to sail (Hoby Cat) and also go diving & cycling.

What is your buzzword in life & work?
At work the buzzwords are truth & efficiency it is important to be responsible for the decisions we make even if we make mistakes. In life my buzzwords would be love & honesty.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt in life?
Life is a process of evolution and you live and learn a lot of things as you grow. When I became a CEO at the age of 36, it was a surprise for many. There were many people who thought that I was arrogant - especially the ones who were jealous and envious of my position. I still remember the press conference announcing our results, that was attended by 1,100 journalists & my boss said in front of everybody: “Thank God you did not let me down.”

What is your secret formula of success?
Team Work

Who is your rule model?
Napoleon Bonaparte - one of the greatest military leaders in history famed for his genius, his spectacular victories and the loyalty he commanded from his troops.

What is your motto on life?
Going forward

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OMEGA presents James Bond Exhibition at La Cite du Temps in Geneva

OMEGA presents James Bond Exhibition at La Cite du Temps in Geneva

Click Here To View Pictures From The Omega James Bond Exhibition


Omega, Swiss luxury watchmaker and creator of “the Bond watch”, has opened its James Bond Exhibition to the public at Cite du Temps in Geneva, Switzerland. On display until end of January 2007 is an exclusive selection of photographs, Omega watches worn by members of the cast, and props used in the filming of Casino Royale, the 21st and most recent film adventure featuring Ian Fleming’s legendary British spy. Among the artifacts on display are a number of personal items—a book of poems, a handkerchief, a letter, keys, a bottle of perfume—belonging to Vesper Lynd, played by the beautiful French actress, Eva Green. Additional items of interest to Bond fans include the inhaler used by Bond’s nemesis, Le Chiffre, an architectural scale model of the fictional “Casino Royale” in Montenegro and, naturally, the Bond watch worn in the film by Daniel Craig, the British actor playing James Bond for the first time.

In point of fact, Daniel Craig wears two Omega watches in Casino Royale. The first is a striking black Planet Ocean, the professional diver’s watch Bond wears before he earns his notorious “license to kill”. The second is “the Bond watch” familiar from earlier films in the long-running series, an Omega Seamaster Professional. Also on view in the Geneva exhibition are producer Barbara Broccoli’s copy of the Casino Royale screenplay, Bond’s money clip and credit cards, British passports made out to Bond and Vesper Lynd, short videos with scenes from the film, and large-scale photographs from the set, many of which have not previously been released elsewhere.

The Omega James Bond Exhibition is open to the public at Cite du Temps, the Swatch Group cultural centre in the heart of Geneva, Switzerland. The historic building at Pont de la Machine 1 has been a city landmark since the 1840s. Originally constructed to supply water to the city’s new fountains and recently restructured by the Swatch Group, it has become a vital source of energy for the arts and culture in Geneva. The interactive venue accommodates cultural events, conferences, permanent exhibitions and a broad range of temporary exhibitions.

Celebrating the return of James Bond to the silver screen, Omega has released two new limited-edition Bond watches: The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Casino Royale, available in a limited edition of 5,007, and the James Bond Limited Series, an exclusive new Omega Seamaster Professional featuring the classic blue “Bond” bezel and 007 numerals at the tip of the seconds hand, limited to 10,007 pieces. Among the first Bond watches to be equipped with the exclusive Omega Co-Axial Escapement, both models are professional diver’s watches and COSC-certified chronometers.

ABOUT OMEGA

OMEGA, the prestigious watch manufacturer, was founded in 1848 and since then has continually set the pace in many of the fields of watch making: from increasing precision, to creating timekeepers for competitions and sport to watches for professional use in space or underwater. OMEGA has been an important presence in world of achievements including the conquest of space, timekeeping at 22 Olympic Games as well as the winner of a host of precision records and design awards. OMEGA will be Official Timekeeper for the Beijing 2008, Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 Olympic Games.

ABOUT EON PRODUCTIONS/DANJAQ, LLC

Eon Productions/Danjaq, LLC is owned by the Broccoli family and has produced twenty James Bond films since 1962. The Bond films make up the most successful franchise in film history and include the recent blockbuster films, GOLDENEYE, TOMORROW NEVER DIES, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH and DIE ANOTHER DAY produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. Eon Productions and Danjaq, LLC are affiliate companies and control all worldwide merchandising of the James Bond franchise.

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The Luxury of Time


Hermès celebrates 79 years in the watch business

January 4, 2007—From Gucci's 85th to Coach's 65th, every major fashion house seems to be touting some kind of anniversary these days. The latest entry to the odd-numbered birthday club? Hermès, which celebrates 79 years in the watch business with the new limited-edition Cape Cod 1928 timepiece. The milestone may seem a bit odd, but the watch is a thing of beauty. Handcrafted in the company's Swiss factories, this new version of the popular model comes in either white or rose gold and features a specially designed serif font on its white face. Those using it to actually tell time will appreciate its mechanical movement, which as any watch fiend could tell you is more precise than quartz (performance varies by just four to six seconds per day). And thanks to its "double-barreled" energy system, the self-winding timepiece can sit idle for up to three days without stopping (lesser self-winders stop ticking after a day and a half, tops). With a starting price of $22,500, the 1928 will take a bite out of that year-end bonus, but think of it this way: It's bound to be a bargain compared to what Hermès has planned for the big 8-0.

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Hermès Cape Cod 1928, from $22,500, www.hermes.com.

Jack Heuer to be Honored With Award for Lifetime Achievement

NEW YORK, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Jack Heuer -- watch innovator, brilliant marketer, great-grandson of Heuer watch founder Edouard Heuer and Honorary Chairman of TAG Heuer -- tonight will be presented with the Jewelry Information Center's Gem Award for Lifetime Achievement at the association's fifth annual gala dinner and awards ceremony at Cipriani 42nd Street.

Recognized as a visionary, Heuer is being honored for raising the visibility and status of the fine jewelry and watch industry for more than 50 years.

"We are very excited to be honoring Jack Heuer with JIC's Gem Award for Lifetime Achievement," said JIC Director David Lafleur. "Through his personal history and professional accomplishments Jack Heuer has earned the respect and admiration of the entire watch and fine jewelry industry. He has had a major impact in making consumers aware of the style, sophistication, and elegance of fine watches. In achieving this, Jack Heuer has helped to amplify JIC's efforts to educate and inform consumers. So, it is very fitting for us to recognize his accomplishments by awarding him this honor."

"We are overjoyed to be celebrating in Jack's honor and inspired by his ability to create iconic timepieces that transcend generations," said Ulrich Wohn, President and CEO for TAG Heuer North America. "2006 was another record-breaking year for TAG Heuer thanks to the guidance and involvement of Jack Heuer. Jack's imprint can never be underestimated."

Jack Heuer

Heuer joined the family business in 1958 as an engineer. A year later, he started the first subsidiary in the United States, the Heuer Time Corporation. In 1962, he became majority shareholder of Ed. Heuer & Co. SA. Two years later, the company acquired its largest competitor, the Leonidas Watch Co., and changed its name to Heuer-Leonidas SA.

As managing director of Heuer-Leonidas, he was instrumental in the development of the world's first automatic chronograph which was launched on March 3, 1969. In that same year, Heuer's company became one of the first non- automotive sponsors of the Formula One racing circuit that promoted the Heuer brand globally. In 1971, he began a very successful technical co-operation with Ferrari in Formula One, which lasted nine years and solidified TAG Heuer's leadership position in auto-racing.

Having anticipated that the technological revolution of electronics would transform the watch industry, Heuer pioneered electronic timekeeping and helped launch several of the world's first electronic timing instruments including the Microtimer (1966), a low-cost timing instrument accurate to 1/1000th of a second; the Microsplit 800 (1972), a handheld quartz stopwatch accurate to 1/100th of a second and the ACIT (1976), an Automatic Car Identification and Timing system. This system, although modified and improved, is basically still the one used today in Formula One timekeeping.

In 1982, Heuer sold Heuer-Leonidas SA to the Piaget group. In 1985, Techniques d'Avant Garde (TAG) acquired the company from the Piaget group and renamed it TAG Heuer SA.

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) acquired TAG Heuer in 1999 and in 2001, appointed Heuer as Honorary Chairman. He continues to contribute in an advisory capacity.

The Carrera

One of Jack Heuer's most enduring contributions has been the Carrera chronograph. Its history began in the pits and paddocks of the racing circuit, and it continues to be one of the driving forces behind the brand today.

It all started in 1962 when Heuer, who was serving as timekeeper in the Twelve Hours of Sebring, met two young and talented drivers, the Rodriguez brothers. They told him about a legendary race in which they had participated: the Carrera Panamericana Mexico Road Race. He was immediately struck by the name Carrera, which in his words, was "dynamic, elegant, easily pronounced in all languages and charged with emotion." Since it had become customary to give names to watch collections at Heuer (Autavia and Monza, for example), "Carrera" seemed to be the obvious choice for the name of the future chronograph planned for introduction in 1964.

Since then, the Carrera has enjoyed timeless popularity as a sporty, yet elegantly designed watch that combines traditional styling with cutting-edge technology. It constantly evolves as a key part of TAG Heuer's line.

During the past year, Carrera watches accounted for 12 percent of the company's world-wide sales contributing to TAG Heuer's No. 1 market share in the $1,000 to $5,000 price range. "The Carrera timepiece is a profound symbol of Jack Heuer's amazing contribution to the watch world," noted Wohn. "TAG Heuer is the strong brand it is today because of Jack."

About TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer, the benchmark in prestigious sports watches and chronographs since 1860, currently ranks as the No. 2 luxury watch brand in North America. The Swiss watchmaking legend draws from its active participation in the world of sports to create precision timekeeping instruments and sports-inspired watch collections. From the Olympic Games in the 1920s to its new role as official timekeeper and chronograph for the legendary Indy 500 championship, TAG Heuer has developed a reputation for its unwavering pursuit of innovation, excellence, performance and prestige. This is reflected in its partnerships with Team McLaren Mercedes in Formula 1 racing; golf champion Tiger Woods; NASCAR icon Jeff Gordon; tennis champion Maria Sharapova; and Hollywood superstar Uma Thurman, all of whom personify TAG Heuer's vision of fusing sport and glamour. TAG Heuer is a fully-owned Company of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world leader in Luxury Goods.

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Are you a Brad or a James?

By Christina Binkley, The Wall Street Journal

In the books, you know, Bond was a Rolex man.

Rolex brought testosterone to the wristwatch: Shake it, stir it -- a Rolex will get you to the train on time. James Bond's was a Submariner, waterproof to 1,000 feet and priced these days at around $5,175.

Rolex pioneered celebrity endorsements for watches when Mercedes Gleitz wore one as she swam the English Channel in 1927. But now on celluloid, Bond has dissed Rolex for an Omega Seamaster, and this is the way we think of him: The icy eyes of the new 007, Daniel Craig, glimmering from the ads of Omega -- a watchmaker that has the Hollywood endorsement thing down pat. Omega will even sell you a limited edition "Casino Royale" watch with the title of the latest Bond flick engraved where some buyers might have etched an homage to their lover. A tiny orange "007" revolves on the second hand.

The other day, I went to Beverly Hills to hunt for a watch for my husband. James -- my James -- wears a rubber Nike sports watch with an annoying alarm. I cannot bear it any longer.

I arrived on Rodeo Drive armed with almost no horologic knowledge, but loaded with star endorsements. Bond. Or is my man a Brad Pitt type? Then it's TAG Heuer for him. Tennis ace Roger Federer has endorsed Rolex and Maurice Lacroix. Even Gary Sinise got an endorsement deal, for Baume & Mercier.

The Swiss watch industry is hoping that it can sell us a watch for every season, much as Coach did with handbags. For now, they are plastering magazines with their "ambassadors" -- Baume & Mercier has Meg Ryan for women, Kiefer Sutherland (as well as Mr. Sinise) for men. The assumption is, we will choose the celebrity we most admire, and then pick their watch.

Ironically, big luxury fashion brands have so overused celebrities in their advertising -- Louis Vuitton and Uma, Versace and Demi, Chanel and Nicole -- that a certain celebrity backlash has developed. Fashion's big guns have gone back to using models in their ads. Now, the watch industry is picking up the slack.

"Advertising for watches is still somewhat neophyte. ... The fashion industry is way ahead," says Joseph Panetta, a spokesman for Swatch Group Ltd. brands including Breguet, which began making watches before the French Revolution.

Watch brands need to differentiate themselves. Rolex is the only high-end brand that has risen above the fray. Wealthy people say they are more likely to buy a Rolex than any other brand for their next watch, according to a report soon to be published by the Luxury Institute research group in New York. The brand is far more recognizable (84 percent knew it) than Bulgari (39 percent) and even Cartier (63 percent), although rivals outranked Rolex for perceived quality and exclusivity.

Unfortunately, I can find no rhyme to the reason why Rado picked Nobu Matsuhisa, the sushi chef, to represent its watches, while Longines chose both Harry Connick Jr. and the Chinese men's gymnastics team. So on Rodeo Drive, I muster the courage to ask questions.

It might surprise you, as it did me, that so many men enjoy manual labor these days. Battery-driven quartz watches nearly killed the Swiss industry in the 1980s, but now sales of mechanical Swiss watches have surged, particularly in the tech-crazed U.S. America buys more Swiss watches than any other country -- although Hong Kong is in hot pursuit. World-wide, Swiss watch exports rose 13 percent to 1.52 billion Swiss francs last year, according to data from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH. More than a quarter of that growth was for watches worth more than $5,000, according to Swiss watch giant Swatch Group, which owns 15 brands including Longines and Omega.

It appears that we, in the age of the iPod, enjoy the bucolic endeavor of winding our $85,000 Breguet tourbillons, with their tiny antigravity chambers in the movement. Maybe the tender effort punctuates the pleasure of affording a watch that took three months to make.

Two new watch boutiques opened on Rodeo Drive last year -- Omega and Breguet, where the starting price for a watch is $6,500. It can take all afternoon with a customer to sell one $100,000 Breguet, says the assistant store manager there, JB Diez Tomasini.

Looking out at a street where the paparazzi sometimes park block by block, Mr. Tomasini says, "We are not Versace -- we are not fashionable. We are CEOs and architects -- more of a cultural crowd." Breguet's celebs are of a different caliber: Winston Churchill and Marie Antoinette. The company's founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet, built a collection for the doomed French queen even as she sat in jail. Later, he changed spots with alacrity, becoming big with the Bonapartes. Considered the father of watchmaking, he invented the wristwatch in 1810 for Napoleon's sister, the queen of Naples.

A block north at Geary's -- where they sell Rolex and Patek Philippe -- if you sport a touch of gray at your temple and pack a wallet that can withstand a hit, a salesman may steer you to the Patek cases to the left of the aisle.

Patek Philippe eschews nouveau riche celebrity endorsements altogether. The slogan for their men's line goes, "You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation." This fails to indicate that a Patek's movement is so fragile that it may be knocked off kilter by the g-force of the average golf swing. Do not consider scuba diving in your Patek to a madman's undersea nuclear laboratory.

But my guy plays tennis and runs. Rolexes are endorsed by seven tennis pros, 24 golfers, four equestrians, three yachtsmen, one skier (Hermann Maier), two race-car drivers and a polo player.

The Geary's salesman wears his father's TAG Heuer on his wrist. "How old is the gentleman? What is his favorite color?" he asks. "Does he like gold?" Then he responds rhetorically, "No, of course not, because he is under 50 years old. Only older men want gold."

With the deft hands of a blackjack dealer, he slips a felt board over the glass and plops down a stainless Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust. It is waterproof and winds itself with the movement of one's arm. Better yet: Patrick Rafter wears one.

Source

Monday, January 01, 2007

Hand Assembled Studded 43mm Sports Chrono


Fully mechanical movement caliber 13 1/4 “ ETA/Valjoux 7750, automatic, chronograph, “Flyback”, 25 jewels, high frequency 4 Hz, Incabloc shock, absorbing system, blue screw for rotor, date at 4 o’clock. Case: Stainless steel case PVD coated, 4-pieces, diameter 43 mm, domed sapphire crystal on top, open back with sapphire crystal, waterproof to 50 meters, assorted decorative bezels available. Dial: Exclusive dial with hand added gold dust ‘Night Sky‘ and 8 real diamonds vsi Wesselton white.

http://www.saro-gem-usa.com

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Watches Are All About Timing

Credit: IWC.ch

For most of us, watches are a tool. Specifically, watches are a tool that tell us when it’s five minutes to happy hour, when it’s five minutes to the end of happy hour and how long we’ve been in jail after violently insisting that happy hour continue. But for many men, watches are regarded as the No.1 male accessory because they encapsulate coveted masculine attributes: namely style, engineering and status.

And because this “thinking-man”'s accessory shows no sign of being supplanted by something less intricate -- like sweatbands -- a solid background in watches is a necessity for any chap looking to elevate his profile.

Thankfully, we’ve taken the time (pun unavoidable) to compose a primer of everything a watch novice needs to know in order to stay afloat in the sometimes cutthroat world of watch aficionados. So read on and make sure that you never get stuck trying to convince anyone that your calculator watch is a personal GPS.

brands worth brandishing

Even though Helen Hunt is technically hot -- fit, blond, rich -- you wouldn’t really respect any man that said that she was his dream woman. The same goes for watches. There are many seemingly good brands to the untrained eye, but for watch fanatics there are certain models that are the Jessica Albas (the cream of the crop), others that are the Sienna Millers (promising and up-and-coming) and more still that are the Paris Hiltons (overrated). So take note of the brands below.

Good: IWC and Franck Muller

There are great watches that have made their way into mainstream culture, such as Patek Phillippe and Breitling. Then there are those brands that are unanimously respected solely within the watch community -- for example, IWC and Franck Muller. IWC (the International Watch Company, not the International Whaling Commission) is the only watch company in Eastern Switzerland and is renowned for the elegance and engineering found in its “Flieger,” “Portugieser” and “Aquatimer” lines. Franck Muller on the hand, is a watchmaker who is greatly admired for his intricately complex timepieces, including “Revolution 2,” “Revolution 3,” “Crazy Hours,” and “Color Dreams.”

Up-and-coming: Panerai and Oris

Unlike the sometimes disturbingly young up-and-comers in Hollywood, watch companies that are on the rise can be well over 100 years old. For example, the Italian luxury watch brand Panerai was founded in 1860, but is only now becoming a favorite with watch lovers on the strength of its “Radiomir” and “Luminor” series.

In contrast to the older Panerai, Oris is a young, nubile trendsetter that started in 1904. Most well known for attaining one of the highest quality ratings in the history of the COSC (we'll tell you what that acronym denotes later), Oris recently gained recognition for becoming the official watch of the BMW Williams Formula 1 team.

Which watches are overrated and the terminology you'll need to know...

Overrated: Tag Heuer and Movado

If you spent enough money, you could probably get plenty of people to think that clams were great watches. Many aficionados feel that that’s how Tag Heuer and Movado have powered their image as elite watchmakers. Chided by many watch lovers as grossly overrated, the recognition these companies reap is usually attributed to their marketing campaigns: Tag having paid massive sums to have the likes of Tiger Woods to sport their line, and Movado having glossed over the astronomical price tag of their quartz watches with glitzy ad campaigns.

Anyone who has seen Back to the Future knows that time keeping is a tricky process that requires a whole world of jargon to explain its inner workings. With this in mind, it is imperative that visitors to the realm of luxury watches arm themselves with the terms and lingo needed to communicate. Here is some crucial terminology you need to know.

Chronograph

Even though this term is a combination of two small intimidating words -- “chrono” and “graph” -- don’t worry; all chronograph refers to is a type of watch that has both timekeeping and stopwatch functions. What you will need to look out for are the different types of chronographs available, namely analog chronographs (the old style with separate hands) and digital chronographs (those watches with electronic displays that no aficionado would be caught dead wearing).

Perpetual calendar

Though you could consider an hour-long conversation about watches to be “perpetually boring,” be sure to remember that perpetual calendar refers to watches that display dates, but do not need to be adjusted to accommodate a change in months.

COSC

In the same way that the pharmaceutical industry has the FDA and women have the Miss Universe Pageant, watchmakers have their products approved by the COSC, or Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (the acronym represents the French name), to show they are of good quality. Though it isn’t required, big-name watchmakers pride themselves on having the COSC test their products for 15 days, in five positions and at three different temperatures to receive a unique serial number (whose digits correspond to the quality of the timepiece) and the right to officially call their watch a chronometer.

BASELWORLD

Though "VodkaCon" is our favorite yearly event, the exhibition that has watch enthusiasts falling all over themselves is BASELWORLD. Every spring, watch retailers and wholesalers from all over the world return to their “breeding” ground in Basel, Switzerland, where they are privy to the latest trends and products for the coming year.

The Swatch Group

The largest watch company in the world, the Swatch Group houses some of the most famous, but not necessarily reputable, watch brands on the planet, including Breguet, Blancpain, Omega, Jaquet-Droz, and Voltron (we might be wrong about that last one).

beware the watchdogs

Even if you’ve managed to talk the talk and name-drop some reputable brands, there are certain remarks that can forever damage your budding reputation as a man capable of appreciating luxury watches. Here are some key ones to avoid.

“Rolex is the best.”

We don't want to give you the wrong impression: Rolexes are great watches. But what you need to understand is that Rolexes are revered among watch lovers in the same way that BMWs are revered among car enthusiasts: Great cars, but can still be outdone by Mercedes and Porsche.

Other comments that will blow your cover and some key questions to ask...


Panerai Radiomir- Credit: Panerai.com

"Is it waterproof?”

Luxury watches do promote themselves as being “water resistant” -- meaning that water and moisture are incapable of entering the casing. But asking if a watch is “waterproof” implies that you’re looking for a timepiece that you can use for swimming, scuba diving or water-balloon fights (i.e. activities not appropriate for watches designed to fit an upscale style).

“Does the watch light up at night?”

In a similar fashion to the "waterproof" faux pas, this question connotes that you are looking for a watch that helps you coordinate a 3 a.m. ice-cream binge, not one that will accent your Armani suit.

questions that show consideration

Did you know that Alex Trebek doesn’t actually know all the answers on Jeopardy? Because he's the one asking the questions he seems informed on most topics. Well, the same dynamic works for watches; specifically, if you’re able to ask questions that get watch aficionados debating amongst themselves, you can simply stand back and be recognized as an individual well versed in the trade. Here are some questions that will turn the focus away from you and get you props at the same time.

1) What is your position on the current standards for the “Swiss made” label? (At the moment, to be considered “Swiss made” a watch needs to have 50% of its components from Switzerland, while the watch’s motor and casing needs to be assembled in the country.)

2) Vertical distribution (selling watches through retailers) has been all well and good, but how do you feel about these new boutique shops?

3) Are tourbillions (watches with a rotating mechanism that deters gravity from affecting timekeeping) really worth the price?

4) Which is a superior winding system (the self-powered engine that is installed in most watches), the unidirectional or the bidirectional?

it’s okay to watch

Compared to women, men have very few options when it comes to accessories that exude personality (and no, glow sticks don’t count). After all, the fairer sex has shoes, purses, jewelry, and, in some cases, even small dogs to enhance the kind of image they aspire to project. Because of this limitation on males, watches have taken on new importance; they allow image-conscious men to convey an appreciation for engineering, style and status. So if elevating your appearance is a personal goal, internalize the watch primer outlined above and be sure to take advantage of one of the few ways to make an impatient glance at the time a fashionable one.

Resources:
Wikipedia.org

Source

Professional Golf Watch By Tag


- Integrated clasp. Thanks to a patented unfolding system, the Professional Golf Watch has an invisible clasp incorporated in the watch case with double safety pushbuttons at 10 and 2 o’clock. It cannot interfere with the swing and hurt the wrist while playing golf.
- Ergonomic silicon strap. The exclusive ultra elastic silicon strap avoids any shock on the wrist, adapts its length anytime to any wrist diameter evolution and maintains perfectly the watch on the wrist always away from the glove.
- Crown at 9 o’clock will never rub the wrist during the swing.
- Elegant model. The Professional Golf Watch is slim thanks to an extra thin quartz movement, readable thanks to luminescent hands and indexes.
- Just 55 gr vs TAG Heuer classical watch=137 gr. As the Professional Golf Watch weighs only 55 grams, thanks to ultra light materials (titanium), a golfer does not feel it on his wrist while playing. It represents only 30% of the weight of an ordinary steel watch.
- 5 000 G shocks resistance. The Professional Golf Watch has exceptional shock resistance. It can withstand impacts of up to 5 000 g which is 45 times greater than those experienced during the golf swing when the club hits the ball.

http://www.tagheuer.com

Source

SARO Gem US, Inc