Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Piaget Times Two

Posted Feb 6th 2007 11:02AM by Deidre Woollard
Filed under: Timepieces

This isn't the first watch with two mechanical movements that I have seen but it is one of the least gimmicky, just two simply beautiful watches, one on top of another. Piaget has released a new version of their classic Altiplano, that has two separate watches with two mechanical movements to tell two different timezones. It uses two Piaget caliber 450P movements with 18 jewels, beating at 21,600 bph. At 38mm, the 18K white gold case is smaller than a lot of the wrist dominators I have seen lately. It sells for $27,000.

German watchmaker opens U.S. sales office

NEW YORK - Riedenschild Original Watches, the sturdy yet trendy, hand-assembled time pieces that have taken Europe by storm are coming to the Big Apple.

Riedenschild is opening it's first U.S. sales office in New York on February 1, 2007 and expects to make a big splash in the U.S. market based on the success Riedenschild
( has had overseas with its lines of limited edition models, Riedenschild president James Newell said.

Riedenschild models are generally limited to 299 or 999 units. They're assembled by trained watch makers in Germany, at a time when many other companies are using
cheaper Asian labor to cut costs.

"The value that comes from having a precision-engineered time piece, carefully assembled by hand, is further enhanced by our commitment to limit production on each
model," Newell said. "That uniqueness, coupled with the high standards jewelers and others have come to expect from German watchmakers, only enhances the value for the

Riedenschild Original Watches originated in 2004, by German Designer Oliver Wolf, and are computer calibrated during a design process that generally takes 6-7 months. The first four months are spent designing the new model and engineering a prototype. If the prototype meets Riedenschild's standards, the component parts are manufactured and then hand-assembled by Riedenschild craftsmen.

All Riedenschild Original Watches come with a 2-year warranty, including aftersales service. Riedenschild Original Watches are tested against stringent German
Precision Instrument standards (DIN Norm), but Riedenschilds are not merely beautiful on the inside. Mirror polished backs and steel bands and Aero bases make
Riedenschild Original Watches stylish and elegant, belying their sturdy construction using parts precision manufactured in Germany, Italy and Switzerland, Newell said.

"There is no point in painstakingly assembling a precise instrument, if it is never to be worn on the wrist," Newell said. "German precision, this the world understands. But Riedenschild Original Watches have been showing Europe that German design and styling is attractive, too, as I'm sure our American customers will see."

Riedenschild has actively courted celebrity partnerships with the ToLimit Porsche Team and the Euro television hit "Alarm For Cobra 11" and the company's marketing philosophy would suggest they'd form similar relationships in the United States, Newell said.

"Riedenschild Original Watches are a distinctive brand, and there's always somebody out there looking to accent the distinctiveness of their product or show by joining in business with us," Newell said. "I would expect we'd continue to offer special edition logo branded watches as those business partnerships develop."

"We are excited to be coming to America," Newell said. "Americans love quality, and have a passion for it -- a passion the Germans refer to as Leidenschaft, that sense
one gets when elegant precision is realized."

The Riedenschild Original Watches brand was developed in 2004 by Designer Oliver Wolf, and partner Eichmüller (one of the largerst wholesalers in Europe) that was founded in 1950 in Munich. The company takes pride in hand assembling watches from the finest component parts, a process that enables them to employ professional watchmakers, as opposed to farming out assembly work to Asian or other cheaper subcontractors.

CONTACT: President James Newell is available for interviews with business writers or trade publications by e-mailing or by calling 212-382-4605

Call it Like it is with Universal Bulls**t Detector Watch

A new gag gift, the Universal Bulls**t Detector Watch, is certain to spark laughs from friends, co-workers and acquaintances. It is one cool gadget, says its inventor… and that's no b.s..

New York, NY (PRWEB) February 15, 2007 -- In a world flooded with hype, spin, propaganda, and hyperbole, finally there's an irreverent gag gift that calls it like it is. Introducing: the Universal Bulls**t Detector Watch™ -- a humorous gadget that is as novel as it is practical. It flashes, moos and poops… it also tells time. This watch is non-sectarian and non-partisan and, in any language it sounds the same.

The Universal Bulls**t Detector Watch™ is available at for the low introductory offer of $39.95 with free shipping and handling within the United States. Foreign shipping for the gag gift is available for an additional $9.95.

"Discreetly push the button and let the Universal Bulls**t Detector Watch™ express your feelings. When asked, 'What's that sound?' Just say, 'Oh, sorry! That's my b.s. detector,' says creator Joey Skaggs"

About the Watch: In addition to being endlessly useful, the Universal Bulls**t Detector Watch™ is also a quality precision quartz watch and one cool gadget. It has a sound and light effect that lasts approximately eight seconds each time the upper button is pushed. The face of the watch is red with an illustration of a well-endowed bull from behind.

"Thousands of years from now, when current human society and all its advancements... are nothing but a faint memory, a wristwatch of epic proportions will still live on, flashing, pooping, and mooing. The Universal Bulls**t Detector Watch is perhaps the greatest technological feat since the slicing of bread. Andre Bermudez,"

Crafted by a master watchmaker and engineer, the elegant strong case is made from polished aluminum alloy and is form fitted for comfort. The strap is black PVC and fits most wrist sizes (from child to adult, male or female). The back of the watch has the artist's etched signature.

The watch has two replaceable batteries, both of which are long lived, standard and commonly available. One is for the precision quartz watch and the other is for the sound and light effect. One important note: the Universal Bulls**t Detector Watch™ is not waterproof. So wearers should not get themselves thrown overboard!

About the Creator: As one of America's most impassioned social satirists, Joey Skaggs has been calling b.s. "b.s." for a long time (see He is an artist, prankster and social activist. Since the sixties, Skaggs has been able to widely disseminate his ideas by creating comical and absurd (but highly realistic) stories, which have been reported as real news by the media to an unsuspecting public.

"Who can resist a good gag gift - you know, aside from people with no sense of humor? The Universal Bullshit Detector Watch..., from noted media satirist Joey Skaggs…, just might be the best out there this year... When it comes to novelty products, this one is a gas. Chris Haire, Honolulu Weekly"

Some of Skaggs' best-known hoaxes include: The Fat Squad: A business offering commandos who, for a fee, would physically restrain you from breaking your diet; The Solomon Project: An alternative to the American Judicial system eliminating the need for judges and juries and providing equal justice for all; and Portofess: A portable confessional booth mounted on the back of a tricycle and peddled to the Democratic National Convention bringing religion on the move to people on the go because the church must go where the sinners are.

As part of his credo, he has always revealed the truth and explained why he did what he did. Now he has created an actual watch, a cool gadget, to help other people tell it like it is too. One would think he might have a credibility problem, since he is best known for his large scale media "hoaxes," however, seeing is believing and the b.s. detector watch is getting rave reviews (see

Additional information about the Universal Bulls**t Detector Watch™ gag gift, as well as photographs, media commentary and customer testimonials are available at

About the company: Irreverently Yours LLC sells irreverent and humorous products designed by artist and satirist Joey Skaggs , a master of creating cool gadget gifts. The Universal Bulls**t Detector Watch™, the first one produced in large quantities and available on the Internet, has been created to give people the ability to express their feelings any time anywhere with humor.


The ‘trends’ that shape the watch industry

When people speak of ‘trends’, we tend to think of new models, new designs, fashion, and the products… But, ‘trends’, or ‘modes’, do not only exist in the shapes and in the products placed on the market. Both upstream and downstream of the product, the industry itself, from production to distribution, is shaped by basic ‘trends’, by fashions and fads, all of which transform the timekeeping landscape, a little bit at a time.

With this in mind, Europa Star in print presents this Special Trends section. While it does not claim to encompass all the trends, it aims, however, to establish a few reference points for the future.

Trend towards exceptional pieces
Increasing numbers of watchmakers are seeking to occupy ‘luxury niches’ by proposing very small quantities of hyper-sophisticated, custom-designed, and exceptional pieces to collectors and other watch aficionados. We present a few recent examples of this ever-growing ‘trend’.

Trend towards new movements
The decision taken by ETA in 2002 (but delayed to 2010 by the Swiss Commission on Competition) to no longer deliver mechanical movements gave a boost to the industry to start creating movements. Today, ETA ‘clones’ are flourishing and a number of firms specializing in haut de gamme calibres are spreading their wings. We take a look at the state of mechanical movement production in Switzerland.

Trend towards new manufactures
The realization by brands on how dependent they can be on a single supplier also accelerated the trend towards the verticalization of production. More and more watch companies are announcing their intention to gradually transform themselves into more or less ‘complete’ manufactures. It is a long and perilous journey.

Trend towards the integration of distribution
The traditional channel of distribution, which finally ends at the retailer after passing through the successive hands of exporters, agents, wholesalers, and distributors, is subject to strong strains. On many markets, independent agents and other intermediaries seem to be in danger of extinction because the basic trend is for the brands to take distribution in-house, to the greatest extent possible.

A gallery of trendy watches
A look at the major trends in the watch industry would not be complete without a visual presentation of the many diverse trends that illustrate the so-called fashion watches, the independent brands, and the niche brands. It involves a veritable laboratory of forms, colours, and functions.

Photo by Dominique Fleury, 1st prize of The 2002 La Montre Hermès Photography Prize.

Source: Europa Star December-January 2007 Magazine Issue


Montblanc scales new summits

Montblanc scales new summits

The pen maker has gone even more upmarket, and so have its prospects, writes Richard Wachman

Sunday February 18, 2007
The Observer

The supermodel Naomi Campbell, actor Nicolas Cage and opera singer Katherine Jenkins are among the rich and famous standing ready to promote Montblanc, the pen maker that is transforming itself into an international luxury goods brand.
As any aspiring entrepreneur will tell you, creating an upmarket brand from scratch is no easy task. While it's true that Montblanc's pens have been a natty accessory for the discerning consumer since they first appeared in Germany in 1906, it is only in the last 15 years that the company has diversified into leather goods, watches, and more recently, fine jewellery. Montblanc is now the fastest growing brand of South African parent group Richemont, which also owns Cartier, Dunhill and Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Rita Clifton, head of the Interbrand consultancy in London, believes Montblanc ticks all the necessary boxes to become a leading player in a sector that is already crowded with heavyweight competitors such as LVMH, Tiffany's and Gucci, to name but a few.
Clifton says: 'Montblanc are renowned for their craftsmanship - a "must" if you want to sell goods for premium prices.Secondly, the customer experience is tightly managed; products are sold in places which reflect Montblanc's DNA. It would be pointless, for instance, to make goods available in unsuitable premises that could damage the way a brand is presented.

'Finally, the Montblanc management has brought celebrities on board; and that matters: when James Bond drives an Aston Martin or a BMW in one of his films, people remember it. When brands are flaunted by footballers, their wives or by film stars, it's a stamp of approval. Brands are status symbols, after all.'

Life hasn't always been plain sailing for Montblanc. When managing director Lutz Bethge joined in 1990, the company was facing ferocious competition and shops that stocked Montblanc pens were being pushed out of plum positions in shopping centres as Bulgari, Louis Vuitton and Burberry bought up the best sites.

'Things had to change,' remembers Bethge. The upshot was a strategy, developed in conjunction with former Montblanc chief executive Norbert Platz, to turn the firm into a diversified luxury goods company. The fountain pens became even more upmarket, with limited editions selling for up to $125,000. Montblanc also tightened its grip over its distribution chain by expanding its network of shops around the world. They now number more than 330 in countries as far flung as China, Japan, Italy and the US. From being a predominantly German company - with its headquarters in Hamburg - today most Montblanc sales are generated internationally.

Bethge says the brand is committed to the highest standards of European craftsmanship. 'I cannot envisage a time when we would shift production to low-cost markets in Asia or elsewhere,' he says. 'I am not saying that Asians don't make good craftsmen, but the heritage is in Europe. One of our trainee employees must practise for six months making brass nibs for our pens before he can graduate to making gold nibs - we are that specialised.'

A similar approach is employed when it comes to making watches: Montblanc launched its first range in 1997, and opened a factory in Switzerland the same year. 'It had to be Switzerland,' says Bethge, 'because that is the country most associated with the manufacture of branded, high-class watches. And the expertise is Swiss.'

Recently, Montblanc hosted a VIP gala in Chamonix in the Swiss Alps to launch its gold and diamond jewellery range. Naomi Campbell presented the most precious offering: the Etoille necklace. Guests including Mick Jagger's former wife Jerry Hall and Phil Collins's daughter, Lily, were among those who listened to an impromptu concert by Bryan Ferry at a glitzy party.

The Montblanc brand, it seems, is going places. In just over a decade, it has diversified into leather goods - belts, bags and penholders - watches (there are five lines) and now silver and fine jewellery. But how much of the Montblanc story is hype?

None of it, if you ask the investment houses that follow Richemont in Europe. Antoine Colonna, luxury goods analyst at Merrill Lynch, says: 'One day, Montblanc is going to outsell Cartier. Few brands that I follow - possibly with the exception of Burberry - have done as phenomenally well in the last five years.'


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Watches lose ground to cell phones

Associated Press

Allison Elliott occasionally wears the delicate gold windup watch that belonged to her grandmother. But it's really just for show.

Elliott, who's 27, is much more likely to get the time from the clock in her car, the one on her cable TV box or cell phone or from the bottom right-hand of her computer at the University of Kentucky, where she works.

Paul Dryden is much the same. "To be honest, I can't remember the last time I wore a watch - I'm guessing early in high school," says the 21-year-old senior at Connecticut College. The busy student's cell phone often doubles as an alarm clock because "it goes everywhere I go."

In other words, the way we track time is changing with the times.

Market researchers say more people are carrying electronic devices that also tell time, whether a phone, an iPod or a BlackBerry. They're also finding that young people, in particular, are more interested in spending their money on other kinds of accessories, such as shoes and hand bags.

In a survey last fall, investment bank Piper Jaffray & Co. found that nearly two-thirds of teens never wear a watch - and only about one in 10 wears one every day.

Experian Simmons Research also discovered that, while Americans spent more than $5.9 billion on watches in 2006, that figure was down 17 percent when compared with five years earlier.

In response, some watchmakers have begun to add more functions to their time pieces, with models that have everything from heart rate monitors to GPS trackers.

Luxury watches, such as Rolex, remain popular. But even then, the watch is often more about fashion than function, says Max Kilger of Experian Simmons.

"It really is an anchor point - and that's the end of it," says Kilger, the research firm's chief behavioral scientist. "A cell phone is one step up from that; it begins to help you manage your time. And a BlackBerry is one level up from that."

Some have found the trend convenient, if a little stressful.

"I don't check my watch anymore. My watch checks me," says Sean MacPhedran, a 27-year-old from Ottawa, Ontario, who works in advertising. He's referring to the beeps and vibrations his BlackBerry makes to remind him of his obligations.

"On the one hand, I've become a slave to its beeps," he says. "But on the other hand, it automates a lot of things that I would have to do manually otherwise, like try to remember when I'm supposed to go learn how to cha-cha or call a client."

MacPhedran does wear a watch when he wants to look "put together." But it's become so much more an accessory than a necessity that he's developed a habit of taking it off unconsciously and leaving it places.

"When I was little, I took off my socks because they were constraining," he says. "I think I take my watch off for the same reason."

Before she joined the ranks of telecommuters and stopped wearing a watch, 35-year-old working mom Jeannine Fallon Anckaitis also thought of her watch as "a handcuff" that she'd immediately remove when returning home.

"Even if I went out to dinner straight from work, I'd dump the watch into my purse to free my wrist," says Anckaitis, who lives in Swarthmore, Pa., and now works from home for an online auto site. "Taking off the watch symbolized being done with the pressure-filled commitments of the day, and settling into a pace where the time matters far less."

Indeed, the watch is a symbol of stress for many people. But it's not really time itself that's the problem, says historian James Hoopes.

"It's that we live in an increasingly synchronized world," says Hoopes, a professor in the division of history and society at Babson College in Massachusetts.

"You don't really relieve all the stress unless you get out of the world where time synchronization is so important."

He notes that, historically, the obsession with synchronization took hold in the railroad era, when watches were often kept in a pocket.

By World War I, watches began moving to the wrist, as a means of efficiency.

"The wrist watch was really a response to stress - the stress of battle," Hoopes says.

In today's age of globalization, he says, synchronization has only increased in scope.

Glen Stone gets a sense of that every working day at the World Trade Centre Toronto, as he walks by a wall of clocks that show times from around the world.

But as important as time is at the busy Toronto Board of Trade, even he has given up on wearing his own watch.

The 48-year-old Canadian says every time piece he's owned - including the first one he got at age 8 - has either broken or irritated his skin, whether they were cheap or expensive watches, digital, leather-strapped or metal.

He asks: "Know anyone who wants a drawer full of broken watches?"


Official U.S. Time:


SARO Gem US, Inc