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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Review: Riedenschild Original Blue Pearl Chronograph

Newcomer brand Riedenschild Original, based in Germany, has introduced another appealing design: the Blue Pearl chronograph, a stainless steel hand-winding two-register model (Ref. 1115-02-S14). Blue Pearl Ref. 1115-02-S14 - Photo R.O.Housed in an attractive screw-back case with a bold Teutonic personality, the watch features a white and blue dial with fantastic legibility and some lovely details. Elements such chapter rings, applied hour markers, numerals and text in blue nicely accent a stark white dial reminiscent of enamel pocket chronographs of past decades. Elegant blued-steel hands complete the visual package as seen through the sapphire crystal.

The steel case, rated at 50 meters resistance, features unique rectangular chronograph Bold case & braceletpushers and a large, easily grasped crown. A case back nicely engraved with the brand’s logo indicates also that this is an edition limited to 999 pieces. A sturdy bracelet of the 7-row style is attached via solid end-pieces and is secured with a signed flip-lock clasp. The bracelet length is ample for the large-wristed and size is adjustable via four settings on the clap and nine removable links. German-made leather straps are also available. Dimensions of the watch are 40 mm diameter—without crown—and fully 35 mm of dial diameter; 12 mm thickness; lug and bracelet width are a constant 20 mm; lug-to-lug length is approximately 47.5 mm.

The movement in this watch is provided by a new company called Gematic. Information from Riedenschild indicates that the movement in this Blue Pearl model is the first movement of many envisioned for the Gematic product line. Their hand-wound chronograph caliber is a modern update of the iconic Venus 175, now also being produced by Sea-Gull in China. Attractive blue dial elementsGematic receives their raw movements from a Japanese manufacturer and according to Riedenschild Director Dr. James Newell, the movement installed in the Blue Pearl is remarkably reliable and keeps better time than many other mechanical movements they have evaluated. Contrary to the experience of owners of similar movements from other makers, quality has not been an issue—Riedenschild’s rigorous testing ensures this. Winding and setting of the Blue Pearl’s movement is very smooth and its accuracy, though not electronically tested by this correspondent, appears to be well within expectations. Dr. Newell reported that future plans for the Reidenschild/Gematic partnership include introducing “a decorated hand-wind to replace the movement in the Blue Pearl, and another decorated hand wind with a swan bridge regulator.” Some COSC-certified chronometer movements are also in the pipeline.

The watch is delivered in an attractive black leather box with sporty red stitching. Riedenschild's quality packaging - Photo R.O.The brand’s logo is printed on the inside of the lid, which snaps shut to protect the timepiece wrapped around a soft pillow within. A two-year guarantee against defects accompanies each Riedenschild timepiece. The MSRP (USA) of this watch is $479; the Blue Pearl chronograph with leather straps is $469. Gold-plated Blue Pearl chronograph - Photo R.O.All Riedenschild watches are hand-assembled by master craftsmen in Germany who follow DIN-certified processes to ensure quality. Dial designs of their watches are all exclusive, and are overseen by renowned designer Oliver Wolf.

A Blue Pearl automatic model with Swiss movement is also available, as are Black Pearl chronograph and automatic models with 18k rose gold-plated case and black dial. More information on these watches and dealer locations can be found at www.Riedenschild.com. For US pricing, model info and purchasing portal, visit this site.

Having just enjoyed successful exhibition at Inhorgenta in Munich, Riedenschild is planning further exposure in new markets, including the US, where they will be displaying their products at the annual JCK show. Future projects include an extreme-depth dive watch, various aviators’ models and some diamond watches for ladies.

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Review: Riedenschild Original AdvanceProDate

One of the latest Riedenschild Original watches to be powered by a Gematic movement is the bold pilot-style AdvanceProDate (Ref. 1107/02). The young brand from Germany started out with a variety of movement supplied from noteworthy manufacturers worldwide, but has recently been focussing on using Swiss ébauches, modified in Germany, to motivate its products. This new timepiece features a very thin, high-quality automatic which will be described presently. But first, some details of the overall design and quality of this watch.

Measuring an appealing 40 mm wide, the relatively narrow bezel of this sturdy Riedenschild AdvanceProDate (Ref. 1107/02) stainless steel watch serves to emphasize the strength of the matte black dial and rehaut. The contrast between these surfaces and the glossy, luminous numerals and markers, as well as the polished and luminous hands, makes the entire ensemble eminently readable. The brand name and other text on the dial, though partially printed in somewhat large font, does not show such marked contrast and is consequently not a distraction when quickly reading the time from this watch. A long seconds hand makes timing events or simply taking accurate readings quite easy. The date window is unobtrusively tucked up near the 3:00 marker and is easily found but also easily overlooked when not needed.

Riedenschild has chosen a classic case shape, and one that is appropriate for a traditional pilot's-style wristwatch. To it they have added some appealing individual touches: a signed crown with black & white shield logo, sapphire crystals, and subtle model information etched around the display back. Sporty padded leather straps are well suited to this watch and feature a decorative button which, like the well-engineered butterfly deployant clasp, is also signed with the brand's logo.

As mentioned above, one of the most significant elements of this watch is the movement. Gematic Caliber 0988 is a 24-jewel automatic based upon the current industry-standard thin Swiss movement found in many high-end watches from brands as diverse as IWC, RGM, and Ulysse Nardin. This variant is elaborated in Germany with GeMatic Cal. 0988blued screws, plates and bridges covered in perlage, and a gilt rotor with decorative engraving. The timekeeping rates of this review example were not specifically tested, but in general use it exhibited accuracy typical of this high-grade caliber and no deviations were noted. Hand-winding and setting functions are very smooth and effortless; the rotor spins freely and no rattling or rubbing inside the case were detectable.

As with all Riedenschild Original watches I've had occasion to examine, the quality of this piece is very good. The brand prides itself in following rigorous standards in assembly and manufacturing, so it is no surprise that the watches are impressive. What is surprising, almost across the entire Riedenschild line, is the pricing. This model has a suggested US retail price of $799, a target that most makers of well-built European watches with exclusive movements could only consider in their dreams. For that price, the buyer receives a nicely packaged watch and a two-year guarantee. Riedenschild's quality packaging - Photo courtesy R.O.

If you are a regular reader of my reviews, you will know that I am impressed with what Riedenschild Original has been able to produce in the few years they have been in existence. Some of the styles are rather bolder than many traditional mechanical collectors prefer, but the market for these pieces is strong and Riedenschild has tapped into it. Their variety of simple, classic watches as well as gadgety, attention-getters seems likely to provide something to appeal to even the most discerning consumer, and the quality cannot be exceeded within the price range. For more information visit www.riedenschild.com.


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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hard to ding but likely easy to shatter - the hardest watch...

The Hardest Watch in the World?



Avant garde Geneva-based watchmaker Urwerk produces what they claim is the world's hardest timepiece, the 103.08 TiAlN, the Wealth Bulletin reports. That stands for Titanium Aluminum Nitride, a coating less than 4 microns thick and much lighter than gold and platinum but much, much harder - more than 5 ½ times harder than steel, in fact. Nearly indestructible, the watch is practically immune to scratches, shocks, oxidation and even acids, they claim. Theirs is the first timepiece ever to use the coating.

Shown here in rose gold, the limited edition watch will run you about $70,000. The slanting sides of Urwerk's signature "orbiting hour satellites" allow you to see what time it is without turning your wrist. The company, which launched in 1997, has been doing revolutionary things to timepieces, yet their inspiration goes back several centuries. The name is an homage to Ur, an ancient city in southern Mesopotamia, one of the earliest known civilizations in the history of the world.

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Watches on the Auctionblock at Antiquorum

World Records Set at $8.5 Million Rolex Auction
Nine world records were set at Antiquorum's massive vintage Rolex auction on April 17, entitled Revolution: The Evolution of the Rolex Sport Watch, commemorating the brand's 100th anniversary. In total, $8,515,260 worth of timepieces were sold to bidders worldwide.

Among the records set was $237,600 each for two highly-prized 1967 Sea-Dweller Submariners, and $166,800 for a 1973 Submariner originally issued to the British military. The most beautiful watch in the sale, the rare "Jean-Claude Killy" Antimagnetic Oyster Chronograph, fetched $155,000, while the highest price was brought in by a 1979 "Comex" model Sea-Dweller, which went for $248,800.

While collectors certainly paid a premium for historical value, not all the most attractive watches hit six figures. The super-stylish version of the Explorer known as the "Straight Hand Steve McQueen" pictured here went for a more modest $40,800, still a significant sum for this model.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

e-Motion of Colors - Rainbow and a New Watch Concept


Official Press Release June 1, 2008 - Rainbow e-motion of colors

We are very proud to officially launch our Rainbow e-motion of colors collection during the JCK Watch & Jewelry Exhibition 2008 in Las Vegas by utilizing the marketing platform of the EUROPEAN WATCH GROUP.

The Idea
Rainbow e-motion of colors is an innovative and absolutely new style and form of visualizing time on analogous time pieces. The new design implementing aesthetically appealing colors lends a refreshingly new meaning to the expression “nice time”.

The Concept
The concept in its form and variety of colors was developed by the famous German artist Paul Heimbach.

The glorious play of colors and their characteristic emotional features led him to time-steered color pattern and displays. Optically the exceptionally striking designs are excellently suited for reading analogous time. All designs were created using the 4 basic colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

The Products
All Rainbow models are eye-catchers. Whether day or night the displays of the watches and clocks radiate an ever-changing array of colorful impressions.
Designed as pieces of art the wall clocks not only beautifully display time, they complement every living space. The Rainbow wristwatches also aesthetically attractive in their own right - whether as a stylish man‘s or elegant lady’s‘ watch.

The Team
„The Management of Rainbow has solid marketing expertise and extensive contacts to watch and clock distributors and retailers which will allow the company to assertively pursue the commercial potential of the German Rainbow trademark,“ said Joachim Baer, CEO of Rainbow Watch GmbH.

„Our launch in Las Vegas is an important step in our strategy to fully make the most of this innovation. My partner Erich Kastenholz is responsible for all design development and will also supervise all financial and logistic matters”.

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SARO Gem US, Inc