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The dust has definitely settled down after a frenetic 24th installment of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, in Geneva. Looking back, what were the main trends and which conclusions should be drawn? Several colleagues from the press share the idea that it was indeed a great show, but I'm sticking with those who claim this year's edition didn't exactly provide the best crop destined to horological superstardom compared to previous ones. What I can say is that I'm struggling to come up with a top ten of watchmaking masterpieces with timeless mindblowing potential, while I'm still recovering from an overdose of artistic crafts and ultra-slim replica watches seen at the Palexpo exhibition centre. Anyway, in the aftermath of the year's first horological Grand Slam, here are a few very personal thoughts and preferences I'd like to share. Reverse universe: flip the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna and you're in heaven. A. Lange & S? hne Paving the Milky WayHow appropriate was the exhibition of the Federation de la Haute Horlogerie baptized 'Horology, a Child of Astronomy' held simultaneously, exploring the close relationship between watchmaking and the heavens? Because the Earth's satellite and the celestial dome proved to be quite popular yet again, with the launch of interesting perpetual calendars and exquisite timepieces highlighting the Moon and the skies - such as the Lange & S? hne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna with more than 2000 micro-stars, the Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium featuring a three-dimensional cosmic dance, the sidereal Cartier Rotonde Earth & Moon, and Greubel Forsey's QP a Equation with solstices and equinoxes. Les Indomptables de Cartier: replica watch with enamel dial inlaid with diamonds and enamel leaf, crocodile brooch in gold, diamonds and enamel to place on top. Miguel Seabra/Espiral do Tempo. Decorative AvalancheDon't get me wrong, I even graduated in History of Arts and am quite sensitive to any kind of artistic display or arcane craftsmanship; plus, I truly admire how the so-called Metiers d'Art have been adding an old-school dimension to contemporary high watchmaking. Nonetheless, by the end of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, I felt like I had an overdose of rare artistic crafts after being swamped by a plethora of models featuring dials decorated with all sorts of enamelling, guillochage, engraving, embroidery, marquetry, granulation, mosaic, invisible setting, skeletonizing, miniature painting and so on. From timepieces to plain art pieces: how much is too much? Or is it due to the excessive influence of Asian and Middle-Eastern demandPatented NomenclatureVan Cleef & Arpels once again excelled in the name game, trademarking the expression Poetic Astronomy (after having done so with Poetic Complications and Extraordinary Dials) and forcing us writers to look for semantic alternatives in order to describe comparable romantic functions from other brands. Van Cleef & Arpels also had the best-named timepiece: Pierre Arpels Heure d'Ici, Heure d'Ailleurs (Time Here, Time Elsewhere). And Montblanc, after having Nicolas Rieussec dethroned by Louis Moinet as the inventor of the chronograph last year, corrected their own narrative to 'the inventor of the first *patented* chronograph'. And since we mentioned the word narrative: founder Carlos Dias has been deleted from Roger Dubuis' history. Haute Horlogerie on a strict diet: the Altiplano 900P's ultra-slim record case at 3. 65mm. Piaget Slim Shady UtopiaAnother powerful trend was the uber-thin quest, with Vacheron Constantin boasting the slimmest minute-repeater ever with the Patrimony Contemporaine's 8. 09mm until Jaeger-LeCoultre disclosed the Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon (aka Hybris Mechanica 11) with a tourbillon/minute repeater combination at just 7. 9mm. And Piaget, the self-styled Master of Ultra-Thin, introduced the slimmest mechanical replica watch ever with the 3. 6mm Altiplano 900P! Again, even though it's quite an admirable feat and a proof of technical excellence to reduce a calibre to the thinnest possible dimensions, most people looking for a mechanical timepiece and who are not slim fetishists actually appreciate a bit of volume and weight - I, for one, don't like to feel as if I'm wearing a coin on the wrist. It's 'just' a Perpetual Calendar, but at a highly competitive price point and symbolizing Montblanc's new era under Jer? me Lambert's leadership. Miguel Seabra/Espiral do Tempo. The TroublemakerMontblanc definitely cranked up the heat and took the SIHH by storm, showing not only a technical breakthrough but also a price-positioning policy that had many a rival brand concerned. With the restless new CEO Jer? me Lambert at the helm and a new strategy for the Villeret manufacture movement, the company showed strong on all fronts aimed at every kind of horophile - starting with a complete overhaul of its 2,000 to 5,000 Euro offerings and including the launch of the appealing Meisterstuck Heritage line. The Meisterstuck Heritage Perpetual Calendar (at a mere 10,000 Euro!), the Homage to Nicolas Rieussec (featuring a hybrid ceramic hour ring with integrated luminous numerals), the TimeWalker Chronograph 100 and the Villeret 1859 ExoTourbillon Rattrapante were among the show's most talked about timepieces. Apparent IncongruenceA diver's replica watch featuring a perpetual calendar function? A few good-humoured journalists wondered how long IWC kept their master watchmaker Kurt Klaus (the inventor of the innovative in-house perpetual calendar system in the 1980s) on the bottom of the sea in order to come up with the idea of the huge 49mm Chronograph Perpetual Calendar - one of eight new references in its new Aquatimer collection that also includes a chronograph, an automatic, three special editions dedicated to the Galapagos and two technical diver's replica watches. The artistic Roger Dubuis booth: a flash mob of monocle statues? Miguel Seabra/Espiral do Tempo. Best StandIt was called both the most artistic and the most futile stand at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie: the one unveiled by Roger Dubuis. The creativity was outstanding, with all those imposing monocled statues and an actual clock specifically brought in to tower over the entrance. Nonetheless, many reporters coming over from other essential booths such as A. Lange & S? hne's for instance, couldn't help thinking:"Is this theme park really necessary to present a collection or to sell high-end replica watches? ". Honourable booth mentions are also due to the discreet charm of Baume & Mercier, the voluptuous luxury of Ralph Lauren, the dangerousness of IWC with all those sharks flying above the visitors, and the teaching/learning area devoted to the "Naissance d'une Montre" initiative at Greubel Forsey. Image of the SIHH 2014 novelties presentation at Vacheron Constantin. Miguel Seabra/Espiral do Tempo. Best PresentationAmong the various presentations, the best accolade should go to Vacheron Constantin's: no marketing hype whatsoever, elegantly sober and straight to the point with the help of rotating panels featuring high relief replica watches upon which different images were projected. Oh, and many missed the beautiful models that Piaget usually brought along in previous years to showcase the new timepieces on their wrists. And it felt odd listening to a professional presenter with a heavy American accent talking about Baume & Mercier's ancient watchmaking legacy. By the way, how's this for a lack of communication: three brands chose the same type of press gift - portable autonomous smartphone battery chargers…? Hidden TreasuresThere were the Talking Pieces. And then there were the timepieces that deserved to be talked about a lot more than they actually were - and some of them didn't even get a line in most wrap-ups of the event. One of those hidden treasures of the SIHH that, in my opinion, deserved a lot more attention certainly was the rose gold La Monegasque Club chronograph with fossilized wood dial and DLC treated bezel on an original alligator strap. Audemars Piguet's Millenary Minute Repeater was another interesting piece that was overshadowed by an avalanche of new Royal Oak references. And let's not forget Greubel Forsey's €1 million Art Piece 1 with an optical device to enlarge by 23 a less than 1mm micro-sculpture by Willard Wigan! With the help of master watchmaker Cristiaan Van der Klaauw, Van Cleef & Arpels introduced a planetarium for the wrist. Van Cleef & Arpels A Bunch of Men's replica watchesIn no specific order and without repeating brands, a list of the men's replica watches I considered to be the best and/or most relevant at the SIHH 2014: 1 - A. Lange & S? hne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna; 2 - Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium for its celestial dance; 3 - Piaget Altiplano 900P for its ultra-slim architecture, 4 - the updated Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 42 mm series (rather than the Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon) for its popular appeal; 5 - Cartier Rotonde Astroregulator as a symbol of the exceptional job being done by Caroline Forestier-Kasapi's team; 6 - Montblanc Meisterstuck Heritage Perpetual Calendar as a symbol of the brand's new era; 7 - Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon because of its construction; 7 - Panerai Radiomir 1940 Chronograph for its retro charm; 8 - Baume & Mercier Clifton 1892 Flying Tourbillon; 9 - Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon Openworked; 10 - Richard Mille RM 36-01 Sebastien Loeb; 11 - Greubel Forsey's QP a Equation. A bouquet of women's timepiecesAgain, in random order, a list of the women's replica watches I considered to be the best and/or most relevant at the SIHH 2014: 1 - Van Cleef & Arpels Pierre Arpels Heure d'Ici, Heure d'Ailleurs because of the original retrograde and double jumping hour complication (plus, with its delicate lug system, it's a man's replica watch that looks like a great oversized women's timepiece); 2 - Richard Mille RM 10-01 Natalie Portman; 3 - Ralph Lauren Stirrup Petite Link; 4 - Cartier Ballon Blanc; 5 - Piaget Altiplano in Miniature Enamel. An icon of fashion with a dog for a driver? Miguel Seabra/Espiral do Tempo Weirdest imageI took a picture of a replica watch I saw on display at a window - then realized afterwards I had caught Ralph Lauren wearing a RL67 Tourbillon in a strange place alongside a dog driving his vintage car. Now that had to be the strangest sight at this year's Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, don't you think? It can be often fascinating to discover what a renowned industrial/furniture designer will arrive up with when tasked with planning a watch. From Karim Rashid's Kaj for Alessi to Jasper Morrison's r5. 5 for Rado to Marc Newsom's patterns for Ikepod, "designer" replica watches have a tendency to have an aesthetic that speaks to some broader design and style sensibility. They constantly contact upon common replica watch design motifs, but speedily veer off into a thing far more precise on the designer's personal system of work. With all the new Block replica watches by British designer Tom Dixon, all the things of the traditional 3-hand replica watch are clear, although the design and style speaks wholly to Mr. Dixon's interest in raw materials and manufacturing processes. The Block replica watches are Mr. Dixon's very first collection of replica watches. Consisting of three Swiss quartz run types, brass, metal and rose gold, these are an workout in simplicity. Part of his Eclectic line, which is composed of objects made for the eccentric collector's cabinet, the fashionable architects table as well as the British tearoom trolley. Each replica watch is manufactured from only one piece of stamped metal, either brass or metal depending around the design. The dials are then fabricated from matching supplies to give a monochromatic seem as well as feeling the replica watch is made of an individual bit of metal. The indexes of the dials aren't printed, but alternatively deeply etched into your content, which adds texture and even more emphasizes the materiality. The indexes themselves are relatively in depth, showcasing several hours and minutes built-in into 1 index, and a complete seconds index over the angled chapter ring. The only real trace of more colour about the total replica watch originates from the fingers, that happen to be white, black and orange. The Block replica watches measure forty x forty x 6mm producing them sort of an odd measurement. Considering the fact that they may be square, with rather sharp corners, they most likely don fairly significant, nevertheless 40mm is just not too major. But, they may be only 6mm skinny. When you can see from the look at, the body is a lot less of a block plus more of a plate. This plainly will help preserve the burden down and make it a more wearable watch. Aesthetically, the replica watch is very interesting. It's at the same time brutal and chunky, however not too much to handle or dense; small, yet a touch flashy presented the amount of metallic uncovered. It really is plainly not aiming to contend with all the aesthetic of a common watch, nevertheless it won't sense so unfamiliar regarding be stunning. The metals picked out also give the replica watch pretty distinctive character. The brass model ($325), which comes with a brown leather-based strap, is definitely the rawest and maybe most masculine. The relatively very simple and unadorned strap emphasizes the simplicity of your watch's layout. Also, I envision this model would achieve a fantastic patina by putting on it. The metal with steel mesh bracelet variation ($450) is then a touch far more tasteful, given that the material by itself is lighter in overall look, nevertheless nevertheless retains on to much from the boldness in the brass variation. Lastly could be the rose gold (pvd) edition ($490), which is plainly essentially the most attractive of your bunch. The rose gold provides heat and many decadence into the structure. Even though the rose gold may be very captivating, at first look I assumed it absolutely was copper, as that may be a material that Tom Dixon is known for doing work with. Rose gold will be the far more logical selection, but copper, or even a copper alloy, would've been attractive. All in all, the Block replica watches can be a very intriguing new sequence with the museum / designer replica watch enthusiast. Tom Dixon did a terrific work of making something exclusive that speaks on the design vocabulary of his furniture as well as other created objects. I was notably happy to find out that he didn't attempt to re-invent the watch, as designers usually seek to do. As a substitute, he retained it very simple and centered on form and materials. By Zach Weiss