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2010 May 27
Originally launched in the 1950s as a pilot's chronograph for the French air force, the Breguet Type 20 Transatlantique faded into obscurity for many years, overshadowed by flashier and more complicated pilots chronographs. That was, until Breguet decided to re-issue the Transatlantique as the Type XX / XXI flyback chronograph.
2011 August 15
When it comes to complications, the tourbillon is the top tier of the watchmaker’s art. It is one of the most difficult complications to execute, one of the most expensive to buy, and one of the most superfluous in function. Tourbillons have had a sort of renaissance in the last 20 years, with ever more exotic and exponentially more complex variants, but the basic principle dates back to the 18th century when Abraham Louis Breguet was looking for a way to beat gravity.
2012 October 31
Founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain in the Swiss town of Villeret, Blancpain has become one of the top haute-horlogerie brands on the market today. They produce a number of styles ranging from restrained elegance to bold sport, and a limitless selection of complications. Unfortunately it is often overshadowed by the “better known” players in the high-end Swiss watch market – Blancpain often plays second fiddle to sister brand Breguet, and has less recognition than the powerhouse manufactures of Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, and Jaeger le Coultre. Thus Blancpains are often under appreciated, which is a shame as some of their timepieces - like the Villeret Dual Time we have here - are quite stunning and can offer impressive value on the used market.
2012 July 26
Alpina has been on a roll lately, introducing the hit Startimer and Sailing models last year. This year they updated the Extreme Diver with a new version, similar to the Sailing but with a ceramic bezel, and now they have introduced the highly anticipated Heritage Pilot. With a massive 50mm case and a design heavily inspired by 1930s pilot watches, the Heritage is a very interesting timepiece from a brand that has been making waves in the entry-level/midrange Swiss market as of late.
2012 February 13
So far in the Watches in Depth series I’ve given coverage to the most important and most popular forms of complication – chronographs, tourbillons, calendars, and repeaters. These complications are well served in the current market. What about the odd complications, the one offs, the rarities that never became widespread? This feature is to highlight the forgotten complications that are often overlooked and under served in the modern market.
2011 February 26
In this week's blog Jason profiles the cool and quirky Azimuth Round 1 Retrograde Regulator, a very distinctive dress watch from a small manufacturer of interesting complications.
2012 January 30
When perusing watch reviews and blogs, you’ll often read about ETA and Valjoux movements, or perhaps “manufacture” calibres. Perhaps you have heard of module complications or modified calibres in various brands. To the uninitiated this sort of under-the-hood jargon can be a bit confusing, and it warrants some clarification. Even seasoned watch lovers might not be aware of what is involved in the creation of a watch movement, and how many brands share common parts and calibres. So in the spirit of watch nut education, I present the latest instalment of Watches in Depth – Movement Calibres.
2013 April 08
Dernièrement, Alpina a le vent dans les voiles, depuis l’arrivée des collections très prisées Startimer et Sailing l’année dernière. Cette année, une nouvelle version de la Extreme Driver a joint la collection; elle est semblable à la Sailing, mais possède une lunette en céramique. Il y a aussi la sortie de la très attendue Heritage Pilot. Pourvue d’un boîtier massif de 50 mm et d’un design inspiré des montres de pilotes des années 1930, la Heritage s’avère une montre intéressante offerte par une marque qui fait figure de proue dans le marché de montres suisses accessibles.
2012 January 09
2013 January 16
The watch we have here today is one of the rarest modern Vacherons this side of a minute repeater – the very rare and seldom seen 247, which is a Patrimony retrograde model produced in platinum in 2002 to mark the (you guessed it) 247th anniversary of the company. As you would expect, 247 individually numbered watches were produced - and sold out within a short period. As a result finding information about the 247 is sometimes difficult, and examples for sale are extremely rare. Collectors speak of the 247 in reverent tones as a difficult-to-obtain holy grail that is seldom offered for sale outside of major auction houses (at a rate of about one per year by my research). It’s a rare bird and we are fortunate to have one of the only examples in Canada in stock at Matt Baily’s.
2011 July 28
For centuries the pursuit of accuracy and stable rate in clocks and watches has been the driving force behind innovation and quality. The pursuit of accuracy is a cause that has significant trickle-down effects to even the least expensive mechanical watches, much moreso than the pursuit of ever-more complicated pieces. Where a highly complex watch is a bold and visible display of watchmaking prowess, the pursuit of absolute precision is the application of immense skill that often goes unnoticed by the consumer. The chronometer is a finely crafted mechanical watch that exhibits the highest degree of accuracy possible, with official certification to declare it as such. Outside of high-complications, the building of chronometers is one of the top tiers of watchmaking.
2012 March 12
In recent years we in the watch industry have seen an explosion of popularity in one sector of the market – vintage watches. In the last 20 years vintage watches have been steadily rising in value, and demand is getting stronger each year. You can see the influence of this demand in the new watch market, with almost every major company making re-editions of classic designs or retro-themed timepieces that attempt to capture the stylistic essence of vintage models. Vintage, it seems, is the in thing – not just in watches, but also in cars, clothing, music, furniture… Every part of the market seems to be under the influence of old-world design.