Tag Archives: Luxury Watches

Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch and other “moon” luxury watches

Bulgari luxury watchIt’s not really very shocking to say that watch designers are very fanciful people. After all, they play with everything from rubber to some of the rarest gems on the planet to create pretty, glittery merchandise. But there seems to be a recent movement where designers have gone over the moon – literally.

Once regarded as mere novelties to break up the monotony of a collection, moon watches have become increasingly common on the market. And it’s not just petty moon etchings, either. Designers are becoming more and more imaginative with the moon motif, and these three luxury watches show just how much.

The Ladies’ Luna

Bulgari is more recognized for its jewelry, but its watches can almost be considered jewelry as well. Case in point: the Bulgari-Bulgari Moonphase watch, with enough diamonds for a regular jewelry set. With a cluster of 48 diamonds forming a small crescent moon on its mother of pearl dial, this is heavenly body is light years away from ‘cheap.’

Aside from the diamond-studded design, the name comes from the uncommon complication that Bulgari installed in the Moonphase – an indicator for the phases of the moon. You’d probably have the time for moon watching if you can afford this kind of timepiece.

Omega Luxury WatchSome Lunar History

Back in the 60’s, the moon was still part of the endless outer space, that great frontier. Now that Omega is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing – and the first time Omega watches prominently featured in space – the company saw it fit to release an updated Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch.

This more modern version of the old Moonwatch pays homage to the original watches worn by the crew of Apollo 11, but gives it some of those commemorative touches. That small token at 9 o’clock instead of a subdial, for example, clues you in that this is a limited edition timepiece (only 7,969 were made).

Loving the LunacyMoon mania

Perhaps the biggest haul from this trend comes from the not-so-mainstream Romaine Jerome brand with its Moon Dust DNA collection. The collection’s three watches – the Dark Side of the Moon Tourbillon, the Moon Rider Tourbillon and the Moon Cross Rider Tourbillon – were never part of the original trip, but they look vintage enough to play the part.

What’s cool about the Moon Dust DNA collection is that each watch contains bits and pieces of the Soyuz and Apollo 11 crafts, as well as actual moon dust. You might not be able to get yourself to the moon with $20,000, but this is pretty darn close.

Omega Aqua Terra Luxury Watch

If not for the engineering and technical expertise behind each piece, the allure of designer watches usually comes from the luxury that they represent. The luxe factor accounts for many things – the stratospheric price tags, the elite clientele and the premium materials that go into each watch. The Omega Aqua Terra collection – the newest one from the prestigious company – has not just Omega’s signature expertise but also oodles of luxe. omega-aqua-terra-silver

Face value isn’t exactly a shallow factor with this collection of watches. Top Wesselton diamonds make up each of the hour markers for a total of almost 0.2 karats of precious rock. Another 44 diamonds – almost 0.8 karats of rock – are installed in the bezel. And instead of the teak concept used for the Aqua Terra collection, the Aqua Terra Jewelry line has vertically set diamonds to highlight the face.

Luxury goes from inside out in the Aqua Terra Luxury Watch line. The 30mm case of each watch is made from 18-karat white gold, matched by the 18-karat white gold bracelets. Each of the watches in the collection is an intimidating piece once it weighs in – there’s a total of about 18 karats’ worth of Top Wesselton diamonds in each timepiece. The highest end of the line is a watch that has over 1,400 Top Wesselton diamonds weighing over 17.5 karats.

Another one of the models in the collection has a case in white gold that’s set all throughout with over three dozen diamond baguettes totaling 1.32 karats. 1,560 more diamonds account for another 14 karats of weight. The third and last model in this collection has 726 diamonds for a total weight of over 7 karats.

omega-aqua-terra-blackIf the price tag is too high for you, the Aqua Terra collection has models available with a design – and a price tag – that’s a little less luxurious. Those models will have straps made of less premium materials. They will, for example, have stainless steel bracelets and cases instead of the classic gold. Even if you won’t be wearing 18 karats on your wrist, you can rest assured that you’re still getting the same quality that the Omega name represents.

A Ulysse Nardin Watches Tradition

ulysse nardin watchesRecession? What recession? The promise of 2009 as a financially challenging year didn’t daunt premium watch brand Ulysse Nardin from releasing the Maxi Marine Diver Titanium. This newest addition to the Maxi Marine Diver collection looks like it’s the most luxurious one of the lot. Just looking at it makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a stock market boom.

That Luxe Appeal

From the first time you look at it, the Maxi Marine Diver Titanium draws you in with its alluring combination of enigmatic black and pink gold reminiscent of old world luxury. Standing out against both is the brilliant platinum that makes up much of the watch’s case, which is a shade larger than other watches from the same collection.

As if the typical price range from Ulysse Nardin wasn’t enough, many elements in this watch’s design contribute towards what’s sure to be an astronomical price tag. The 45-mm diameter case is crafted primarily from polished titanium of the highest grade. Its bezel is made of 18K rose gold with guilloched black material that matches the pattern on the dial. The indices on the dial are made of the same precious metal.

ulysse nardin watches 2Power Hidden in The Depths

Don’t be fooled by all the luxurious touches on the Maxi Marine Diver Titanium. The rubber strap (which has pink gold accents too) clues you in that the watch is made of tough – albeit glittery – stuff.

Under that wave-patterned black dial beats a self-winding UN-26 caliber heart, each one accredited as a chronometer by the Controle Officiel Suisse de Chronometres (COSC) itself. On the dial, it features subdials for small seconds, an easily adjustable date display and an indicator for its 42-hour power reserve. And although it’s unlikely that you’ll ever try it on such a valuable watch (remember, each one is individually numbered), it’s water-resistant to a 200m depth.

Expect to be drool over this watch at the upcoming BASELWORLD 2009, where Ulysse Nardin is expected to officially launch it. But considering that it’s going to be more expensive than the next best thing (the Maxi Marine Diver Chronograph at over $30,000), it might be better to wait for a sale event than the actual release.

3 Luxury Watches That make a Simple Statement

You’ve probably noticed by now that a lot of contemporary luxury watches are getting more and more, well, everything. One model will look edgier or more garish than the next, while another will claim to have the most number of complications yet.

But there are those times when all you want is a simple and straightforward watch that will tell you the time, period. While the heyday of those watches is long gone, some haute horlogerie houses still make models of a similar aesthetic. Here are three watches that definitely go for that subtle and understated message you’d want from time to time.

The fact that it’s a manual-winding watch only adds to the old-world allure of the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionelle 38mm watch. A couple of years after the first release of the Patrimony line, top horology house Vacheron Constantin adds – update would be the wrong word – to the collection with this manual mechanism piece.

Its design is beautiful in its sheer simplicity. A plain vanilla round rose gold case holds a slightly off white dial with baton indices and just a single no-numeral subdial at 6 o’clock. It’s symmetrical, straightforward and positively stunning.

Of a similar streak is the Piaget Altiplano collection, a series of watches that features a simple, slim white gold case and a plain dial with no markings other than the indices and the brand at 12 o’clock. Long, thin batons are used for the hour indices, and the hands are uncomplicated needle-like affairs. Measuring just 2.1mm thick, the Altiplano watches are very unobtrusive and can go with any outfit, event or occasion.

Yet even with its impossibly thin frame, each one of the Altiplano watches is equipped with a top-of-the-line Calibre 430P, created by Piaget’s team of master watchmakers. Behind the simplicity lies power and engineering born from over a century of haute horlogerie.

Timepieces like the ones in the Patrimony and the Altiplano collections are not common anymore, especially nowadays where there’s some one-upmanship between the houses in terms of features, complications and design. However, it’s still refreshing to know that, should you ever need this kind of simplicity, some of the best names are still willing to deliver.

The Tough Glashütte Tourbillon Watch

Glashütte Tourbillon WatchOne common complaint about luxury watches is that they’re often too delicate to be used for the turns and tumbles of everyday life. Unless you go to a formal party everyday, you’re not likely to wear your best watch when you go out or do day-to-day errands.

Until now, that is.

Premium watchmaker Glashütte Original has just released a new watch that is, surprising as it might sound, sportier than even the Saxon company’s usual standards. The Sport Evolution Impact Tourbillon and Sport Evolution Impact Chronograph promise to be be-all, end-all watches for withstanding most bumps and bruises that real life can throw at them.

If its red and black contrast synthetic strap didn’t clue you in, the durable case made of polished and satinised stainless steel should tell you that this watch was designed to go wherever you do. Yet while Glashütte Original took every precaution to protect the watch from damage, it definitely didn’t do so at the expense of timekeeping precision.

To make this new and near-indestructible watch, Glashütte Original teamed up with Stuttgart-based Fraunhofer development group, which in turn designed a combination of materials that would give optimum cushioning to the most delicate watch components. Consequently, the Calibre 39-31 – the movement running the Sport Evolution Impact Chronograph – remains accurate even when it experiences great amounts of force.

Meanwhile, the Sport Evolution Impact Tourbillon is powered by an automatic Calibre 94, which also keeps the Flying Tourbillon running at the 6 o’clock position on the dial. It has a regular rate of revolution (360 degrees per minute) that keeps the watch precise and on time, even when a different state of gravity has already begun screwing up other timepieces.

Two watches made to be truly durable by a company with a long heritage in the art and science of watchmaking. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better combination of form, function and all-around raw toughness.

The Valuable Vacheron Constantin Kallania Watch

The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie assembles some of the most prestigious and exclusive watchmakers on the planet. Because of its attendance that boasts names like Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, the event is bursting full with pricy timepieces. So when one particular watch rises above the crowd because of its price tag, you know it’s really expensive. This year, that honor belongs to the Vacheron Constantin Kallania.

With its price at an affordable 5 million euros (about $6.45 million), it goes beyond the watch industry’s usual definition of expensive. The high prices of watches, however, don’t often come without good reason. In the case of the Kallania, the profusion of zeros on the price tag comes from the 186 diamonds emerald-cut diamonds weighing in at a whopping 170 carats all in all. That’s 34 grams of diamond right there.

But one really cannot wonder why Vacheron Constantin bothered to create such a conspicuously luxurious watch. It is, after all, the same company that spent 6,000 hours (all clocked in by master craftsmen) in 1979 to create, nay, sculpt a watch from a single gold ingot. That same watch – the Kallista – was then set with a total of 130 carats’ worth of diamonds. The Kallania, then, is a sequel in the grand plan of a director that specializes in premium watches instead of motion pictures.

Just because it’s a veritable jewelry piece doesn’t mean that the Kallania is without its own merits with respect to horology. It’s outfitted with the 1003 Caliber, the thinnest mechanical caliber not just for Vacheron Constaintin but in the whole world so far. It’s perhaps only appropriate that such a record-breaking watch be paired with a mechanism that’s just as noteworthy as the watch itself.

Yes, the cost of the Kallania sounds more like a national debt than a price for a watch. It is, however, the kind of item that you just talk or dream about and not really buy (unless you’ve got several million dollars to spare). This is one timepiece that’s for the record books and the record books alone.