Category Archives: designer watches

Discount Watches: A Buyer’s Guide

Let’s face it – we all love to get a bargain – especially if it is for something that is normally out of our reach. It used to be if you wanted a luxury watch, you had to wait for the local jeweler to have a sale, but today, discount watches are available at the click of a mouse. Before you dive into the web and start Googling “discount watches”, there are a few things you should know.

• Always read the customer reviews before choosing a watch. Sometimes there is a good reason that the price is so low, and no matter how cheap it is, you still want to be happy with your decision.

• Be sure you are dealing with a reputable retailer. Many people think they are buying a genuine luxury brand watch, only to find out later that the “discount watch” they purchased is a replica. Replica watch companies should be very clear about the fact that their watches are not the real thing, but not every company will tell you that.

• Make sure the online retailer has a generous return policy. There is nothing worse than getting a great deal on a watch that doesn’t work, and then finding out on the 8th day that you only had seven days to return it.

• Before making a purchase, do a quick price comparison to make sure you are getting the best deal.

Keeping these tips in mind while you shop will ensure you get the best watch for your money, and don’t end up suffering from buyer’s remorse.

Omega Watches Fans: Get Your Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Liquidmetal®”

That’s right, Omega Watches has released an historic limited edition Seamaster model, and it is the watch company to offer a watch that bonds Liquidmetal® with ceramics.

What makes this launch such big news for Omega Watches?

The ceramic elements of the watch, along with the Liquidmetal® alloy components, are an excellent combination for divers because of their incredible resistance to corrosion. In addition, the ceramic diving bezel uses Liquidmetal® for its numbers and scaling, which provide a stunning contrast against the black ceramic background.

Omega Watches is known for its consistent ability to innovate, which is how the company has remained at the forefront of performance luxury watch making for several decades. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Liquidmetal® Limited Edition uses another revolutionary Omega Invention – the Co-Axial calibre 2500 movement, which has long been celebrated for its long term performance and chronometric technology.

This extraordinary new timepiece is just another example of how Omega Watches continues to reinvent the diver’s chronograph. In honor of the year when the Seamaster watch line first launch, Omega Watches will create only 1948 pieces in this limited edition. If you want to own a piece of Omega Watches history, be sure to get your limited edition Seamaster Planet Ocean Liquidmetal® before they sell out.

Lacoste Biarritz Rose Women’s Watch

That little green crocodile has become an internationally recognized logo for polo shirts, making the Lacoste brand one of the top selling ever. Started by Frenchman Rene Lacoste in 1927 the now iconic crocodile logo was based on the nickname the “Alligator” given to Lacoste, who was at that time a professional tennis player for France. In 1933, the alligator became a brand and was printed on shirts, making it the first time that a brand logo was printed on the outside of a garment (versus the inside), an idea which has over the years become a top marketing method.

Although so familiar on a shirt, how often have you seen the little green guy on a watch? Lacoste makes men’s watches and women’s luxury watches; in fact the women’s collection is more substantial than the men’s. For women there are three collections: the Club, Sportswear, and Sport. For men, there are two: the Club and Sport.

The watch profiled here and as seen in the picture is the Biarritz Rose women’s watch from the Sport collection. Named after a luxurious seaside town in the south of France, this watch is luxurious but refined.

The Biarritz Rose comes with a rose gold-toned stainless steel case and bezel and a two-toned white dial with mother-of-pearl center with the famous crocodile sitting at 12 o’clock. The bezel also has the name Lacoste engraved in large letters around it. The white dial and soft, white leather strap reflect the tennis origins of Lacoste himself. Although a sports watch, the crystals and slightly luminescent mother of pearl dial add a touch of sophistication to it.

This watch comes in other colors including ones with pretty white and red or white and green straps and if the green of the croc is too much, he also comes in a muted grey that blends in with the color of the dial.

Kudoke And His Labyrinthine-Like Watches

Stefan Kudoke, a 30 year old German watchmaker, is gaining a global following for his one-of-a-kind watches. He uses a technique called “skeletonising” that is so complicated that he’s able to produce only 50 watches per year. This technique requires time-consuming drilling and sawing with teeny tiny tools. What this does is expose the inside workings of the watch, which is why it’s like looking at a labyrinthine.

Kudoke works out of his parent’s home and people from around the world have begun to come visit him there to watch him create his watches, of which about 80 have been sold aboard. Kudoke has the Internet to thank for this, since most of his buyers are American and Japanese. Each watch, which are engraved and encrusted with jewels, sells for about €3,500 euros or $5,000 dollars.

Kudoke fell in love with watchmaking when he was in the 10th grade and began an apprenticeship in his hometown of Brandenburg. At 21 he began working for the well-known German manufacturer, Glashütte Original, and after that did stints in the service department for Breguet, Blancpain and Omega in New York, before moving onto the Swiss Swatch Group with a job customer services. He left that job to pursue a spot at the Lusatia craft school in Senftenberg to begin perfecting his technique and skills to be able to create his own watches.

“I had a vision – I wanted to stand on my own two feet in the luxury watch market,” said the 30-year old.

As all other people and companies in the luxury goods market, Kudoke is waiting for the economic crisis to pass before he expands his one-man business. As for now, his growing fan base will have to join his online waiting list.

Luxury Watches: The Inteligent Choice

Luxury watches have been around for nearly two centuries. The concept of keeping time on one’s wrist was something revolutionary during the 1800s. Before the wrist-watch, the most common time-keeping instrument was a pocket watch. Pocket watches eventually became obsolete as the wrist watch was far more convenient and harder to misplace.

Some of the first luxury watch brands to emerge during the 1800s include TAG Heuer, Omega and Audemars Piguet. The term luxury watch refers to the quality with which the timepiece is hand crafted and the rare materials that are used in the manufacturing phase. By these standards, all watches during the 19th century were “luxury” time pieces.

With the lack of mass production and industrialization there were no cheap knock off watches to purchase. All time-keeping instruments were made by skilled watch makers, who made a life out of crafting small pieces of metal into time-keeping art. Today, the facility with which lower grade quartz watches can be mass produced has given a greater sense of distinction to watches that are made in the traditional manner.

All watches were originally mechanical. The employment of battery and quartz watches did not occur until the 20th century. Mechanical watches function by winding the crown of the watch, which in turn makes the movement unwind and keep time. The development of automatic watches was a great advancement. Automatic watches function brilliantly by having a pendulum inside the movement. The pendulum moves as your wrist does. When it moves it constantly winds itself, a feature that provides self-efficiency. Watches that are made in this manner are more practical, of better quality, more precise and much classier.

Luxury watches today are made the same way they were originally hand crafted more than 200 years ago. Switzerland is the country of origin for most high-end watch manufacturers. The art of watch making finds its roots in this country as well.

Most mass produced wrist-watches are such low-grade quality that they generally don’t last more than a year. Besides being low in quality, they do not keep time with precision. They will most likely lose 1-2 minutes a month, or up to 5 minutes if the watch is exceptionally defective. Besides all these inconveniences, batteries for cheap watches have to be changed at least once a year. Given all these characteristics, it is far more intelligent to purchase a quality time-piece that will last longer, yield a return if purchased as an investment and look like a piece of art on your hand.

2009 Timepiece Trends: Rubber Regulars

Materials like leather and platinum used to be the order of the day when it came to luxury watches. Nothing else could satisfy the stratospheric standards of sumptuousness. But now that even the standards of luxury are beginning to change as well, there’s a new player in the luxe materials market – rubber.rubber-regulars-3

Rubber-strapped watches were once limited to just the lower end of the watch spectrum, to just the cheap, disposable or toy watches. Nowadays, though, even the highest-end watch brands feature rubber straps, and diamonds can be on the same watch as PVD.

Ready for Anything

With its primary goal of being the toughest watch you’ve ever seen, it’s pretty understandable for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Survivor to have molded rubber instead of the typical leather strap or metal bracelet. After all, you’d be less discouraged to get rough with your watch if the strap were made of something like rubber.

rubber-regulars-2

The durable material also fits in well with the rest of the décor on the Survivor. Molded black vulcanized rubber goes well with the brushed and textured black case and bezel of the watch. Overall, the material adds to the unmistakable impression of a very tough watch indeed.

A Tribute in Rubber

Few would question the use of a rubber strap with the Piaget Polo FortyFive, especially since rubber straps are commonly used with sports watches anyways. What’s not regular is rubber being used by a luxury watchmaker like Piaget, especially on a commemorative model like the FortyFive.

The matte rubber is an interesting contrast to the shine of the steel case on the FortyFive. It suggests a typical high-end watch with a not-so-typical sporty side to it – definitely a step in a new direction for Piaget. Aside from that rubber touch, the FortyFive is everything you’d expect a premium watch to be.rubber-regulars-1

The New Luxe

Believe it or not, the diamond-abundant Perrelet Diamond Flower features numerous diamonds set into a metal case – all alongside a 100% rubber strap. It’s at the forefront of this whole movement of putting together old world luxury materials with new, underestimated elements under a well-known brand.

The Diamond Flower is an elegant mix of form and function. While it sports a breathtaking flower motif on the dial and a timeless design, a double rotor mechanism ticks away behind all the beauty.

It seems likely that rubber straps will continue to be a fixture in the high-value world of premium watches. It takes some elements from the low end, many elements from the upper end and puts them together in a previously unexplored middle ground.

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.

Luxury Watch Timepiece Trends 2009: Blasts from the Past

luxury-watch-timepieces-traditionsMakers of premium watches really know how to pay their dues to their traditions. And what better way to pay homage to classic watch designs than to release new watches based on the old ones? Here are three commemorative timepieces that were adapted from classic designs, only more modern, advanced and expensive.

A Twenties Timepiece

The first of the three watches is a design straight out of the Roaring Twenties: the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921. It hearkens back to a time when cars were still a fairly new invention, and the ‘modern’ aesthetic was very different from the one we have today.

It owes its distinctive cushion shape – the square with its sides bulging slightly outward – and its unusual orientation to its time context. This design was one of the first to be called a ‘driver’s watch,’ a timepiece designed specifically for automobile drivers. Tilting the whole thing to 1 o’clock allowed drivers to tell time with both hands on the wheel.

watch-brands-blast-from-the-pastFaithful to Tradition

The commemorative collection from prestigious Audemars Piguet is, unsurprisingly, named Tradition. This same collection got quite a few updates at SIHH 2009, most notably the Tradition Perpetual Calendar Minute Repeater.

Like the Vacheron Constantin tribute, this Audemars Piguet watch commemorates one of their earlier designs – a pocket watch with the same cushion shape from 1923. Cushion contours were apparently a big thing back in the 1920’s, and big names like AP seem to be making it just as big a trend almost a century later.

A Vintage Haul

Even high-end watch companies usually limit their commemorative releases to just one or two models. Schaffhausen, Switzerland-based International Watch Company, more popularly IWC, releases not just one or two but six updates to some of their oldest and most timeless designs. Going in chronological order, they revived

  • The Special Pilot’s Watch, a design first released in 1936;
  • The Portuguese, whose first incarnation debuted in 1939;
  • The Ingenieur, a watch dating all the way back to 1955;
  • The Aquatimer, a popular creation from 1967;
  • The Da Vinci, first released in 1969; and
  • The Portofino, an iconic design from 1984watches-2009-timepieces

It’s no wonder that IWC should revive those six designs in particular. They were some of the company’s most popular models, and each one helped cement IWC’s reputation as a purveyor of high-end timepieces.

Even if 2009 marks some of the most modern advances in timekeeping technology, it’s also a great year for combining horology and history.

Luxury Watches in The Movies

leonardo dicaprioLuxury watches are typically seen as very closed-doors, esoteric items that are known only to a rich and knowledgeable few. That’s not really true, especially once you consider all the times that a designer watch has appeared on the silver screen. Expensive wristwatches might not exactly stir the same interest as the lead characters, but they’re still celebrities in their own right.

It’s All in the Wrist

Countless contemporary movies are just full of these premium timepieces, and there are even a number of groups that like to keep tabs on all of them. 2008 blockbuster Street Kings, for example, featured star Keanu Reeves wearing a Rolex GMT II quite prominently in the movie poster. Blood Diamond, another big movie from the same year, showed lead Leonardo DiCaprio with a Breitling Chrono Avenger.

hollywood-hearts-horology-2Other notable silver screen watches include

  • George Clooney spotted with a Luminox watch in Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
  • 007 agent James Bond (played by Daniel Craig), who wore an Omega Seamaster to the opening scene of Casino Royale (2006)
  • Ben Affleck, who fought crime as the title character in Daredevil (2003) wearing red tights and a Hamilton Linwood Daredevil Automatic
  • An Omega Speedster watch worn by Tom Cruise as Chief John Anderton in the futuristic Minority Report (2002)

A Long History

This whole trend of wearing expensive premium timepieces, however, is hardly a new thing in Hollywood. In fact, it’s been a recurring theme in the James Bond movies, one of the oldest establishments of the silver screen. Through the years, exclusive watches have topbilled in movies like

  • Dr. No (1962), where James Bond (played by Sean Connery) used a Rolex Submariner to test a Geiger counter
  • Goldfinger (1964), where Sean Connery reprised his role wearing the same watch from Dr. No
  • The Predator (1987), where Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dutch wore a Seiko H558-5000
  • The Abyss (1989), where Ed Harris wore a Seiko 6309-7049 as Bud Brigman

If you have a free afternoon, try going through your DVD collection and checking through the blockbusters for any watches you didn’t spot before. You never know, your favorite actor might just wear the very same watch that you do.

Ralph Lauren Watches: Designers in Horology

ralph_lauren_watches_1High fashion and premium watches are both areas reserved and roped off only for the moneyed and the elite. Consequently, it’s no wonder that the two industries would merge every now and then, resulting in the creation of something truly special. That was the case when American designer brand Ralph Lauren unveiled not one but three collections of designer watches at the 2009 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in January.

Now, followers of the fashion scene would know that Ralph Lauren – both the brand and the designer himself – is no stranger to premium items. But the watch market is full of entrepreneurs and people very particular about technical details. That’s probably why the clothing brand teamed up with Richemont, the group of companies that includes some of the watch industry’s most prestigious names like Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre to help with the horology side of the business.

The new partnership resulted in the Polo Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery Company (SARL), under which the new collections of Ralph Lauren-branded watches were released. With a combination like that, it’s no wonder that the new timepieces turned out the way they did. A total of three collections were released at the 2009 SIHH: the Stirrup, the Slim Classique and the Sporting lines.

Ralph Lauren 2So named for its equestrian equipment shape, the Stirrup line captures a true feel of Ralph Lauren, its American heritage and its close ties with the equestrian image. Luxury is obviously one of the main goals of this collection as it’s available either in 18-karat gold or platinum. Three sizes are available in this collection, and each size has its movements made by a different Manufacture. Small Stirrup watches, for example, use Piaget movements while larger units have Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Exclusivity is the key concept behind the Slim Classique collection, and it’s not just because the extremely thin movements housed in gold or platinum come from Piaget. Both dials are guilloched on a special machine that can only churn out two such dials everyday, and even the face has to go through the same process. With price tags ranging from $16,000 to $36,000, don’t expect too many other people to start wearing this on the street.

Cheapest among the three is the Sporting collection with prices ranging from just $9,000 to just over $11,000. Featuring a sub-timer, world clock or chronograph, the Sporting collection is a good mix of design, engineering and functionality. And with movements from IWC Jones, the performance you get will surely be worth the money.