While the meaning of unique is so watered down that it challenges "in-house" for sheer over-use, I have trouble thinking of a more appropriate way to describe Ressence watches. I would be surprised if anyone reading this wasn't aware, at least visually, of their Ressence Type 1 and Type 3 models which, in living up to the brand's tag line, have evolved "beyond hands." Announced just ahead of Baselworld 2015, Ressence has reworked their Type 3 model to include a temperature gauge to monitor the oil that fills the upper case element.
Specifically – for those watchnerds interested in these subtle details of Rolex's latest and most advanced movement – the thickness of the pallet stones has been reduced by half, while the contact surfaces of the escape wheel teeth have been doubled. Also, the escapement system is no longer in alignment, but slightly offset, thus multiplying the lever effect; and last, the escape wheel has a cut-out design to make it lighter and reduce its inertia. All these seemingly minuscule changes account for the improved efficiency of an escapement design that has been around for over two centuries.
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Publishing update: while I stand by everything I wrote in this review (first drafted in November 2014), it's worth mentioning upfront that Garmin has released early in 2015 the Fenix 3, which is an updated version that seems to address many of the shortcomings of the Fenix 2 and adding various features to make it an even better multi-sports watch. If I end up upgrading to the Fenix 3, I will make sure to review it here. I also have a Garmin 920xt which has many of the same features of the Fenix 3. I will likely review the 920xt first. However, all that said, please note that Garmin still sells the Fenix 2 and the price remains the same while the Fenix 3's price starts at 0 more than the 2.
The Horological Smartwatch with an MMT movement will connect to a host phone via Bluetooth and there will, of course, be a companion app that is vital to the experience. The watch itself only displays the time (without seconds), date, and a progress indicator meant to help the wearer know whether or not they have reached their daily activity goals. The sole input device on the watch is the crown which is just a pusher. That means you cannot even set the time unless you go into the app. I am a bit concerned about the necessary level of connectivity the watch has to your phone (iPhone or Android), but that is likely due to the fact that I simply have yet to live with such a device.
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The deployant also ended up causing me some issues in the wear of the watch. Over the course of a day, I would feel like the clasp was digging into my wrist. Taking the watch off would confirm that as well. I tried adjusting the size it was set at, but then ended up with a watch that was too loose on the wrist. So, this is something that I would be aware of. Then again, this seems to be a common issue I run into with deployants on leather (oddly enough, on a bracelet, I have no issues). They just add too much bulk, and when they pair with a thicker strap as we have here, you can get discomfort.
Kentex supplied both half-links and a micro adjust in the deployant to help you get a good fit with the bracelet. Common to many Japanese watches is the unfinished stamped metal deployant and diver's extension parts. These don't come with a high-end feel, but they are functional and the triple locking deployant feels stable enough. You do, however, get the "Asian rattle," as I call it from the bracelet, given the parts, which lock well enough, but rattle around a bit if you shake it. This is compared to say a Rolex Submariner that has a fluid moving bracelet, but one that the parts are so closely put together with tiny tolerances that there is no rattle. But of course, for the retail price of your standard Rolex Submariner you can buy about 11 Kentex Marineman Seahorse watches.
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While the dial is busy, it is legible enough to wear on a daily basis. Seiko is a bit shy about the length of the hands, but it isn't too much to complain about. The recessed inner section of the dial is handsome, and the overall design of the Seiko Premier Kinetic Direct Drive Moonphase dial is well done - though I recommend you look around at the various versions Seiko has produced over the years to find the perfect one for you, if you are interested in one of these neat timepieces.
Two new and indeed highly complicated additions to the IWC Ingenieur family for 2015 are the IWC Ingenieur Constant-Force Tourbillon and the IWC Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month, both now available in a new colorway dominated by red gold. This grants us the opportunity to take a closer look at these similar and yet oh-so-different watches from IWC.
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Zenith is understandably most famous for its El Primero chronograph movement. The El Primero is widely regarded as the first automatic chronograph movement and is one of the few mass produced movements to beat at a very fast 36,000 beats per hour. However, Zenith is more than just about chronographs, and their high-end Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane Grand Voyage II watch is a piece that I feel is mostly overlooked. The most unique thing about this watch is its gimbal-style gyroscopic escapement, which keeps the escapement level at all times regardless of the watch’s orientation - a technology adapted from marine chronometers of old. Admittedly this is not the first time Zenith has put this kind of an escapement into a watch, but this version might just be the finest yet.
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The Urwerk UR-1001 Zeit Machine (also called the Zeit Device) is unchanged for the Titan. What Urwerk devised was a wearable module with an arm strap which allows you to wear the brand's first and still only non-round pocket watch like a wrist watch. A few years ago in 2011, it was hip for modern watch companies like Urwerk and Richard Mille to release wildly designed and extremely contemporary pocket watches. Part of the point was to not make them round. When I went hands-on with the Urwerk UR-1001 Zeit Device here in 2012, I likened the shape to a large computer mouse. On the wrist, Urwerk's pocket watch feels decidedly more science fiction. The sides of the Urwerk UR-1001 Titan strap holding it into place like the locks on an ammo box.
The first practical advantage of being able to set two dials independently is that not all time zones are separated by one hour increments. There are some that need to be set to half past the hour and a couple that require a quarter-hour differential. The second cool feature – and one that is arguably much more useful – is that you can set one of the dials to 12:00 and use it as a 12-hour chronograph (with to-the-minute accuracy, as there is no seconds hand).
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ABTW: What are some of the watch brands you are known for carrying? If you could pick a watch brand or model that epitomizes the culture or style of Denver what would it be?
Tiffany & Co. is probably the most well-known and currently the most successful American luxury brand and retail experience. In the vein of being American and proudly founded in New York, you'll see the "new" traditional Tiffany logo on the dial with an elegant font that now reads "Tiffany & Co. New York." This designator of origin is a key element in how I believe Tiffany & Co. is going to position the timepiece side of the brand moving forward. Whereas "proud to be American" was never, in my experience, a key part of the brand's message in the past, it has become an important part of the brand's culture given that most of its competitors are based in Europe. With that said, the watches will all be "Swiss Made."
1. Watchmaker Takes Us Inside The Popular Rolex 3135 Watch Movement
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Welcome to the light-powered T-Touch, with the newer Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar. I've had a love affair with the Tissot T-Touch for well over a decade now (it originally came out back in 1999). Very few modern watches have remained as cool for as long. The T-Touch is easily the most popular type of Tissot you'll see on people's wrists, and many watch lovers have or have had at least one. When the Tissot T-Touch originally came out, it was difficult not to be mesmerized by its sapphire crystal touch screen. Offering similar functionality as Casio's popular Pathfinder (now Pro Trek) collection of outdoors/hiking watches with their "ABC" functionality (altimeter, barometer, compass), the Tissot T-Touch offered the same, with a slick analog/digital dial, with hands that repositioned themselves in order to show the various functions along with the digital screen.
So let's start with the message that Zenith were trying to deliver with the Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tour Auto Edition. Last year, Zenith became the official timekeeper for five of the official motor car races organized by Peter Auto (a company, not an aptly named individual). Through their association with these prestigious races, Zenith hopes to reaffirm their three core values – authenticity, daring, and pleasure. Supposedly, this has been achieved by referencing the grit, glamour, and gut-churning speed associated with motor sports in the watch's aesthetic. Sometimes, when brands try and attach such emotive characteristics to a watch, it works brilliantly; sometimes, it feels a bit forced. In my opinion, the Tag Heuer Monaco is a great example of the former (for a classic example, check out this article, and for an avant-garde update of the watch, have a look at this recent release).
How successful this event will be will depend largely on the host's ability to engage his young audience, but I doubt this will be too much of a struggle. Mechanical watches are visually and intellectually fascinating. If a child wants to attend the event, I doubt he or she will be disappointed with what they get from the experience. I've seen young children entertain themselves for hours with a stick. I'm pretty sure a mechanical watch will provide enough intrigue to hold their attention.
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As we said above, the watch you see here is the Ball Fireman Night Train SG50, specially created to celebrate the 50th year of Singapore’s independence. "Why Singapore?" you may ask. As a Singaporean, I can attest to the fact that my countrymen are a watch-crazy bunch. Despite having a population of under 6 million people, the value of Swiss watch exports in 2014 to our tiny tropical island country was reported by the Federation of the Swiss Industry to be 1.12 billion Swiss Francs - only six countries imported more Swiss watches than us (Hong Kong, U.S., China, Japan, Italy, and Germany). Therefore, it would not be a stretch to say that Singapore is one of the key markets for Swiss brands. This, I think, is probably why Ball decided to create a limited edition watch to mark the 50th anniversary of Singapore's independence.
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