Come On Down! Grand Seiko Roadshow In Phoenix Arizona October 14th

Come On Down! Grand Seiko Roadshow In Phoenix Arizona October 14th   seiko

Did y’all know Seiko is 130 years old? Yes sir! And this year their US roadshow event featuring Grand Seiko watches will be celebrating that fact with some fun events. Yours truly will be at the Phoenix, Arizona event on October 14th 2011 held at Seiko’s number 1 Grand Seiko dealer; Arizona Fine Time in Scottsdale. Come for the watches – stay for the food/drinks/cigars (these are also the CigarKing.com people).

Release:

Grand Seiko Roadshow at Arizona Fine Time

Seiko will be bringing out a master watchmaker from their factory to assemble a Grand Seiko here in our store. This master watchmaker is one of 6 skilled enough to work on the 9R series of movements. This will be a very rare opportunity to see the magic that goes into Grand Seiko, not only in the movement, but the assembly of the entire timepiece.

There will also be many of Seiko’s staff in attendance for the event. This will give you a great opportunity to ask questions and hear answers direct from the source. There are many variations of Grand Seiko that have a “story” behind them. This will also be a great opportunity to hear those stories.

Seiko will also bring many watches, dial samples, parts and more to present a traveling “mini” Seiko museum. There, they explain the history and elements that go in to the production of Grand Seiko and Seiko Ananta.

Last year we had a tremendous amount of customers receive autographs from the master watchmaker with their purchase of a Grand Seiko or Seiko Ananta watch. This is an incredibly rare opportunity and will coincide perfectly with the highly collectible 130th Anniversary Limited Edition pieces. Not only can you be privileged enough to own one of their very special limited editions, you will be one of very few to own an autographed box. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. If you won’t be able to attend the event, you can call in during to purchase over the phone and still receive the autograph.

We will be providing a wide variety of drinks, food, and even cigars that are all complimentary. We want our customers to feel at home in our retail location and once you make it there, you will understand the atmosphere. Please feel free to contact us if there is any help we can be in making your arrangements for the visit.

Casio Baby-G Watches Get Sleazy With Kesha

Casio Baby G Watches Get Sleazy With Kesha   casio

Casio doesn’t always see their watches like you see their watches. Casio internally is an interesting mixture between the techie watch engineers and fashion folk trying to match a Casio timepiece with the next big artist or fashion trend. It makes for a very diverse, and sometimes contradictory brand. On the one hand you can have an awesomely functional watch that is high in value given what you paid for it, and on the other hand you can have sometime made in sparkly pink plastic focused entirely on being an accessory for someone’s fall fashion lineup. The good news is that for the most part Casio is able to entertain both audiences. You just need to know what watches to pay attention to given your interests.

Like Swatch, Casio is able to dole out a lot of volume based on some quality core designs. That means a world of possibilities and enough new things to make even the most avid collector dizzy with brand direction and product releases. Do some research and you’ll find everything from strictly limited editions to limited production models made in collaboration with people who are singers, athletes, artists, designers, pop culture icons, and more. Most models that get this treatment are in the G-Shock or Baby-G collection.

 

The purists will always have the Pro Trek (formerly Pathfinder in the US) and Edifice models. Those are for the serious watch people in Casio’s mind while everyone else should find a G-Shock or Baby-G that they like. Baby-G is just a smaller, feminine version of the G-Shock with its own collection and look. Both have had hundreds of versions over the years. The fashion route has done really well for Casio. Back maybe 10 or 20 years ago Casio found that inexpensive and cool looking G-Shock watches were making their way on the wrists of urbanites. People in big cities who were into fashion, music, and art were dismissing a lot of the traditional watch styles available.

Young people such as myself were convinced that most cool things were born in Japan. Something affordable that looked like it came from the future and offered a range of standard features in addition to telling the time was easy to love. That and G-Shock watches could really take a beating. Even today, there are few watches other than a G-Shock that I would subject to actual torture and expect them to come out OK.

Casio Baby G Watches Get Sleazy With Kesha   casio

AP Photo/Baby-G/John Storey

Casio Baby G Watches Get Sleazy With Kesha   casio

Casio later found that owners wanted color. The original G-Shock watches to my understanding were mostly black in tone. At some point the colored plastic floodgates opened and a rainbow of G-Shock models started showing up. Anyone with a hip fashion sense was going to have one. Casio took proactive measures and also quickly started working with people like influential musicians to wear their watches. Examples include Eminem, Lady Gaga, and now Ke$ha (Kesha).

Such partnerships proved extremely valuable in today’s day and age when timepieces are not a must-have item for young people. It makes a lot more sense to show people that their musical or artistic heroes are wearing something cool – and that they in turn might like to wear those items as well. This concept is not new, but in the watch industry Casio is a bit of a unique player – which is ironic given they they are among the only brands doing what they are doing with a mainstream product.

Casio Baby G Watches Get Sleazy With Kesha   casio

Casio Baby G Watches Get Sleazy With Kesha   casio

AP Photo/Baby-G/John Storey

High-end watch brands from the larger groups such as Swatch Group and Richemont frequently work with high-profile stars to show off multi-thousand dollar timepieces. While there is nothing wrong with that, those groups are often aiming for very small segments of the population who can afford such luxuries. Casio is focused on a more mainstream population using the same strategy – and it works really well for them.

Recently I joined Casio during their launch of a new collection of Baby-G watches designed by and branded for the singer Ke$ha. The title of this article is such because this was during Kesha’s “Get Sleazy” tour. The popular performer has been a Baby-G ambassador for a little while now and had the opportunity to come up with a few of her own designs. I posed the question to her of why it was important to work with a brand that was affordable, versus some of the very high-end brands that her colleagues might work with. Her response was simple and too the point. Virtually all of her fans can afford a Casio timepieces, and the watches themselves were relatable to her audience. Fair enough, and a good point. It would be antithetical of her to position her music as for her fans when the products she associates herself with are not.

Casio Baby G Watches Get Sleazy With Kesha   casio

To start there are two Kesha branded Casio Baby-G watches. One is a square in shiny black with a digital/analog face and gold-toned leopard print on the dial. This one is the reference BGA200KS-1E watch priced at $120. It is girly and a bit rebellious – a lot like her. Next is the model BG5600KS-7 done as Kesha’s own homage to the American flag. I anticipate this one to be the more popular model and it is priced at $99. It is a slightly more traditional Baby-G model with a pearlescent case and mixed blue and red straps. There are little starts strategically placed on the case and straps.

This latter model went well with Kesha’s home-made superhero outfit that she debuted herself in. Stars and fringes forever… You can learn more in the video I took of the interview. Sorry about it being a bit shaky. I was trying to record the video with one hand, and take photographs with the other.

Casio Baby G Watches Get Sleazy With Kesha   casio

 

AP Photo/Baby-G/John Storey

Casio intercepted Kesha early on in her career. She is popular among younger woman and I think her connection with Casio is a benefit to the entire watch industry. It is about getting people to wear and discover the virtues of watches. These days even parent might not think to get their kids a watch. By seeing hip looking timepieces on their idols, young people will be drawn to purchase and adopt these products into their lives. Once you wear a watch for long enough you tend to want to continue doing so. When these girls become women they will likely continue to have a few Casio pieces in their lives and also include more professional pieces into their collection. In this case, getting them while they are young is a good thing. My thanks to Casio for including me in this event, I continue to find what you do fascinating.

Giveaway: MARCH LA.B AM1 40 Black Automatic Watch

Giveaway: MARCH LA.B AM1 40 Black Automatic Watch   march la b

This month on aBlogtoRead.com you can enter to win a really interesting watch from MARCH LA.B. Proprietors of modern watches with a 1960′s aesthetic, these watches can be summed up by explaining that they are designed by a hip Frenchman who has a penchant for classic American muscle cars. Up for grabs is an undeniably interesting watch in their AM1 collection.

This particular model is 40mm wide in steel with a black dial and matching black lizard strap. The seconds hands is a cool racing green and the crystal on the back of the case showing them movement is also colored green. There is just a little bit more green on the uniquely designed crown. This model features a Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movement, but you can check out a previous review I did of a smaller version of the AM1 with a quartz movement here. Price for the MARCH LA.B AM1 40 Black Automatic watch is $2,295 and you can enter for a chance to win one below.

To Enter You Must:

1. Comment on this post below (on aBlogtoRead.com, not Facebook or elsewhere you might see this article) before the giveaway is over with your valid e-mail address where required. In the body of your comment mention your favorite watch from the 1960s (and if you don’t have one then your favorite piece in MARCH LA.B’s current collection).

2. Be a pal. If possible, Facebook friend/fan all or any of the following:

  • Fan aBlogtoRead.com on Facebook
  • Like aBlogtoRead.com on Facebook
  • Like MARCH LA.B Watches on Facebook

Want aBlogtoRead.com articles automatically sent to you via e-mail? Sign up here:

Enter your email address:

3. Wait until the giveaway is over on November 30th, 2011 for the winner to be chosen at random.

A couple of basic rules. You can only enter once. You must comment with a valid e-mail address where you can be reached. Your comment must be confirmed and approved. You must complete the objectives to be considered. You are responsible for providing your contact shipping information if you are chosen. Shipping restrictions to non US entrants may apply based on sponsor’s policies. Giveaway watch selection based on sponsor’s inventory and watch availability. All comments made after the end of the giveaway period will not be considered. For the full terms and conditions, please click here.

 

Mühle Glashütte Terranaut III Trail Watch

Over the last few years my level of interest in Mühle Glashütte watch has increased a fair amount. Their sport offerings are getting more cleverly designed, and this Terranaut III Trail is a slick looking casual sport watch that looks like it borrows a page out of the Bell & Ross playbook. What you essentially have is a simple 40mm wide steel watch with two dial and two case options that seems to work for most activity minded guys.

What were the Terranaut I and II watches all about you ask? Well actually the collection complete with versions I, II, and III already exist and you can read more about them here. This new version is the “Terranaut III Trail” and adds a model that looks appropriate to wear while and while not driving a Land Rover through the bush. Like I said the cases are 40mm wide and done in steel. Both dials are available in PVD black steel as well. The cases have AR coated sapphire crystals and are water resistant to 100 meters. Style wise the cases are fine. They don’t hold the appeal of the watch on their own though.

Mühle Glashütte Terranaut III Trail Watch   muhle glashutte

If you are going to buy this watch it is for the dial. For me the first question is “what is less expensive? The Muhle Glashutte or the Bell & Ross Vintage BR 123 Carbon watch?”  Answer is the Muhle Glashutte. True they don’t look exactly the same but it is hard not to make the comparison visually. The two dials Muhle Glashutte offers for the Terranaut III trail are similar, but not the same. Oh, and they make use of that now trendy “aged tan” color.

Mühle Glashütte Terranaut III Trail Watch   muhle glashutte

As Muhle Glashutte puts it, one is ideal for minimalist lovers over rugged terrain (they say “trails”). The minimalist part I get, not the rugged part. This dial has just hour indicators and a gray colored cross hairs in on the face. It is also probably my favorite with its clean looks and arrow-style seconds hands. The other dial is “ideal for wearers who place high value on exact time measurement.” Because there is a minute scale? Oh, I though those people were interested in mostly quartz and perhaps chronograph watches, silly me. The centrally mounted date window that uses a black disc is a good touch.The dials are lumed with SuperLumiNova as well.

Mühle Glashütte Terranaut III Trail Watch   muhle glashutte

Inside the watch is a Swiss Sellita Sw 200 automatic movement (ETA 2824 basically) that has apparently been Teutonically modified by Muhle Glashutte. Changes includes a custom rotor and a “woodpecker neck regulation.” Last I checked this was called “swan neck regulation.” Are woodpeckers more German than swans? Is this a joke or an actually different movement part? I don’t really know.

Mühle Glashütte Terranaut III Trail Watch   muhle glashutte

Attached to the cases are black “Russian” leather straps. I don’t know about you but I prefer French leather. By the way, if anyone knows what is implied by “Russian leather,” do let me know. As you can see, the straps are available with and without tan colored contrast stitching. Overall these are good looking watches that will be easy wearing choices for many people who appreciate the German functionalism with enough style to keep it from being boring.

Richard Mille RM 037 Watch

Richard Mille RM 037 Watch   richard mille

One of the new Richard Mille watches to be debuted in January for 2012 is this RM 037 timepiece. While not the flagship new product, it is a nice watch that represents another nice and super pricey daily wear. The design evolution is quite interesting. Taken from previous Richard Mille watches are the hour markers and hands. The case is new, being a sort of hybrid between the thin-cased rectangular case models and those with Richard Mille’s signature barrel-shaped case design.

Like most Richard Mille watches this one will come in titanium, red gold, or white gold. Richard Mille likes to mostly show their watches in industrial looking titanium to present themselves in the most “functional” light possible. But the reality of course is that their pieces are high-end items with customers who like their products in gold. What is interesting however is that even on the titanium model, the crown and function selector pusher are in 18k red gold.

While Richard Mille has presented watches in the past with function selectors, this might be the first one which is part of an automatic movement. The new Richard Mille caliber CRMA1 automatic movement has a special crown that is not attached to the movement like other crowns. It is designed to be more separate to reduce the risk of certain types of damage. So instead of pulling out the crown to adjust the time or date you press the function selector pusher to cycle through “wind, date, or time.” The function selected is displayed via a letter in a red-bordered window place between 3 and 4 o’clock. The automatic rotor once again has Richard Mille’s variable geometry system and the movement has a power reserve of 50 hours.

Richard Mille RM 037 Watch   richard mille

The CRMA1 movement also has a big date indicator which is nicely placed under 12 o’clock in a window that looks like it is between two red parentheses. I like how despite the skeletonized nature of the dial and movement, the indicator windows and hands are still really easy to read. The RM 037 case is rather long compared to its width. It is 52.20mm tall by 34.40mm wide. It looks larger than it is. The watch is just 12.50mm thick. Overall a nice piece with an interesting new shape for Richard Mille and the feeling of what could be a convenient luxury daily wear.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch

Rolex Sky Dweller Watch   rolex

Each year at the Baselworld watch and jewelry show the most anticipated news is what behemoth watch brand Rolex will release. This is a quizzical thing because what Rolex announces is often anything but revolutionary. Still the successful and closed watch brand seems to excite their loyalists with the new creations each year – often times small steps in anticipated directions. Rarely does Rolex offer something totally new – especially a new model or complication. Oddly enough – both of these things happened for 2012.

Rolex typically releases mere line extensions and small features updates (if that). Typical “exciting”announcements include new dial colors, perhaps a new strap, or something offered in a new material. The major new release for 2012 is the Sky-Dewller, an extremely rare new Rolex model, with a new movement, and with a never before seen complication for the modern brand. Say hello to an annual calendar. Rolex sure didn’t invent it, but it seems revolutionary when included in one of their watches.

Rolex Sky Dweller Watch rolex

The Sky-Dweller is a mixed bag for watch lovers. On the one hand it offers some true Rolex innovations. A new product family with a new movement, and features that people have been wanting from Rolex for a long time. On the other hand the dial of the Sky-Dweller is… an acquired taste to say the least. The aesthetic problem in my opinion is the large exposed asymmetric GMT disc. It just looks misplaced on a Rolex watch dial. Functional? Perhaps. Sexy and alluring? Not at all. A hand would have sufficed. Just ask any GMT Master. Plus, the hands are a bit too short and too skeletonized for the watch’s own good. Lume is too sparse and the skeletonized hands might be more trouble than they are worth.

If you can get over the dial then you have a lot to love. This is not only the first Rolex watch with an annual calendar, but it also includes a centrally mounted GMT hand. All operated with the “Ring Command” bezel. That’s right, the Sky-Dweller bezel is part of how you operate and adjust the watch. The crown of the watch only pulls out in one position. The fluted bezel has three positions. You turn it and based on the position you can adjust the date, local time, or reference time via the crown. It is a wonderfully elegant solution that we haven’t seen before.

Rolex Sky Dweller Watch rolex

The GMT hand is a disc in the middle of the dial and uses the red and white arrow as an index to tell the reference time. Other Rolex GMT models uses a hand to do this and a scale around the periphery of the watch. The system isn’t super attractive, but it is highly functional. Rolex tired to make the transition from the dial to the disc as “luxurious” as possible with the polished ring. Nevertheless, you just can have that exposed dial and the Rolex aesthetic work together nicely in my opinion.

In addition to the GMT complication the Sky-Dweller has an annual calendar system that Rolex calls their SAROS annual calendar. The mechanism offers the date and month. The date is easily seen under the magnifier lens on the sapphire crystal at 3 o’clock. The month is told via darkened rectangles located outside of the hour indicator ring. On these watches you can see that “8 o’clock” is filled in black. That means the current month would be August. Only at the end of February do you need to adjust the calendar. This is the best part of the complication in my opinion. SAROS is a very cool complication, and I think it could find a happy home in the majority of calendar augmented Rolex watches offered today.

Rolex Sky Dweller Watch rolex

SAROS and Ring Command together make for one of the most complicated Rolex watches movements ever. Rolex is known for making extremely high-quality, durable movements, but nevertheless simple ones. Their most complex movements thus far have only been chronographs (not even with the date). An annual calendar GMT is a great traveler’s watches, and a good addition to the Rolex line-up. It also signals Rolex’s willingness to experiment with new designs and more complicated movements. In about 40 years we might see a Rolex tourbillon at their current rate.

The Sky-Dweller watch name is a curious thing as I don’t personally see any connection to the sky or aviation. The name aside, this watch looks like an evolved Date-Just II watch. The Sky-Dweller has the fluted bezel of most Date Just watches and a similar set of hour markers. The case and bracelet is similar as well. The watch itself will be 42mm wide and initially available only in 18k gold.

Rolex Sky Dweller Watch rolex

Inside the Rolex Sky-Dweller is the new Rolex in-house made caliber 9001 automatic movement. The automatic movement has all of the above complications and a three-day power reserve. Rolex being known for their quality standards must have been testing the 9001 movement for a while. I have no doubts that the movement will be top notch for what it is.

Rolex Sky Dweller Watch rolex

42mm wide is a good size for this case. It is up from the 41mm wide Date-Just, though in person the Sky-Dweller doesn’t feel all that big. To begin Rolex will offer the Sky-Dweller in three versions – all in gold. This is honestly no surprise as two-tone, and steel versions will (or may) come later. To start the Sky-Dweller will be available in 18k white gold, 18k Everose rose gold, or 18k yellow gold. It will come with a matching gold bracelet or leather strap.

In my opinion Rolex needed more time to build a dial around this interesting complication. With Rolex you expect absolute perfection and consistency. The Sky-Dweller offers something truly intriguing for Rolex brand lovers, but misses the ball a bit when it comes to offering a truly universally lovely design that the brand is known for. Prices in the middle are about $50,000 perhaps and up for the Rolex Sky-Dweller watch in gold.

 

Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Wish Watches Hands-On

Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Wish Watches Hands On   van cleef arpels

Van Cleef & Arpels probably makes the world’s most beautiful watches… that I would not wear.  Of course they have plenty of watches I would strap on in a heartbeat, but they are just too nice. Too much work goes into making this art. Plus, many of them are for women. I wouldn’t want to even risk a cosmetic interruption. If I had the money I would get them to sit in cool little displays on my desk to appreciate what watch dial art is really all about.

For 2012, Van Cleef & Arpels will release a limited edition set of watches that not only have extremely beautiful dials, but also innovative movements. This is all part of their ongoing collection of “poetic complications” that stress emotional interest versus convenience or functional enhancements. These are the 2012 Poetic Wish watches – for him and her.

Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Wish Watches Hands On   van cleef arpels

There is a love story that Van Cleef & Arpels likes to play with. It involves a couple in Paris that prefer to look longingly at each other from a distance or occasionally meet on bridges to kiss at midnight. This shy duo has been the inspiration for a range of watches that keeps getting more interesting. This time the story is furthered in a duo of watches. The men’s watch has our lovestruck protagonist standing on the Notre Dame cathedral on a starry Paris night. In the background you see the Eiffel Tower. You can see how the platform he is on doubles as an hour indicator and how the star in the sky indicates the minutes – but only on demand.

Our lonely lass is standing on the same Eiffel Tower on the ladies’ piece. In the background is the Notre Dame – complete with stained glass windows. The watches are meant to serve as perspectives from the man and woman in the story. The dials are gorgeous creations. Totally handmade with hours worth of engraving, painting, forming, and setting on each. One dial can take weeks or months to completely finish. The dials are mostly engraved gold, with enamel work, mother-of-pearl sculpting, and miniature painting.

Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Wish Watches Hands On   van cleef arpels

 

The principle complication here is a five minute repeater. The trick is that activation of the repeater is the only way to see the time – on the dial that is. Turning one of the crowns activates the five minute repeater, which also activates the dial animation. The figurine moves along a linear path indicating the hour, while either a star (men’s Midnight model) or kite (ladies’ model) moves across the sky to indicate the minutes. A five-minute repeater will use a series of gongs and hammers to sound a song that tells the time to the closest five minute mark. Charming.

Turn the watch over to see the beautiful movement and you’ll find a few surprises. The first of which is the gong system. Rather than be attached to the movement, the gongs are actually attached to the rear sapphire crystal caseback window. This was done to increase resonance – and thus the volume of the minute repeater sound. You can also see the time back here on a few separate dials that allow you to view and set the time. The exclusive Swiss mechanical movement is manually wound with about 60 hours of power reserve. As you can see, the complication is fun and emotionally charged versus being “useful” per se. Certainly the hallmark of a “poetic complication”.

 

The watch cases fit the typical men’s and women’s Van Cleef & Arpels design aesthetic. One lug for women, two for men. The cases designs are elegant and serve to showcase these wonderful art creations so well. Though in the future I would like to see some new cases from the brand. Both watches are in 18k white gold and the cases are fitted with diamonds on the bezel and lugs. There are lovely mother-of-pearl cabochons in the crown. The result is a luxurious creation that focuses more on the art and effort versus the bling. For the amount of precious stones used on your typical Van Cleef & Arpels, this is a very elegant and down-to-earth brand.

Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Wish Watches Hands On   van cleef arpels

 

The two Poetic Wish watches go together thematically but are sold separately. They also come with special wooden boxes that recreate the dial designs on the boxes in a beautiful way. Van Cleef & Arpels watch presentation boxes are stunning collectors items unto themselves. I hope they come out with a book on this (hint, hint). Van Cleef & Arpels will create a limited amount of the Poetic Wish watches, but I am not sure how many.

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RLH Watch Events by aBlogtoRead.com: Los Angeles & New York City

RLH Watch Events by aBlogtoRead.com: Los Angeles & New York City   watch industry news

Get ready for some offline watch love. Real Life Horology (RLH) is an event series that aBlogtoRead.com will facilitate dedicated to bringing you together with watch makers and other watch lovers. The idea is simple: sign up (below) as a Real Life Horology member and when an event in your area is planned, you’ll be notified and invited. All events will be RSVP only, and anyone can join.

RLH events will be designed to be fun and bring you together with watch lovers and watch makers. The first events will take place in and around Los Angeles, California as well as New York City. Therefore, we invite all readers who are located in Southern California and around New York City to sign up right away. As soon as an event is planned you’ll be contacted. If you don’t live in these areas you can still sign up of course. Future events will most likely take place in larger cities, so be patient and don’t hesitate to sign up no matter where you reside.

What types of events can you expect from RLH? The events will include dinners, presentations, parties, social gatherings, and educational seminars. Some events will likely be sponsored by major watch brands and focus on helping you to get better acquainted with their products and people. Other events will focus less on specific watch brands and offer more neutral environments for watch lovers and their friends to simply have a good time. Nothing boring, just real life horology.

 

March LA.B AM3 Legionnaire Watch For Collete

March LA.B AM3 Legionnaire Watch For Collete   march la b

March LA.B recently announced a new and very limited edition of their AM3 model which has been made exclusively for the Paris based retailer Colette. Limited to only five pieces, the AM3 Legionnaire Limited Edition is an intriguing design which mixes the recognizable style and flare we expect from March LA.B with a color scheme that pays tribute to the historic French Foreign Legion (of the 19th century). This 38mm automatic three-hander is upgraded over the standard production AM3 with a black PVD case, an olive green dial, gunmetal indices, and a genuine Louisiana alligator leather strap. The colors are based on traditional legionnaire uniform colors. The strap carries a matte green finish which matches nicely with the dial and mixed finishing of the black case. I really enjoy the contrast between the sandy-green tone of the dial and the darker tones of the gunmetal indices and PVD case.

March LA.B AM3 Legionnaire Watch For Collete   march la b

March LA.B AM3 Legionnaire Watch For Collete   march la b

The AM3 Legionnaire features all of the details which make March LA.B watches stand out in the fray, like their uniquely styled screw-down crown, green date text and rear crystal, and custom decorated movement. Refreshingly, March LA.B has opted to use the more expensive ETA 2892 Swiss automatic movement as opposed to the more common 2824-2. The 2892 is one of the best mass produced movements available to a small brand like March LA.B. The same base movement was, for example, used by Omega for their  calibre 1120 and later used as the base for their co-axial calibre 2500. With a watch that carries an above-entry-level price, it is certainly nice to see that they are taking advantage of the availability of the 2892 and sourcing a premium movement. The AM3 Legionnaire’s domed crystal is sapphire and features an anti-reflective treatment, while the rear display crystal sports a sapphire coating and March LA.B’s unique green tint.

March LA.B AM3 Legionnaire Watch For Collete   march la b

The dial color choice is in tribute to the legendary (in France) French Foreign Legion and the olive drab coloring they utilized for their uniforms. I think you’ll agree that a March LA.B AM3 is not the first watch which comes to mind when imagining military-inspired limited editions, but I think they have pulled it off nicely and that this limited edition has a distinct appeal that still works within the aesthetic of the AM3 line up. The AM3 Legionnaire will be available exclusively through Collete for €2490 (~$3130 USD) and with only five units being produced, it’s safe to say that March LA.B has guaranteed a high level of exclusivity for this truly unique and cool version of the AM3.

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Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Boutique New York Watch Hands-On

In the 1920s, Vacheron Constantin built some interesting cushion-cased watches with tilted dials on request. The request came from the United States, and I believe the idea was to produce a driving watch that could be read while you grasped the steering wheel. The era and budget no doubt make you think of some Great Gatsby style character riding around in a long-hooded roadster with chromed cooling pipes coming out of the side while wearing driving gloves and a windswept scarf. Oh to be legally driving drunk!

A few years ago Vacheron Constantin began a marketing campaign dedicated to informing people of the true story of America’s role in what Vacheron Constantin is today. It is a real fact that the US market during the earlier parts of the 20th century played a major role in the brand’s success. A few years ago Vacheron Constantin released a modern version of the classic tilted cushion watch and called it the Historiques American 1921.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Boutique New York Watch Hands On   vacheron constantin

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Boutique New York Watch Hands On   vacheron constantin

This is not that model. Well not exactly. This is a special limited edition version of the Historiques American 1921 made especially for the Vacheron Constantin boutique on Madison Avenue in New York city (ref. 82035/000J-9717). Aside from special branding on the rear of the watch, the dial of the boutique model is different from the standard Historiques American 1921 piece. Frankly, I think this dial is the best. While the standard model has more classic, thin Breguet style numerals and pomme hands, the boutique model is the sporty brother. Here you see a military dial inspired watch with large Arabic hour numerals and beautiful hands all coated in lume. Mega bold look with mega legibility. Much more character than you might come to expect from a piece like this. My understanding is that dials such as this have been on some older Vacheron Constantin pocket watches and more important, the limited edition dial is more akin to the original 1920s driving watches that Vacheron Constantin produced.

As you might expect from a Vacheron Constantin piece, the detailing on the dial and case are pretty much immaculate. The hands are very well rendered and I actually love the “hidden heart” which tips the hour hand. Notice how the subsidiary seconds dial is slightly recessed and is done in a different silvered finishing. This adds an additional layer to the dial. Around the dial is a rail-road track style minute ring.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Boutique New York Watch Hands On   vacheron constantin

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Boutique New York Watch Hands On   vacheron constantin

The watch case is only 40mm wide but wears larger given the widely spaced lugs and cushion shape of the case. At 8mm thick, the case is very svelte on the wrist. I would even argue that this is a watch for larger wrists given the short, but straight lug positioning. Over the dial and caseback are sapphire crystals.

Vacheron Constantin opted to go with an 18k yellow gold case – which is actually rare given that you see very few gold watches in America that are done in yellow gold. The case is very pretty with a fine polished on its surfaces. Vacheron Constantin maintains the tilted movement look with the crown being right above 12 o’clock, which on this watch is at the 1:30 or so position.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Boutique New York Watch Hands On   vacheron constantin

Inside the Historiques American 1921 Boutique New York watch is the newer Vacheron Constantin in-house made caliber 4400 manually wound movement. This is VC’s version of a high-end work-horse movement with an attractive design and high level of finishing/decor as seen through the rear of the watch. The movement has been designed to be easily serviced and last a long time. It is just 2.8mm thick and has a power reserve of about 65 hours. The 4400 movement is an updated on the classic caliber 1400, but in a larger size with a longer power reserve. Attached to the case is very beautiful hand-stitched glossy brown alligator strap. Don’t miss the signature Vacheron Constantin Maltese cross logo (half of it) on the buckle.

So what is it like on the wrist? Well it takes some getting used to – unless you are driving that it. Reading it is easy if you keep your wrist in the right position, and it looks very novel. People will certainly wonder why your watch is off-axis, but that just gives you an opportunity to explain. Very few formal style pieces like this can offer that. T