Seiko: keep it functional

Grand Seiko, the epitome of advances made in Japanese Breitling replica watchmaking, is fifty-five this year. Last year its Hi-Beat GMT version won the plaudits of the judges at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, one of the highest accolades a watch can achieve.

If a watch really is eternity in a case, as LVMH’s watch guru Jean-Claude Biver claims, it would be no stretch of the imagination to say that Japanese watchmaking is for ever contained inside the Grand Seiko. “When my predecessors imagined the Grand Seiko in 1960, their idea was to produce an accurate, reliable, legible timepiece,” says Shu Yoshino, managing director of the brand’s marketing division, at Baselworld. “How the watch looked was also a matter of importance, with a wide dial opening achieved by the bezel-free construction, a facetted case and our own Zaratsu polishing, but this was not the main concern. As always at Seiko, function took precedence and we have never strayed from this principle.”

A serious rival

Exactly how important functionality was to the Grand Seiko soon became apparent. By 1967, Seiko had fitted its luxury Breitling replica watches with the brand’s first automatic movement, the 62GS. And to make it clear that the Grand Seiko no longer needed hand-winding, the crown was recessed and placed at 4 o’Clock. A year later, in 1968, Seiko took another step forward and equipped the Grand Seiko with a high-frequency movement beating at 36,000 vibrations/hour to measure tenths of a second. Only one Swiss manufacturer, Girard-Perregaux, could match this precision, having introduced the first high-frequency calibre to its Gyromatic range in 1966 (Zenith‘s El Primero, the first chronograph with a 5 Hz frequency, would make its debut in 1969). With a “machine” like this, Seiko could legitimately rival Swiss watchmaking’s finest, even challenging them on home ground in the late 1960s by entering the Grand Seiko in timing trials at the Geneva and Neuchâtel observatories.

These institutions were longstanding references in watchmaking circles, but no longer carried the same impact following the advent of quartz. Electronic precision threatened to send mechanical watchmaking into the filing cabinet of history, and the Grand Seiko with it. “Everything changed with quartz”, as Shu Yoshino recalls. “At Seiko, we carried on making mechanical watches but they no longer corresponded to the high-end positioning symbolised by the Grand Seiko, and by the 1980s we had virtually ceased production. There was no longer any demand. We did try to relaunch it with a quartz movement in 1993, but to no avail.”

Pragmatic and precise

No matter. As Japanese wisdom reminds us, patience is one of life’s treasures. From the first stirrings of a mechanical replica Breitling watches revival, Seiko was ready. In 1998 the company returned centre-stage with a Grand Seiko driven by a completely new, in-house movement. “At first it was a niche product,” notes Shu Yoshino. “There was a community of diehard fans who remembered what the Grand Seiko stood for and who were immediately receptive. But nothing extraordinary. We had to wait another ten years for the product to really take off, when bling-bling watches began to lose their shine and people were turning to timepieces that suggested more substantial values.”

The context was ripe for the Grand Seiko to meet its public. In little time at all, sales in Japan doubled, prompting Seiko management to increase production capacity and launch the Grand Seiko outside its home market, winning a new international audience for this most pragmatic of watches. With the anniversary models, equipped with Calibre 9S65 beating at 28,800 vibrations/hour, and the two new hi-beat versions (Calibre 9S85), Seiko delivers precision of -3 to +5 seconds/day, which is a smaller tolerance than the margin of -4 to +6 seconds imposed by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC). As a brand that manufactures all its components, including strategic parts such as the regulating organ, Seiko is a very “Grand” watchmaker indeed.

Breitling Colt chronograph automatic

Breitling interprets the technical, understated and efficient styling of the Colt collection in a new chronograph powered by a selfwinding movement. Exactly what it needs to keep ahead of the game, including at the famous Red Bull Air Race for which cheap Breitling replica watches serves as official timekeeper.

The Colt was first launched in the 1980s and initially intended for the armed forces, before appealing to a broad audience because of its sturdiness, its functionality and readability. It has subsequently established itself as the most accessible Breitling model, offering a blend of performance and unusual design. Available to date in four versions with well-defined characters, including a quartz chronograph and a ladies’ Breitling replica watches sale, the Colt collection now welcomes a new selfwinding chronograph equipped with a movement chronometer-certified by the COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute). Born for action, feats and thrills, this instrument brilliantly reinterprets all the key assets of the Colt collection, with counters placed at 12, 9 and 6 o’Clock. The broad unidirectional rotating bezel, with satin-brushed finishes and engraved hour-markers, is distinguished by its four “rider tabs“ – a signature Breitling feature – ensuring both excellent handling and optimal protection of the sapphire crystal glareproofed on both sides. The 44 mm-diameter polished steel case is water-resistant to 200 m (660 ft) and features a large screw-locked crown with protective reinforcements. The black, blue or silver dials are enlivened by a fine circular raised motif, and their readability is reinforced by oversized hands and hour-markers enhanced by a luminescent coating. A chronograph exuding a youthful, dynamic and winning spirit – ready to rise to the exceptional challenge of the Red Bull Air Race, a competition in which Breitling Racing Team pilot Nigel Lamb is the reigning champion.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Brocéliande

Manufacture Roger Dubuis has already revealed its unique vision of high-end ladies’ creations through a number of highly distinctive jewellery models, delivering a message of paradoxically timeless yet up-to- the-minute femininity.

Its spectacular Creative Skeletons now apply this proven expertise in innovative, inventive and ingenious jewellery Breitling replica timepieces to the Excalibur range, while also interpreting an unequivocally feminine vision of the skeleton.

Excalibur Brocéliande

As visitors to the SIHH 2013 will well remember from the Roger Dubuis World showcased on that occasion, the Excalibur range is inspired by the famous legend of King Arthur, filled with fairytale romance epitomised in the mysterious forest of Brocéliande.

Drawing on these imaginary narratives the designers and movement development engineers of the Manufacture Roger Dubuis have collaborated in unprecedented ways with gem-setting experts in creating a poetic trilogy of creations based on the ivy leaf theme.

In a subtle alliance between refined tech- niques and sophisticated aesthetics, Manu- facture Roger Dubuis literally entwines its skeleton-work skills with its instinct for fascinating and original jewellery-inspired creations. A recurrent theme in the natural world as well as in literature and mythology, ivy is believed to symbolise powerful emotional attachment, as well as faithfulness and eternity.

As such, it is an ideal emblem of the com- mitment to honouring women consistently demonstrated by Roger Dubuis.

The Excalibur Creative Skeleton Brocéliande powerfully yet delicately evokes the way in which the foliage of this evergreen plant subtly coils around its host in a symbiotic and almost fusional relationship. Decorative jewellery elements are cleverly entwined with the skeleton flying tourbillon movement and the dial, to the point where they become indistinguishable from each other.

Offering a magical blend of jewellery and cheap Breitling replica watchmaking expertise housed in an Excalibur case, the subtle gem-setting of the leaves ensures that they are all different, while the vines actually embrace the interior of the calibre, interlaced with its bridges. The skeleton inspiration for this ultra-feminine interpretation is drawn from the delicate lattice-work serving to support ivy as it softly and seductively winds its way along walls or fences.

Through an intricate and complex process, the exterior and the skeleton-work move- ment combine to create a 3D impact an acknowledged Roger Dubuis speciality that takes on special significance here in that it involves intimate cooperation between two very different professions.

As Product Design Director Lionel Favre, who clearly nurtures a passion for these Creative Skeletons, points out: “Jewellers and skeleton-work specialists indeed rarely enjoy such an outstanding opportunity for dialogue and interaction, marrying a world entirely dedicated to beauty and precious gems, with a highly technical form of expertise involving 100th of a micron precision.

This unprecedented collaboration involves eye-watering complexity and a degree of finesse that proves a daunting challenge when working with such tiny motifs.

The decorative elements are artfully added to the movement without disturbing its operation, implying extremely delicate assembly within such a small volume.”

In this enticingly eye-catching creation issued in an approx. 3.44-carat, 28-piece limited edition graced with a flamboyant red strap, the set pink gold case with gem-set bezel, lugs and flange frames matching red foliage composed of semi-precious stones in autumnal colours, dotted along slender gold wire ivy branches delicately set with diamonds.

The overall multi-layered 3D impact is further enhanced by the slimmer bezel and flange set with a double rank of brilliant Breitling replica watches cut diamonds, while a rose-cut diamond set on the crown lends a delightful finishing touch.

Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision

With this new creation unveiled in Geneva, Greubel Forsey houses its Tourbillon 24 Secondes in a particularly sophisticated case that exemplifies classic elegance. Its lines have been redefined to reduce its height. The tourbillon appears on the back of the timepiece taking its place under the sapphire crystal dome: a first for Greubel Forsey.

“Sophistication”

Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey’s primary intention is to present their third invention (the Tourbillon 24 Secondes) in a case that is as slender as possible and yet able to accommodate the unique inclined tourbillon cage.

It was the lateral projections of Greubel Forsey’s asymmetric models that inspired this original solution. By incorporating a dome into the sapphire crystal on the back of the timepiece, they have created enough extra volume to allow the tourbillon cage to overlap the reference surface of the movement bridges.

The dome is a new and intriguing element that draws attention to the lower tourbillon bridge.

This bridge is more than just a simple support; it is a triumph of technology and craftsmanship. Its geometry is like a Romanesque vault and its arched and barrelled surface is delicately polished by hand. Obtaining a perfectly regular reflection over the whole piece requires such expertise and experience that each bridge finished in this way is discretely signed by the craftsman-decorator who executed it.

Completing the exceptional standard of decoration that naturally applies to all 288 parts in the movement, the unique composition of colours and finishes creates a spectacular visual dynamic, with pride of place given to the sectorial 72-hour chronometric power-reserve indicator.

Simplicity

This new creation is also distinguished by its elegant, neoclassical simplicity. The overall aesthetic is highly refined, and pays tribute to the craftsmanship and finesse of each component.

Particular care has been given to the design of the hand-finished blued-steel hands, which immediately and precisely indicate the time. They have been lightened to the maximum degree and their form, in the shape of a lance, leads the eye straight to the indexes that are first engraved and then “oven-fired” enamelled into the solid gold dial.

The fast-rotating 24 second tourbillon is also an integral part of the graphic composition of the entire piece. Set inside a light-well, it creates an animated scene that is an irresistible invitation to explore the movement-side of the timepiece.

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