The mechanics of time laid bare

Soon the stars of the watchmaking runway will have nothing but the barest of bones to express themselves with. But these skeletons aren’t macabre; on the contrary, they offer vast areas of expression to the watchmakers who have managed to reinvent them. In 2015, skeleton watches are making their voices heard at the SIHH.

While the art of skeletonization in best Breitling Replica watchmaking is very old, it underwent a renewal a decade ago with the arrival of new timepieces intended to rejuvenate this technique of stripping down mechanical movements. Principally purely decorative, skeletonization-or the art of hollowing out the bridges and plates of a movement-has not just changed with the introduction of new component manufacturing procedures; it has been completely transformed. The 2015 SIHH has given us a new demonstration of this, while confirming that skeleton movements are well and truly in vogue. To such an extent, in fact, that certain manufacturers who haven’t mastered this art have opted for openwork dials just so that they can give their watches the skeleton name…

A window on the components

Gone are the days of slightly hollowed-out bridges and plates-now they are practically stripped bare! And it should be noted that very few old procedures have been transformed into such spearheads of daring contemporary watchmaking. The old has become sexy and new! Roger Dubuis has played a significant role in this metamorphosis, having quickly decided to explore this path and turn skeletonization into a true signature. In actual fact, the procedures implemented at Roger Dubuis completely changed the very notion of skeletonization, because instead of hollowing out an existing movement (taking care not to modify its structure or strength), they chose to imagine and design skeleton watches from the very first start of their creative process. This naturally allows for more flexibility, perfect calculation of the forces acting upon the movement’s architecture and, above all, calibers that are genuinely produced and visualized in three dimensions. In sum, engraving has been supplanted by chamfering and 3D views. Furthermore, the new products released by Roger Dubuis for 2015 are precisely focused on this skeleton theme, as the new Excalibur Spider Skeleton Flying Tourbillon illustrates.

Other brands have also contributed considerably to the current interest in airy, architectural movements. Richard Mille, in particular, has led many of his competitors down the 3D path, encouraging descents into watch movements. Distant descendents of traditional skeleton high quality Montblanc replica watches, these calibers are the result of a modern, transparent concept of watchmaking that lets the mechanics speak for themselves. Paradoxically, the RM 51-02 Tourbillon Diamond Twister presented this year plays with this transparency, which is partly obscured by an explosion of diamonds.

Honor kept intact

Cartier has also explored this approach extensively, designing movements as skeleton calibers from the very outset to such an extent that their openwork bridges now also serve as hour-markers in a concept patented by the brand. The new Rotonde Astrotourbillon embodies this process perfectly.

Traditionally, skeletonization was mainly reserved for ultra-thin movements, and several Manufactures are continuing to innovate in this field, even going as far as to set ultra-thin skeleton movements with gemstones. This is the case for Piaget, who has presented several such models over the last few years including the 1200D caliber, the first automatic gem-set skeleton movement unveiled in 2013. But even in this instance, the skeleton watch is no longer produced as it used to be: the spirals and other curved shapes have given way to ever-more complex geometrical forms (including inside corners, which are always difficult to chamfer), revealing relatively large decorated horizontal surfaces that give these timepieces their strength and character. Piaget is also using the art of skeletonization on more complex pieces, such as the Emperador Coussin 1270S, an ultra-thin automatic tourbillon presented this year. The two Tonda 1950 Skeleton references unveiled this year by Parmigiani Fleurier also demonstrate the current trend for ultra-thin skeleton movements that are contemporary. The women’s version is particularly noteworthy, with its sand-blasted sapphire crystal playing with semi-transparency. This Swiss replica watches sale leaves things mostly to the imagination and is not completely laid bare-its honor is intact!

Panerai Mare Nostrum Titanio

The chronograph made by Officine Panerai in 1943 for the deck officers of the royal italian navy is revived in a special edition of only 150 examples.

Many people know that the ancient Romans, following their conquest of Egypt and Spain, named the Mediterranean Sea “Mare Nostrum” (“Our Sea”) since they controlled the greater part of its coastline. It was the during the rule of Trajan that the Roman Empire reached it maximum size and its control of the Mediterranean coasts was then complete, entirely justifying the title. On the other hand it may not be known that, many centuries later – between 1941 and 1942, to be precise – there was a short period when Italy spoke again of “Mare Nostrum”: this was when, during the Second World War, the victorious missions of the Royal Italian Navy meant that for a short time a wide area of the Mediterranean Sea was controlled by the Italian fleet.

It was undoubtedly this second period, much closer to our own times, that the Panerai family had in mind when in 1943 it named the chronograph created for the deck officers of the Royal Italian Navy “Mare Nostrum”. This name had already been used by Guido Panerai in 1924 for what was probably the first Panerai chronograph, but all traces of this first model have been lost. However a few prototypes of the 1943 chronograph still exist, and these have enabled the new replica Breiitling watches to be reconstructed with great technical accuracy and similar aesthetic characteristics. The new Mare Nostrum Titanio is a Special Edition of the greatest interest, consisting of only 150 units. It faithfully reproduces the 1943 model, updating it to the highest standards of today’s high quality watchmaking and with some fundamental differences compared to the original.

The first difference compared to the vintage AAA Cartier Replica watches is the material of which the large case 52 mm in diameter is made. The metal used for this tonneau-shaped case is not steel but brushed titanium, a material which combines excellent non-allergenic properties and greater lightness than steel with the structural toughness needed to resist high pressure, external stresses and corrosion. The wide flat bezel, the screw back and the winding crown engraved with the words “Mare Nostrum” are all made of brushed titanium as well.

The chronograph functions are controlled by two classic push buttons, also made of brushed titanium, and the readings are indicated by the central seconds hand and by a subsidiary minutes counter dial at three o’Clock. The continuous seconds hand rotates in a subsidiary dial at nine o’clock. Protected by a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment, the dial is made in two levels and, instead of the dark green of the vintage model, it is a sophisticated tobacco brown, which coordinates with the brown leather strap and its ecru stitching.

The new version of the Mare Nostrum has a hand-wound manufacture movement: the OP XXV calibre developed on a Minerva 13-22 base; it is 12¾ lignes in diameter and has a balance wheel making 18,000 vibrations per hour, like the Angelus movement of the vintage prototype. This is a high quality Breitling Replica watchmaking calibre, hand-finished, with top-of-the-range technical details such as the column wheel and the swan neck regulator. The bridges are made of Maillechort, a nickel silver alloy that is particularly hard to work, and they have a sophisticated Côtes de Genève finish. The Mare Nostrum Titanio – 52mm has the reference PAM00603 and it is water-resistant to 3 bars (a depth of about 30 metres).

IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “75th Anniversary”

In 2015, the large digital date and month display becomes a dominant feature of the IWC Portugieser watch family. Limited to just 25 replica Breiitling watches in platinum and 75 of each of the red gold editions, the new Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “75th Anniversary” is equipped with a wealth of sophisticated complications that are available in this combination only from IWC Schaffhausen.

The digital perpetual calendar is one of the outstanding technological advances made by the Schaffhausen- based watchmaking company. With the new Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “75th Anniversary” (Ref. 3972), the Portugieser watch family now includes a model featuring a digital display for the date and month. This exclusive timepiece packs a wealth of IWC watchmaking expertise into its 45-millimetre case: perpetual calendar, large digital date, leap year display, chronograph with flyback function and the IWC-manufactured 89801 calibre with its quick-action switch and efficient double-pawl winding mechanism. On the occasion of its relaunch to mark the 75th anniversary of the Portugieser family, the watch is fitted with an arched-edge front glass and Santoni alligator leather strap and has an attractive new calibre design. The watch is limited to 25 pieces in platinum and 75 pieces each in 18-carat red gold with either a black or silver-plated dial.

Changing ways of seeing things in the course of time

The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “75th Anniversary” makes allowances for the different ways of seeing things that have developed over the centuries: the dial combines two striking, highly legible analogue displays (time and chronograph) with three digital ones (date, month and leap year). Today, most people prefer to read the time with the help of hands but are happy if the date is shown in figures. This was not always so, as can be demonstrated by the example of the time of day. In 1884, IWC unveiled its first Pallweber-style pocket watches with a jumping digital display showing the hours and minutes. The watches were an enormous hit, but then, after just 3 years, the craze was over. When digital time displays were embraced on a massive scale with the quartz watches of the 1970s, the watchmakers in Schaffhausen stuck to their guns and continued to use hour and minute hands. And for a good reason: on a digital display, the abstract information contained, for instance, in “11:45” first needs to be mentally processed, whereas the spatial arrangement of the hands on an analogue Rolex replica watches for sale is understood quickly and intuitively. It is, simply, “quarter to twelve”.

Displaying stop times is uncannily simple

Just how intensively the designers in Schaffhausen have thought about our habitual ways of seeing things can be seen from the chronograph display on the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month “75th Anniversary”. While considering whether there was a way to make the figures in the various subdials of a conventional chronograph easier to process, they hit on the idea of displaying the stopped hours and minutes in a totalizer – just like the time of day. The stopped seconds continued to be shown by the central seconds hand. From a design point of view this may seem ingeniously simple, but technically speaking it is very difficult to implement. To turn the “watch-within- a-watch” concept into reality, a team at IWC worked for 4 years on the in-house 89360-calibre chronograph movement with its particularly efficient double-pawl winding mechanism. Inthis assembly, four pawls arranged diagonally to the pawl wheel – in other words two sets of double pawls – convey the push-and-pull motion from the rotor to the barrel. This solution eliminates dead spots during winding and boosts the system’s efficiency by a significant 30 percent. The further-developed in-house 89801 calibre is now used in the Reference 3972. Like its predecessor, it features an integrated flyback function that enables the user to reset the running stopwatch hands to zero simply by pushing the button, and to start another timing sequence immediately.

An entire dial set in motion

It is said that some proud owners of an IWC timepiece equipped with the Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month movement put the complex mechanics of their fake Swiss Breiitling watches to the test on New Year’s Eve by starting the chronograph just before midnight. Precisely at the moment that the new year begins the entire dial is set in motion: six hands advance slowly while two large display discs and a smaller one also move forward with a distinctive and (due to the commotion caused by celebrations) barely perceptible click. Despite this tour de force of precision mechanics, the interplay between the complications does not affect the precision of the movement, even if there is hardly any more tension in the spring. Where does the IWC-manufactured 89801 calibre get all this power? The secret is a second source of energy, the so-called quick-action switch. Every night, when the date display moves forward, the switch siphons off a little of the energy, stores it and then discharges it precisely at the end of the month or year when, in addition to the date and month disc, the leap year disc also needs to be advanced. The perpetual calendar can be set easily using the crown. It will not require correction until 2100, a year that breaks with the conventional 4-year cycle and will not be a leap year. The see-through sapphire-glass back provides a view of the meticulously finished movement consisting of 474 individual parts. Following further development, the IWC-manufactured 89801 calibre now has a number of new features: the rotor and the inset “Probus Scafusia” medallion are now slightly more delicate in de- sign and made of solid red gold. Other new highlights include the decorative blued screws, which together with the red jewels and the Geneva stripes on the plate constitute an attractive ensemble.