Velociphile's Journey into Watches

Adhoc stuff about wristwatches. The technology of horology, escapements and patents to the industry and the market. Try me in Japanese or Chinese

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Patek Philippe Nautilus

What with the 30th anniversary of the Nautilus being celebrated this year, it's time to reflect on the Nautilus' origins.

It's worth remembering that the concept of the luxury stainless steel sports watch never existed before the 70's and the genre was pioneered by Genta's AP Royal Oak in 1972.

Patek followed in a leisurely 1976. Always controversial in shape, Nautilus suffers jibes like 'old man's watch' or 'swing-and-a-miss' but both watches come from Genta though it's Stern himself who takes the inventor status on the patent for the Nautilus.

The original 3700/1 has the same 'two hand only' approach as the Royal Oak to create the stillness and calm of the face along with its slimness. Coming from a time when more modest sizes were the norm, the 3800 now appears ridiculously small by modern standards and as a result is available for far lower sums than the one everyone wants, i.e. the 3700 'Jumbo' that's comparable in size to the Royal Oak 'Jumbo'. With only some fine tuning of the bracelet ten years later, the Jumbo stayed on the Patek range as the 3700/11 till 1990 when, foolishly, Patek discontinued it and after a gap of, I think, around 8 years relaunched the later 3710/1 with their own movement which gets seconds and a stupid 'IZR' (power reserve) indication.

With the comet just behind the hand, the winding gauge shows fully wound. The hand advances as the movement winds down. When the watch is being wound the comet zone catches up with the hand. The comet can never overtake the hand. If winding continues, both the comet and the hand will advance together maintaining the same relative position. If the movement is allowed to run down, the hand enters the danger zone at the thin end of the comet. The hand reaches the thick end of the comet to indicate that the movement has run out of power. Simple!

It may only be the fault of the hideous Roman numerals, but the 3710/1 has never been as popular. It is probably the pure ugliness of this very watch that has led to the hyper prices being paid for the 3700 and compromising souls, who must have one, to the 3800. The current 3711/1, may well sport good looks with baton markers and without the 'IZR', but is solid white gold - not exactly 'sports watch' material albeit attractive in its weighty greyness! And then most recently, we've had the surprise of the 3712/1a coming and going in a flash with ensuing speculation of its value.

With the official launch of the new range (allegedly with chronograph, annual calendar and moonphase versions) on Oct 12th 2006, we eagerly wait to see what form the next Nautilus will take and how and whether Patek capitalise on the cult of the Nautilus.

Friday, August 25, 2006

RANT - Flattery Imitation the Sincerest Form Is

Having had a chance to read a few watch magazines of late, I noticed an interesting similarity between some of the articles and subjects that have been handled recently (e.g The Chinese, Swiss Made, even Diego Maradona and his Rolexes) in old blog articles by myself and others. Fair enough I thought, but what was alarming though was that the originating blog articles by myself and other great watch bloggers (see links right) were a) weeks AHEAD of the magazines and b) the gist of the article was lifted from the blog with a bit more comment.

Moral? 1. Read it here first on the blogosphere and 2. magazine editors, please have some ideas yourselves or at least credit us out here - we're doing this for nothing.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Accuracy of Patek Philippe Watches

I contacted Patek Philippe regarding the expected accuracy of their mechanical watches and they were very kind to reply very promptly (within 24 hours).
With regards to your question regarding timing, our current range for a mechanical watch would normally be between -2 and + 3 seconds a day.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions.

With kind regards

Dxxxxxx Bxxxxxx
That places them at 'twice' as good as the ubiquitous and actually quite tough COSC standard of -4 to +6 s/d.

The future without ETA?

Although Swatch giant ETA has been forced to extend movement supply to 2010, alternatives must be found, and fast, for non-Swatch companies. It may be that we are looking at part of that future right here:
Seiko has introduced this new automatic calibre 6R15 that hacks and can also be hand wound - always the shortfall of the otherwise impressive 7S26. This would take them right into ETA 2824 territory. What with "Swiss Made" meaning so little anyway, it wouldn't take much to see this kind of movement licensed into otherwise Swiss products with a different name on the rotor.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Holiday Code Break Challenge (Corrected!)

what with all the da vinci tosh in the nEws A while ago.... here are Two prime names, the very best Kept secrets for buying wAtches from the internet. See you in a whiLe and i hope you enjoy the breaK. As Long As you enJoy Having a go at Breaking it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sinn 6100

If you don't know it, Minutemachines of Michael Sandler has some simply wonderful pictures and is well worth checking out. He recently studied the Sinn Regulateur 6100 and reveals features missed in the official pack shots. See the pics here until he gets time to upload to his main site. Great job Michael.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sinn 903 H2 - The Coolest 903 of Them All

Mirror mirror on the wall who is the coolest 903 of them all? Well in the absence of the long discontinued 24 hour manual wind version.... read on.

The Sinn 903 is a better Navitimer for those in the know. Despite now being based only on the ubiquitous 7750, it beats the Breitling hands down as it stays true to the tool watch ethic at a sensible price. In comparison the Breitling Navitimer is an overpriced lifestyle product and, frankly, jumped the shark a while back.

The 903 could only be improved by the application of Sinn's oil free escapement technology 'Diapal'. However, in the absence of that, Sinn decided to make a few 903s with the last of the manual wind Lemanias available to them and it's a fine move - perhaps even better than the old series.

Now, whilst the 903 H4 version is a fine piece too, it's apparently not a true limited item like the bi-compax 903 H2 (above left). The busy four dial H4 with its moonphase, date and 12hr sub counter is being produced in "low restricted annual volumes" (so called "fortlaufend nummeriert" or sequentially numbered) rather than one never to be repeated, completed run of 220 (which is what we were originally told.)

If you haven't ordered it by now, you're too late, probably, maybe.....

Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 Dr Velociphile - all rights reserved.
The opinions posted on this blog are solely those of the author. Velociphile does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any message, and Velociphile is not responsible for the contents of any post. I mean come on people, get a grip. I take no responsibility for comments posted on this site. Views expressed within it are not necessarily representative of those of Velociphile. Any offensive or abusive content will be removed.

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