‘Haute Horlogerie‘, ‘in-house manufacture‘, ‘made by hand‘ are terms too often used by brands only for marketing reasons. When it comes to really appreciate the beauty of a hand polished internal angle, of a balance wheel designed in-house, of a black polished screw-head, the number of candidates able to achieve such a level of detail is considerably lower than brochures can tell. Philippe Dufour, Kari Voutilainen or Roger W Smith are parts of the (extremely) small bunch of watchmakers worthy of such honors. However, another one deserves our attention, Romain Gauthier, which comes with the new HMS Ten.
Independent Haute Horlogerie and AHCI
HYT Watches is not known to be shy. The brand’s creations are both visually extreme and technically spectacular. For instance, take a massive (but wearable) 49mm case, extremely complex in its design and case in it a movement indicating the time with a watch’s worst enemy: liquid. This is clearly not traditional watchmaking. For their latest creation, Vincent Perriard and his teams went further in the extremeness with a pure concept: welcome the HYT Skull, the mad side of one the maddest brands.
Identity is a brand’s main objective. Look at a Rolex and you’ll recognize it at first glance. Same goes for a Ferrari or a Louis Vuitton bag. Identity is the key to be seen as a brand, to stand out of the crowd and to make people know about your products. Even if its introduction is recent (2006), Armin Strom proved us to have such an identity, to have products recognizable among every others and to manage a coherent collection with clearly defined design clues. Here is a superb example of this identity, the Armin Strom Racing Gravity, fully reviewed here for you.
The goal of our Weekly Watch Photo column: showing you exceptional pieces with superb photos, in their natural element. For this week, we knocked at the door of one of Monochrome’s favorites, a crazy watchmaker capable of totally unusual watches: URWERK. The brand recently came up with the UR-105 (their value-proposition). We also showed you two of their creations, the UR-210 and the UR-202. However, we wanted to get back in the past, with a watch presented in 2010, the so-cool URWERK-CC1 ‘King Cobra’.
The Aurora Borealis, AKA the ‘Northern Lights’ are a natural display of light found on the northern hemisphere. If you’ve had the chance to witness them first-hand you’ll know, they are nothing short of spectacular. Streaks of blue, green, purple and yellow light shooting across the sky in mesmerizing fashion. The same effect is achieved with the Gustafson & Sjögren’s watches due to its Damascus steel features. We go hands-on with number 1 of 5 of the new GoS Aurora, which took inspiration from this arctic sunrise.
Since founding their unique watch company ten years ago in 2004, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have created an indelible footprint, instantly recognisable and firmly imprinted on the world of watchmaking. In the space of just one decade Greubel Forsey have become a benchmark watchmaker, and every move they make is followed keenly by collectors and other watchmakers alike. One of their most famous creations now comes in black: say hello to the Greubel Forsey GMT titanium Black ADLC.
Grieb and Benzinger have quite literally hand carved a niche of their own in their approach to watchmaking, and interestingly it does not involve the current trend of racing to develop costly in-house mechanical ‘manufacture’ movements. Instead, their speciality is in taking honourable vintage and antique movements and breathing completely new life into them, before housing them behind hand made dials and cases of spectacular beauty and colour. For once, they decided to remove every notes of colours to create a full black watch, the Grieb & Benzinger Pharos Centurion Imperial in Palladium with Black Diamonds.
There is no doubt that whereas Switzerland is renowned for its pedigree in watchmaking, so Sweden conjures up images of cool, stark design, where products do exactly what they were created to do, but without much in the way of fuss or over the top decorative flim-flammery. Bearing these two thoughts in mind, and even though it might not be immediately apparent, one can envisage a connection between these two countries and the values for which they are best renowned. And it’s not the cold, snowy winters you might first think of.
The Hautlence watch company, set up only ten years ago, are really on a roll. A milestone year, 2014 has seen CEO Guillaume Tetu welcome football legend Eric Cantona into the fold as brand ambassador and really, it’s something of a match made in heaven, because like the former midfield maestro, Hautlence do things according to their own set of rules. As they round out their anniversary year, Hautlence have announced one last piece to say adieu to 2014 with. The new Hautlence HL2.5 is of course a continuation of their Concepts d’Exception project, which has thus far been the physical platform for their profoundly innovative in-house Calibre HL2.0 automatic self winding movement.
A tribute to fine and antique watchmaking together with MB&F spirit: that was the goal of the Legacy Machines when Max Büsser presented it. Remember the LM1, the first of the collection and certainly Monochrome’s preferred one. We loved it in Red Gold and in White Gold. Now, we have to love the MB&F LM1 in platinum with electric blue dial, just like the LM2 Limited Edition.