Welcome back to an aBlogtoWatch original series, where we discuss important stores that sell watches all over the world. Each store we profile has an interesting story to tell about where they operate and who they sell to. Whether you buy watches from brick and mortar retailers or prefer to buy watches online, these are the stores that help shape our watch culture around the globe. There is a long list of stores to cover, but if there is a retail location in your favorite city that we simply can’t miss, let us know in the comments below.
Where to buy watches in Austin, Texas?
ABTW: What are some of the watch brands you are known for carrying? If you could pick a watch brand or model that epitomizes the culture or style of Austin, what would it be?
Mickey Nolan: No worries. So, when you wind the watch, you’re contracting the mainspring. This gives it energy, because it then wants to expand. This energy is what drives the watch. It’s transferred to a finer, coiled spring, called the hairspring or balance spring, which then expands and contracts like a beating heart. The hairspring then drives a tiny wheel, called the balance wheel, which swings back and forth in harmony with it. The swings of the wheel determine the watch’s timekeeping.
This jet setter Montblanc is 41mm wide and a little under 10mm thick, with a steel case that features both brushed and polished surfaces. With a crisp silver-white dial and deep blue accents, the Montblanc Chronométrie Dual Time looks great. In addition to the bracelet seen here, Montblanc is also offering the Montblanc Chronométrie Dual Time on a leather strap or as a two tone version with a gold bezel and matching dial accents.
Sean Wai: I'm not a collector, so I don't actually feel an urge to own any of them. These watches serve as inspiration to me, and I always say that I only love watches that when I look at them, I can't answer for a fact that I can design something similar. So the allure to me is more in whether I can create something that rivals or compares favorably to these watches and maybe make them a little more accessible to other people. I suppose my answer here is a little different to what your average watch collector would say, and if I were to answer the question as is, it would be that I could afford the watch but did not get it.
The company that is manufacturing these tubes is called MB-Microtec, situated near Bern, Switzerland. They are the only company on the market today that is capable of manufacturing these barely visible glass tubes and filling them with tritium, thanks to their special know-how for working with glass cylinders of this size. Therefore, MB-Microtec is claimed to be the sole supplier to any and all watch brands who use tritium gas tubes for their watches. As such, if you have such a watch in your collection (or plan on acquiring one), the glowing tubes you see on the hands and indices of the watch were made here, and in the way that you will see more about below. The company is also the manufacturer of its own watch brand, Traser.
Well, toeing that line might feel a little hypocritical, if you've ever lusted over a luxury quartz watch. I certainly have. I even used one in my previous example: the Breitling B55 Connected is a luxury quartz watch that connects to your smart phone using similar, if not identical technology to the Bulgari Diagono Magnesium Concept. There are plenty of purists who dismiss quartz as it is. I've never been that strict on the matter, because I tend to care more about what the watch stands for. That said, there comes a point when even I believe a line should be drawn.
This Tank - in addition to being a men's model - is the Cartier Tank MC. "MC" stands for "Manufacture Cartier" and refers to the fact that inside the watch is an in-house made caliber 1904 MC automatic movement. Cartier originally released the 1904 MC movement a few years ago in the Cartier Calibre (review here). Cartier also uses various versions of this same movement with slight changes for their chronograph watches, which also exist in both the Calibre and Tank collections. The 1904 MC was designed to be a robust base for a range of in-house made Cartier movements - which is why you might see it show up a lot in "Cartier MC" watches.
The Omega caliber 8900 is a rather lovely movement, and the 8901 adds some 18k Sedna gold elements. The 8900 shares a lot with the 8500 architecture, but, as noted, boasts anti-magnetic properties as well as the "Master" designation. The "Master" part of the name implies that it uses the non-magnetic parts, making for an extremely anti-magnetic timepiece (and of course, it is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback). Operating at 3.5Hz, the 8900 offers 60 hours of power reserve through two mainspring barrels and, functionally, offers the time and date on the dial.
The watch will communicate with the Touch Zero One app running on your phone – chances are that we are talking about both Android and iOS phones, acting as a fitness tracker which, in this case, happens to be designed with a focus not just on sports in general, but beach volleyball specifically.
Manfredi Jewels: The majority of our clients live within a forty mile radius of the store. That being said, we have collectors that live around the globe. Probably about 50% of our clients are very savvy about watches and own five watches or more.
For 2015, Casio introduces yet another new Pro Trek collection watch with the PRW-3500 - offered in a few variations - which predictably build upon the impressive Casio Pro Trek PRW-3000 (reviewed here) from 2014. These fresh "many function" sports watches are a favorite among outdoors enthusiasts and active professionals, and here, they continue a design theme Casio has been carefully refining for many years.
Going back to the original point of Olio attempting to be a high-end smartwatch, are its makers doing what is necessary to achieve that goal? I think it is too early to tell. The hardware might not have the lavish curated polish of the Apple Watch - but then again, it isn't trying to be that. The Olio Model 1 - which really launches the company - is about a strong beginning and leveraging its boutique operation along with collective skills into a software and hardware experience that will be distinct from pretty much everything else out there.
The first major surprise is how well I was able to get the comfortable titanium bracelet to fit. I normally don't spend a lot of time in a watch review talking about a watch bracelet, but Ball's bracelets are worth a lot of discussion, as they are really relevant to this review. A bad bracelet would have easily made such a large watch totally unwearable. A good bracelet means you can get a snug fit, which vastly increases the comfort of a larger-sized timepiece. In terms of design, you have a two-link style bracelet with a polished inner link. I like the little bits of polishing on the outer edges of the links as well. It makes for a really good looking yet modern sports watch bracelet.
We will update this post in a few days with better images of the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon for 2015 but I can say that it will have a black-and-blue color theme (as opposed to the black and red color theme of the Carrera 01). There might also be a more monochromatic version. Apparently, the movement for this tourbillon will be adapted from the "on hold" TAG Heuer in-house made caliber CH 80 chronograph movement that the brand decided to not seriously put into production at this time in order to focus more on its caliber 1887 movement (which is the base for the TAG Heuer caliber 01). TAG Heuer will call the Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon movement the calibre Heuer 02, and it means the Carrera Chronograph tourbillon will have a power reserve of about 60 hours and operate at 4Hz.
Personally, I often prefer more formal timepieces to land in the 36mm-39mm range. This model, though, proves among the most successful executions of a dress-style watch at such a scale. Its refreshing to have a larger size as such an appealing option, with a hefty serving of unexpected wrist presence. The original used a different crown - a kind of stylized carved Deco-style sunburst/flower - that exuded more personality, as opposed to the standard Piaget signed crown here; I definitely prefer the former. But the biggest difference between the original and the current version lies in the choice of mechanism.
When I was reviewing the Halda Space Discovery, I could not help but be reminded of the theme originally espoused by UK brand Linde Werdelin. While Linde Werdelin has changed its marketing path since its start, the brand's distinctive case style was designed to equip an electronic module, first known as the Land Instrument. The brand eventually offered The Rock (what the Land Instrument was later renamed) and The Reef (for diving). These electronic modules literally clipped on top of the case and had digital screens. The idea of both brands is to offer the ability for the customer to have a traditional watch dial and movement, or the functionality of a small computerized device meant for serious adventure in various climates.
The decision of whether to get the updated Tudor Pelagos in black, or in the new blue is going to be difficult for people - especially if they have an existing model. To update it with a newer model is reasonable, but completely based on whether or not the person getting it is doing so for the added color or the new movement. If it is the latter, their outgoing Pelagos is probably going to be OK to stick with, unless they are the type of person who always must have the best in mechanical stuff.
Ever since the smartwatch became a thing, I have been preaching that companies need to pool their resources and talents to create something that consumers want. A new type of smartwatch platform called MMT (Manufacture Modules Technologies) was just announced out of partnership between a series of companies both in Switzerland and in Silicon Valley. This isn't a big deal just because it means the small but crowded smartwatch market has a new face, but because, in my opinion, it represents a wise step in the right direction of how the Swiss luxury watch industry needs to integrate itself into the smartwatch world. Welcome to the MMT electronic watch movement family and the Horological Smartwatch.
Geneva will play host to some of Heuer’s most significant and complicated watches as the theme for the Geneva exhibition is Major Inventions. The highlight of the Geneva exhibition is the Mikrograph from 1916, the first chronograph to measure to 1/100th of a second.
The gold theme stops right there, as the black dial remains rather plain – which is not necessarily a bad thing – with no immediately noticeable texturing and restrained design elements. One detail that I generally look for when it comes to chronographs is the color of the hands: I feel it enhances legibility and highlights the purpose of the feature when all three hands (seconds, minutes and hours) of the function are in the same color – in this case, that would have been red. Instead, some circular texturing has been applied to the 12 and 6 hour sub-dials of the chronograph, which indicates that the designers at Porsche Design did consider separating the stopwatch function's indications but decided to paint only the chronograph seconds hand red and leave all others white.