May 16, 2017

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#SpeedyTuesday – Omega’s Tribute to Online Fans

The Omega Speedmaster is a watch best known for its history with the NASA space missions – and now it‘s making history in a different kind of space altogether – cyberspace. Omega released a special edition of the Speedmaster as a tribute to their online fans – a first for luxury watches.

Here’s the story behind the Omega that went viral: Every Tuesday since 2012 Robert-Jan Broer, the founder of Fratello Watches, faithfully posts articles on his watch site. The subject of his regular Tuesday uploads, of course, is the ever-popular Speedmaster.

Fans from around the world started following, and sharing pictures and insights, asking questions, and obsessing about watches – and it soon grew into the place to go online to find out anything at all about the Speedmaster. In fact, the blog is now a bit like an encyclopedia of all things related to the watch.

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May 08, 2017

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Vintage Rolex, a class of its own!

If you bought a Rolex Daytona with a Paul Newman dial in 1970, looked well after it over the years and still were in possession of it today, then you might have had a good chance to auction it today and make a killing out of it.

A few highlights since 2013 include the rare 1942 Rolex Split-Chronograph (of which only 12 were ever made) which sold for $1.17 Million at Christie's or the 1971 Rolex Daytona Ref.6263 Albino that belonged to Eric Clapton and sold for over $1.5 Million at Christie's in Geneva. Results from the Phillips Day Date Auction also shout for a new world record, a Day Date for over $500,000!

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April 16, 2017

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Vintage Watches and the Search for "New Old Stock"

Over the last twenty to thirty years I’ve seen constantly growing interest in the world of luxury watches.

Just like old cars and antiques, there now seems to be a booming demand for old things – but ironically, the pieces that are most coveted are those that are as near to “new” as they were when they were first made.

Today brand new watch sales are on the downturn, globally. The same cannot be said about vintage watches, though. Financial analysts believe the worldwide vintage watch collecting industry is now worth in the region of $2 billion, with $300-350 million of that overseen by the auction houses – Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips. And vintage is growing each year.

Speaking to Business of FashionEric Wind, vice president, senior specialist of watches for Christie’s explained:

 “We’re seeing unprecedented interest across the board in vintage watches. Everything from vintage Rolex to emerging brands at a level under $10,000 has gained incredible amounts of new followers and collectors in the last year.”

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April 11, 2017

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Blast From The Past

Basel, the little Swiss haven is the heart of the Swiss watch industry is the home of Baselworld, the most important annual event in the world of luxury watches since the first SchweizerMustermesse Basel in 1917. The event is always anticipated and is the showcase for the elite of watchmaking, and the place where the top brands display their trophy masterpieces, and network with the most important global distributors.

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March 27, 2017

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Vintage Watches for Modern Style

As a watch expert, one of the questions I get asked very often these days is: “What is the best vintage watch to start my collection off with?”

In the last few years a lot of people have cottoned on to the fact that buying a fine vintage luxury timepiece is often much better value for money than buying a new one. You can find a Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantine from fifty years ago in gold without busting your budget. At the same time, you get to wear and to show off an exceptional watch and tell everyone who notices it the story of how you hunted it down and claimed it as your own. Best of all – if you buy wisely the watch might be a really good investment too.

So in this article, I would like to share some of the advice I often give to first-timers about the vintage watch market. Of course, it all depends on your personal ideas about what makes a good watch, but here are some of my favorite vintage classics that make good, safe (and affordable) choices to start your personal collection.

5 Vintage Watch Investments For the Modern Man of Taste

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March 15, 2017

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Ambassadors of Time

As someone passionately involved with vintage watches every day, I have often been asked the question: “What is it that makes a watch truly iconic?”

 The truth is that there is no simple answer to that question. Generally speaking, if something is “iconic” it needs no introduction – it speaks for itself, and represents something bigger and something enduring. Of course, the horological world is a surprising one, and there are many exceptions to the rules.

 If you’re looking for a short answer, you might say that if you don’t need to mention the brand name before the model, then it’s an iconic watch. Some examples are the Speedmaster, the Royal Oak, and The Daytona. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that, and I would like to take this opportunity to review some of the most iconic watches and some of their most recognizable and memorable features in this article.

The test of time

One of the things that define a timepiece as iconic is that it is still well-known many years after its original introduction. A watch passed on from generation to generation, and which still functions perfectly, and is still desirable to wear, would certainly fit the bill.

This angle is actually used by Patek Philippe, in advertising their, which reads in part: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely hold it for the next generation.”

In my opinion, the simplicity and elegance of the Calatrava is a good example of longevity and durability.

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March 08, 2017

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The Omega Speedmaster Celebrates its 60th Year in Style


A 60th Birthday is a big milestone in the average person’s life.

Depending on where in the world you live, it probably marks the age where you can qualify for a pension, or start thinking of retirement. In some parts of the East, 60-year-olds sometimes wear red at their birthday party, where guests will offer gifts of really long noodles to symbolize a long and healthy life.

It’s supposedly the year that the calendar resets –so it’s called a second birth. I suppose that’s something to look forward to, at least.

This year the Omega Speedmaster turns 60 – but there’s no sign of slowing down, or retirement, at least not anytime soon. Omega has just released the SpeedmasterMoonwatch Automatic Master Chronometer to mark the occasion.

As far as luxury watches go – the Speedmaster is a legend. Most often it’s associated with the NASA space flight programs of the 1960’s and 1970’s, and being the first ever watch on the moon, it has earned the title “moonwatch.”

Back in 1957, when it was first created, however, it wasn’t intended for space flight at all. It was the world’s first chronograph wristwatch with a tachymeter scale on the bezel – and it was a tool watch for racing car drivers.

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February 20, 2017

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Movement Makers on the Move

      

A great watch is far more than just a functional piece of jewelry. For the true aficionado of haute horologie, the real pleasure lies in going deeper into the secrets of the craft.

Enthusiasts of super cars will often become lyrical about “what’s under the hood” of the latest model. It’s the same with me and watch collecting – half the fascination lies in finding out what makes it tick.

As I was sucked ever deeper into the details of watchmaking, I found it quite surprising to discover that only a handful of the top brands actually produce their own movements.

There is an intricate web of inter-company collaboration, with many surprising twists.  

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February 14, 2017

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The 'fine art' of Cloisonné Watch Dials

Can something as functional and decorative as a watch dial truly be called a work of art?

Perhaps the real question here is: What is art? If you’ve taken an art class at university, you might well say that art is a combination of form and content. You could then just as easily say that the cream and cinnamon leaf in your cappuccino is art – and it’s hard to argue.

Art, as always remains a matter of opinion, and taste, especially when it comes to the question of what you’re willing to pay for said art piece.

For me, a true work of art is something to savor, something that brings deep enjoyment, both aesthetically and emotionally, and makes me feel a sense of awe at the vision and skill of the artist. It’s uplifting and inspiring. It keeps its value over time because what it embodies is more than a trend or a fashion.

By that definition the Cloisonné enamel dial ticks all the boxes.

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February 07, 2017

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SIHH 2017 Unveils New Watchmaking Dimensions

The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH)takes place in Geneva this month, and the five-day premier event officially kicks off the year for watch lovers. Each JanuaryI look forward to seeing what the world’s most renowned watchmakers will unveil here.

The 2017 season at Palexpo features the major players in the luxury watchmaking industry, with most forming part of theRichemont Group, such as Cartier, IWC, and Piaget – all long-standing participants.

Last year, however, the Salon added a twist – the Carré des Horlogers section, showcasing fresh new design talent, and independent watchmakers.

Building on the success, this year they are adding five more, including Grönefeld, MCT – Manufacture Contemporaine du Temps, Ressence, RJ – Romain Jerome and Speake-Marin. The creations that debut at this event will set the trend for the year to come.

My selection of new watches that deserve to be included here range from the quirky (and slightly revealing) to the astronomically complex.

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