Thursday, May 19, 2005

Top selling Fine Watch Brands in the U.S.

According to 2004 sales statistics from National Jeweler Magazine, these are the top-selling watch brands in the United States by dollar sales:

1. Rolex
2. Citizen
3. Seiko
4. Movado
5. Bulova
6. Cartier
7. Tag Heuer
8. Breitling
9. Omega
10. Patek Philippe

Friday, May 13, 2005


Sometimes even photographic mistakes can end up looking pretty cool.

High Tech Watches

Clear Aluminum. Silicon gears. High-Tech Ceramics.

Sounds like a list of items needed to upgrade the Space Shuttle right?

Actually these are some of the latest high-tech materials to be used in mechanical watch-making.

First you have clear aluminum (I didn't even know the metal could be made transparent) as employed in the new Krieger Mysterium. Their ad says it is "So Beautiful, it's Scary." You can take a look at it and see if you agree. According to Krieger this type of case material took 4 years to develop and because it so hard to work with they are only able to produce a limited quantity each week. Because of this they are limiting this edition to 1,000 peices.

Then you have Patek Philippe who announced just prior to the Baselworld watch fair that their new limited edition 39mm Annual Calendar watch will contain an anchor escapement wheel made of silicon. This material (long used is computer components) is ideal for micro-machanics. The fact that it is extremely hard, dense & perfectly smooth means that the wheel needs no lubrication. Read more about it at Does this mean another Silicon Valley will emerge, this time in Switzerland?

And finally one recent trend in case & bracelet materials is high-tech ceramic. This material is extremely hard (considerably harder than any metal in fact) and is highly resistant to heat, corrosion, scratches, wrist sweat etc. And it looks pretty cool too giving watch cases a color and style that is completely new and innovative. The best known example of this is the Chanel J12 in either white or black ceramic. Versace has added their own ceramic watch, the DV One, also in white or black ceramic. We'll see how long the trend continues. . .

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Watches in Literature: Alice's Adventure in Wonderland

Here is a good reason not to have just anyone overhaul you watch:
The Hatter was the first to break the silence. 'What day of the month is it?' he said, turning to Alice: he had taken his watch out of his pocket, and was looking at it uneasily, shaking it every now and then, and holding it to his ear.

Alice considered a little, and then said 'The fourth.'

'Two days wrong!' sighed the Hatter. 'I told you butter wouldn't suit the works!' he added looking angrily at the March Hare.

'It was the best butter,' the March Hare meekly replied.

'Yes, but some crumbs must have got in as well,' the Hatter grumbled: 'you shouldn't have put it in with the bread-knife.'

The March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily: then he dipped it into his cup of tea, and looked at it again: but he could think of nothing better to say than his first remark, 'It was the best butter, you know.'

Alice had been looking over his shoulder with some curiosity. 'What a funny watch!' she remarked. 'It tells the day of the month, and doesn't tell what o'clock it is!'

'Why should it?' muttered the Hatter. 'Does your watch tell you what year it is?'

'Of course not,' Alice replied very readily: 'but that's because it stays the same year for such a long time together.'

'Which is just the case with mine,' said the Hatter.

-- Lewis Carol, Alice's Adventure in Wonderland, Chapter 7.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Mystery of the Red Submariner

We recently acquired a vintage Rolex "Red" Submariner. The Red Submariner (model 1680) was the first Submariner model to incorporate a date function on the dial. The "no date" Submariner had been in production for over 10 years before Rolex decided that even under water you might need to know what date it was.

There is an entire website devoted to Red Rolex Watches where you can learn more than you probably ever wanted to know about Red Submariners, GMT-Masters & Daytonas. The "Mystery" of the Red Submariner is in the years of its production. While it is mostly agreed upon that these Red Submariners were produced between 1966-1973 (ours is a 3 million serial number putting it at 1971) the author of explores a few possibilities that cast some doubt on this. You can read all about it here.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Persistence of Memory

"Time is not rigid. It is one with space -- fluid."
- Salvador Dali

So this is a little off topic - what is a jewelry piece doing in a blog about watches? Well this particular piece of jewelry is very interesting and features a limp pocketwatch so I figured it was enough of a fit. A client recently gave us this pin on consignment. It is called the Persistence of Memory and was designed by Salvador Dali and produced by Alemany & Ertman in New York City back in the 50's. This is based on Dali's painting of the same name created in 1931. Originally there was a production of 8 pieces in 1949 that featured a pave diamond watch face with black enamel numerals & hands - these are all housed in the Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain. According to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, this particular piece in our possession must have been a reproduction of the original, produced at a later date and was created for commercial distribution. We're still digging around for more information on this unique pin.

Monday, May 02, 2005

What's your Birth-Watch?

Ever wonder how the idea of birthstones came about? How did April get the honor of the diamond while January gets a lousy garnet? Is it all just a marketing ploy to increase sales of certain stones in certain months?

Well the origin of the birthstone, most people agree, dates back thousands of years to the breast plate worn by Aaron the brother of Moses. It was adorned with 12 different jewels to represent the 12 tribes of Israel. Over time these precious stones were matched with the 12 months of the year or the 12 signs of the Zodiac and attributed with special qualities. The chart varies in different traditions and cultures but here is the official modern American list (adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912):
  • January - Garnet
  • February - Amethyst
  • March - Aquamarine
  • April - Diamond
  • May - Emerald
  • June - Pearl, Moonstone
  • July - Ruby
  • August - Peridot
  • September - Sapphire
  • October - Opal, Tourmaline
  • November - Yellow Topaz, Citrine
  • December - Blue Topaz, Turquoise, Tanzanite

(I suppose with a few of the months you get a choice depending on which stone happens to be in fashion at the time.)

Now there were no wristwatches back in the time of Aaron so the idea of a birth-watch hasn't really taken hold yet. But there is no reason we can't change that. If there were a chart of birth-watches, what would they be? Well here is my list (only time will tell if it becomes universally adopted around the world.)
  • January - The Pocket Watch (the pocket watch was of course the first watch, the ideal choice for the first month of the year).
  • February - The Perpetual Calendar Watch (this is the month that screws up all regular calendar watches and is the whole reason for the Perpetual Calendar function anyways.)
  • March - The "Iced Out" Fashion Watch (You know like a Michele, Ice-tek, Technomarine, Jacob etc. - colorful watches great for Spring).
  • April - The Tourbillon Watch (April's birthstone is the diamond - the most valuable of all gemstones - so why not also give it the tourbillon - the most valuable of all watch functions.)
  • May - Vintage Ladies Cocktail Watch (perfect for Mother's Day)
  • June - The Chronograph Watch (great for timing a good car race like the Le Mans 24 Hours.)
  • July - The Oversized Sports Watch (wear it while off-roading in your oversized Sport Utility Vehicle.)
  • August - The Diving Watch (A Panerai + Aruba + August = Perfect combination).
  • September - The Classic Yellow Gold Watch (September is a nice simple month: a good Patek 3919 or 3802 comes to mind).
  • October - The Rose Gold Watch (to match those rich autumn colors.)
  • November - The Dual Time Zone Watch (Over the river and across the timezone to Grandmother's house we go. . .)
  • December - The Minute Repeater (chimes just like those Christmas bells.)

Well what do you think? Would you make any changes/additions? Don't take it too seriously though, it is just a marketing ploy.