Friday, August 28, 2015
For watch collectors, the more exclusive the watch the better. However, exclusivity isn’t the only benchmark; in Piaget’s case, uniqueness is even better. A Piaget Altiplano model features an embroidered rose as a dial case backdrop. The embroidery features complex needlework that shows the Yves Piaget Rose--the flower graces other Piaget models, either sculpted, enamelled, or bejewelled--in a white silk canvas. Silver threads outline the rim of the petals with the total area limited to about 38mm. Interestingly, the thread is so fine and valuable that it’s sold by the centimeter. For this intricate job, Piaget commissioned Sylvie Deschamps, a renowned expert in micro-pointillism embroidery. She’s one of the few practitioners in the world and was awarded the Maitre d’Artby by the French culture minister.
Piaget is available at Shreve & Co. in Portland, Oregon.
We’ve heard a lot of weird and funny engagement ring stories, but this one is clearly different. A man in China wanted to buy an expensive engagement ring (an A. Jaffe, maybe?) to his childhood sweetheart. He’s promised her twenty years ago that he’ll give her that ring. He has the money, $1870 alright, but there’s a hitch: they’re all in coins that he saved up for more than ten years. Towing the bag of coins with him, he was turned away twice in Fuyang, China, until the third shop took kindly of his coins. The coins were wrapped in newspaper for easy counting, but the shop made sure to account for each piece. The shop noted that the value was what the man told them, after finishing the counting for half a day. Oh, she said yes.
A. Jaffe is available at Shreve & Co. in Portland, Oregon.
When Patek Philippe released its limited commemorative men’s watch models for its 175th year anniversary, the most opulent among them is the Grandmaster Chime. The model features a double dial and fully reversible supercomplication wristwatch. It has twenty complications to boast, secure in an elaborate case. But the distinct feature should be the choir of chimes that the watch makes, a first of its sophisticated kind in any wristwatch. It mimics the grandeur of grandfather clocks and reflects the company’s mastery of perfecting micromechanical engineering. The watch is so exclusive that only seven pieces were manufactured. The Grandmaster Chime is manually wound. It has a date repeater, power-reserve indicator, and second time zone. The dials are solid gold, while the strap is alligator leather. It’s a watch that not only tells time, but tells us how watch perfection looks like.
Patek Philippe is available at Shreve & Co. in Palo Alto, California.
Hello Kitty, that iconic cute little innocent Japanese kitten--or a British schoolgirl, as Sanrio once claimed--isn’t only for girls in pigtails. The brand goes luxurious when it recently tied up with the Japanese luxury pearl jewelry, Mikimoto. The Mikimoto x Hello Kitty collection is cuteness fused in elegance, featuring 20 pieces. It includes Kitty-themed necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. The collection celebrates Hello Kitty’s 40th birthday. It targets women who have grown in age with the kitten. A multi-strand pearl necklace has an Hello Kitty bow out of rubies and onyx. The necklace itself features Akoya pearls and carries a hefty tag of about $280,000. On the other hand, the silver bangle with a Mikimoto pearl in Kitty’s bow goes around $550. Not for the little girl, clearly.
Mikimoto is available at Shreve & Co. in Palo Alto, California.
If you love Panerai and you live in Miami, you’ll be glad to know that the Florence, Italy-based watch company has opened a flagship shop at the Miami Design Center last July. For CEO Angelo Bonati, the shop reflects the success of Panerai to achieve its luxury brand status with a solid global following. The 2,200-sq. ft. shop is located within the luxury watch and jewelry brands section of the center. Bonati said the layout and design represents the Panerai Italian style. It has high ceilings and narrow space that invites plenty of sunshine, which was conceptualized by Spanish-born architect Patricia Urquiola. The boutique reminds shoppers of the watch’s Florentine roots, especially its seafaring feel featuring light brown woods and sea blue accents. The shop makes shopping for a Panerai an experience in its own.
Panerai is also available at Shreve & Co. in Post Street, San Francisco.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Did you know Baume & Mercier didn't start as a signature watch; rather, as a watch dealership? In 1830, brothers Louis-Victor and Celestin Baume opened a watch shop in Les Bois, a village in Switzerland. When it opened a branch in London, the "Baume Brothers," as it was then called, expanded worldwide, primarily within the British Empire. It was at that time reputed for selling precision watches. However, it wasn't until 1918 or 88 years since the first Baume shop was founded, that a certain Paul Mercier was invited as a partner to start Baume & Mercier, the wristwatch brand as you know it today. In 1988, the brand was brought under the house of Richemont, the owner of other renowned watches, such as, Piaget, IWC, Cartier, Montblanc, and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Baume & Mercier is known for its Clifton, Classima, Hampton, and Capeland lines.
Baume & Mercier is available at Shreve & Co. on Post Street, San Francisco.
When Japan introduced its first quartz watches in the late sixties, the Swiss watch industry was caught off guard. As more people opted for the novelty, convenience, and, more importantly, the low price of quartz watches, many Swiss watch companies were threatened. It was a tumultuous time for Swiss watchmaking, traditionally regarded as the heart of precision engineering and quality craftsmanship for timepieces. But this isn't the first time Swiss watches were threatened at this magnitude. When Jacques David, a watch engineer for Longines, visited America in 1876, he was surprised at the high level of mechanization and automation of the American watchmakers. After returning to Switzerland, he wrote two reports that specified recommendations to improve Swiss watchmaking technologies to counter the threat of American watches. He even predicted that if Swiss watch companies didn't improve their craft, it would be the end of the industry brought down by American ingenuity. Little did he know it would be Japan, many years hence, that would pose the greatest threat.
Longines is available at Shreve & Co. in Palo Alto, California.
Bell & Ross watches come across as bulky and seemingly odd because of its square appearance. However, the design follows precise design and functional principles that let this signature timepiece carve a niche in the crowded luxury watch market. The appeal of Bell & Ross starts at its clear visual indicators, which mirror a cockpit instrument for easy reading. Its watches also adhere to optimal water resistance; in fact, one model, the Hydromax, became popular among divers because of the unique hydraulic fluid inside the case to counter the external pressure during diving. This allows the watch to go even deeper than most diver's watches. Bell & Ross also sticks to highly accurate Swiss mechanical movements, such as the ETA Valjoux. Today, the signature watch also features a quartz collection, using the ETA 980. 163 15-jewel quartz movement.
Bell & Ross is available at Shreve & Co. in Portland, Oregon.
The sleek, stylish, watch designs notwithstanding, Parmigiani Fleurier watches owe its market acceptance to that piece of engineering inside the case: the movement. Unknown to many watch lovers, a few companies specialize in watch movement, including research and development to continuously improve the engineering. In Parmigiani Fleurier's case, it relies on Vaucher Manufacture, a company founded in 2003 to concentrate on creating advanced movement for Parmigiani Fleurier. While the watch company focuses on promotional activities, Vaucher concentrates on creating precise movements for the watch's high-end and prestige lines. Based in Fleurier in France, Vaucher is also behind the complications atelier, which is one of Parmigiani Fleurier's signature features. When you appreciate a Parmigiani Fleurier, appreciate, too, the machine inside the watch that makes the watch tick.
Parmigiani Fleurier is available at Shreve & Co. in Palo Alto, California.
The watch brand Corum is known for releasing limited editions each year, making it one of sought-after signatures in timepieces. The watch has other claims to fame, some trivial, while others are truly bragging rights. The first time watch lovers heard of it was when Corum created a watch made from a $20 gold coin. It features a manual wind or quartz movement inside a "double eagle" or a "liberty" coin that makes up the watch, which is regarded as a collectible. Corum is also noted for creating its Tourbillon and Classical collection, which showcases the most sophisticated and elegant complications. One model features a diamond and sapphire cover with a movement floating between sapphire bridges. Similarly, Corum's Admiral Cup is famous for representing one of the major yacht races in the world.
Corum is available at Shreve & Co. in Portland, Oregon.
Friday, August 14, 2015
For the prestigious 25th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie for 2015, IWC launched its impressive Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition 75th Anniversary. Setting its outstanding history into motion to celebrate its diamond jubilee, IWC created this remarkably handsome, highly-balanced and classic-inspired Portugieser to be more of an everyday wear timepiece as a tribute to the legacy of this iconic watch. With a steel or rose gold variant, the new Portugieser also features the IWC-mandatory 8-day power reserve and an in-house 59215 hand-wound movement. This timepiece is bigger than its predecessor (43mm X 12mm), runs at 4Hz, and boasts of other features like a Glucydur beryllium alloy indexless balance, a breguet spring, sub-seconds with date, and a power reserve indicator on the movement side that are visible through the sapphire display case back.
IWC is available at Shreve & Co. on Post Street, San Francisco.
It's official. As of July 2015, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Squelette is the thinnest mechanical timepiece in the world--at just 3.60mm thick (or thin?)--beating its closest rival by 0.05mm. Just like in racing sports, being a formidable foe is considered a remarkable feat, even by a mere hairline. The Piaget Altiplano 900P is the previous record holder among mechanical watches, at 3.65mm. This Altiplano held the title for two years since its launching. Then came Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Squelette, which closely beath Piaget at its own game, by an almost microscopic lead (so to speak)! But being the slimmest in the world doesn't mean it's also minuscule in its features. The Master Ultra Thin Squelette is already breath-taking by itself, being beautifully skeletonized and decorated handsomely. Its technologically innovative hand-wound movement--which is only 1.85mm thick--is made possible by the watchmaker's Calibre 849ASQ, which is composed of around 120 intricate parts, with 19 gems, and a 33-hour power reserve.
Looking closely, though, there really is no bad blood involved since both Jaeger-LeCoultre and Piaget are sister firms under the Richemont Group. Jaeger Lecoultre is available at Shreve & Co. in Portland, Oregon.
To join in the grand celebration of the 50th Independence Anniversary of Singapore, Ball Watch launches the Ball Fireman Night Train SG50. This highly dynamic and progressive Island-State is among the top market for Swiss watches, next only to the U.S., Germany, Italy, China, Japan, and Hong Kong. Singaporeans are also known to be avid fans and wearers of watches. That's why despite being a small country, the total Swiss watch exports in Singapore for 2014, as reported by the Federation of the Swiss Industry, had reached US$1.15 billion. A truly astounding feat for a nation of only 6 million people! The Ball Fireman Night Train SG50 comes in a 45mm case, is water resistant up to 100m, with an impressive diamond-like carbon finish that makes the timepiece highly resistant to wear-and-tear and scratches. This astounding new timepiece from Ball Watch will likely make Singapore and other countries more Swiss-watch crazy than ever.
Ball Watch is available at Shreve & Co. in Portland, Oregon.
As a follow-up to its highly-successful J12 timepiece, Chanel launched the new Chanel J12 G10 watch collection. This timepiece highlights the company's successful fusion of a famous feminine sport strap (the G10 or "NATO" strap) into the already iconic luxury watch. Chanel employs alligator leather for this new line, with the metal parts of the straps are either in 18k white gold or steel. To achieve a more elegant and feminine look, the Chanel J12 G10 line is generously "enriched" with diamonds. While the J12 line, over the years, had come in various movement types, size and styles, the new 2014 collection features a solitary mechanical version is an 42mm wide 18k white gold case, with a full pavé dial and diamond decorated case. The new J12 G10 watches is another testimony of Chanel's astute and highly stylish approach of using black and white ceramic, which had enabled the popular fashion company to be included into the elite group of the highly exclusive watch-making industry.
Chanel is available at Shreve & Co. in Palo Alto, California.
A wristwatch designed to help save lives? Yes, there's one such timepiece and it's called the Breitling Emergency. Among its many "firsts," Emergency is the world's pioneering timepiece equipped with a built-in frequency personal locator beacon (or PLB), which functions to guide search and rescue missions and send alert signals. This extraordinary Breitling watch also features a SuperQuartz™ movement which is 10 times more precise vs. regular quartz as well as a black titanium Night Mission edition showing an anti-glare stealth-type image created for dangerous assignments. Truly a remarkable achievement in watchmaking, the Breitling Emergency is designed as a survival and safety tool for professionals and adventurers like you.
Hurry up and get your own Emergency! Breitling is available at Shreve & Co. in Palo Alto, California.
Friday, August 07, 2015
There's just no fool-proof way of knowing when is the right time to tie the knot. But still, with the ever powerful love, we'll find a way, such as by considering these simple tips to know when you're ready to walk down the golden mile. Here are some good signs. Firstly, you must reach the point when there's no need to impress each other. This is when total acceptance is already achieve. Secondly, you must learn how to fully trust each other. You cannot live with someone you distrust under the same roof, right? Thirdly, you two must become certified BFFs, with whom you can openly share everything, both good and bad. Fourthly, no one between you owes anything to each other, financially. That's why it's good way to practice conjugal property. Finally, both of you had found, at least to some degree, what "forever" means.
And once you're sure she's the one, get her a L'Amour Bridal Jewelry by Christopher Designs, available at Shreve & Co. in Palo Alto, California.
Nowadays, people turn to social media and blog sites for information and guidance. Such dependence had made several social media and blog sites owners become celebrities in their own right, many with millions of followers and avid fans. In the beauty and fashion blog world, one of the most influential names is Julie Sarinana of Sincerely Jules. Since founding her LA-based blog in February 2009, the 29-year old Julie uses her famous blog as a creative channel to share her ideas, style, influences and appreciation of anything cool. So in this highly-wired digital world, to be "noticed" and positively reviewed by famous bloggers like Julie is already a big thing marketing-wise. Recently, she blogged: "I love John Hardy jewelry because the design is elegant with a modern twist which I find to be refreshing and beautiful. It’s for the woman who is confident and effortless." A million thanks Ms. Julie!
John Hardy is available at Shreve & Co. on Post Street, San Francisco.
Simply beautiful. This is likely how one will describe each creation made by one of Italy's top jewelry designers, Marco Bicego. Born and raised in the acknowledged birthplace of Western civilization, Bicego had more than the necessary cultural and artistic influence he needed to dominate the world through his exquisite jewelry creations. He says that he creates jewelry by drawing from his Venetian roots and the natural environment he lives in. He also attributes his skills and workmanship to the long tradition of quality and mysticism behind Italian jewelry making, which includes the use of the traditional "Bulino," a distinctively Italian-made instrument for hand-made jewelry making which provides gold with an exquisite brushed character that cannot be found anywhere else. The beauty of Marco Bicego creations lies in the magical fusion of seemingly imperfect forms with old culture and modern world values but somehow achieves harmony and elegance as a whole.
Marco Bicego is available at Shreve & Co. in Portland, Oregon.
A. Lange & Söhne has recently launched the second generation of its iconic bestseller Lange 1 collection, which, since 1994, had been the prime timepiece of the leading German watchmaker. With an almost similar design as the original, the new Lange 1 now features a new manually wound calibre, an off-center primary dial, with ancillary seconds with stop seconds. The watch also has an innovative leaping outsize date, which goes forward automatically by one day every midnight, thus perpetually providing a definite reading. Also equipped with an up-down power reserve indicator and 3-day power reserve, the new Lange 1 models are available in elegant platinum, alluring pink gold and charming yellow gold.
Get your own A. Lange & Söhne timepiece now at Shreve & Co. in Portland, Oregon.
To be the number one jewelry brand in the United States is never an easy feat. For Suna Bros., achieving and remaining in the top spot involves two intricate and demanding elements in the creation of fine jewelry--precision and imagination. Every Suna creation starts to exist in the psyche of the designer, who then gives life to his concepts by putting it on paper. From the realm of imagination, the design enters reality as it is subject to actualities like scaled drawings in different views, similar to blueprints made by architects. The final part is the metamorphosis of these drawings into elegant and astounding jewelry pieces, which can only be realized through the expertise of seasoned artisans. Each Suna piece are created using only the highest-quality available materials, and all gems are meticulously checked and chosen by hand to assure strict adherence to high Suna standards. The final stage involves polishes creating the most ideal finish for every jewelry. The end result? Absolute Suna perfection.
Suna Bros. is available at Shreve & Co. in Palo Alto, California.