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Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Magma Watch Fuses Carbon And Epoxy To Striking Effect Watch Releases

Well, well, well… What fiery madness is this? With some of the most arresting pack shots of 2019, the Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Magma watch bursts into reality. And while it looks like it has leaped from Satan’s drawing board to terrorize all humankind, I’m assured that, like the rest of its products, this new piece from Ulysse Nardin started life in Le Locle, Switzerland. And it has no intention of razing society to the ground, apparently.

The most striking aspect of this watch (aside from the sweat-inducing lavascape used in the press images) is the case. Described by the brand as “a carbon-fiber tour-de-force,” this watch will polarize, which is one thing that can be said for sure about this new take on an evermore overused material. On the one hand, it looks a bit like the angry big brother of the Swatch Sistem 51, but on the other, it’s an incredibly badass, characterful watch that has the guts to mix technically impressive horology, brand new material technology, and an attention-grabbing aesthetic.

Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Magma Watch Fuses Carbon And Epoxy To Striking Effect Watch Releases

To achieve this effect, carbon fiber is mixed with red epoxy resin, creating a marbled effect that is unique from piece to piece. This makes the watch housing incredibly light and comfortable on the wrist. Whether this piece goes too far in the weight-saving category, resulting in a product that feels insubstantial is another divisive talking point. When it comes to the weight of watches, my personal feelings vary on a case-by-case basis. If it makes sense with the overall design (as I believe it does with this watch), then I find I’m quite sympathetic to it, but if, as in the case of my beloved Omega Ploprof, it undermines a significant characteristic (however opinion-splitting) of the design, then I’m not so much a fan.

The Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Magma is 43mm in diameter. The brand pitches this as “compact” (and the price as “accessible”), but this will obviously rankle some. That said, avant-garde designs of this nature tend to appeal to those who like their watches more noticeably proportioned, so this might have been a wise choice.

Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Magma Watch Fuses Carbon And Epoxy To Striking Effect Watch Releases

Technically, the watch is quite impressive. With its manual-winding UN-371 movement, which is heavily skeletonized and integrated to the dial, the Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Magma leaves little to the imagination. The bright red numerals pair well to the grey hands. Both numerals and hands are treated with Super-LumiNova.

Being able to see straight through a watch is always going to divide the consumer population, but with such a generally ambitious concept I think it works pretty well. The four-day power reserve is nice to see, and the Silicium minuterie gear train and 3Hz Silicium balance remind anyone who might have momentarily forgotten that this is a typically futuristic offering from a storied Swiss watchmaker. The price for this ‘hot’ property will be $25,000

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StockX Is Offering One Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Batman At Retail Price Sales & Auctions

Detroit-based online marketplace StockX is offering watch buyers (and general cool hunters) a unique method of obtaining luxury items. The price of items is dictated by the demand for them, much in the same way that stock prices go up and down on the stock exchange. Underpinning this refreshing approach to retail are the company’s core principles: transparency, authenticity, and anonymity. And to ensure that the products offered are entirely authentic, StockX has brought on board a team of watchmakers to sign off on every single listed piece. The platform enables collectors from around the world to buy and sell items at their current, demand-driven value. Occasionally, StockX is able to offer high-demand pieces at their original retail price, giving registered users of the site an incredible opportunity to purchase something well below its current market value.

Baselworld 2019 saw the hotly anticipated release of the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR. Its black and blue bezel has carried a few nicknames over the years, but none is more widely used than the “Batman.” The previous iteration of the “Batman” debuted in 2013 but was only available on the classic professional bracelet. 2019 saw the black and blue bezel paired with a jubilee bracelet for the first time. The result was a waiting list that continues to grow to this day. Consequently, demand for this watch has driven the current market value up to around $20,000 from an original retail price of $9,250.

StockX Is Offering One Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Batman At Retail Price Sales & Auctions

The demand for 2018’s Rolex GMT Master II “Pepsi” proved that the consumer base for stainless steel GMTs from Rolex on a jubilee bracelet presented a ravenous captive market. It was only a matter of time before the industry’s most recognized brand released another product into that category to take advantage of the frenzy caused by the Pepsi’s release. Predictably, the sales of the “Batman” were similarly rapid, which is good news for those who purchased one at retail and very bad news for anyone who didn’t and still wants one.

Chances of getting your hands on one of Rolex’s most desirable watches for anywhere close to four figures have been pretty slim. But the team at StockX doesn’t think that’s very fair, so they’ve decided to change all that for one lucky watch-lover.

StockX Is Offering One Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Batman At Retail Price Sales & Auctions

Last year they did it with the “Pepsi”, and now, StockX will be “restocking” a single Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLNR “Batman”, making it available for its retail price of $9,250. Bidding is open between the 25th and the 28th of June, 2019.

All you have to do to enter the running is open an account, place a bid (which will be locked at the retail amount of $9,250), invite your friends to share in the opportunity, and follow StockX on Instagram.

And the best thing about the competition is that is totally risk-free. Non-winning bidders won’t be charged a cent, so you can partake without risking anything. Only the winner, who will be selected at random by StockX from all qualifying entrants, will be charged.

StockX Is Offering One Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Batman At Retail Price Sales & Auctions

Create an account with StockX on your desktop or mobile device. You can find our app in the iOS or Google Play store. If you’re an existing account holder, make sure you’re using the latest version of the app software before heading to step 2.
Beginning July 25th, place a $9,250 bid on the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR ReStockX. You won’t be charged unless you win. Bidding is restricted to US users only.
You can check out the full terms and conditions for the upcoming competition here. If you’d like to learn more about StockX, then please visit stockx.com. If you’re interested in learning more about StockX, you can find out everything there is to know on stockx.com.

Sponsored Posts are a form of advertising that allows sponsors to share useful news, messages, and offers to aBlogtoWatch readers in a way traditional display advertising is often not best suited to. All Sponsored Posts are subject to editorial guidelines with the intent that they offer readers useful news, promotions, or stories. The viewpoints and opinions expressed in Sponsored Posts are those of the advertiser and not necessarily those of aBlogtoWatch or its writers.

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The MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red watch joins what is perhaps MB&F’s most show-stopping range. While the first thing anyone is likely to notice about the latest Aquapod is the color, there are in fact a couple of really nice upgrades to a collection that was already the epitome of excellence in the field of horology.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red Watch Brings More Than Just Color To The Aquapod Range Watch Releases

In the past, we’ve seen Titanium Blue, Red Gold, and Titanium Green versions of this watch. As the most limited model thus far, the production of the MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red is restricted to just 25 pieces. One reason for that could be the case material. Unlike previous versions, this watch is fashioned from platinum 950, which is surely going to increase the overall heft of a watch that in titanium, at least, is renowned for its lightness.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red Watch Brings More Than Just Color To The Aquapod Range Watch Releases

However, despite its gargantuan dimensions, coming in at 58.8mm-wide and 21.3mm-tall, the MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red is a slender, unconventional beast. Its bizarre silhouette — styled to look like a jellyfish, obviously — means that as big as it is, it isn’t all that bulky.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red Watch Brings More Than Just Color To The Aquapod Range Watch Releases

Despite its size, and its clear nautical influence, the MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red is only water resistant to 50 meters. This is exactly the same as the other Aquapods and probably the only major drawback in the design. I’m not suggesting for a second that any serious diver would actually dive with this watch on their wrist even if it were resistant to 1,000 meters, but it would have been nice if MB&F had found a way to ensure that a watch that is clearly designed to shatter our expectations of what a dive watch should look like was actually able to be used alongside the generic divers it is subverting.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red Watch Brings More Than Just Color To The Aquapod Range Watch Releases

The bright red bezel is crafted from sapphire crystal that differs from the previous three iterations, which all used ceramic (in blue, black, and green respectively). It is an interesting decision to plump for sapphire here, but it does marry nicely with the steeply domed anti-reflective crystal “bubble” that displays the tourbillon in the center of the watch. In addition to the sapphire bezel, so, too, is the tourbillon bridge now sapphire, increasing the overall transparency of the watch (and perhaps making it look even more like a jellyfish). An extra ring of lume in the center picks out the tourbillon in a way it hasn’t been before.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red Watch Brings More Than Just Color To The Aquapod Range Watch Releases

Red is an interesting choice for a dive-inspired watch. As Zach noted in his recent Citizen article, red is one of the first colors to drop out of view as you descend beneath the surface. That’s why certain species of jellyfish have evolved to have red pigmentation, as it makes them less visible to predators. Talk about the ultimate stealth luxury watch… Platinum and invisible in its intended environment. Just wow.

MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red Watch Brings More Than Just Color To The Aquapod Range Watch Releases

Finally, the biggest upgrade (in my lume-obsessed opinion) can be seen in the way the numerals have been crafted. Originally the Aquapod series used printed rings to display the time, but here we have glorious 3D Arabic numerals machined from titanium and generously impregnated with Super-LumiNova. It is a stunning improvement, and somehow puts the legendary light show of the previous three iterations in the shade. The new MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red watch will be delivered with three straps in red, black, and white, fitted with a platinum folding buckle. Given the use of platinum and the other obvious upgrades to this model, it is no surprise that the MB&F HM7 Aquapod Platinum Red will retail for a tasty $165,000

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Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf Carbon Blue Watch Watch Releases

If you’ve been glued to your screen over the weekend, watching this year’s British Open and finding yourself inspired by Shane Lowry’s masterful romp to victory on a rain- and wind-battered course, we’ve got a little bit of luxury to stave off the chills for you. Earlier this year, Hublot announced an updated colorway to the world’s first mechanical golf watch with aperture display, which originally debuted in 2017. Backed by World Number 1 Dustin Johnson, the new Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf watch adds a moody blue option to the crisp white debut model of two years ago.

Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf Carbon Blue Watch Watch Releases

While we’ll delve into exactly how this watch is useful for keeping track of your score while making your way around a real-life golf course, it is worth mentioning that Hublot has taken pains to ensure this 45mm timepiece is no gimmick and have designed it to be comfortable and robust enough to make it back to the clubhouse in one piece. By using a case that has been carved from Taxalium, Hublot’s ultra-light and ultra-strong amalgamation of fiberglass and aluminum, topped with a thin layer of carbon (hence, the name), the watch weighs in at less than 100 grams on the wrist. With a 72-hour power reserve, the watch can happily tick over through rest days to give your back a break from the strains of driving 350 yards on the regular. (I wish I could empathize.)

Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf Carbon Blue Watch Watch Releases

The MHUB1580 movement allows golfers to record hole scores as they make their way around the fairways. The watch features three pushers at 2 o’clock, 4 o’clock, and 8 o’clock. The 2 o’clock pusher is used to count the shots, while the hole number is displayed through an aperture at 9 o’clock. Once you’ve holed your putt, you press the 4 o’clock pusher, which simultaneously advances you to the next hole (at 9 o’clock), resets your shot counter (at 3 o’clock) to zero, while tallying your total score through a double-window at 6 o’clock.

Hublot Big Bang Unico Golf Carbon Blue Watch Watch Releases

The tee-shaped pusher at 8 o’clock is only used at the end of the round, as it rests all the counters to zero. Hublot has installed a safety mechanism so this tee is not depressed accidentally. Before applying pressure to the pusher, it must be turned by 45 degrees to unlock it for use — a smart move, as resetting your counter when flexing your wrists for a tricky chip out of the rough on the 17th would probably result in a club-over-the-knee situation.

And when the game is put to bed, and you find yourself relaxing at the 19th hole, the sight of the MHUB1580 full-skeleton movement will surely impress your clubmates, who are stuck using pen and paper to record their scores (as you will have to do anyway if you want to avoid disqualification for failing to sign your card in competition). 

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Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Tokyo 2020 And Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Tokyo 2020 Limited Editions Celebrate Upcoming Olympics Watch Releases

With a year yet to go until the curtain lifts on the games of the 32nd Olympiad, Omega is getting its commemorative watches out early. This week sees the release of the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Tokyo 2020 and the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Tokyo 2020 Limited Edition. The former integrates the logo of the Olympics 2020 into the dial design, while the latter adopts the colors and iconic red sun of the Japanese flag.

Omega’s relationship with the Olympics is long and well documented. While its status as the official timekeeper has not been constant since the first time it took over duties in 1932, the brand has shouldered the responsibility of recording records and separating the very best the sporting world has to offer an impressive 28 times, all told (including Winter Olympic events).

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Tokyo 2020 And Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Tokyo 2020 Limited Editions Celebrate Upcoming Olympics Watch Releases

Striving to provide the best service to the men and women who spend their lives training for a shot at Olympic glory has spurred Omega to create some of the most sophisticated timekeeping technologies in the world. Both of these new timepieces showcase the very best of Omega’s core Seamaster offering by employing high-tech materials and in-house movements.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Tokyo 2020 And Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Tokyo 2020 Limited Editions Celebrate Upcoming Olympics Watch Releases

The Seamaster Aqua Terra Tokyo 2020 Limited Edition is designed to perform on both the land and in the water. Rather than simply printing the geometric logo of the Games on the dial, Omega has, instead, opted to debut the Aqua Terra collection’s first laser-engraved ceramic dial. Following the positive reception of the Omega Seamaster 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer at Baselworld 2018, which also boasts a decorated ceramic dial, the brand opted to roll out the technique in what is a dressier branch of the Seamaster tree. The 41mm stainless steel case has a sapphire display back, which is also embellished with the 2020 logo. Through this, it is possible to see the OMEGA Master Chronometer Calibre 8900 beating away, keeping time to the highest standard of precision and magnetic-resistance.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Tokyo 2020 And Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Tokyo 2020 Limited Editions Celebrate Upcoming Olympics Watch Releases

Meanwhile, the Seamaster Planet Ocean Tokyo 2020 Limited Edition is an excellently subtle nod to the host nation. Japan’s famous flag has been lovingly referenced with the large red dot on the lollipop central seconds hand and is the only color on an otherwise entirely white watch (which references the field of Japan’s flag), aside from the red 20 on the uni-directional timing bezel.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Tokyo 2020 And Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Tokyo 2020 Limited Editions Celebrate Upcoming Olympics Watch Releases

This piece measures just 39.5mm, aligning it with the Planet Ocean watches more generally targeted at women. It is, in my opinion at least, one of the most stylish, versatile, and clever Olympic special editions the brand has ever produced, and I believe the slightly smaller size of the oftentimes hulking Planet Ocean watches will not put off male customers too much. The stainless steel case against the white ceramic bezel ring (which features an OMEGA Liquidmetal™ diving scale) creates an ice-cool contrast that is certainly eye-catching. On the reverse, the OMEGA Master Chronometer Calibre 8800 can be viewed through a sapphire crystal caseback that is also decorated with the transferred Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games emblem. This is the one thing I would change about an otherwise “quiet” limited edition, as it seems a bit of an unnecessary flourish.

Both models will be limited to just 2,020 pieces. Pleasingly, both watches come with a stainless steel bracelet, so you don’t have to choose between the two. This is a nice touch for anyone who finds the huge gulf between the aftermarket cost of a rubber/leather strap and buckle and a bracelet an annoying quirk of Omega’s. Pricing has yet to be released, but we will update the article as soon as it becomes available. To learn more about these watches and Omega’s Olympic history

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The Electricianz The CarbonZ Watch Watch Releases

You always remember the watches that shock you. When I first saw the Electricianz Ammeter watch, it leaped off the screen at me. I pored over the press release, desperate for an explanation of what exactly this bright spark was all about. Believing almost immediately that, with the viability of a project so aesthetically divisive, its key to success (or gateway to failure) would come down to pricing decisions. Having studied the product and assessed the price, I got the feeling the brand got it just about right, but would probably have to weather a lot of crticism for such an off-base design. Now, with the release of the Electricianz The CarbonZ watch, the brand adds a smoky new colorway to a range that seems to have found its feet.

The Electricianz The CarbonZ Watch Watch Releases

At its core, the Electricianz The CarbonZ watch is a very simple time-only quartz watch with a neat light that illuminates the off-center time dial for a few seconds when the button at the traditional 2 o’clock position is pressed. What is anything but simple about this watch, is its striking aesthetic. With a very clear inspiration, the watch delivers in the design congruity department by visually celebrating its roots, while making full use of the battery-powered movement with the illuminator.

The Electricianz The CarbonZ Watch Watch Releases

One of the most opinion-splitting aspects of the design has the be the nylon case. While the watch has a decent weight to it, thanks to a metal core, the aesthetic lives on or dies  with your opinion of the non-standard “sheath” that gives the watch its form. We’ve got a hands-on review lined up for this piece coming in few weeks, so I’ll dive into its feel and wearability then, but from a purely stylistic perspective, I like it based on the images supplied. The lack of a sapphire crystal (mineral is used here) is a shame for the price, but it doesn’t diminish its appearance.

The Electricianz The CarbonZ Watch Watch Releases

My immediate takeaway for this piece is that it hits a weird demographic. At around $400, it’s approaching the pricing realm of some pretty decent entry-level mechanicals. To beat out those competitors and attract fans of traditional watchmaking, it had to go all-out with its trend-bucking design. It will win some people over, without a doubt, and be seen as a fun, arresting alternative to the more standard fare one might expect to find in a seasoned watch-collector’s portfolio. But where it sings, in my opinion, is its appeal to young fans of watchmaking — and I mean really young. Although it is way out of the price range of kids storing their pocket money for sweets and comics, I could see it being a much-loved gift from an experienced watch-loving parent hoping to encourage their eight-year-old to take an interest in their passion. I’m basing this entirely on my having shown these images to all of the children in my extended family to get their feedback. Simply put, they thought it was cool. And the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with them. It can be very easy to forget what made us fall in love with watches in the first place, but the simple joy an object can elicit shouldn’t be overlooked, even when such a purchase cannot hope to result in value appreciation.

The Electricianz The CarbonZ Watch Watch Releases

The problem faced by any burgeoning lovers of this fascinatingly varied craft would be case size. At 45mm, this is quite a large piece (although not unwieldy, due to its light weight). But that doesn’t detract from its immensely engaging appearance. It will certainly split opinion, but, like many of the most enduring watches history has observed, that may not be a bad thing at all.

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Zenith DEFY High Jewelery Watch Series Sparkles Into Life Watch Releases

The Zenith DEFY collection has been on something of a roll since its rebirth in 2017. As one of the fastest-growing collections within the Zenith catalog, it is also the brand’s currently favorite vehicle for experimentation. New materials, new (edgy) dials, and now a celebration of Haute Joaillerie, the Zenith DEFY family is fast becoming one of the most diverse and interesting in the industry.

Released with one eye on the holiday season when frantic gift-hunters are known to pull off convincing magpie impressions in search of something sparkly, the Zenith DEFY Classic and Zenith DEFY El Primero 21 have been treated to a stone-set skin just in time for the holiday season.

Zenith DEFY High Jewelery Watch Series Sparkles Into Life Watch Releases

There are four models available in total, with two each from a different DEFY sub-family. Both Zenith DEFY El Primero 21 High Jewelry chronographs are presented in 18 karat rose gold cases. The first of which (pictured above) is set with brilliant-cut white diamonds and topped by a bezel decorated with baguette-cut white diamonds. The total diamond weight on this 44mm model is a pretty hefty 5 carats.

Zenith DEFY High Jewelery Watch Series Sparkles Into Life Watch Releases

But if that’s not colorful enough for you, then the alternative is a case enlivened by small diamonds arranged in a seemingly random “snow setting” and a rainbow bezel comprising 44 VVS baguette-cut sapphires. Continuing the color-wheel theme are the hour markers, which are also made from colored sapphires. This ties together the external decoration and the internal display. Both of these models are powered by the El Primero 9004 Automatic movement, which boasts a 1/100th of a second chronograph function thanks to its 36,000vph operating frequency.

Zenith DEFY High Jewelery Watch Series Sparkles Into Life Watch Releases

For a more contemporary look, the Zenith DEFY Classic High Jewelry models, both with 41mm titanium cases, are considerably less opulent. However, the white diamond-set DEFY Classic in titanium (seen in the picture above) is perhaps too subdued in comparison to its far fruitier release mates. While the rainbow-bezelled DEFY Classic version (pictured in the lead image) is not exactly a shrinking violet, the white strap and dull gray of the titanium housing does wonders to mute an otherwise loud affair. If I were able to choose which one I’d like to find in my stocking on Christmas morning, then that’d be the one for me. Not only would it match my multi-colored parachute pants, but also because if you’re going to rock a bejeweled timepiece, you might as well go the whole hog.

These extravagant members of the Zenith DEFY collection will go on sale at Harrods in October 2019. 

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Heure Raffinée Eternal Watch Collection Is Bringing Baroque Back Watch Releases

On July 15th, 2019, the Heure Raffinée Eternal Collection launched on Kickstarter. The project is the culmination of three years of research and development into bringing the opulent and intricate styles of Baroque art into watchmaking. The result is a collection of timepieces that is brought to life by stunning details, from the partially open heart design at the front of the watch to the custom rotor design at the back.

Heure Raffinée Eternal Watch Collection Is Bringing Baroque Back Watch Releases

WHY BAROQUE?

Certain art styles lend themselves quite directly to watchmaking. Watches inspired by the principles of the Bauhaus School or Art Deco movement are ubiquitous. It is far less common to see an art form as ornate as Baroque realized effectively on the wrist. Originating in the 17th century, the Baroque movement swept Europe. In Paris, several Baroque-styled chapels sprang up, beautifying the streets and inspiring awe and wonder with their opulence and grandeur. The desire to pursue this less trodden track came to Heure Raffinée Founder and CEO Karsten Toh while observing the art and architecture of these Parisian chapels.

Heure Raffinée Eternal Watch Collection Is Bringing Baroque Back Watch Releases
Heure Raffinée Eternal Watch Collection Is Bringing Baroque Back Watch Releases

The premium Miyota movement reveals itself through a window in the dial. The automatic 90S5 Open Heart caliber can be seen beating away from both the front of the watch and the back where a deftly decorated rotor weight spins, charging the movement’s mainspring, which provides a 42-hour power reserve when fully wound. The Heure Raffinée Eternal Collection watches are water resistant to 50 meters and covered by a 12-month international warranty. Pricing will start at $729 Sinaporean Dollars for the first 20 pieces sold on the launch day ($729 SGD equates to $530 USD at the time of writing). By the end of the campaign prices will have risen to $899 SGD ($655 USD), which is 25% below the MSRP. 

Sponsored Posts are a form of advertising that allows sponsors to share useful news, messages, and offers to aBlogtoWatch readers in a way traditional display advertising is often not best suited to. All Sponsored Posts are subject to editorial guidelines with the intent that they offer readers useful news, promotions, or stories. The viewpoints and opinions expressed in Sponsored Posts are those of the advertiser and not necessarily those of aBlogtoWatch or its writers.

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When Texan brand Tockr released its Hydro-Dipped Air Defender this Summer, the reaction was unsurprisingly colorful. But that’s a good thing, these days. In a rapidly evolving retail arena, brands are searching for something that sets them apart from their peers. By creatively importing a decorative technique more common to the automotive industry than our own, Tockr has, quite resoundingly, done that in an aesthetic and technical sense.

Hydro-Dipping Watches With Tockr In Vallorbe Inside the Manufacture

As a watchmaker, I am always keen to learn about new techniques firsthand. To my excitement, Tockr invited me to Switzerland for the day so I could see how these unique (and yes, I do mean unique) watches get their new skin. Better still, I was offered the chance to try the dipping process myself. Buoyed by this opportunity, I jetted off to Geneva to meet Serge Pierre Aebischer of Tockr, my guide for the day.

Hydro-Dipping Watches With Tockr In Vallorbe Inside the Manufacture

The factory that applies this arresting finish is based in the picturesque town of Vallorbe, about an hour outside of Geneva. Surrounded by the French border, the factory’s humble exterior belies the wealth and gob-smacking variety of activities within.

Hydro-Dipping Watches With Tockr In Vallorbe Inside the Manufacture

We were greeted by the director of TEC Group, Arnaud Faivre, a gleeful man with a long and fascinating history in the watch industry. Serge and Arnaud go back a long way. Throughout their time as friends and colleagues, they have worked with a who’s who of watchmaking and been involved in the sale, development, and design of more innovations than I could count. I used to think that the most lethal weapon in the watchmaking industry was a steel Omega Ploprof wielded by a madman, but I think I might have to replace that with Faivre’s phone book dropped from a great height…

The TEC Group comprises 15 companies in all. The facility I visited housed both TEC Ebauches and TEC Arts HD (two parts of the greater whole). As I was guided through several sparse corridors, and large, seemingly bomb-proof doors, the scale of the operation began to dawn on me. I had expected a small team of specialists beavering away in relative isolation, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Around 30 CNC machines greeted us on the main factory floor. These machines run day and night, constantly crafting all manner of components. The capacity of TEC Ebauches stunned me. The volume and breadth of their production capabilities are truly breathtaking. Not just that, but learning the number of major Swiss brands that employ the company’s services for anything from pinion cutting to mainplate decoration astonished me. While it doesn’t manufacture mainsprings or hairsprings, TEC Ebauches is pretty much a one-stop-shop for picking up whatever slack there is in a brand.

Hydro-Dipping Watches With Tockr In Vallorbe Inside the Manufacture

I hadn’t even reached the TEC Arts HD area or lain eyes upon the Hydro-Dipping machines, and I was already convinced that the wild passion of Faivre and the creative enthusiasm of Aebischer were a perfect match. The marriage between Tockr and TEC Group was making sense as we stepped into the room where the magic happens.

Hydro-Dipping Watches With Tockr In Vallorbe Inside the Manufacture

Forgive the hyperbole. While there are not, in fact, wizards running the Hydro-Dip tank, witnessing the process does leave you feeling like you’ve just watched a magician pull a rabbit from an egg cup. I’ll break down the process step-by-step, but let me just say this: It is as weird as it sounds. I’ve been lucky enough to be around some pretty special machinery in my life, and I’ve seen some crazy material feats accomplished in watchmaking. I even had the opportunity to cut a metal desk to ribbons with the edge of a magic gold bezel in the Hublot 2 factory in Nyon, which has left me pretty desensitized to this kind of thing. But Hydro-Dipping had me shaking my head in the same way EDM cutting did when I first realized what was happening beneath the oil. It was, in short, a treat.

The dipping process takes place in a tank around 2.5 meters wide by 1 meter deep. This tank is filled with nothing more remarkable than water. Crucially, however, the water is heated to 32 degrees Celcius (89.6 degrees in Fahrenheit), which is essential for the process to work correctly.

Next, a small piece of printed film around 4 microns-thick is floated on the surface of the water. This film could be decorated with anything you can imagine. If you did so wish, you could have your face, favorite pet, or regular fast food order printed on the film. Tockr and TEC Arts HD are happy to do this for you!

It does not come cheap if just one timepiece is desired (for custom prints, 25 square meters of the film must be produced), but if you want a whole series then the cost of personalization begins to tumble from somewhere around CHF 1,000 for the first 25 m² to a much more manageable amount, depending on volume.

The following step sees an applicator chemical sprayed onto the film. This chemical formula reacts with the film and bonds the design to the surface of the dipped object. But before that can happen, the object (in this instance, a watch case) must be prepared for dipping.

This isn’t as simple as it sounds. Rather than just being thoroughly cleaned, the watch cases must also be finely blasted to remove any surface imperfections, as any kind or burr or wobble in the metal will be noticeably magnified by the dipping process.

In addition to being smoothed, so too must the watch cases be primed. This is an important step for two reasons. Firstly, because the primer enables the film to adhere to the surface, but secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the color of the primer vastly alters the result.

Hydro-Dipping Watches With Tockr In Vallorbe Inside the Manufacture

Several of the standard finishes offered by Tockr on its website rely heavily on the primer for their character. The Tie Dye model on my wrist in the images uses a baby blue base layer (see the case back image above). This color affects the hue and contrast of the watch’s appearance when the film is applied on top of it.

Hydro-Dipping Watches With Tockr In Vallorbe Inside the Manufacture

If you check out the Magma model (above), only the black and white of that design are applied by Hydro-Dipping. The orange is the primer, just as in the below image of the two hard hats.

Hydro-Dipping Watches With Tockr In Vallorbe Inside the Manufacture

Once the applicator chemical has been sprayed on to the printed film, which is floating on the 32-degree water, the smoothed and primed watch case is ready to be dipped. The watch case should enter at a 45-degree angle, pass through the film, and then be separated from the excess in a swirling motion. And that’s it. As soon as you remove the case from the water the design is in place. You can even touch it right away.

Hydro-Dipping Watches With Tockr In Vallorbe Inside the Manufacture

The next step sees the newly-decorated case being washed intensely. For more than ten minutes, powerful jets of water bombard the case, cleaning every trace of the applicator chemical from its surface. The case is then left to dry for 24 hours. Two coats of lacquer are then applied before the case is allowed to dry for a further 24 hours, at which point another two layers of lacquer are applied before the watch is finally cured over 48 hours. It is, apparently, possible to speed up that process (down to as little as 8 hours) when heating the lacquer to 90 degrees Celcius with an infrared lamp, but as time-efficient as that sounds, Faivre assures me he prefers the long-term results of the patient method. And whatever gets the best long-term results is what they do at Tec Arts HD.

One of the biggest questions I have regarding this technology (which I’m sure will be echoed by the watch community en masse) is exactly how durable it is. Aebischer smiles at this question with the expectant twinkle in his eye of a man who has been asked the same thing 1,000 times already.

Hydro-Dipping Watches With Tockr In Vallorbe Inside the Manufacture

“Look,” he says, “It is a coating. It is not DLC. It is not bonding to the metal on a molecular level. It is a surface treatment, so yes, you could scratch it if you subject the watch to a massive impact. But it is surprisingly tough. It stays on the case well. Nothing like heat, or sweat, or just time alone will remove it.”

Hydro-Dipping Watches With Tockr In Vallorbe Inside the Manufacture

That was what I expected to hear, and as much as I expected. This is a decorative technique and is, of course, vulnerable to material mistreatment. But it is fundamentally strong, resistant, and highly inert. While it is not for everyone (and most likely for the relative few), those who do see the joy and potential in the technology will love it. Having experienced the dipping process myself, I can say that it is fascinating and almost enough to compel me to purchase on interest alone.

Hydro-Dipping Watches With Tockr In Vallorbe Inside the Manufacture

If I’m honest, I think one of the smartest uses of this process is actually for decorating internal components, as seen on my (optional) Hydro-Dipped rotor, which can be requested from the brand at the tme of ordering, if you so desire. I only say that because the coating is completely protected from any kind of physical impact, but I wouldn’t want to see it overused. As it happens, I think the rotor is the perfect spot for this kind of personalization, although it is within TEC Arts HD’s ability to Hydro-Dip bridges or mainplates that might be a step too far for my tastes.

That said, I’m the guy who fell in love with the Tie Dye case, so maybe my tastes are more extravagant than I realized. Paired with the custom-made, hand-stitched, multi-leather tapered strap by Oklahoma leather workers Hix, this is, without a doubt, the most eye-catching, conversation-starting, off-the-wall mechanical watch I’ve evet worn. And it’s powered by a 7750. Any technology that can cause this kind of stir while underpinned by one of the industry’s most ubiquitous workhorses is surely worth a look, if only to be amazed. Learn more at

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Hublot Big Bang MP-11 SAXEM Watch Watch Releases

This week is getting greener by the second… Following on from the Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date limited edition and the Seiko Presage SPB111J1 Green Enamel Dial limited edition, the Hublot Big Bang MP-11 SAXEM watch takes things to another level of green, with a novel case built to house the impressive HUB9011 movement. An in-house skeletonized caliber, the HUB9011 is packing a remarkable seven barrels mounted in series, generating an impressive 14-day power reserve, which is displayed by a white-on-black roller. This unusual movement architecture massively transforms the case’s profile and, while this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this “hummock” effect, it has perhaps never been more striking than it is here in bright green SAXEM, a material never before used in watchmaking.

Hublot Big Bang MP-11 SAXEM Watch Watch Releases

SAXEM is a loose acronym of “Sapphire Aluminium oXide Earth Mineral.” Its green color comes from mixing aluminum oxide (the base component of sapphire) with elements like thulium, holmium, and chromium. The result is both aesthetically and technically stunning, being harder than emerald and even more brilliant than sapphire. It has an incredibly consistent cubic crystalline structure, which means that the color of the case looks the same from all angles.

The Hublot Big Bang MP-11 SAXEM watch (reference 911.JG.0129.RX) will be limited to just 20 pieces. The brand’s decision to create such a small run is probably motivated by several factors: First, it is incredibly difficult to machine a material of this nature with this level of accuracy. Secondly, the watch has a six-figure price tag, which is obviously inaccessible for most people (and probably a large portion of Hublot clients). And lastly, because it is, as any non-metal watch tends to be, something of a divisive design.

Hublot Big Bang MP-11 SAXEM Watch Watch Releases

Despite the bonkers case, the internal workings are all business. The enormous power reserve is a big selling point, and the novel way it is achieved and presented (unabashedly dominating the dial) is rather impressive. Although the entire lower half of the display is taken up by the barrels, legibility is surprisingly good. A matte black skeleton dial occupies to the top half of the dial, with just hour and minute hands to indicate the time. The green lume applied to these hands and the hour markers has a ghoulish hue that sits very comfortably alongside the green of the case (and is brought out even more by the housing’s unusual coloration). The time dial is intersected on either side by a helical gear at “10 o’clock” (this is the gear that transfers the power from the vertically stacked barrels to the otherwise horizontally arranged movement), and the balance wheel on the other side at “2 o’clock.”

Hublot Big Bang MP-11 SAXEM Watch Watch Releases

There are few cases on the market that have such an undeniable character. Love it or hate it, this big green machine is not likely to be missed. At 45mm-wide and 14.4mm-thick, the bulky Big Bang case is not for the faint-hearted. Disappointingly, however, for such a large watch, the water resistance is a shallow 30 meters.

It has been 14 years since the Big Bang first debuted in 2005. The model has always been the standard-bearer for the brand — a perfect playground for experimentation with new materials, and a ready-made excuse to go a little wild. The Hublot Big Bang MP-11 SAXEM watch does just that, continuing a long tradition that has seen models such as Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu II Chronograph 2019 watch, Hublot Big Bang UNICO Magic Sapphire watch, and Hublot Big Bang UNICO Red Magic Ceramic watch, generate passionate discussion among the watch-watching public. This model, resplendent in its startling shade of green, is available for $127,000.