Following the release last year of an updated Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin collection – the 16202ST, for the steel model – in the frame of the 50th anniversary of the brand’s iconic watch, Audemars Piguet is today releasing a new version that, visually, will feel familiar to fans of the model. If I say 14802PT…? Yes, this extremely rare version of the Royal Oak Jumbo Jubilee 20-year, made of platinum, in only 20 examples, with some of the examples featuring a grained blue Tuscan dial. Well, it’s somehow back, with the new Royal Oak Jumbo Ultra-Thin 16202BC, a boutique-exclusive white gold version with… a grained blue dial.
Looking at the image of the 14802PT above, it is obvious where AP found the inspiration. The brand doesn’t hide its strategy with the new Jumbo 16202 collection, which pays tribute to historical models. For instance, the classic steel version kept the look and proportions of the original 1972 model almost intact, down to the recreation of the original Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 colour of the dial. This new white gold version continues the collection’s historical thread, bringing back one of the most elusive dials seen on the RO Jumbo. The so-called Tuscan dial.
The recipe is pretty simple. Take a Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-thin, give it a new material for the case (one that hasn’t been seen yet on this reference) and a new dial. All the rest remains identical. This means a 39mm x 8.1mm case, now made of 18k white gold, but still very much like the original 1972 Jumbo, and no different from all other Royal Oak Jumbo 16202 models. Still brushed and polished, still featuring the octagonal bezel with 8 screws, still with sapphire crystals on both sides, and still water-resistant to 50 metres.
What matters most today is the dial. Indeed, even though it isn’t made of platinum anymore, this new Royal Oak Jumbo 16202BC brings back a historic Tuscan dial, with a look that is rather different from all other models in the portfolio. The dial features a reworked texture, with a finer and brighter grain, and a blue tone that is obtained by a PVD process. The surface is then covered with a translucent coating that accentuates the relief and brilliance of the dial.
The rest of the dial remains classic for a Royal Oak Jumbo Ultra-Thin, with white gold applied markers and hands with lume, an applied AP logo at 6 o’clock and the logo printed at 12 o’clock. The date disc is matching the colour of the dial too. It is worn on the classic integrated bracelet of the collection, closed by a double-folding clasp, but here made of 18k white gold.
This new Royal Oak Jumbo 16202BC Grained Blue shares the same movement as other recent Jumbos, meaning the in-house calibre 7121. This calibre offers a longer power reserve, an increased frequency and comes with a quick-set date, compared to the movement found in previous generations of the Jumbo. All the details about the movement are here.
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-thin 16202BC in white gold with a grained blue dial will be a boutique exclusive edition – not limited, but most probably made in small quantities.
Jacob & Co. has dropped a $330 USD music box tourbillon to mark the 50th Anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather.
The Jacob & Co Opera Godfather 50th Anniversary certainly isn’t light on talking points with the full collector’s set including the watch, a red rose pen from Montegrappa and an engraved crystal decanter. The vast 49mm watch houses the 634-component calibre JCMF04 movement which rotates inside the case and packs in a triple-axis flying tourbillon, a music box complication that plays Nino Rota’s ‘The Godfather’ theme using 120 pins against two combs and an enamel red rose at its centre.
“The Godfather is not just a great movie because of the way it was shot and directed,” says Benjamin Arabov, Jacob & Co. CEO. “It also contains some of the greatest scenes and dialogue in movie history.” The watch illustrates that sentiment both inside and outside the case. The twin rose gold barrels that power the music box complication are engraved with the movie’s most memorable quotes – including “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” – on the exterior, bringing new lines of dialogue to the fore as they rotate.
The 18K grey gold caseband of the watch also features 13 photo-realistic scenes from the film in narrative order engraved over 30 hours using medical-grade ‘femtolaser’ technology, a process which allows for 256 tones within the metal. The Godfather is the favourite film of Jacob & Co founder, Jacob Arabo, and was the first film he watched after moving to the US from Uzbekistan at the age of 14.
Jacob & Co. went to Sicily to release its latest opulent opus, the Jacob & Co Opera Godfather 50th Anniversary, which features a rotating movement with a triple-axis flying tourbillon and double-cylinder music box playing the 120 notes of the movie’s theme song. Adorned with pioneering laser-engraving on its 49-millimeter case band, the Godfather 50th Anniversary is a true horological commemoration of the first movie in the iconic Godfather trilogy of films based on the book by Mario Puzo. The setting in which Jacob and Co. presented the new Jacob & Co Opera Godfather 50th Anniversary was as precious as the watch itself: the Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina, Sicily, surrounded by the glittering Mediterranean, lush gardens scented with flowers, thyme and oregano, and the ever-present subtly huffing and puffing Etna volcano in the background.
So, what is new on this 49-millimeter watch? Well, this iteration is more connected with the movie than any other timepieces in the collection first introduced back in 2019.
The Jacob & Co Opera Godfather 50th Anniversary movie – in part shot in the vicinity of the hotel – was the first film that Jacob Arabo saw upon moving to the United States of America in 1981. Arriving as a penniless 14-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan in 1979, it had taken him two years to make enough money to afford a ticket to a movie theatre.
The rest is history. In the year 1986 he founded the New York-based company now run by his son Benjamin Arabov. “Family is really a major theme in the Godfather, which is why we feel such a strong connection with the movies,” said Benjamin Arabov regarding the three-time Oscar and five-time Golden Globe winning trilogy directed by Frances Ford Coppola.
“The movement is infinitely more complex than it seems,” explained Alain Schiesser, CEO of Le Cercle des Horlogers, manufacturer of the exclusive Jacob & Co. caliber.
Bell & Ross have always been a watchmaker to avoid conventionality. Even their most traditional looking timepieces are square-shaped with perfectly round dials interrupting at the centre. A family from the Swiss manufacturer that disrupts convention more than any other is their Skull collection. Every few years, Bell & Ross launches one of these limited edition Skull watches to prove their prowess with avant-garde techniques. The latest to join the ultra-modern collection is the Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze Replica watch.
The first Bell & Ross Skull watch was launched in 2019 offering the framework of their BR 01 model with a skull-shaped dial, four bones leading out to the iconic four case screws and hands mimicking pirate swords. Ever since, this limited edition has been followed by multiple iterations in different materials and with different complications including a tourbillon model in 2011 and the first bronze edition in 2015. One of the most significant out of the lot remains the BR 01 Laughing Skull watch introduced in 2018 which debuted Bell & Ross’ first ever automaton movement. This meant that as you wound the movement, the jaws of the skull appeared as if it was laughing. Then three years ago in 2020, the luxury watch brand changed things up again with the original Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull watch. This futuristic design used ceramic and sapphire crystal to make it appear as if the skull and bones was floating in mid-air, with the manufacture movement perfectly adapted to hide behind it.
The new Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze Replica watch copies the architecture of the 2020 Cyber Skull watch but instead incorporates a new material, the patina-pending metal of bronze. The entire case, crown and pin buckle are engineered from this alloy (CuAI7Si2) which is ultimately a blend of copper and tin. Like other bronze watches, the limited edition will acquire a unique patina over time, changing colour and texture and becoming completely bespoke to the wrist it sits upon.
As before, there’s a departure from the more traditional square-shaped case with four screws at each corner. Instead, the case is insanely modern with a faceted structure for a sleek and futuristic look. Bell & Ross describe the style of the case to be “reminiscent of the angular fuselage of a stealth aircraft”, revealing the same mass of angles and facets which reduce the radar signature of the plane. The almost-square case is disrupted by angles in the corners and measures to 45mm by 46.7mm in diameter and 13.70mm thick. The Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze Replica Limited Edition is finished by faceted sapphire crystal glass on top.
Joining the warmth of the new bronze case, the skull-shaped dial of the Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze watch is finished in rose gold-plating. The skull and crossbones appear as if they are floating between the two sheets of sapphire crystal but are in fact cleverly secured by four matching rose gold plated screws at each corner, fixing the skull to the movement behind it. The movement has been immaculately developed to fit almost perfectly in line with the skull with just subtle elements like the barrel at 6 o’clock and certain gear trains visible. The main element on show is the spiral balance wheel at 12 o’clock which is designed to symbolise the brain of the skull full of life. At the centre of the dial is two gilt hands for the hours and minutes dressed in Superluminova inserts.
The Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze Replica Limited Edition still maintains its automaton mechanism which sees the jaw of the skull come to life when you manually wind the movement. The jaw moves up and down as if it is laughing at you and when it unwinds, it gives you a clearer view of the barrel behind it. The movement used is the Calibre BR-CAL.210 with a frequency of 28,800vph and a power reserve of 50 hours. Finally, the Bell & Ross BR 01 Cyber Skull Bronze watch is completed by a 50 metre water resistant rating and a black rubber strap with bronze pin buckle.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is well underway, with the final coming up this Sunday. And although Portugal was unexpectedly eliminated by Morocco, stopping Cristiano Ronaldo’s chances of ever winning a world championship with the national team, the soccer star who goes by the moniker CR7 has left his mark on the sport. With records for the most appearances (183) and most goals in the Champions League (140), and an additional 196 matches for Portugal with 118 goals, he is a living legend if there ever was one. Just before the World Cup in Qatar, though, there was a bit of controversy surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo, in part thanks to the latest special-edition watch created with Jacob & Co., a brand he’s been close to for 20 years now. Let’s find out more!
I’m not going to elaborate on all the controversy surrounding this new watch, but the image of Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the winning goal for Real Madrid against Manchester United, while employed by the latter, didn’t go down too well with the British Premier League Club. Shortly afterwards, but not due to the actual watch’s release, news broke of the termination of his contract with Manchester United.
Jacob & Co. has released two new watches in collaboration with Ronaldo, based on the revamped Epic X collection. The first is the Jacob & Co. x CR7 Epic X “Flight of CR7”, and the second is the “Heart of CR7”. Both come in a 44mm wide case in either stainless steel or 18k rose gold, with stout lugs that visually connect to the vertical bridge over the movement. Each can be had with a clean bezel or a diamond-set one, and both are finished with a tinted sapphire crystal around the back.
Time is indicated by two large openworked central hands accompanied by a sloping minute ring on the outer perimeter. The stainless steel version is the “Heart of CR7”, which shows green details throughout, while the “Flight of CR7” is finished in red. The vertical bridge over the movement is decorated with an image of the man himself, either celebrating a goal (Heart of CR7) or performing the aforementioned header (Flight of CR7), along with “CR7” and his signature. The top half is enhanced with a soccer ball over the barrel, and the lower half with an exposed escapement.
This escapement regulates the JCAM45 manual-winding movement, which is constructed using 158 components and runs at a rate of 28,800vph. This provides a total running time of 48 hours when fully wound and indicates hours and minutes only. The back is partially visible through the tinted crystal, which also shows Ronaldo’s signature celebration after scoring a goal.
Girard-Perregaux, the prestigious Maison from La Chaux de Fonds has a long history of making tourbillons and other expressions of Haute Horlogerie. Recently, the Manufacture unveiled its Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition, a watch that combines the brand’s legendary three gold bridges with an array of artistic crafts. Join the US-based journalist, Meehna Goldsmith, as she explores the composition of this remarkable creation. For its 230th anniversary, Girard-Perregaux pulled out all the stops with the creation of the Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition . To understand this piece of wrist art, we need to delve into the brand’s history.
In 1867, Constant Girard proved his prowess in chronometry by winning first prize at the Observatoire of Neuchâtel competition for his pocket watch outfitted with a tourbillon, detent escapement and three nickel silver bridges. He presented this same watch at the ‘Exposition Universelle’ held in Paris the same year, where the watch was awarded a medal.
The three bridge construction, which is both a functional and artistic element, has been passed down as a defining characteristic. When you see those three horizontal bridges on a watch, you can immediately identify it as a Girard-Perregaux.
Girard took the model of his award-winning pocket watch to showcase precision as well as artistry for the ‘Exposition Universelle’ in 1889. This time he housed the movement with a tourbillon and detent escapement in a lustrous pink gold 56mm case with three gold bridges to match. In addition, the case featured intricate engraving by Fritz Kundert. After winning a diploma and gold medal at the Exposition, Girard decided to sell the award-winning piece through a jewellery retailer with stores called ‘La Esmeralda’ located in Paris and Mexico. The pocket watch caught the eye of Mexican president Porfirio Diaz (1830-1915) who purchased it. La Esmeralda stayed in the Diaz family until 1970 when Girard-Perregaux acquired the acclaimed pocket watch for its museum. To recognise and honour its roots, Girard-Perregaux released the La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition in November of 2021. Doffing its hat to the original, this 21st century rendition offers a modern interpretation that exhibits the brand’s array of talents.
When you first lay eyes on her, Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition is a lot to take in. (Let’s call her the LETASEE for short.) Although there’s an overwhelming feast of detail, it’s one where you’d be missing out if you didn’t take a seat at the table. Like its predecessor, LETASEE uses pink gold as a motif for its 43mm case and bridges. And wow, those bridges! Over the years, the three bridges have evolved to become more refined and used as a platform to demonstrate finishing finesse. Here you’ll find a particular treat. Usually, bevelling is rounded or flat and done at a 45° angle. In this case, Girard-Perregaux has created a concave bevel that plays delightful tricks in the light: the shade of the gold changes and sometimes the surface will appear convex, offering an added dimension for the eyes. And then there are the sinewy horses, sculpted to depict them in motion. They are incorporated as part of the bridges anchoring the tourbillon and winding barrel. As magnificent as they are, what possessed Girard-Perregaux to choose horses instead of say penguins or giraffes? The answer (somewhat) lies on the back case of the 1889 La Esmeralda, where there are horses engraved. Still, the reason for why they appear on the original remains a mystery. The barrel and mainplate offer up the artistry of traditionally applied guilloché patterns, applied by an artisan operating a lathe. Thereafter, they are dressed in Grand Feu enamel, providing a wonderful contrast with the pink-gold, dauphine-type hour and minute hands journeying around the dial. Not to be outdone, the case is elaborately engraved with a leaf motif in a bow to Kundert. You see the rich blue on the side and flanks? That’s enamelling also, which carries over to the back cover of the watch, along with the equine theme. Enamel outside the dial is practically unheard of, but Girard-Perregaux expands the canvas for this technique. Nice thinking out of the box, or, in this case, the circle. As for the movement, pressing the pusher on the crown opens a “secret” cover that reveals the in-house produced calibre GP09600-1506, impeccably decorated, and that’s saying a lot coming from my admittedly critical eye. The pink gold motif continues with the motion-work bridge and marking plate, whose finishing reflects the shape of the Gold Bridges. While Girard-Perregaux puts on display its virtuosity with handiwork, it also wants you to know its cutting edge technical capabilities. Indeed, an example can be seen with the mainplate, which is milled to incredibly small tolerances with a CNC machine. Girard-Perregaux isn’t usually mentioned in the same breath as Vacheron Constantin, A. Lange & Sohne or Greubel Forsey. With Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition , the brand makes a strong statement that it belongs on the same podium. Perhaps the watch might even reveal the mystery of the horses to its owners.
Designed by Gérald Genta (1931-2011) in 1972, the Royal Oak was the first steel luxury wristwatch. Over the past four decades, it has become the icon of the storied Swiss manufacture — Audemars Piguet. Located in the Vallée de Joux, and still in the hands of the founding families, AP sits among an elite few at the top of the Swiss watch range.
When the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 41 Replica first came out a number of competitors reacted, but none more successfully than Patek Philippe with the Nautilus (which was originally launched in 1976). Both the Royal Oak and Nautilus are still in production, and still to this day, it’s a common argument between enthusiasts and collectors as to which one is better. And while we will not be able to give you a definitive answer as to which one is a better choice or a better investment — if the Royal Oak is your preference, then hopefully this article will help you decide which particular variation might be best for you.
When the original Royal Oak first came out, it was nicknamed the “Jumbo” because of its 39 mm diameter, which was considered oversized at the time. Eventually, the Royal Oak was produced in a 36 mm case size, and then in a 39 mm diameter, up until last year. The outgoing 39 mm production model did not have an in-house made dial, and the logo was applied in place of the 12 o’clock hour marker. Now, as of SIHH 2012, the Royal Oak comes in a 41 mm or a 37 mm case, with the 39 mm being reserved exclusively for the (Royal Extra-Thin “Jumbo” and Royal Oak Skeleton models).
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 41 Replica now has the AP logo applied to the dial just below the 12 o’clock marker, allowing for the designers to add a real hour marker for 12 o’clock, which, in this case, is a faceted white gold applied double baton marker, a major improvement aesthetically. Measuring 41 x 9.80 mm — the new Royal Oak is only slightly larger than its predecessor, but as I mentioned above, the dial is also vastly improved. And the case back is now open, something not previously offered within this collection. Which, of course, is a shame for any movement coming out of Le Brassus. And as I mentioned above, there is also a new 37 mm version for people with small wrists (or women). Which one works best for you truly matters on your wrist size and personal taste. I tried on all three and the 37 mm is definitely too small for my wrist (which is 7 inches in circumference), the 39 mm looks good and so does the 41 mm, so which one did I prefer? Read on and I will tell you.
Fortunately, the Royal Oak’s case and bracelet are unique and highly distinguishable in an industry crowded with too many homogeneous designs. Needless to say, standing out is essential to success. From the signature hexagonal bezel, with its eight fully functional, polished screws which contrast the vertically brushed top side and polished outer edge of the bezel nicely, to the perfectly bevelled polished case band and lug edges with contrasting vertically brushed sides, to the matching bracelet with its flawless polished and brushed facets — the finish and design of the Royal Oak are unmistakable. Beware: it attracts attention. But not the kind of attention you get from the diamond bezel of a watch or 20-inch chrome rims on a car. It is much more subtle and classy.
The dial is protected by a slightly raised flat sapphire crystal and a screwed sapphire caseback. The stainless steel crown is of the screw-down variety and is engraved with the AP logo. Water-resistance is 50 meters. Comes on an integrated stainless steel bracelet with folding AP-engraved clasp. The only way it should be.
Even as nice as the case and bracelet are, it’s the Royal Oak dial that takes my breath away. It’s one of the best design elements of the Royal Oak. The “Grand Tapisserie” motif pattern, white gold applied hour markers and long Royal Oak hands with luminescent hands, make the dial both very easy to read and to admire. The dial production was previously outsourced, but every Royal Oak made in 2012 and newer now features an in-house made dial. While testing the watch over the course of two weeks, I found that the dial is very readable, even at a quick glance, something that cannot be underestimated.
Furthermore, I found myself more often than not, just staring at the intricate dial pattern and the faceted edges of the white gold markers. Aesthetically, it is so damn good looking that it is hard not to look at it. Like beautiful women, the back of the watch is as impressive as the front. a look through the sapphire caseback reveals the beautifully finished self-winding movement.
Caliber 3120 beats at 3Hz or 21,600 vibrations per hour (the Extra-Thin movement is thinner and utilizes caliber 2121). The bridges are finished with Cotes de Geneve, bevels of the bridges are diamond graved, inverted snailing on bridges with circular graining on the main plate, all done by hand-operated machines. The automatic winding of the mainspring is handled by a beautifully engraved 22K rose gold monobloc oscillating weight, with increased efficiency thanks to ceramic ball bearings. Additionally, the rotor is bi-directional, meaning it winds in both directions, a feature that should hypothetically increase the winding efficiency. When fully wound, the 3120 has a 60-hour power reserve, which is nice as anything over the typical 42-hour power reserves seen on most watches, is welcome. A total of 280 components makes up the movement, 40 of which are jewels. The balance features variable inertia blocks, with a flat spring and a mobile stud. Royal Oak Jumbos do not have center seconds hand — just hours, minutes and date. This version “does” have a central seconds hand, hours, minutes and date. It also has a stop-seconds function, that allows you to stop the balance and, therefore, the seconds to more accurately set the time, a function that is pointless without a seconds hand. Indisputably, the Royal Oak “Jumbo” (new or vintage) is the ultimate Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 41 Replica collector’s piece, the one a purist would want. But if you want to save some money, and don’t mind the new sizes: 37 mm and 41 mm — then the new models are an excellent option. You get a great looking movement, the caliber 3120, versus the caliber 2121, which is also visually pleasing. You also get a sweeping seconds hand with the (Ref. 15400ST.OO.1220ST.01), whereas the Jumbo Ref. 15202 has no seconds hand, and at $16,700 — the price is considerably less.
That said, it would be nice if Audemars Piguet would also offer the standard Royal Oak in the 39 mm case, not just on the premium “Jumbo” model.
There are few companies that approach high-end watchmaking with the same fun and playful irreverence as Richard Mille. Everything the brand produces is executed to incredibly high standards, yet many of its designs have a certain lighthearted nature to them, even when they are ultimately rather serious timepieces. If Richard Mille watches were of lesser quality and priced within the realm of possibility for most people, there would likely be some who would consider them to be horological novelties. However, it’s ultimately hard to call a watch a mere “novelty” when it features heavy-hitter complications, state-of-the-art materials, and costs as much as a very nice house in many parts of the U.S. Continuing this theme of bold and slightly irreverent designs carried out at the highest possible levels is the latest release from Richard Mille — the RM 66 Flying Tourbillon, which is a 50-piece limited edition that represents the brand’s tribute to the world of rock and roll music.
The case of the Richard Mille RM 66 Flying Tourbillon follows the same multi-component curved tonneau design that defines the vast majority of the brand’s other models, and it measures 42.7mm-wide by 49.94mm lug-to-lug, with an overall thickness of 16.15mm. The bezel and caseback are crafted from black Carbon TPT, while the middle caseband is made from grade 5 titanium and features brushed pillars with polished bevels.
Set into the center titanium caseband are 5N red gold inserts, which have been given a prominent “clous de Paris” pattern that is intended to be reminiscent of the studs on punk belts. Curved sapphire crystals with anti-glare treatment are fitted to both the dial side of the watch and its caseback, while the case itself is held together with 20 titanium spline screws and features two Nitrile gaskets that help create 50 meters of water resistance.
At the 3 o’clock location is a rather ornately designed torque-limiting winding crown that automatically disengages when the tension in the mainspring barrel reaches an optimal level. Since the Richard Mille RM 66 Flying Tourbillon is powered by a manually wound movement, this innovative feature eliminates the possibility of accidental overwinding and prevents wear and damage to both the stem and mainspring.
The crown itself is constructed from polished grade 5 titanium, and it is crafted in the shape of a spider, with its legs surrounding a black rubber collar and synthetic red ruby. The tip of the crown gets finished with a small skull insignia as a subtle nod to the RM 052 Tourbillon Skull watch, and due to its intricate structure, machining and finishing just one of these spider-shaped winding crowns takes a full 12 hours to properly complete.
Like most Richard Mille watches, the new RM 66 Flying Tourbillon features a largely open-worked aesthetic. However, rather than simply showcasing its movement, the entire internal design is based around an intricate rose gold sculpture. Sitting front and center inside the watch is a human skeleton hand that is crafted from 5N red gold, with its index and pinky fingers outstretched to form the popular rock and roll “horns” hand gesture.
The three-dimensional skeleton hand essentially holds the components of the internal movement, and its three non-outstretched fingers can be seen grasping the other side of the movement when viewed through its sapphire display caseback. In order to achieve their intricate shape and realistic texture, the various components of the hand are first machine milled before being handed off to master Genevan engraver Olivier Vaucher, who adds detail and finishes them by hand before giving them a micro-blasted finish.
Surrounding the interior perimeter of the crystal is a rehaut made from grade 5 titanium with a black galvanic treatment, and fitted to this component are luminous hour markers that extend from it on golden lancet arches for a highly sculptural display from both the front and back side views of the watch. The hour markers themselves are finished with green-glowing lume and appear in the shape of guitar picks, while the pair of centrally mounted skeletonized baton hands also feature luminous tips for added visibility in the dark.
The top of the rehaut features the “Richard Mille” name in white letters, while the obligatory “Swiss Made” signature appears in its usual place at the 6 o’clock location. The only other text on the dial side of the watch is the small “RM66” badge that extends from under the rehaut between the 7 o’clock and 8 o’clock hour markers. To keep the visual emphasis on the ornate case and sculptural skeletonized display, the RM 66 Flying Tourbillon is fitted with a simple black rubber strap in Richard Mille’s signature ventilated styling.
Like most skeletonized watches, the movement plays a prominent aesthetic role in the overall appearance of the Richard Mille RM 66 Flying Tourbillon. However, because the golden hand sculpture is the true focal point of the watch, the movement itself has been designed in such a manner to follow the shape of the hand and create a maximum amount of open space surrounding it. Officially known as the Caliber RM66, the manual-wind movement runs at a frequency of 21,600vph (3 Hz), while offering users a power reserve of approximately 72 hours. Additionally, the Cal. RM66 features its mainplate and bridges in grade 5 titanium, along with a fast-rotating barrel to reduce internal mainspring adhesion and create an ideal delta curve to maximize performance and regularity.
Positioned at the 12 o’clock location is a flying tourbillon with a variable inertia balance, and the new RM 66 represents the first time that Richard Mille has created a movement with this 180-degree inverted format that places its tourbillon at the top of the dial. The tourbillon cage is only fixed at one end of its axis, which eliminates the need for an upper bridge, and this gives the RM 66’s flying tourbillon the appearance of floating in space as it dances and rotates above the gold skeletonized hand that clutches the rest of the movement in its fingers.
Rather than using a traditional lever regulator, the balance fitted to the Richard Mille RM 66 Flying Tourbillon incorporates a variable inertia design, which offers superior resistance to shocks and better chronometric results over extended periods of time. Lastly, completing the flying tourbillon is a small cap at the center that features the same skull insignia as the one on the winding crown for a subtle memento mori and a cohesive overall appearance.
Even the most humble Richard Mille watches are six-figure statement pieces, and when you consider that the new RM 66 features both a flying tourbillon and an intricate skeletonized hand sculpture made from solid 5N red gold, you can virtually guarantee that this watch will be rather expensive. With an official retail price of $1,095,000 USD and production limited to 50 pieces worldwide, the Richard Mille RM 66 Flying Tourbillon is one of the more expensive and extravagant models from the brand’s current collection, although it is still priced below other premium releases, such as the RM 88 Smiley and the ultra-thin RM UP-01 Ferrari watch. That said, the Richard Mille RM 66 Flying Tourbillon still costs over a million dollars, and its mega-expensive price tag is arguably just as much of a statement as the solid-gold skeleton hand throwing up the rock and roll “horns” salute at the center of the dial. For more information on the Richard Mille RM 66 Flying Tourbillon, please visit the brand’s website.
I will happily admit to having a soft spot for the Girard-Perregaux Laureato, and I would love a silver-dialed 38mm version. It has transcended its integrated-bracelet-stepchild status, and this is highly visible in its pre-loved prices. Though it was a long time coming, unfortunately for me, they are now 40–60% above what they were two years ago. That was the same time I had a weekend with The Beauty and The Beast — the standard Laureato and Laureato Absolute — and was torn between the two. Let me explain.
In the fall of 2020, I had just segued from hosting my own watch-themed YouTube channel to writing and had two weekend-loan watches. After calming my nerves from having over €30,000 in a paper bag on the train home, I was working on a Laureato story. The Beauty and The Beast idea of juxtaposing the two Girard-Perregaux Laureato families had me both smitten and torn. The octagonal charms of the Laureato made me put it on the same podium as the premium Swiss suspects, while the Absolute was an unexpectedly charming brute. So the new Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute brings me a delightful feeling of déjà vu.
The new Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light & Fire and Light & Shade
A lot of effort has gone into the cases of this 44mm duo. Have you heard of metalized sapphire? At first glance, it endows the pair with a visual strength, setting them apart from previous Absolute references while keeping them immediately recognizable as Laureato models. Other brands have the big boys of the collection drawn with a different pen — think the Royal Oak Offshore — while Girard-Perregaux brings a studied approach to the table. Just like the Defy Extreme series from Zenith, the Absolute has all the right clues. And from memory, the 44mm piece wears unashamedly well on the rubber strap, but what about that sapphire case?
Let’s grab this sparkly bull by the horns first as it is the biggest strength of this debut and has not been seen before. A sapphire case has enough street cred to put many LVMH pieces in the shade on any given day. So well played with the release date, Girard-Perregaux; it works. Looking at the shots, I’m struck by the combination of transparency and a tantalizing metallic sheen. Making a case from sapphire means starting with eight weeks of the “Kyropolous growth method.” This transforms alumina powder into a block of sapphire crystal. That block is cut into discs that are machined into the three-part case. This complex, time-consuming process is then compounded by a surface treatment that I haven’t seen before. Within a vacuum, the smoked-metallic appearance is created, endowing the case itself with the street cred of 170 hours of work.
Both of these contrasting watches house the skeletonized in-house caliber GP01800-1143 with a heritage-connecting octagonal mainplate. The transparency of the case is only compounded by the dial-less vista. With so much happening within the Absolute, you would think it creates an element of infighting. But no, the zen here is surprising. Instead of being a compound of angles, the feminine shapes of the curvy bridgework and monochrome gray instill a sense of calm. That doesn’t stop the balance at 12 o’clock from presiding over a fascinating city of industrial micro-prowess, but it does restrain it. I love the open 54-hour spring barrel at 5 o’clock. We get a good look at the engine, while the NAC-treated surfaces within the movement have 55 hand-polished inner angles. To match the dark movement and ensure stability to the FKM rubber strap, the case ends are in black satin-finished titanium.
The new Girard-Perregaux Laureato Replica comes in two distinct flavors with the Light & Shade and Light & Fire providing two distinct outlooks on life. That came out a bit grand, but it’s all about your sense of style. I’m quite outré in my wrist style. I revel in the attention that a popping watch attracts when paired with a downplayed fit. The tonal chic of the Light & Shade combined with a mere 11.56mm thickness endows the cushion-cased Absolute with a high versatility score. The tiny plots of purple jewels within the GP01800-1143 movement bring a finesse underlined by the rhodium-plated hands and indices. I enjoy the downplayed formality that GP has managed to give this extravagant creation, but I do have a big soft spot for the Light & Fire version.
From the octagonal bezel to the soft cushion case, the Light & Fire edition has a dose of almost-sensual red. Color-matched stitching links the FKM strap to the look. Red also highlights things like the propeller-shaped small seconds indicator within a curving, cut-out bridge at 10 o’clock. It provides a subtle match to the lume in the hands. These small details bring cohesiveness to a delightful take on a classic. Will it matter to buyers that these pieces both have a 30m depth rating? Well, I wouldn’t bring a watch with this price tag to the beach. Both will be available for CHF 95,000, but the delectably warm red version will only see a run of 18 pieces. I have a suspicion they might sell out rather quickly. Why? Because this is a year to go big or go home (feel free to quote me on that, Girard-Perregaux).
Fratelli, do you feel the desire for a big grail in a sapphire case? To be fair, not many of us have €100K to spend on a watch, but none of us can afford a Warhol either. So dream on, dear Fratelli, dream on. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
To celebrate the Year of the Rabbit, Swiss luxury watch brand Franck Muller and Tokyo-based streetwear label #FR2 have jointly unveiled a new model called the #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard. This marks the first collaboration between the two brands. This edgy, fashion-forward timepiece comes with a dial anchored by #FR2’s iconoclastic rabbit motif, sitting amid the signature numerals and tonneau case of Franck Muller. #FR2, also known as Fxxking Rabbits, was founded by Ryo Ishikawa, who’s perhaps best known for founding fashion imprint Vanquish. Following its establishment in 2014, #FR2 quickly attracted a following with its signature rabbit and “Smoking Kills” motifs, as well as its products’ bold photographic prints.
The #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard bridges Swiss luxury watchmaking and Japanese street fashion by melding the elements from each universe and complete with its creators’ signature touches.
This is immediately apparent on the dial, where Franck Muller’s timeless yet avant-garde aesthetic has taken on street style sensibilities. A matte white dial base starts things off by establishing a high key aesthetic, upon which black hands, markings, and appliqué indices lie. At seven o’clock of the monochromatic dial, Franck Muller has placed #FR2’s provocative Fxxking Rabbits motif in lieu of hour markers, with one rabbit’s red eye providing the sole spot of colour on the dial.
Super-Luminova has been selectively applied such that the skeletonised obelisk hands, indices and graphical motif leap out from the dial in the absence of light. The tonneau-shaped Vanguard case has been rendered in a new carbon and glass fibre composite – a first for the brand, and one that will be reserved for Southeast Asia-exclusive models only. Thanks to random variations in combining carbon powder and glass, every watch case will offer a unique pattern of striations.
The white nylon strap has been emblazoned with black text in a typographic style that will be familiar to street fashion aficionados.
Just in time to herald the impending Year of the Rabbit, Franck Muller and Tokyo-based streetwear label #FR2 have jointly unveiled the #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard. This marks the first collaboration between the two brands, and sees Franck Muller adopting the distinctive design language of #FR2 on its trademark Vanguard watch. The result is an edgy, fashion-forward timepiece with a dial anchored by #FR2’s iconoclastic rabbit motif, sitting a mid the signature numerals and tonneau case of Franck Muller. The #FR2NCK MULLER Vanguard bridges Swiss luxury watchmaking and Japanese street fashion by melding the elements from each universe, complete with its creators’ signature touches. This is immediately apparent on the dial, where Franck Muller’s timeless yet avant-garde aesthetic has taken on street style sensibilities. A matte white dial base starts things off by establishing a high key aesthetic, upon which black hands, markings, and appliqué indices lie.
The high contrast, monochromatic look comes complete with a delightful quirk at seven o’clock. Here, Franck Muller has situated #FR2’s provocative Fxxking Rabbits motif in lieu of hour markers, with one rabbit’s red eye providing the sole spot of colour on the dial. In the dark, the #FR2NCKMULLER Vanguard also offers an idiosyncratic twist. Super-Luminova has been selectively applied such that the skeletonised obelisk hands, indices and graphical motif leap out from the dial in the absence of light. The stark, bold design extends to the rest of the watch. This includes Franck Muller’s tonneau-shaped Vanguard case, which has been rendered in a new carbon and glass fibre composite – a first for the brand, and one that will be reserved for Southeast Asia – exclusive models only. To create the light yet strong material, carbon powder and glass fibres are combined, before the resulting mass is impregnated with a bonding resin. The mixture is then baked at 150 degrees Celsius for three hours under 200 tons of pressure, to finally yield a composite that can then be machined into the necessary components. Due to random variations in how the mix are compressed, every watch case will offer a unique pattern of striations. The final touch here is the white nylon strap, which has been emblazoned with black text in a typographic style that will be familiar to street fashion aficionados. Franck Muller’s work with #FR2 is a rare example of the Swiss watchmaker’s collaboration with external brands, which has been limited to a small, select group of partners. “#FR2’s founder Ryo Ishikawa isn’t just an iconic figure in Tokyo’s streetwear scene,” shares Sharon Lim, CEO of Franck Muller SEA. “As the creative force behind Fxxking Rabbits, he has adopted a muti-disciplinary approach to his label’s creations while maintaining a fiercely independent spirit. These are values that we believe in and identify with at Franck Muller, which makes this Southeast Asia Exclusive a natural collaboration. Of course, the product that we have come up with speaks to that.”
For the last month of 2022, Corum prepared several novelties: a Bubble, the CORUM Bubble 47 Automatic Luminescent Tiger and two sizes of the Admiral – the 42 Automatic Black Sandblasted and the Admiral 38 Automatic Black Unisex.
CORUM Bubble 47 Automatic Luminescent Tiger
It was during the famed Basel watch exhibition in the year 2000 that Corum first unveiled its now-legendary Bubble watch. With an oversized case and huge domed crystal, the Bubble was the brainchild of the equally legendary Severin Wunderman, then owner of the brand. That first Bubble wowed the world and the timepiece quickly developed a cult-like following. Now, Corum is introducing a brand-new Bubble 47 featuring a luminescent tiger on the dial. A nod to the year of the tiger that is ending.
CORUM Admiral 42 Automatic Black Sandblasted
The new Admiral 42 Automatic watches offer updated design details and upgraded finishing on cases. The Full Black Monochrome version, crafted in sandblasted stainless steel with a gradient black dial and nautical pennants in grey, offers an almost ethereal appeal. The unique monochromatic hues seem to recall fog rolling in from the oceans. The sandblasted steel features an anti-fingerprint coating for the bezel, case, and bracelet. Just 100 pieces of this striking watch will be produced.
CORUM Admiral 38 Automatic Black Unisex
Versatile, the new Admiral 38 Automatic has no gender! The nicely sized 38mm watch is lighter in weight thanks to a titanium case which gives unparalleled comfort on the wrist. Additionally, the automatic movement with oscillating weight is visible via the sapphire case back. This black model with elegant touch of gold also features the Corum’s unique Grenadier Fendu finishing on the dial. It is crafted in a black titanium case and is offered with a matching black rubber strap.