Wednesday, 20 July 2016

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02 T Tourbillon Watch

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02 T, a COSC-certified chronograph watch equipped with a flying tourbillon that retails for a surprisingly accessible price of $15,950 (15,000 Swiss francs)

The watch contains an entirely new movement, based on the company’s CH-80 integrated-chronograph caliber; the movement features automatic winding, a frequency of 4 hz (28,800 vph), an integrated, column-wheel-controlled chronograph function, and a power reserve of more than 65 hours stored in a single mainspring barrel.

The flying tourbillon is exceptionally lightweight, with central sections made of titanium and a top section made of carbon, like the tourbillon created for TAG Heuer’s Monaco V4, The watch is also notable for its case, made of grade-5 titanium for maximum lightness and shock resistance and whose modular construction enables a wide range of combinations in the areas of materials, colors, treatments and finishes.

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Omega Globemaster 39mm

Omega Globemaster — the first watch to receive the brand’s “Master Chronometer” certification — is technically a new model in the Omega portfolio, but it gets its design cues from earlier models: the “pie pan” dial echoes that of a vintage Omega Constellation from 1952; and the fluted bezel is derived from that of another Constellation model from 1968

The 39mm case (available in stainless steel, yellow gold, two-tone steel and yellow gold, and Omega’s proprietary Sedna gold) has a brushed finish, with two polished bevels connecting the edges of the lugs to the bezel. The top ridges of the fluted bezel have a smoothed finish.

The “Master Chronometer” movement, Caliber 8900, meets not only the strict precision requirements of Swiss testing agency COSC, but additional standards established by Omega and METAS, the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology, which include functioning while exposed to magnetic fields up to 15,000 Gauss.

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Monday, 18 July 2016

What is the difference between a Panerai Radiomir and a Luminor?

What is the difference between a Panerai Radiomir and a Luminor? Well, you might say that the Luminor was an evolution of the Radiomir. Here is the story as I understand it. There may be some inaccuracy and some of this is myth, but here it is. Back in the 1930’s, Panerai began making wristwatches for the Italian navy frogmen. Panerai had already been expertly making underwater gauges and instruments and now they applied this know-how to underwater watches. I believe they were using Rolex movements in those first models, which were 47mm in diameter. The name Radiomir came from the luminescent material, made with radium, that was used to make the numerals glow in the dark. According to legend, some frogmen began getting radiation sickness from wearing the early Radiomir

Around the year 1950, Panerai patented a new luminous substance called Luminor and the Luminor line of watches was born. Later came the patented crown-protector device which now easily distinguishes the Luminor models from the Radiomir. Around the mid-1990’s, Panerai was no longer producing watches for the navy. They started selling Luminor models to the public in very limited numbers and their appearance in Sly Stallone’s film, Daylight, boosted popularity and gave Panerai watches cult status. I believe that some Radiomir models were only introduced later as “limited” or “historic” models. The visible difference between the Luminor and the Radiomir is the case. The Luminor have a thicker case with that signature crown-protector while the Radiomir have slimmer cases with an exposed crown.

You get the point. Even if my facts are a little muddled, you see that the very early Radiomir morphed into the Luminor. Then, much later, the Radiomir was reincarnated as a somewhat more vintage or retro timepiece. Today, the two model lines have different cases, but similar dials and movements. In fact, many Radiomir and Luminor models share the very same movement. For example, Panerai’s hand-wound P.3000 movement powers the Luminor PAM00372 and also many Radiomir, including the new PAM00514. The automatic caliber P.9000 movement powers the Radiomir Black Seal PAM00388 as well as most of the Luminor 1950, including the PAM00312

Breitling Superocean 44 Special watch on the wrist

Breitling Superocean 44 Special is a serious, military-themed, addition to Breitling’s Superocean series of dive watches. The “Special” part is its limited production run. It’s not a limited edition per se, so there are no numbered series markings on its case, but it won’t be part of Breitling’s permanent production rotation. Does that mean you should rush out and get one? That depends. Where the standard Superocean is sporty — almost playful-looking — and the Heritage Superoceans have a lovely vintage vibe inspired by the 1957 original, the Special is the most purposeful-looking watch I’ve put on my wrist in a long time. ‘Purposeful’ in the context of luxury diving watches — or even diving watches in general — is a bit of a misnomer. For nearly 30 years, diving watches have been displaced by dive computers. Dive watches can, of course, serve as a back-up, but the category (and this is true of mechanical watches, full stop) emblematizes the post-utility status of watches in our century. This is not to say specifications like depth rating, lume intensity and bezel sturdiness aren’t important to diving watches, but to point out that these specifications are (now) as much symbols as they are practicalities

This Superocean is really not messing around. It shares some of the same design DNA with Breitling’s Avenger series. The satin and brushed black-steel finish, volcano-black dial, and high-contrast dial markings intentionally echo pilot watch aesthetics. Dive watches are required to be legible at depth and in dim lighting conditions, but the Superocean Special takes that imperative to another level. The double entendre is intentional: the Superocean’s depth rating is an eye-popping 1000 metres. 300 metres is considered good; 1000 metres puts you into elite territory. At 1000 metres, the pitch blackness would demand legibility as astounding as the Special offers. Other diver watch features include a Helium escape valve and red crown stem to let you know at a glance that the crown is not water tight and that you should screw it down before entering the water.

Among the other things that make the Special, well, special is the ceramic bezel. It’s crafted from a single block. Where most watches opt for a ceramic insert within the bezel, the single-piece construction is unusual and provides you with one of the few hints at this watch’s luxury brand origins. The function-first aesthetic of the watch is qualified visually by the rich and almost oily sheen given off whenever light strikes the polished ceramic…a small, beautiful reminder (apart from the price) that the watch is a Breitling. Ceramic is more scratch-resistant, but also more brittle, so this watch won’t like a serious knock. The bezel continues the high-contrast theme of the dial with its bright white markers and raised, lumed pip at 12 o’clock. It’s a 120-click, unidirectional bezel and is a bit stiff to turn, but has zero give in the clockwise direction. You don’t have to fiddle with it to have it land on the minute mark you intended it to. The ratcheting action is just about perfect and doesn’t have the softer feel of some other diving watches I’ve worn recently.

The dial of the replica Breitling Superocean Special has received a mixed reception amongst watch enthusiasts online, not because of how it nods to the pilot watch genre, but because of the way the Arabic numerals on the internal 24-hour ring are obscured by the date window at 3 o’clock and by the larger hour markers at 6 and 9 o’clock. This fussiness on the part of the collecting community is a difference of opinion on aesthetic preferences that somehow becomes religious in the comments sections. It wasn’t feature that jumped out at me until it was pointed out; for a time after that, it was all I could see. After a while, once the compulsive attention to detail common to watch enthusiasts had subsided a bit, I decided that the only area where this was problematic for me was at 11 and 1 (or 13 and 23). The Breitling logo’s spreading wings overlap the 3 of the 23 and the 1 of the 13 on the inner ring. On the 13 side of the dial the effect of the overlay is negligible but on the 23 side, there is a gap between where the lower loop of the numeral 3 ends and where the logo sits on the dial. It looks like the 23 on the inner 24-hour ring was only partially printed in order to accommodate the Breitling logo where everywhere else it looks like the feature (date window etc.) sits atop a fully-printed numeral. It’s a small confusion on what is an otherwise great dial. Also, knowing Breitling applies their logo by hand to the dial, it could be a telltale of the human craftsmanship that went into the making of the dial; the small irregularity that indicates the watch wasn’t spat out by a machine.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon Openworked pink gold

Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon Openworked is the testimony of Vacheron’s capacities, both in terms of pure watchmaking and for m├ętiers d’art. First of all, this watch has a shaped movement, following the curves of the case, and featuring a large one-minute tourbillon at 6, enclosed in the brand’s typical Malte cross tourbillon cage. The display of the time, elegantly placed in the upper part of the watch, is accompanied with a date indication, in the upper right angle, and a power reserve discreetly placed at 10. This movement ticks at 2.5 Hz (18’000 vibrations/hour) and boasts 45 hours of power reserve when fully wound.

The second specificity holds in the impressive skeletonized work done on the plates and bridges, and on the finishing. Every single part sees its shape transformed and lightened to allow light to enter in the movement. Then, the 246 parts are all finished, engraved, polished or grained, something that requires over 540 hours of patience to trained watchmakers. Retaining its proportions and barrel shape, it now replaces platinum by 18k pink gold, a finish that is also applied to the movement (via a gold coating). The case, slightly larger and thicker than the moon and power reserve edition (due to the impressive movement), is complemented by a brown alligator strap. The first edition in platinum was cold and grey, this new pink gold edition is warm and shiny. Being a skeletonized watch, it has no dial, to the exception of an inner flange used to display the minutes and hours, however the signature XII in gold is retained.
Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon Openworked pink goldVacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon Openworked pink gold

    Case: 38mm x 48.24mm x 12.73mm – 18k pink gold – sapphire crystal on front and back – 30m water resistant
    Movement: Calibre 2790 SQ – manual winding – 45h power reserve – 18,800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, one-minute tourbillon, date, power reserve
    Strap: brown alligator leather strap with half Maltese cross-shaped folding clasp in gold

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Vacheron Constantin Malte Moon Phase and Power Reserve

Vacheron Constantin Malte Moon Phase and Power Reserve will first be offered in 18 pink gold with a brown alligator strap. The dial, classical for the Malte collection, is silvery-white with a sand-blasted finish and large, also Art-Deco inspired, applied indexes in gold – mixing batons and large, stylized Roman numerals.
Vacheron Constantin Malte Moon Phase and Power Reserve
Vacheron Constantin Malte Moon Phase and Power Reserve

    Case: 36.70mm x 48.10mm x 10.49mm – 18k pink gold – sapphire crystal on front – 30m water resistant
    Movement: Calibre 1410 AS – manual winding – 40h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, small seconds, moon phase, power reserve
    Strap: brown alligator leather strap with half Maltese cross-shaped folding clasp in gold

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