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Showing posts from February, 2023

Fifty Fathoms Anniversary Act II: the Tech Gombessa

Although there are still some who debate the point, much evidence suggests that the first watch to check the requisite boxes for scuba diving (rotating bezel, luminous material, automatic winding and, obviously, significant water resistance) was the Fifty Fathoms introduced by Blancpain in 1953. This year marks the 70th anniversary for the watch and we’ve already seen “Act I” of a commemorative sequence of watches. In early February, a limited series of 210 watches with special dial marks (reading “70th Anniversary” and the series number of the watch) was introduced, 42mm in size. Panelists at the Blancpain preview event earlier this week. Earlier this week, I joined a number of guests at the Blancpain boutique in Manhattan for a preview of the Fifty Fathoms “Act II.” The event was truly global, with participants “tuning in” to a live stream featuring five hosts. Marc Hayek (Blancpain CEO and President) and Marc Junod (VP and Director of Sales) broadcast from Switzerland while Jas

Lovell Hunter: American Independent Artisanal Watchmaker

Confession: I struggle with whether I sometimes take this whole watch thing too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is completely healthy to approach watch collecting as an enjoyable leisure activity. Lightheartedness about horology, from a certain perspective, just makes sense. Part of the watch collecting “canon” is that watches are not necessary for keeping track of time. Collectors are also drawn to humor. I laugh at meme accounts on social media and even try my hand at making a meme now and then. When it comes to sustaining an industry, casual clients are just as vital as hardcore “savants.” But part of me starts getting a little uncomfortable when I hear people referring to watches as a “hobby” or as “something nobody needs.” I did not dwell on this discomfort until I had a conversation with an extraordinarily accomplished American watchmaker named Lovell Hunter. We spent a bit of time discussing Lovell’s education and experience as a watchmaker, a topic I’ll return to in

Highlights from the Kari Voutilainen HSNY Lecture

This week, it was my distinct pleasure to attend a lecture delivered by legendary watchmaker Kari Voutilainen at the Horological Society of New York. Kari Voutilainen, center facing, lecturing at the Horological Society of New York on February 13, 2023. I was on the fence about whether I would attend, but I still have regrets about missing Fran├žois-Paul Journe's lecture a few summers ago. If there is a pantheon of present-day traditional, independent, artisanal watchmakers, both Journe and Voutilainen are almost definitely members. Moreover, I've been priviledged to see Voutilainen's work "in the metal" more often than almost any other living master independent watchmaker. So, after lecturing four hours in the morning, I made the trip to Manhattan. I wasn't going to regret missing this one. The Zenith X Voutalainen X Phillips watch. Dial side (top) caseback (bottom). The room was packed. Earlier in the day, an email request went out: 60 people were o