Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second Watches

Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second Watches


Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second Watches Watch Releases


Watch buyers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and discerning. They no longer just want a well-made, handsome watch. They want exclusivity and the ability to customize a watch to their tastes, and that is why the Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso program was born. Unveiled last year as part of the Reverso’s 85th anniversary, the Atelier Reverso program allows watch lovers to customize their Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso with dozens of dial and strap options. According to Jaeger-LeCoultre, a staggering 5277 combinations are possible. Well, there are going to be a couple more because the brand has just announced three new dial options for the men’s Reverso Classic Duo Small Second watch.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second Watches Watch Releases


As you can see, the three new dial options are Electric Blue, Military Marble, and Tiger’s Eye. But before we talk more about the new dial options let’s recap the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second watch. It comes in a stainless steel case and measures 47mm by 28.3mm and is 10.3mm thick, which means it is quite modestly sized. It has two faces – hence the Duo name – driven by a single movement, allowing it to display time in two time zones. Water-resistance is 30 meters.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second Watches Watch Releases


The movement within is the hand-wound JLC Calibre 854A/2, which is a fairly simple movement that beats at 3Hz and is made out of 160 parts with 19 jewels. Power reserve is a standard-range 40 hours.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second Watches Watch Releases


The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second watch comes with two dials that the wearer can flip between with the watch still on the wrist (in case you are unfamiliar with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso concept). The main watch dial is in silver and features a vertical brushed finish and a hand guilloche center with a small seconds indicator at 6 o’clock. The hands are blued for an added touch of elegance. All in all, like most other Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watches, the main dial of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second oozes lots of Art Deco cool and elegance.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second Watches Watch Releases


If you flip the case around, you will be greeted by the second Travel Time dial. On the regular Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second watch, this dial features Clous de Paris engraving and a handy day/night indicator. But now, there are three new dial options featuring exotic stones. Let’s get into these three new dial options right now.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second Watches Watch Releases


The three new dial options are, again, Electric Blue, Military Marble, and Tiger’s Eye. Electric Blue features a striking matte blue register atop blue Clous de Paris markings on the dial. Military Marble consists of a matte green register surrounded by a unique-looking green marble. And finally, Tiger’s Eye features a reddish brown register in the center of the dial surrounded by Tiger’s Eye stone, which has distinctive alternating bands of various shades of brown and gold. And if you want, Jaeger-LeCoultre also offers matching straps to go with these three new dials.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second Watches Watch Releases


I have always liked Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watches with two faces, and I think these three new dial options will be popular amongst Reverso fans who want something a little out of the ordinary. Personally, I’m quite fond of dials made out of exotic stones as I find them to look much more interesting and dynamic. Of the trio, the Electric Blue dial doesn’t really do much for me, and I’m more intrigued by the Military Marble and Tiger’s Eye dial options. Military Marble is definitely something unusual and could be interesting in the flesh. On the other hand, Tiger’s Eye is a wonderfully striking stone and I think it would make for a visually arresting watch dial.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second Watches Watch Releases


Prices of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso Classic Large Duo Small Second watch begin at $8,400 and will vary depending on your dial and strap choice. jaeger-lecoultre.com

Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD Watch

Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD Watch


Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD Watch Watch Releases


I still vividly remember the first time I read about the Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 – it was in a watch magazine in my hotel room in Taipei while on a work trip. And I thought to myself, what horological sorcery is this? Using magnets and balls to tell time? But that is exactly the kind of work and the kind of watch that independent watchmaker Christophe Claret is all about – watches that are innovative, technically impressive, and designed to evoke watch-lust. For 2017, Christophe Claret is revisiting the X-TREM-1 and is giving enthusiasts a new version of this creatively designed watch called the X-TREM-1 StingHD.


Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD Watch Watch Releases


The new Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD was designed in collaboration with StingHD, a New York-based jewelry and accessories company known for making men’s bracelets with exotic leathers like stingray and python. They are also apparently known for their use of the skull motif. The watch keeps the key components that made the original X-TRME-1 so special. There’s an inclined flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock, which also displays the running seconds, and the retrograde hour and minutes displays are still shown using a series of belts, magnets, and two small steel balls. What has changed, however, are the overall aesthetics of the watch.


Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD Watch Watch Releases


The Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD comes in a PVD-treated Grade 5 titanium case that measures 40.8mm across, 56.8mm tall, and rated water-resistant to 30m. Across the large sapphire crystal that covers much of the face of the watch is the brand’s name emblazoned in bright red. On the sides of the case, the hour and minute indicators are inscribed with red lacquer and feature red Super-LumiNova lines underneath to provide some nighttime legibility.


Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD Watch Watch Releases


The two sapphire crystal tubes for the metal spheres displaying the time are held in place by stainless steel rings – also given a black PVD treatment. Continuing this all-black theme are the hollowed, also PVD-treated metal spheres within the two sapphire tubes.

To match the case, the watch comes with a black stingray strap with red stitching. Owners will also get to personalize an additional strap. But that’s not all, in addition to the two straps, they will get another complimentary handcrafted bracelet that features a black diamond encrusted skull with ruby eyes. The straps and the handcrafted bracelet were both designed by StingHD.


Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD Watch Watch Releases


The skull treatment doesn’t end there. Look closely and you will see that the flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock has a new tourbillon cage that has been conceived by StingHD. The tourbillon cage has been redesigned to incorporate a black chrome-plated aluminum skull that is a signature of the brand’s jewelry. And as if that weren’t enough, the skull even features rubies for its eyes, which makes it look even more menacing. And around the periphery of the tourbillon is signed StingHD.


Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD Watch Watch Releases


The movement within is Christophe Claret’s FLY11 caliber. It is a hand-wound movement that features over 432 components and uses two barrels, one for the movement gear train, and the other for the time indications. To match the rest of the watch, the movement in the X-TREM-1 StingHD has been given a matching black PVD finish. And considering the complexity of the movement, the power reserve is pretty decent at 50 hours.

But that’s not all – the Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD has yet another a trick up its sleeve. While the front-facing sapphire crystal gives owners unrestricted view of the movement within, breathing hot air onto it will cause a white skull to reveal itself. It is pretty gimmicky, but nonetheless, a very cool and playful feature that I’m sure owners will have lots of fun with.


Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD Watch Watch Releases


Clearly, because of the unique aesthetics of the Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD, this watch is not for everyone. But if you like a) black watches, b) skulls, c) something edgy, or d) all of the above, then this watch may be for you. Personally, I like it when watchmakers exhibit a sense of fun and humor, and this watch is certainly has a bit of a mischievous quality about it. The Christophe Claret X-TREM-1 StingHD is limited to just 8 pieces with a price of 278,000 CHF each. christopheclaret.com

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT Watch Hands-On

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT may have one of the most descriptive product names out there – it’s a Planet Ocean that is indeed very big and very blue. And, in truth, it is also quite expensive. Let’s see where your money goes if you get one of these Big, Blue, Beautiful, Expensive things when they become available later in the year.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

For lack of a better analogy, I like to look at the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue as a fully spec’ed-out Audi or BMW – it is based on a model range that you can enter at a much lower price point, but this particular specimen has all the latest tech both on the inside and out. While its $10k+ price point very clearly puts it up against some tough competition coming from all sorts of places, there is enough going on here to make me want to review the Seamaster Big Blue soon.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

For me, the primary takeaway message I have from this watch after seeing it hands-on at Baselworld 2017 was something along the lines of “I have to see how this blue ceramic fairs in the real world” because, while I have worn ceramic watches before, how this Big Blue watch works on a day-to-day basis is something I want to see for myself. How lastingly interesting, comfortable, quality-exuding, and versatile it is in the mid- to long-run, we’ll only know when Omega starts rolling it out. For now, however, we’ll start on the outside and work our way inwards from there to understand what Omega’s latest and supposedly greatest advancements in case and movement manufacturing can offer.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The most important thing to clarify about the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT is a certain dissonance between how it looks in images and how it actually is in the real world – you only need to lift it off the watch tray to see for yourself what I’m about to say. Because blue, especially such a saturated, deep blue, we scarcely see quality, durable materials take on, when seeing it in images alone (particularly in official images such as in our release article here) I found myself prone to associating it with a plasticky look and “feel” – though you really can’t make that conclusion from images alone.

That, however, couldn’t be further from the case. Omega watches are very far from being the lightest in the crowd, and the Big Blue is no exception to that rule, thanks to its massive, solid ceramic case and bezel and its also rather generously proportioned automatic movement. In the hand, even upon first impression, the Big Blue feels not only heavy, but also remarkably solid.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Omega did something very cool and brought along a five-piece puzzle to show how the case is crafted from a solid block of ceramic along with a number of other production pieces for the bezel and case-back. Unlike the Chanel J12 and nearly all other ceramic-cased watches, Omega’s ceramic-cased watches do not use a steel inner core with a thin and relatively brittle ceramic layer wrapped around it. Instead, the case is solid ceramic through and through.

It wouldn’t be surprising to learn the technology was coming from Swatch Group sister-brand and ceramic expert Rado, whose HyperChrome ceramic from about five years ago did away with the steel core thanks to its mold-injection ceramic-manufacturing technology. Not a broadly advertised connection, this one, but it would only make sense for Omega to harness the group’s technology and that, fortunately, is exactly what happened.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Both Rado’s HyperChrome and Omega’s ceramic manufacturing process begins with a mold into which “a special zirconium-based powder” is injected. That light blue, large piece you see wrapped in glass in the top left corner of the image above is how the case looks at that stage. It is rather accurately in the case’s final shape, already incorporating all openings for the bracelet, side inserts, as well as the crown and pushers (on applicable case designs). The injected zirconium oxide inside the mold is then subjected to an extremely high pressure of around 1,000 bar and then cooled down and removed from the mold.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT Watch Hands-On Hands-On
Compare: the rough mold after its first high-pressure treatment on the left and the sharply finished final case on the right.

At this point, it has shrunk considerably to the size you see in the lower left corner of the image above. Notice how deep blue it has become by the end of this process, indicating that the material itself is colored in its entire depth. It is here where we should note that colored ceramic (and especially in such massive and complex pieces) is extremely rare in watchmaking.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Monochrome ceramics have prevailed in white, black, or tones of grey because the moment you start adding pigments to ceramic and then exposing said pigments multiple times to immense heat (more on that in a bit), they react with the ceramic compound and result in discolorations and inconsistencies on the surface and inside the material itself. More often than not, this results in unacceptable numbers of rejects that are not salvageable but took a lot of effort to produce nevertheless.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

As such, the initial high-pressure treatment is followed by a sintering process at 1,450 degrees Celsius (2,642° F), further strengthening and shrinking the material that now even more closely resembles the final shape and is now ever harder and more scratch-resistant.

Omega explains: “for such a tough material, it then takes diamond tools to add the defining edges and grooves while also being lubricated and cooled by high-pressure oil solutions. A three-hour plasma treatment in a 20,000° C furnace then paves the way for precision laser-engraving.”

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Big Blue Ceramic GMT Watch Hands-On Hands-On

All this noted, what’s really super impressive is how Omega can finish ceramic which is about five times harder than steel, coming in at around 1,200 Hv on the Vickers scale against 316L and 904L steel’s 180-490 Hv (depending on compound, and heat- and surface treatments, the result varies quite a bit for stainless steel). What you see above is the final case on the left before finishing touches and, on the right, the finished product ready to be assembled.