Remember when we thought Wayde van Niekerk’s R10 million swiss replica watch was out of this world (for its price, not its colour)?
Well, that’s nothing – and neither is the 1942 Rolex Chronograph, the most expensive Rolex watch around.
Rather, there are two brands that take the cake for consistently producing the world’s most expensive watches, namely Chopard and Patek Philippe.
Chopard, based in Geneva, is a Swiss watchmaker which was sold to Karl Scheufele, a watchmaker from Pforzheim, Germany, whose family has owned it ever since.
Patek Philippe, also based in Geneva, has gone through many owners and have a museum of the same name which includes watches from as early as the 16th century, 300 years before Patek Philippe began watchmaking.
And these companies’ watches are pretty outrageous.
Let’s get on it:
5 – Although it looks like it comes straight out of a 90s rap music video, the Chopard Super Ice Cube Watch weighs in at t 60 karats and goes for $1.1 million a pop.
4 – Produced in 2005 to celebrate Vacheron Constatin’s 250th anniversary, the Tour de I’lle features 18 carat gold and blue sapphires – and goes for about $1.15 million.
3 – The Patek Philippe Platinum World Time has the time zones of 42 major cities around the world (including Cape Town) incorporated on its face. Only one has ever been made and sold for $4 million in 2002 – so it has surely increased in value now.
2 – More of a pocket watch, the Patek Philippe Replica Henry Graves Supercomplication is just that, supercomplicated. Designed in 1933, it’s one of the most complicated timepieces every created, and comes with 920 parts, 24 functions and encased in 18 carat gold. Second place for $24 million.
1 – The most expensive watch might not be the most attractive thing to most, but it comes complete with 874 diamonds and the Chopard 201 carat costs around $25 million.
For the first time in its 262-year history, luxury timepiece-maker Vacheron Constantin replica will start selling its new watches online.
The Richemont-owned brand designed a limited edition of 36 Cornes de Vache 1955 timepieces with New York-based watch news website Hodinkee -the first such collaboration for the watchmaker, said Vincent Brun, president of Vacheron Constantin in North America. The $450 watches will only be available on biao.org.uk and not in stores.
“We wanted to make this digital step in order to increase brand exposure in the world and reach out to watch lovers we did not necessarily speak to until now,” said Brun.
Swiss watchmakers have been increasingly embracing e-commerce to reach a younger clientele that’s less interested in wearing watches.
Richemont has hired an executive from Google Inc.to bolster its digital push as its brands catch up with Hermes, which sells its $250 timepieces online.
The Cornes de Vache timepieces were designed with a more “youthful” look and are available in stainless steel for the first time, said Ben Clymer, the website’s founder.
“The steel case is something that is becomi ng very desirable to readers of Hodinkee,” he said. “It also brings the price down to below $500, making it slightly more approachable.”
Swiss watch exports dropped the most in seven years in 2016, as high-end replica watches went unsold in Hong Kong, the ..
For the past year, Barrelhand Replica Timepieces has been documenting the entire process of its flagship piece, Project 1, from initial sketch all the way to prototyping and manufacturing. Project 1’s mission was to develop unique time display complications in-house using the most modern advancements in 3D printing to significantly reduce traditional R&D costs. Barrelhand Project 1 features a 12-point Geneva jump hour and a linear cam path minute system, both of which are being developed by myself in San Francisco, California. Barrelhand Project 1 is currently on its 14th prototype iteration and is set to release 100 full-metal examples in summer 2017.
My journey into watchmaking began at the age of 18 when I stumbled upon Urwerk’s incredible UR-202. The holy grail of watchmaking is to seamlessly mesh engineering and art, and in my opinion, Urwerk had executed this philosophy exceptionally well. Being a student of mechanical engineering, I thought there was no better way to learn from and honor these great watchmakers than to rebuild the watch on my computer using 3D CAD software. I knew this would be no easy task, but my passion for watchmaking and engineering overcame any second thought, and I immediately began working on what would soon become a newfound love for the world of horology.
After 2 years of designing and developing prototypes I had finally created a working UR-202 of my very own as a tribute to these great watchmakers. I was then given the opportunity to document my journey from sketch to final prototype in an article on aBlogtoWatch.
A few weeks after the article was published, I was contacted by Urwerk telling me they enjoyed the article and would be interested in meeting me in person. They sent me a plane ticket, and before I knew it I was heading out to Switzerland to hang out with them during the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). It was a dream come true, and to meet the team of Urwerk was an absolute honor and privilege. What impressed me the most was the warm hospitality I was greeted with during my visit. Both co-founders Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei were very busy during SIHH meeting with investors and clients, yet they managed to take 2-3 hours out of each day simply to sit down with me and talk watches. Their passion and philosophy towards watchmaking inspired and motivated me to start a watchmaking company of my very own.
I knew the first project for Barrelhand Timepieces had to be something special. I didn’t want to make another generic micro brand with a slightly different case and dial from what has been done a thousand times over and that floods the “watchmaking” market. If I were to create a timepiece, it had to bring something new to the table, both in mechanics and design. The project and brand is an extension of my own interests, and although I understand that the retro futuristic theme is not for everyone, I hope you can still enjoy the mechanics and effort behind it. I have always enjoyed the artistic freedom of ’60-’70s Sci-Fi, a world where space exploration was abundant but still carried many classic design cues. After months of designing different mechanisms, I had finally settled on the overall complications, and a basic design that would hold it all together.
I began by developing a new linear method of displaying minutes. Linear minutes have been done in the past by other haute horlogerie brands such as in HYT’s H3; however, the mechanism to actuate it was to be entirely different. My inspiration came from a vinyl record and how the needle follows a groove as it slowly makes its way towards the center of the album. Using this design, I calculated the curvature of a cam path (highlighted in orange below) which could glide a pin up and down to linearly display the minutes. This path is engraved into the cam plate and rotates around, creating a beautiful dance of motion which spans the whole dial of the timepiece. The cam plate also has strategically placed cutouts to keep the mass perfectly centered along the rotating axis.
The linear minute system became one of the most challenging mechanisms of the fake watches. This method of actuating the minutes had not been attempted before, to my knowledge, and there was no database or equations to reference. I began testing different curvatures to maximize the traveling distance while minimizing the contact angle. Another issue was assuring that the force remains constant throughout the trajectory as the pin is pushed up and down in the path. Constant force is critical in timekeeping, thus with the use of simple torque calculations I was able to minimize these changes.
As the pin of the linear guide gets further from the central axis, the contact angle is minimized. Likewise, as the pin travels closer to the center of the movement, its contact angle increases. We achieve two things by doing this: constant torque throughout a full rotation, and a linear display that tracks the minutes accurately. If we had done a track with an offset circle such as a crank/piston mechanism, the minute would need to travel nearly twice the distance from 0-15 as 15-30. The guide would ultimately complete a full cycle in 60 minutes but the indices in between would be in non-linear increments.
The linear minute guide glides upon two stainless steel rails, indicating 0-30 minutes on its way down and 30-60 minutes on its way back up. The linear minute guide has an underside pin which tracks the groove of the rotating cam plate.
A colorwheel indicator is located at the bottom of the timepiece dictating whether to read the orange indices (0-30 minutes) or purple indices (30-60 minutes). The magnification allows the color to fill up the space completely as the floating ring passes around the outer edge of the movement. The example below shows two different minute readouts: XX:25 (left) and XX:50 (right).
The next mechanism I wanted to implement was a jump hour. Not only does it make time-reading easier, but there is something exciting about chinese cheap replica watches the hour switch over from one to the next. One of the setbacks to traditional jump hours is that they are comprised of many components and the time cannot be set backwards. While studying intermittent motion for an engineering exam, I was reminded of the Geneva gear. This was not the first time I had seen this mechanism, as it has been used in watchmaking for centuries, mainly for date complications or wandering hours. By implementing this mechanism, I minimized the amount of components needed while allowing the time to be set both forward and backward.
The formulas needed for designing Geneva gears are fairly simple; however, it becomes much more difficult the smaller it is scaled and as you increase the number of points the gear needs. Most Geneva gears have 4-5 points, but in my case, I needed 12 – 1 for each hour. The issue with this is that as you add more points, your gear gets more and more intricate and the walls become much thinner. On top of this, the diameter of the gear had to be no greater than 16mm given previous design constraints.