It is almost the middle of 2015, and now that the Apple Watch is here, people are still asking me "when is Casio going to release their smartwatch?" In a sense, much of what Casio already produces are "smartwatches," and the Japanese company arguably created the segment with a number of interesting watches over the years that do more than just tell the time (starting back in the 1980s during the "quartz revolution"). In 2011, Casio even began producing Bluetooth-connected G-Shock watches that offer simple notifications and music controls along with a small number of other features (which continues in some models produced today). With all that in mind, why is it that a company which should be the obvious front-runner as a traditional watch brand (and electronics company) to making smartwatches, have seemingly nothing in their pipeline to address the question of what Casio's answer to the smartwatch will be?
Originally incorporated under the name "Waterloo," the city of Austin, Texas, has been a place of change since its origin in the 1830s. State capital? High-tech center? Live music capital? Austin is many things to many people these days. As a spread-out metropolitan area, you don't find a concentration of watch stores in a single area like you do in New York City (or Waikiki in Honolulu, for that matter). So you have to embark on a "search and enjoy" mission to find watch retailers such as Jack Ryan Fine Jewelry + Timepieces, which opened the doors to their intimate watch boutique in West Lake Hills in 2012.
aBlogtoWatch: What types of watches are popular in your market? What makes Austin a unique place to buy watches?
From a functional perspective the Blancpain caliber 2322V2 is more or less the same as the existing 2322. What is different is the orientation on the dial, as well as the design of the bridges and the finishing which is much more modern compared to the classic looks of the 2322. The manually wound movement is comprised of 350 parts and has a power reserve of 168 hours. On the rear of the movement is a small hand which acts as a power reserve indicator, and on the dial, you have the time as well as the exposed tourbillon and carrousel mechanism.
What makes the car world different from the watch world is a lot of regulations. Most car makers cannot release their innovative concept cars as production models due to tons and tons of regulations designed to make them safe and street legal. The watch industry is not bound by such regulations and can more-or-less release whatever they want. While I am not suggesting that the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 5175 is anything less than Patek Philippe says it is, similar "wildly complicated" timepieces are frequently released in the watch industry that simply don't work – ever.
The problem with the Apple Watch is just how much functional potential it has when you think about all the apps that can utilize its functionality. Apple itself doesn't really know what features consumers will latch on to, because most of the people at Apple represent a sort of tech elite, and their habits and desires might be very different from the mainstream consumer they need to romance with a novel product. In a sense, Apple is jumping the gun by making such a nicely made smartwatch, because most consumers still aren't convinced they need to buy a smartwatch to begin with. The fact is that many consumers are in shock that some people might pay several hundred dollars (let alone thousands of dollars) for any type of watch. With prices for most smartwatches hovering around the 0 mark, I think a lot of consumers feel Apple is out of line asking for so much for the Apple Watch, even though they don't really understand what they are getting. Apple seems to have forgotten that so many people out there are completely unfamiliar with nice watches, and the very category of people who are familiar with nice watches are threatened by the Apple Watch. If the Apple Watch becomes as useful as Apple claims it will be, then traditional watch lovers will be forced to make the difficult decision of wearing an connected modern electronic versus traditional mechanical timepiece.
When it comes to ergonomics, the 40.8 millimeter wide case – seen in white gold here – is one that should feel comfortable on most wrists; as much as large watches may be "in" (and there are some more comfortable ones out there, for sure), most will agree that a smaller watch with less weight and a more ergonomic fit will be more comfortable to wear, especially over longer time periods. The H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Funky Blue also features a cool case design element that we would really like to see more often, which is a curved case back and rear sapphire crystal. As opposed to sitting flat on the wrist, the curved case back allows the watch to wrap around in a more comfortable and secure way, again, making for superior wearing comfort.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Spherotourbillon Moon uses JLC's calibre 389 which is a modified version of the calibre 382 seen in the original version. In adding the moon phase complication, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Spherotourbillon Moon looses the date display found on the original model. I think the dial design benefits from this trade and looks beautifully and decidedly JLC.
The Project X DS7 Custom Paul Newman Rolex Daytona and the other, colorful variations (Project X DS4, DS5, DS6) are as though some of the pieces from our "Watch What-If" series became real. I mean, sure, there are some varieties and colors to be had, but with certain brands, you are just not likely to see something that is, shall we say, a bit wilder than the rest of the lineup. Rolex is a perfect example of this: despite the seemingly massive interest in newer designs, unless you head to some of the aftermarket customizers, you will not be able to get your hands on a lime green Submariner (and perhaps that is for good reason) or a "tribute," vintage-inspired Rolex straight from the company. The chaps over at Project X, an independent company providing customizations to original brand manufacturers' watches, have tackled a particular Rolex that we do not often see customized: the Rolex Daytona.
More interesting, however, is the use of the blue dial from Nomos’ high-end Lambda, a distinct shade that the German company refers to as Deep Blue — a fitting name. This makes it the only blue model currently in the Club collection. It’s also probably the boldest Club, thanks to high-contrast red accents like the seconds hand and minute markers. But, perhaps the most impressive element is that the Nomos Timeless Club features fully luminescent hands and numerals like its Dunkel predecessor making it extremely legible at night.
Where the original Oris 1965 diver (seen below, right) used a brass case with a plexi crystal and a bi-directional bezel, the Oris Divers Sixty-Five offers a similar look but with a 40mm stainless steel case, a beautifully double domed and anti-refelctive sapphire crystal, and a unidirectional aluminum dive bezel. The date has been moved from three to six o'clock but the black dial, box numerals for 12, 3, 6 and 9 and the lume color all carry over from the original. The lume for the new model is actually a version of SuperLuminova called "Light Old Radium" and it carries a slightly yellow-to-tan coloring a perfectly suits the aesthetic established by the 1965 model.
Like all Parmigiani watches, the strap is from the legendary French leather goods artisan, Hermes. It's a rich brown alligator that is supple yet firm. It screams high quality and blends perfectly with the warm rose gold case. The clasp is also rose gold and is stamped with the Parmigiani Fleurier (PF) logo.
The Nomos Timeless Club is a new collaboration from Timeless Luxury Watches and Nomos Glashütte that combines elements from existing models into something very different than anything that came before it. The Nomos Timeless Club uses an identical 38.5mm steel case from the original Nomos Club Dunkel Datum. Nomos watches tend to wear large, so 38.5mm is actually a surprisingly versatile size, in line with modern standards. Water resistance is 100 meters.
Covered in Vanitas imagery, the Carpe Diem encourages you to consider death and your own mortality every time you glance at your wrist. There is a skull nestled amidst some fine gold engraving at seven thirty, and another at nine o'clock on the side of the case. Beyond the – very trendy – skull theme, there actually is some very intriguing, and arguably more refined mythology on display.
Alongside the 2015 Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication, Jaeger-LeCoultre also announced a new version of their Duometre Spherotourbillon featuring a platinum case and a moon phase indicator - this is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Spherotourbillon Moon.
TAG Heuer may not entirely abandon their mature fan base, but they must employ a totally different strategy if they are going to once again be the type of brand that attracts younger watch buyers. This means that TAG Heuer needs to be very “right now,” with a focus on things like the social media generation, fashion, music, and modern sporting events. I have to agree that such a tactic is in many ways much better for business than what they were doing before that simply wasn’t speaking loud enough to the people who are looking to buy really nice circa ,000 watches.