Thursday, February 22, 2018

Juventus and Hublot

I do love Juventus.  There, I've said it.  

Courtesy of Hublot

And Hublot partnering with them is pretty neat.  But football, at the moment, is not in good health.  So I want to take the time this morning to comment on football - IMPORTANT - NOT HUBLOT or JUVENTUS, and then share the news of this exciting new release from Hublot.  Again - the comments on FOOTBALL, FIFA, etc. are NOT directed at Hublot or Juventus.  Having said that, I think they are important to take into account when we talk about big money partnerships.

So I need to start out with a statement that might not make me so popular in certain circles in Switzerland.  FIFA is an incredibly shady organization, football (soccer) for better or worse is more and more ceasing to be the people's game, and more and more a play thing for the wealthy and their corrupt cronies.  I personally am frustrated with the number of people who are losing their lives (worst case) and living in virtual indentured servitude) best case in the service of constructing the stadiums and infrastructures for the World Cup in Qatar.  For some alternative views on football's current ills, I would refer you to:

I am partway through this, and it reminds me that football is a powerful game which captivates so many around the world, and is frequently used for predators to, well, prey on the innocent.

And The Ugly Game -

Courtesy of Amzon
A pretty damming commentary on just where all that Adidas, McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Visa sponsorship money really winds up.  It ain't grass roots development in third world countries.

Okay, stepping off the soap box ; )

 But will make my annual suggestion/request for Hublot -

If Hublot really loves football - and I believe that they do, could they create a fund, an annual award to support youth grass roots football programs that REALLY need the money.  Yes, I know, you can't do and fix everything. But I am saying there is a small thing that could be done that would have a wonderful impact, encourage other companies to participate, and would provide some wonderful public relations ; )

Because if I am honest, in a sport that is so frustrating to support, I have been, am, and will continue to be a fan of ‘La Vecchia Signora’ or ‘The Old Lady’.  Otherwise known as Juventus.

My love affair with Juventus started with Michel Platini (granted, our heroes sometimes lose their luster in retirement, and sometimes make very bad choices), who in the 1980s played football with the passion, freedom and confidence that is found in a true artist.

And prior to that, another hero of mine - Paolo Rosi -

Shamelessly borrowed from the world-wide infoweb
To be controversially banned from football, and then called up in the 25th hour to put the Italian national side on his back and carry them to the final against West Germany in 1982?  That is the stuff of legend.

And today, Hublot celebrates Juventus with their latest offering -

Courtesy of Hublot

This is the Classic Fusion Chronograph Juventus.

Courtesy of Juventus

Here are the pertinents -



45 mm

Polished and satin-finished black ceramic

Black PVD titanium and black carbon fiber insert
White composite resin lower bezel

Water Resistant:
5 ATM (50 m)

Black sunray satin-finished,
with “Juventus Football Club” logo printed at 3.00

HUB1143 caliber, self-winding Chronograph movement

Power reserve:
42 hours

White rubber and black alligator with white stitching

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Seven Days with the Hemel HFT20 / VK64

Courtesy of Hemel
As I sprint to get caught up before winging off for a foreign factory visit (more to come), I am rushing to get caught up on everything that has been going on here at Tempus Fugit.

And one of those things is this review of one of Hemel's latest offerings, the HFT20/VK64 Configuration.

The HFT20 / VK64 is a unique proposition - a classically designed chronograph that is affordable without sacrificing on performance by using a dodgy movement.  Brands, both micro and mini, will often give you the "vanilla or chocolate" choice - i.e. affordable = quartz, and expensive = automatic.  But Hemel, in their wisdom, figured that there might be some people out there who like strawberry - i.e. a meca quartz movement.

Just what is a meca quartz movement?  I'm glad you asked!  Essentially, a meca quartz movement is quartz, ensuring pretty much the most accurate time keeping possible.  But it goes a step further, incorporating a mechanical module for the chronograph function which gives it a lovely "sweep" effect.

So back to the review  -

The watch case is substantial and sturdy.  It measures 42 mm in diameter, of stainless steel, and is equipped with a unidirectional stainless steel bezel that is engraved with a 12 hour scale that can also function as a second time zone or GMT feature.  The fit of the watch will be good for most wrists, and while the watch has presence, it is not overwhelming.

The dial is clear and legible.  It is bicompax,  with a 24 hour indicator on the right (at 3 o'clock), a sixty minute counter on the left (at 9 o'clock), with the orange 60 second chronograph hand mounted at the center.  And yes, the sweep function of the chronograph function is very, very smooth and impressive.  The pusher buttons function cleanly and engage without any hesitation or "jumpiness".

The case back is solid steel and engraved on the back.  I have seen mecha quartz equipped watches with display backs, and I have to say that while these movements provide a wonderful look and feel due to the smooth effect with the sweep function, the movement itself is not going to win any contests for artistic execution.

My one piece of feedback is to make sure that all of the case backs are centered when the watches are assembled.  In fairness, I have seen plenty of watch case backs where the logos, engraving, etc., are not centered either.  But having said that, when you go to that much trouble with the design and engraving / decoration of the case back, it detracts a wee bit from the overall feeling when it is not centered.  And in fairness, this might be a one-off.

The HFT20 comes with a solid, thick and tactile leather strap.  The strap is quite comfortable, and adds a nice touch to the watch.  It is paired with a very well executed stainless steel buckle -

The buckle has a nice engraving, an added little touch that truly adds to the overall feel of the watch, and the crown is another nice flourish -

Overall, this has been a very enjoyable watch to wear.  Hemel has cracked the code of making a more affordable chronograph that does not look cheap and tinny.  This one is solid, tactile, and performs exceedingly well.  And it looks very, very good.

Priced at  $449.99, this is a great watch at a great price.

Here are the pertinents, straight from Hemel -

Reference HF Series                                                                                                                  
• Movement: VK64 mecaquartz. Quartz caliber incorporates gear architecture for smooth second hand sweep.

• Case: 316L Stainless Steel, brushed

• Case Width: 42 mm

• Lug Width: 20 mm

• Lug to Lug: 49 mm

• Caseback: Screwdown, engraved

• Dial: Matte black w/Superluminova C3

• Front Crystal: Flat sapphire

• Water Resistance: 100 meters

• Crown: Signed, push / pull                                                                                                        
• Bezels: 60 Minute bezel, ceramic / GMT bezel, stainless steel

• Straps: Vintage cognac leather, two piece with signed buckle and steel rivets. Now shipping with an additional strap, the NDC (while supplies last).
And one last little nice bit, Hemel is directing a portion of the proceeds to charitable organizations:

Indicate at checkout which non-profit organization you'd like a 5% portion of your purchase proceeds to go to: Toys For Tots, Wounded Warriors or the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Seven Days with the Sternglas Zeitmesser

(February 20th, 6:52 AM Eastern Time).
This is a formal announcement that I have been retained by Sternglas Zeitmesser to assist them in the North American market (effective Tuesday, February 20th) and as such, I will no longer be able to write about them here on Tempus Fugit or in other outlets as it would create a conflict of interest and not be in the best interest of honest watch coverage and reporting.  This happened very quickly (over less than 24 hours), but I felt it important to update this review as quickly as possible to ensure full disclosure.  

NOTE - This review was actually completed a few weeks ago.  A few additional photos were taken today - Sunday, February 18th.

Courtesy of Zeitmesser

A week has come and gone, and another review is officially in the books.  But this one was a bit different than I expected it would be.

I had heard about Sternglas Zeitmesser a few months back, and I was curious.  While more expensive, mechanical watches are usually the focus of most watch reviews, I wanted to get a sense of just what 199 Euros would get you.  Ordinarily, lower price means lower quality, and you can see where the money wasn't spent in terms of manufacturing.  Not so with Sternglas!

The most important thing to get out of the way is that this is, indeed, a quartz watch.  But I am coming to believe more and more that having multiple mechanical watches can, in fact, be more of a headache than it is sometimes worth.  I have about 5 mechanical watches in dire need of service that I just have not got around to dealing with owing to the time and expense.  I suspect that if I was once again a "one watch" guy, then I would feel a bit more pressure to get the service done.  But the other thing that I am finding?  A lot of brands (both small and mighty) are making some very appealing quartz watches that look good, wear well, and don't fall apart the day after the warranty expires.

Now the first thing that strikes you is the design of the watch itself.  It is Bauhaus to the core, the dial layout is clear and the date window is particularly well executed.  Easy to read, and the date window does not obscure any part of the indices, although the 3 o'clock marker is somewhat shorter than it's corresponding indices, it is actually very well balanced and very pleasant to look at.

The movement is from the folks at Ronda - the 714.  And now we get back to the auto/mechanical vs. quartz debate.  In Glasgow there are Celtic and Rangers, Edinburgh has Hearts (my club) and Hibernian.  And the watch world has NO Quartz and WHY NOT Quartz?  And as I said earlier, I am finding myself more and more in the WHY NOT Quartz camp.  Now in fairness to the NO Quartz faction, I agree that perhaps one of the most annoying parts of any quartz watch is the rather obnoxious tick-tick sound and the jump of the second hand.  Sometimes, it is rather inelegant.  But you will notice the second hand of the Sternglas Zeitmesser solves that problem... it doesn't have one!  And in terms of a design choice, I have to be honest it adds a certain something to the overall experience.  Hours and minutes pass, but you do not find yourself obsessing over the passing of 60 seconds.

The watch case (and in this version, "Milanaise" bracelet), are of stainless steel.  And the diameter is one that is going to appeal to a larger and growing group of people at 38 mm.  

And once again we see, 38 mm is plenty big.  The thin bezel adds depth and gives the impression of something a tad bit bigger.  At 38, it is a watch that can be worn pretty much every day.

And let's talk about the "every day" aspect of the Sternglas watches.  The straps and bracelet come STANDARD with quick change spring bars so that you could switch from one to the other in the blink of an eye, without a tool of any kind -

And the benefit of this is (at least to me) very obvious - you can have three different looks for not a lot of money.  You can purchase additional straps, directly from Sternglas Zeitmesser for 29 Euros each.

Courtesy of Sternglas Zeitmesser

Courtesy of Sternglas Zeitmesser

The overall finish of the watch was beyond reproach, and priced at 199 Euros, you can actually tell where the money went.  

Or less gently stated - this watch kicks the shit out of the stuff that Daniel Wellington is pushing.  I hate to be blunt, but if Sternglas Zeitmesser ever decided to push into the North American market, they would give the folks from Sweden a very real run for their money.

The watch has been a true joy to wear.  The fit and feel are smooth, balanced and just that little bit of heft to know that your wearing a watch, not a gold plated piece of brass with an eponymous name.

The bracelet was, at first a little challenging - and I would STRONGLY encourage everyone to be careful putting it on as it does require a wee bit of digital dexterity.  But on the upside, the bracelet allows for the ULTIMATE in micro adjustment.

And all of the little details are there, and that gives an even warmer and fuzzier feeling ; )

To sum up, for 199 Euros this is a watch I would buy and wear proudly without hesitation.  And Sternglas, if you're ever looking for North American representation, I am available ; )

Here are the pertinents, straight from the source -

A Bauhaus-style fine watch with high quality sapphire crystal. A reserved & filigree clock without annoying bells and whistles. Clear lines, shapes and colors. Our STERNGLAS timepiece is clear, minimalist and minimalist.
  • Diameter 38 mm
  • RONDA caliber 714 movement
  • Domed sapphire crystal
  • 5 bar (50 m) Waterproof
  • 4-fold screwed stainless steel bottom
  • 24 months warranty
  • Pointer color dark blue
  • Dial color white
  • Bracelet color Milanaise 

Someting New from France

Audaceone -

Courtesy of Audaceone
A new brand based in France, harnessing the best of both French and Swiss watch making skills.  This is Audaceone, and their first model - the Square.

Available in a Titanium Carbon version (above), and a Titanium DLC Carbon version (below).

Courtesy of Audaceone
Each titanium version is limited to 60 pieces, and also available in 2 different rose gold versions -

Courtesy of Audaceone

Courtesy of Audaceone
The gold versions are limited to 15 versions in each gold execution.

But back to the titanium versions -

Courtesy of Audaceone

Here are the pertinents for the Square Titanium Carbon -

Diameter : 42 mm (without crown)
Thickness : 9 mm


Water Resistant

Bezel and case back:
Titanium TA6V (Grade 5)
Micro blasted and polished
Bezel engraved with logo at 3

Winding crown:
Titanium TA6V (Grade 5)
Rubber collar

Sapphire anti-glare treatment 

Matte black
Blue index
Hours, minutes, seconds
Date at 6
Blue seconds hand

Bi-material - rubber and leather

Titanium TA6V (Grade 5)
Vaucher Manufacture
VMF 3002
Self-winding 50H power reserve

Movement details
189 components
Double barrel rapid rotation in series
Frequency : 4hz (28’800 Ah)
Anti-shock : Incabloc
Tungsten oscillating weight
Ceramic Ball Bearing
Balance with variable inertia
Gold inertia blocks

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The 17.03 GMT

From Ming -

Courtesy of Ming

There are very few start-ups over the past few years that have had the sand to put out something fairly different.  Fewer still that have been able to follow-up that first salvo with further models that, like the first, continue to impress and sell well.  But then again, not every watch project/start-up is Ming.

For those of you unaware, Ming is the creation of a group of watch enthusiasts who had an idea for a better mouse trap.  In their own words -

MING is a horological collective formed and funded entirely by a group of six watch enthusiasts from around the world under the leadership of Ming Thein, a photographer, designer, business strategist and above all, a lover of watches. Together, the MING team draws from over 80 years of total experience collecting fine timepieces – ranging from vintage to avant-garde; from quality affordables to six-figure commissioned independent pieces.

When we started collecting, iconic pieces were more accessible and a genuine sense of value and joy accompanied each acquisition. Our goal with MING is to bring back this sense of excitement and discovery through a series of pieces that show considered deliberation and refinement in every detail, but remain within reach of a wider audience. We will be the first to admit that we don't manufacture in-house, but rather use the most appropriate suppliers for the design intent and price point. The majority of our suppliers also work with major Swiss brands; assembly, regulation and testing is performed in Switzerland, with final quality control done personally in Malaysia.

MING is our way of sharing our experience with enthusiasts who want to discover watchmaking substance beyond brand, for budding aficionados and seasoned collectors alike. 

So in essence, "This is our thing, we think it's cool, we hope you do too!"  I also appreciate the transparency - they use assemblers.  A little inside baseball for you - they use assemblers just like several very large brands in the big groups do.  The difference?  Ming is not trying to play "alternative facts" with you through a multimillion dollar "bullshit bingo" advertising campaign with "instafamous" twerps running around New York City mugging like buffoons.  They simply design a great watch.
Courtesy of Ming
The new 17.03 GMT is as advertised - it is a 2 time zone watch.  And this is achieved by an interior GMT ring with a smaller, independent indicator.  This is a nice touch, because all too often a GMT function is realized with the addition of fourth hand plopped in with the hour, minute and second hands.  This is a cleaner and clearer approach.

The bracelet is another nice touch -

Courtesy of Ming
 Solid and tactile, without being bulky.  A nice, elegant solution.

Courtesy of Ming
And the packaging and extras are a very nice touch - two additional leather straps are included.

And the price is perhaps one of the best for a watch of this quality, aggressively affordable - CHF 1,650!

Here are the pertinents -

  • Functions: hours, minutes, and additional 24h timezone on inner ring
  • Case, dial & hands:
    • 38mm diameter, 9.8mm thickness, grade 2 titanium case with solid caseback, all brushed
    • Sapphire crystal with double antireflective coating
    • Rigid case without spacer rings
    • 100m water resistance with triple crown gaskets and nitrogen filling
    • Composite, multi-layer, three-part sapphire dial 
    • Textured burgundy dial
    • Hands coated with Super-LumiNova C1
    • Dial ring printed with Super-LumiNova C1
  • Bracelet
    • Grade 2 titanium, 5 link bracelet
    • 20mm lug width with quick release mechanism for easy fitting
    • Will fit 140-232mm (5.5”-9.1”) wrist circumference
    • Concealed double deployant clasp in stainless steel
    • Links held by screws
  • Straps
    • 1x dark chocolate nubuck with white stitching
    • 1x anthracite nubuck with white stitching
    • 20x18mm, quick release with curved fitting
    • Will fit 160-210mm (6.1”-8.3”) wrist circumference
    • Signed pin buckle in brushed grade 2 titanium
  • Movement:
    • Automatic mechanical movement Sellita SW330-1 top grade
    • 42-hour power reserve
    • 28,800 bph (4Hz)
    • 25 jewels
    • Hacking function
    • Movement adjusted to five positions with a 250-hour test program
  • 1-year warranty against defects
  • Made in Switzerland
  • Delivery package includes titanium bracelet, two nubuck straps with buckles fitted (dark chocolate/ anthracite), a travel pouch by Thirtyfour Bespoke of Kuala Lumpur, and a screwdriver for bracelet adjustment