Saturday, March 6, 2021

The Essence ThirtyNine Automatic in Green

From Formex -

Courtesy of Formex

So this is sort of a trippy post for me to write.  In many ways it is taking me back to November 2012 when I was still living in Santa Barbara and stumbled across the (then) new JEANRICHARD Terrascope - http://www.tempusfugit.watch/2012/11/jeanrichards-terrascope-revelling-in.html

All I'll need is a call from Paul Earhardt inviting me to Los Angeles to view it in person and then the eery similarities will be complete ; )

At the time, what struck me was finally, FINALLY!  Here was a watch that was NOT a dive watch, but of stainless steel and not perfectly round. It was heralded as the perfect ONLY watch.  Meaning if you were a collector of limited, modest means and could only afford only one really dope watch, this would be your baby. Sporty without being too "DIVE WATCHY", a good looking bracelet that matched so smoothly with the case lugs, it could at a glance appear to be integrated. And it came with a promise of "easily swappable" straps so that you could change the look of your watch quickly. 

In actual fact, not so much. I owned a Terrascope and it was a great watch, but the case and bracelet were both too thick, and heavy. The bracelet and straps required a special tool. The watch cost a not exactly reasonable amount of money, was equipped with either an ETA or Sellita mvt. (relatively standard grade)and retailed for $3,500 if memory serves.

So time moves forward, and now I am excited again! I am excited because, in fact, I think the folks at Formex can finally deliver on what so many brands have choked on previously - and deliver it at a reasonable price that the rest of us in the real world can realistically hope to afford without putting our retirement accounts at risk.

Courtesy of Formex

You will note the two buttons position at the end piece of the bracelet between the two lug horns.

They work like this -


And lucky for us, you can also get some pretty dope options for replacement straps -


I'm sold!  Oh, did I mention that it comes standard with a chronometer certified movement?  Oh, and one last thing, the price -

$1,390.00 US
*taxes, duties and shipping included

Here are the pertinents -


MOVEMENT

Swiss Made Sellita SW200-1 (self-winding) Automatic (Chronometer grade), officially certified by COSC. 26 jewels and glucydur balance wheel. Date display. Custom-built skeleton rotor with thermally blued screws. 38 hours power reserve.

CASE

  • Diameter: 39mm
  • Height: 10mm
  • Lug width: 20mm
  • Lug-to-lug: 45mm
  • Water resistance: 10 bar (100 metres / 330 feet)
  • Weight: 65g (case only)

MATERIAL

  • Bezel: Stainless steel 316L
  • Case: Stainless steel 316L
  • Glass: Sapphire crystal (front and back) with anti-reflection treatment

STRAP

  • Stainless steel bracelet, or Italian calf leather straps with curved spring bars, Quick Release function and carbon fiber composite folding clasp with patented Micro-Adjustment System. 
  • Stainless steel bracelet with Quick Release and Micro-extension function. 
  • All Essence straps and the bracelet can be changed by hand without the use of tools. The carbon fiber composite folding clasp with patented fine adjustment system can be changed without tools and can be used for all Essence ThirtyNine leather straps. 

DIAL

Vertical brush finish with horizontally cut lines which are CNC machined into the dial base one by one. BGW9 Super-LumiNova on hands and indexes. 

REFERENCE NUMBER

0333.1.6600.100

Friday, March 5, 2021

When You Run Out Of Juice - The Rise And Inevitable Fall Of HYT

Unicorns. We talk about them in Watch Town and in all fairness, it keeps things interesting. Typically, a unicorn in Watch Town is more down to a rare or madly sought after model. But every now and then, there is a brand that bubbles to the surface that defies the rules and norms and establishes a foothold. And HYT was certainly one of those brands.

And I know, it is easy to play Monday (or in this case, Friday) morning quarterback, but now the news is out that HYT will be heading to bankruptcy in Switzerland, which was outlined in a letter that seems to have been sent by HYT to its suppliers and made public in several social media outlets, including Linkedin, on (I believe) Sunday. Additional coverage can be found here from Robb Report - https://robbreport.com/style/watch-collector/hyt-files-for-bankruptcy-1234599628/


Whether the public airing out of this news was intentional or not, long story short it seems that this might put paid to HYT for the foreseeable future. In the letter, which appears to have been printed in its entirety, it points out that the key hindrance to moving forward is getting additional institutional funding. In other words, it is clear that HYT had not yet become self-sufficient. 

You can read it, as well as some other commentary here at Watch U Seek - https://www.watchuseek.com/threads/hyt-is-having-a-bankruptcy-reorg.5285875/#:~:text=%22HYT%20filed%20for%20bankruptcy%20in,a%20steady%20downturn%20in%20sales.%22

I reached out to the folks at HYT for comment/confirmation, but for the past 3 days they have remained silent.

And if we are all being honest with each other (and ourselves), it begs the question as to how stable are many of the other brands out there? When a brand's ability to exist and continue operations is so closely and intimately intertwined with regular, external monies being funneled in, not unlike the need to continually fill up the gas tank in your car, it really becomes a question of when, not if the doors might be forcibly shut.

Ultimately, for any business to realistically not only establish itself, but survive, grow and endure - it must be self-sufficient. A business that 10 years on continually needs cash injections begs the question - when will the corner actually be turned? 

Owning, or institutionally investing in a watch brand used to be a sign of arrival for men of a certain fiscal fiber. If you couldn't afford a premier league football club, it seemed a path to at least a little bit of fame and notoriety. But invariably it would seem that the watch business is, in fact, just that - a business, not a hobby and not a plaything.

What HYT, Favre Leuba, Vulcain and really too many other brands to name have proven is that investment without intention or plan is about as effective as treating diarrhea by constructing more port-a-potties. 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Augsburg Oliv 42

 From Laco -

Courtesy of Laco
Limited to 250 pieces.

Here are the pertinents -

Case:
Stainless steel case with a bronze look,
ΓΈ 42 mm, height 12 mm, lug width 20 mm, water resistant up to 5 ATM, sapphire crystal, case-back with sapphire crystal, domed crown

Engraved limited serial number on the case back

Movement:
Automatic movement Laco 21, basic movement: Miyota 821A, second hand stop, 21 jewels, 3 hands

Hands:
Hour, minute and second black mat
with luminous material Superluminova Old Radium

Dial:
Olive green mat, arabic figures and indexes
with luminous material Superluminova Old Radium, execution according B-Uhr Baumuster A

Strap:
Olive green calf leather strap with light stitching, 2 rivets per band side, buckle and rivets
with bronze colour

Weight:
90 g

Retail price: 440,-€