Monday, March 19, 2018


It is safe to say that a first love, regardless of how it works out, is something that stays with us throughout our lives, not unlike that broken watch that you keep telling yourself you'll get fixed ; )  

And for those who write about these things (watches), we tend to have favorites.  For me at least, it's hard not to feel romantic about watches.  And perhaps that first horological love was Eterna.

I still remember buying the 50th anniversary KonTiki from Seregin's in San Francisco back in 2000.  I loved that watch.  It was well before I worked for Tourneau, DOXA, or started writing about watches.

Interesting to relate, the first real connection that I ever made in the Swiss watch industry was with Eterna and perhaps one of the best brand PR people I ever got to work with - Manon Vauthier.  It is also worth noting that was back in 2010.  A lot has changed since then.  There have been several different CEO's, a few "caretakers", one or two turn-around specialists, and sundry others who have all had a turn at the wheel and managed somewhat spectacularly to guide the good ship Eterna further and further out into stormy seas.  Eterna has come to be somewhat reminiscent of the Flying Dutchman

Eterna really had everything it ever needed to be successful.  They had a facility (quite a large and beautiful one in Grenchen), they had a solid movement and a very talented team creating it, they had several capable people who brought new ideas and energy, and they had the KonTiki. 


They also had rot.  Institutional rot.  A company vibe that would make the mood on the Titanic seem upbeat.  And as I have mentioned in the past, this is perhaps the most regrettable part of the Eterna legacy, it is a legacy.  It is not a new phenomenon. 

The not-infrequently proposed solution was to switch leaders.  And this became something of a game of musical chairs, with many of us in the Fourth and Fifth Estate playing CEO Bingo, speculating on how long anyone would last in the role.  It is also worth noting that this has been going on for nearly as long as I have been covering Eterna.  But in all fairness to those who went through the revolving doors at Eterna HQ, they were not the real problem.  If you change ownership, management, manufacturing ideas and you still can't get things on track, that leaves only a few possible alternatives, and again this comes back to the institution or organization itself.  And it could be fixed.  It could be made to work again.  But that will take more than just a manager coming in, it would take an entire cultural shift.  And change at that level can be scary.  But maybe, just maybe, it is time to say goodbye to the idea of "this is the way we have always done things", and find a new path.

A reader had mentioned that Eterna would not be at BaselWorld this year, and did I have any info seeing as I was a fan?  Well, yes and no.  As far as I know Eterna will not be displaying at BaselWorld.  It is also worth noting that a lot of Eterna's functions have been absorbed by City Champ stable mate Corum, so to some extent yes, they will be there, just in a different booth.  Eterna are still in the movement business, but at just what capacity that is happening?  Well, it is not really clear just now.  There are several micro brands that are counting not just on new movements, but the serviceability of the movements that they have purchased when issues arise, which they inevitably will as they do with any movement manufacturer. 

But here's to hoping that this is merely a one year hiatus, and that with a bit of luck, and a lot of honest reflection?  Maybe the good ship Eterna can make it back to port.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Another Announcement - Minase

Well, it would seem that another announcement is in order -

I have been asked, and gladly accepted the opportunity to work on a freelance basis with Minase.  My projects will mostly be focused on communication, some social media, and potential sales in the North American market place.

Owing to this, while you will still see updates and press releases here on Minase, each of those will be a "just the facts" piece, there will be no opinion from Tempus Fugit.  In addition, each posting will include the clear declaration that James Henderson does, in fact, have a business relationship with the brand. 

In a time where online magazines are blurring the lines between reporting and ecommerce, soliciting and accepting payment or in-kind gifts for coverage, I think it is important to clearly distinguish what exactly it is that you do, and leave no doubt in a reader's mind as to your intentions. 

Friday, March 16, 2018


From Nord Zeitmaschine -

Courtesy of Nord Zeitmaschine
This is the latest from Daniel Nebel and his Nord Zeitmaschine brand.

Courtesy of Nord Zeitmaschine
This one is a wee bit technical, and time is a wee bit tight here at Tempus Fugit HQ this morning (the Executive Publisher still needs her breakfast, and I have train to catch ; )  

So I'm going to cheat a bit and let Nord Zeitmaschine tell you about it in their own words.
Courtesy of Nord Zeitmaschine

The name CROSSNROLL borne by the new NORD Zeitmaschine watch is composed in part from the word CROSS, which describes that the hand  runs on a cross-shaped minute-track.

The tip of the minute hand is mounted on a slide, which rolls back and forth on the hand platform, hence the word ROLL in the name of the watch.

28 rubies and 18 precision ball bearings are integrated in the NORD Zeitmaschine  CROSSNROLL movement, of which 14 ball bearings are mounted in the hand assembly alone. Others are found on the winding rotor and the hour indicator.

Patented Hour indicator:

The hour indicator disc is mounted on a swivel arm, which in turn is connected with the central mounting cross by ball bearings. The entire hour indicator mechanism is mounted over the hand assembly. The swivel arm on which the hour indicator disc is mounted has no mechanical drive and only starts moving due to gravitation, effected through a change in the position of the wrist on which the watch is fastened. The hour disc itself is driven via mechanically driven cogs, independent of the swivel arm. This hour indicator, for which a patent is pending (N°  EP18405009.4    and  CH252/18)  , facilitates the hour indicator disc being in any geographically undefined position over the dial, as a result of the movement of the wrist on which the watch is fastened, and the resultant gravitation. Irrespective of the position of the swivel arm with hour indicator, the red arrow on the hour indicator always points to the correct hour of the day, aligned with the longitudinal axis of the watch case. 

- Display of the hours in conjunction with hour indices:
Hour indices are applied to the underside of the glass, to facilitate reading off the hour of the day in conjunction with hour indices if necessary. By holding the wrist vertically, the swivel arm moves with the hour disc, driven by gravitation,  into the desired position of the hour indices. As soon as the swivel arm comes to a standstill after moving back and forth a few times, it is possible to read off the hours in conjunction with the hour indices. Furthermore, this special hour indicator mechanism, effected through strong movement of the wrist, allows the swivel arm and the hour indicator mounted on it to begin strongly rotating. The swivel arm with the mounted hour indicator can rotate through multiple rotations of its central pivot point here, whereby the hours are displayed correctly at all times.


The complicated hand assembly is constructed such that the centre of gravity is always located precisely over the central pivot point, regardless of the position of the group. To achieve this, alongside numerous other parts, 2 counterweights are mounted on the lower end of the hand assembly, which always move in the opposite direction to the extending and retracting (ROLL-ing) pointer tip. These 2 opposing counterweights are connected with the pointer tip by a connecting rod system. In addition to the centre of gravity of the complete hand assembly always lying over the central pivot point, the mechanism is designed and constructed such that the gravitational forces that act on the pointer slide with pointer tip and counterweights always counteract each other. In a level position, no gravitational forces act on the pointer slide with pointer tip and the two counterweights. However, gravitational forces act on the pointer slide with pointer tip and counterweights in all other possible watch positions. At all times and in every possible position of the hand assembly, the acting forces mutually counteract each other. In order to achieve all these characteristics, it was necessary to find a solution that took multiple factors into consideration.

 1. Was it necessary to work with a number of different materials such as steel, brass, aluminium, titanium, platinum etc.  and their varying densities. 
2. Must all pivot points and lever lengths be calculated precisely. 
3. Additionally, must the volumes of the individual components be precisely tailored to each other. The use of 18 ball bearings in total facilitates a mechanism with maximum precision and minimal friction. Many individual parts of the hand assembly consist of very light materials such as aluminium and titanium. However, in order to achieve the centre of gravity always lying directly above the central pivot point, it was also necessary to use one of the heaviest metals. As such, a balancing weight produced from solid platinum (density 20.7) is mounted on the platform in the front area beneath the pointer tip. This solid platinum weight balances out the somewhat larger and heavier structure at the lower end of the hand assembly.


28 ruby jewels and 18 integrated  precision micro ball bearings.

Minutes: by a complicated hand assembly where 14 ball bearings are mounted in and which runs on a cross-shaped minute-track.

Hours: via a swivel arm on which the hour indicator disc is mounted. The swivel arm has no mechanical drive and only starts moving due to gravitation, effected through a change in the position of the wrist on which the watch is fastened. The hour disc itself is driven via mechanically driven cogs, independent of the swivel arm.

Automatic winding , driven by a symmetrical 360° rotor

28800 vibrations per hour / power reserve to 42 h


Stainless steel / bezel and sapphire crystal back, secured with 8 screws.

Crown with double o-ring seals.

Diameter  44,7 mm  /  height  15,8  mm (17,2  over the domed glass)  / weight  110  grams

top :  sapphire crystal double- curved /  both sides anti reflected
bottom :   sapphire crystal  flat 

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Okay, this is going to be brief, and hopefully to the point.

BaselWorld is going to be smaller than it has been in modern memory.  I have been writing about the incredible shrinking fair for the past 3 - 4 years.  It seems that the drumbeats have increased as the great and the good of the publishing world are seeing their advertising revenues decrease, along with their sense of all out importance.

But what is (I have to be honest) comical this year, is the righteous indignation of some of my more well-heeled colleagues in the 4th and 5th Estates wringing their hands over the new realities and taking pokes at the fair's organizers.  I'm sorry, but I guess I don't insist on business class and the 3 Kings during my BaselWorld travels, so I probably live in a different reality than outlets that essentially only cover the watch brands that advertise with them, and run their own online sales programs for selling watches, accessories and other ephemera.  Sorry retailers, the brands don't really give two tosses who they sell through, so long as they sell.

Suddenly, these spendthrift magazines and outlets are espousing the importance of being frugal, concerned with the opulent, Pasha-like spending of the brands?  I'm sorry, these are folks that never met a press junket or freebie that they didn't like.  I'm calling bullshit.

So it will be intriguing to see how long this new sense of fiscal responsibility lasts ; )

More from the fair next week - stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Tree of Life

From Kneijnsberg & van Eijks 

Courtesy of
Kneijnsberg & van Eijks 
With all the bluster and preening of the big dogs getting ready for BaselWorld, it was actually quite refreshing to receive the news of a new brand with (in my opinion anyway) a very charming first effort.

This is the Tree of Life, and it has perhaps one of the coolest functions I have ever heard of!  You will notice that the main portion of the top of the dial is a tree with leaves.  In the image above you will see that the leaves are mostly gone, and the remainder are autumn colors?

Courtesy of
Kneijnsberg & van Eijks 
Allow me to introduce you to Spring!  You will notice that half of the tree's leaves have now turned to green.  And I could use a visual reminder like this right now, as today is March 13, and as you can see, we are still waiting for Spring here in the Metro Boston area -

This nifty complication is courtesy of an in-house module for displaying the seasons. The module is constructed of 18 unique parts and has a quick setting function for correcting the complication.  This is combined with the ETA 2892 A2.

The case is of 316L stainless steel, satin brushed and available in three versions - stainless, black, and yellow gold.  It measures 38 mm in width, 52 mm in length and 14.8 mm thick.

I have to be honest, this is a watch that I can't wait to see in person! It is original, intriguing and fun all at the same time.   

The Tree of Life will be available for pre-order shortly, with a special introductory price.