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Friday 15 April, 2011 - 12:20 PM EDT

Vacheron Constantin History





The beginning of the oldest watch manufacturer dates back into the year 1755 when twenty-four-year-old Jean-Marc Vacheron opened a workshop in Geneva. Since then, the company has built highly complicated and precise timepieces encased in specially decorous and costly shells. It is no surprise that the Genevan manufacture Vacheron et Constantin has been one of the most popular watchmakers to the royalty for centuries.

The Vacheron Constantin museum exhibits more than four hundred unusual and rare pieces, tells quite a story about the glorious history of the company, and the showcased pieces also illustrate how easy it was for the Genevans to leave pocket watches behind in favour of wristwatches at the beginning of the twentieth century.

After a long period of prosperity, which reached into the 1950s and ‘60s, not much was heard from the brand whose emblem comprises the cross of the Maltese knights. Since the middle of the 1990s, when Vacheron Constantin went over into the possession of the Vendôme Luxury Group (today Richemont SA), the Vacheron brand has once again developed into a true custodian of haute horlogerie with a daring step in the direction of luxury sports watches (the Overseas model). In the last few years a new collection has grown, advantageously orienting itself to modern forms as well as traditional patterns, where extravagant creations such as the Assymetrique have found room, a watch that delighted European jet-setters in the early 1970s.

This development was expressed in the presentation of a new watch line called Malte, the French name for the small, rocky Mediterranean island of Malta. The presentation of Malte represents not only a new model family, but also the reintroduction of Vacheron Constantin’s technical competence in the form of a fully new hands-wound calibre. Caliber 1400 is produced in a subsidiary plant of the Genevan brand in the “watch valley” Vallé de Joux. The traditional construction allows the ancient brand to celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2005 knowing it once again belongs to the illustrious group of true Swiss watch manufactures with its own movements.

The above-mentioned movement is contained in the new women’s model Égerie that was presented at the S.I.H.H. 2003, whose outer appearance was modelled after a watch produced by Vacheron Constantin at the beginnings of the last century. Alongside careful extending of the collection, which will in moderation include re-issues of previously successful models, a spatial expansion of the company is also in the works.

Starting in the fall of 2004, the brand will have most reputable neighbours such as Patek Philippe and Piaget when the new Vacheron Constantin manufacture takes us work in Geneva’s industrial suburb Plan-les-Ouates. The building designed by the architectural office of Bernard Tschumi, stands on a property of a good 30.000 square yards and can be easily reached. Both the company’s management and large parts of the production will find room here, making the current production facilities in the Les Acacias district unnecessary. The above-mentioned workshop in the Vallé de Joux will be occupied more with developmental work, design, and prototypes. The company’s famous building housing the museum and boutique on the Rhône Island in the Genevan old city center will remain as it is.






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Thursday 14 April, 2011 - 11:30 AM EDT

Panerai Watches History

Italian Fine Design




Panerai:
Italian Fine Design   Panerai Watches Company was founded by Giovanni Panerai in 1860 in Florence, Italy. In 1890, his grandson Guido Panerai expanded his grandfather’s business by giving to it a new direction: high precision mechanisms. As a consequence, Panerai watches became the Royal Italian Navy official supplier expanding his production to manufacturing precision instruments as well.. When the 20th Century started, the factory was relocated in Piazza Giovanni (Florence) and it was then that Panerai watches delivery started and optical and mechanical instruments were made for the Defence Ministry.  In 1993, when producing for the Marine was no longer cost-effective, the company ceased providing watches for the Navy. After two years, when Sylvester Stallone spotted and bought a Panerai Luminor in Rome to wear in the film Daylight, he then bought many of them to offer to his friends with his signature on the case back. This model was called Slytech and it gained rapid popularity worldwide. Panerai has four major lines of watches: Historic, Contemporary, Manifattura and Special Editions. When Panerai was called Ferrari’s official timekeeper, Panerai developed two collections of Panerai Ferrari: Granturismo and Scuderia.

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Wednesday 13 April, 2011 - 11:20 AM EDT

Cartier Ballon Bleu




The Cartier Ballon Bleu watches feature the most peculiar and interesting design, in which the blend between sophistication and contemporary style makes of the Cartier Ballon Blue an outstanding timepiece. From its beginnings until now, Cartier’s innovative creations have flowed through the centuries with its magic. This Cartier Ballon Bleu combines its authentic design with an updated modern style, making Cartier timepieces known as a symbol of heritage and aristocracy.
This Cartier Ballon Bleu watch is an accurate, elegant and functional timepiece that stresses Cartier’s creativity, style and prestige. For this reason it is one of the greatest luxury watch manufacturers of the world.

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Tuesday 12 April, 2011 - 10:50 AM EDT

Omega Wristwatch Company's History




The forerunner of Omega was founded at La Chaux - de - Fonds, Switzerland in 1848 by 23-year-old Louis Brandt, who assembled key-wound precision pocket watches from parts supplied by local craftsmen. After his death in 1879, his two sons Louis-Paul and César abandoned the unsatisfactory assembly workshop system in favour of in-house manufacturing and total production control.  In January 1880, the enterprise moved into a small factory buying the entire building in December. Two years later, the company moved into a converted spinning-factory in the Gurzelen district of Biel, where headquarters are still situated today. Their first series-produced calibres, Labrador and Gurzelen, as well as the famous Omega calibre of 1894, would ensure the brand's marketing success.
Louis-Paul and César Brandt both died in 1903, leaving one of Switzerland's largest watch companies in the hands of four young people, the oldest of whom, Paul-Emile Brandt, was not yet 24. Brandt was the great architect and builder of Omega. His influence would be felt over the next half-century. The economic difficulties brought on by the First World War would lead him to work actively from 1925 toward the union of Omega and Tissot, then to their merger in 1930 within the group SSIH, Geneva. Under his leadership, and from 1955 that of Joseph Reiser, the SSIH Group continued to grow and multiply, absorbing or creating some fifty companies. By the seventies, SSIH had become Switzerland's number one producer of finished watches and number three in the world.
Weakened by the severe monetary crisis and recession of 1975 to 1980, the two giant watchmaking groups' R&D and production operations at the ETA complex in Granges merged in 1983 to form the Holding ASUAG-SSIH. In 1985, the holding company was taken over by a group of private investors under the strategy and leadership of Nicolas Hayek. Immediately renamed SMH, Société suisse de Microélectronique et d'Horlogerie, the new group achieved rapid growth and success to become today's top watch producer in the world. Named Swatch Group in 1998, it now includes Blancpain and Breguet. Omega remains one of its most prestigious brands.


THE OMEGA HERITAGE

1884: Louis Brandt creates a pocket watch assembly workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
1889: Relocated in Bienne, with 600 employees and an annual production of 100 000 pieces, Louis Brandt & Fils becomes the largest watch company in Switzerland.
1894:  Louis Brandt 8 Fils develops the ingenious " Omega " is - calibre - for which the company is named.
1917 – 1918:  OMEGA is the official watch supplier of the British Royal Flying Corps and theU.S. Army during World War I.
1932:  OMEGA times the Olympic Games for the first time, in Los Angeles. Since then,
the most important sports events throughout the world are timed by OMEGA.
Launch of the " Marine " watch with double case, the first OMEGA diver watch.
1939:  OMEGA is the official watch supplier of the British Royal Flying Corps during World War II.
1952:  Introduction of the first OMEGA " Constellation " chronometers (precision,  reliability, design), soon to become the brand's top line.
1957:  Creation of the " Speedmaster " chronograph.
1965:  After rigorous testing of several brands, the NASA space program chooses
OMEGA'S Speedmaster Chronograph as its official watch.
1969:  On July 21 st, the OMEGA Spedmaster Profesional chronograph becomes the first and only watch ever worn on the Moon, as the world marvels at Neil Armstrong
setting foot on the Moon.
1970:  OMEGA receives the "Snoopy Award " from NASA for the crucial role played by the Speedmaster in the saving of the Apollo 13 mission.
1981:  Launch of the " Omega Seamaster 120 m ", an elegant diving watch (screwlock
crown, mineral glass bezel ring), successfully tested on the wrist of the French diver Jacques Mayol during his famous record dive without scuba to 101 meters' depth off the coast of Elba Island, November 4, 1981.
1989:  The Speedmaster Professional becomes the official watch of Soviet Cosmonauts.
Launch of the "Seamaster Professional Chrono-Diver Watch" (30o m/1000 ft), equipped with helium escape valve, the world's first mechanical diver chronograph (with chronometer certificate) with push-buttons which works underwater to a depth of 30 meters.
1994:  Launching of the world's first self-winding wristwatch with Central Tourbillon.
1998:  OMEGA introduces the Speedmaster Professional X-33, a watch designed in coordination with astronauts and professional pilots, integrating the latest technical features required by top specialists in manned space missions.
1999:  Introduction of the world's first industrially produced coaxial escapement movement in the OMEGA De Ville Co-Axial Watch, providing long-lasting
accuracy and requiring greatly reduced lubrication servicing.

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Monday 11 April, 2011 - 11:20 AM EDT

Longines DolceVita

 

The Longines DolceVita from Swiss watchmaker Longines combines the cool streamlined look of the Twenties with the star glamour of the Fifties, bringing new vitality to the Italian style of living. The watchmakers at Longines have created a line of jewelry that lets wearers around the world experience the soul of savoir-vivre while expressing their own personal sense of pride. Whether executed in a classical rectangular, a cool balanced square or with flawlessly curving case lines of the round-shaped Longines DolceVita, Time is clothed in timeless elegance that looks perfect in all the trend-setting cities of the world. The history of Longines DolceVita goes back to the nineteen twenties, when the watchmakers at Longines managed to make carefully dressed ladies and gentlemen enthusiastic for the new, rectangular and square watchcases that drew their inspiration from the world. Today's Longines DolceVita breathes new life into these rectangular and square-shaped cases in precious materials - polished stainless steel or 18K gold. Details such as the curved, scratchproof sapphire crystal underscore the elegance of the watch.
 

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