No stranger to music

The element of surprise is inherent in a Ulysse Nardin initiative. Expect the unexpected.
Patrik Hoffmann, CEO of Ulysse Nardin, introduced one of its most surprising novelties for this year. "The Stranger is really a music box and a watch. It plays the melody Strangers in the Night - the legendary 1966 song - on the hour or on demand. Time is set by pushing the crown instead of pulling it, which makes setting time convenient."

Developed completely in-house, the musical mechanical watch, powered by the UN-690 calibre using silicium technology, is envisaged as the first in a limited edition series.
In appearance, The Stranger is pure 1950s, with the engraving on the caseback which certifies it is an authentic Ulysse Nardin musical watch, one of only 99.

The company wants to maintain its position as a watchmaker of distinction . "Our focus has always been on innovation and independence," Hoffmann says. "We want to remain a niche brand. We don't want to conquer the market. Our goal is to continue to break new ground, to innovate."

Ulysse Nardin has also launched its first watch with a skeleton calibre developed solely by the brand. As Hoffmann says: "The Skeleton Manufacture features an exclusive skeleton tourbillon calibre. Skeletonising allows us to reveal the inner workings of the movement by reducing the structure of components to a bare minimum. Ulysse Nardin's model is a brilliant example of this endeavour."

The flying tourbillon comprises a balance spring, anchor and escapement wheel made from silicon. The power reserve is 170 hours.

A delicate touch is the skeletonising of the tips of the hands which are a leaf shape. The Skeleton Manufacture watch is available in two limited editions of 99 pieces each, in red gold and in platinum.

"The women's market is growing - and women are wearing bigger watches," Hoffman says. "We have designed and produced a self-winding calibre for ladies. It does not call for pushing or pulling of the crown to set the date and time, meaning there will be no more damage to the lady's manicure."

It is said that Chai Schnyder, chairwoman of Ulysse Nardin, requested such a movement from her late husband Rolf Schnyder (then president and CEO of Ulysse Nardin) 11 years ago. The jade watch has a

pusher at four o'clock to change the function of the crown, for winding, setting the date, and the time. Then the crown can be turned without pulling it out.

Jade's calibre is UN-310 with GMT Dual Time, one of Ulysse Nardin's most well-received features, allowing time zones to be adjusted while the watch is on the wrist.

Aesthetically it uses jade, emeralds and diamonds to enhance a mother-of-pearl dial.

Magnetic attraction

The most interesting thing at Breguet this year wasn’t there. Rather, it was there, but you couldn’t see it or touch it.

To explain clearly the forces at work behind the technology that the brand patented a few years ago and just put in their Classique Chronométrie 7727 model, it had to bring out a basketball-sized replica of a part of the 574DR hand wound mechanical movement.

The high frequency 10Hz movement vibrates much faster than most mechanical movements, and this allows a higher level of accuracy.

The 10Hz system appeared previously on its historicallyinspired Type XXII aviation watch, and now it moves from a sporty application to a very elegant one.

The most important innovation for this classic model is the use of magnets.

Magnets are used instead of metal pieces to keep the spinning parts in place and centred.

Using magnets to hold and centre the revolving pieces limits the transfer of shock. This was why Brequet developed the “parachute” system for. And because the magnets are unaffected by gravity, they also do the job of that most complicated of mechanisms that Breguet developed, the tourbillon. All these things combined lead to increased resistance to magnetism, improved shock resistance and higher accuracy that can beat the COSC chronometer certification standards, but still offers a 60-hour power reserve.

Six different engine-turned patterns are visible on the dial, with “10Hz” appearing at around 9 o’clock. A tenth of a Magnetic attraction Carl Cunanan second indicator is usable on the dial because of a special lightweight silicon hand that won’t affect the balance.

The Reine de Naples watches have always been meant for the ladies, and the new “Day/Night” 8998BB/11/874 D00D with Cal. 78CS self-winding movement gives them a complication that is brilliant horologically and beautiful to watch.

There are two dials on the watch face, with time-telling function of hours and minutes shown on the lower portion. Higher up is a decorated disc of deep blue lapis lazuli sky that rotates around a centre point on a curved bridge.

The sky is encrusted with white mother-of-pearl clouds, gold stars and an engraved titanium moon. The sun is the balance wheel, exposed and moving and surrounded by a facetted rim. The disc makes a full tour once a day, moving under the bridge in the evening and coming back up to 12 at noon. Truly captivating technically and visually, the watch has about 143 diamonds set into the dial flange and bezel.

Staying sharp

Timepieces may not be what Victorinox is most famous for, but one should not overlook its Swiss origin and its capability to produce sophisticated watches, especially after veteran watch designer Francois Nunez joined as product director two years ago.

Nunez says the impression that Victorinox is better at producing pocket knives, travel gear and luggage is only the "Asian perspective".

"If you go to the US, the Victorinox Swiss Army is the second-best Swiss watchmaker when it comes to knowledge," he says.

In a revamp of the old version, the Airboss this year features a whole new material to be used in Victorinox timepieces - sandblasted titanium. Nunez says it is a breakthrough. "The Airboss is definitely a turning point for me and Victorinox," he says. "By using sandblasted titanium, we are able to look at a watch classic in a contemporary expression. That moment, I realised that a few changes can help me look at things in a very different way."

 The Airboss comes in a three-hand version and a chronograph version, powered by Swiss-made ETA 2824 and ETA 7750, respectively. Both are equipped with leather straps with titanium folding buckle. The three-hand version is limited to 500 pieces worldwide, while the chronograph is limited to 300 pieces only.

Victorinox is also keen on using quartz movement in their timepieces. Nunez says the ratio of quartz movement to mechanical movement is about 80 per cent to 20 per cent. "We don't treat quartz as a secondary class," he says. "We are able to do mechanical movements, but at the same time we do quartz to answer to our price range. We do not want to increase the price. We want to remain where we believe our brand belongs."
That is the reason why one of Victorinox's hero products this year comes in a world-premier, Swiss-made FM13D quartz movement. With a double press on the crown, the Chrono Classic transforms from an ordinary watch into a chronograph accurate to 1/100th of a second, displayed numerically by two rotating discs. With a press, the three hands on the dial are realigned at 12, and the date indicator at six o'clock becomes a counter. It can also return to time-reading while the stopwatch is running.

Another special feature is the perpetual calendar. A guilloche decoration on both discs refers to the shape and casing of the Swiss Army knife. The dials and bezels are either in dark grey or Champagne, with a leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet.

"The Chrono Classic reflects the brand in terms of philosophy and design codes: to combine simplicity with ingenuity," Nunez says. "It is a visible and functional product, but it comes with layers of hidden complexity."

Also in quartz movement is the Maverick collection with new colours. "Colours are not important in watchmaking industry as such, but they help you create a style," Nunez says.

Four new colours have been added to the Maverick collection - chocolate, green, blue and red - mostly in monochrome. Nunez says: "Customers don't just concentrate on the colour. They look at the product detail. The colours don't distract, they help you focus."

The refinement on the new Maverick is first visible on the sleeker dial, which gives it greater readability. Some markings have been replaced by diamond polished indexes. Sandblasted and circular satin-polishing provide clarity and legibility. They come with matching lacquered unidirectional bezels or in some versions, matching rubber straps. All versions are powered by Swiss-made Ronda quartz movements, with luminescent hour and minute hands, and a date window at six o'clock.

With more than 20 years of experiences in watchmaking, Nunez says Victorinox is strong in function-ruled designs. "Our timepieces are about making sense, but not making noise," he says. "We offer products that stand the test of time, which is a basic requirement of a watch, but seems a bit forgotten over the past years in the watch world."

It’s a man’s world

Before men’s liberation, a movement which originated with David Beckham’s hairdresser, diamonds were a girl’s best friend. Man’s best friend was a dog. Thankfully, that has all changed – with a vengeance.

Graff proved that in Basel. Although the luxury brand didn’t have an official presence at BaselWorld, company representatives were in the city to display its new luxury timepieces at a nearby hotel.

And what a dazzling display. The Diamond MasterGraff Tourbillon, this year’s novelty, has 634 diamonds, 15ct on the dial alone. The edition is limited to 30 pieces.

The extraordinary gemsetting skills of Graff craftsmen are on display with radiating baguette diamonds on the face and the famous mosaic setting on the bezel.

The mosaic setting is created by rows of hexagonal diamonds set off by triangular diamonds. To gemset a bracelet is some feat. Lightness and flexibility are imperatives, so the level of expertise is amazingly high.

Graff’s Geneva-based watchmaking operations are in the hands of technicians and professionals who are more concerned with a brilliant tourbillon than with a brilliantcut diamond.

Take the 43mm MasterGraff Ultra Flat Tourbillon, using the new proprietary Calibre 4, with a limited production of 50 pieces. Although the signature emerald triangle adorns the dial, there is not a diamond in sight –except on the crown. There is always a diamond on the crown.

By accommodating a flying tourbillon in an ultra-thin watch, Graff signals its commitment to be a serious watchmaker. The hand-wound movement is just 3.5mm thick and the case just 7.05mm. The signature faceted case design is interpreted in rose gold or platinum, with white, black or dark blue dial. Diamond models are executed in pure platinum 1000.

Given its brief history in haute horology, Graff has delivered on its commitment, with technological developments in each new collection. The company’s first appearance as a watchmaker was at BaselWorld 2009, and since then, it has presented new movements, for example in the GyroGraff and the diamond-set Skeleton, and developed Graff Calibres 1, 2, 3 and now 4.

This year, Graff rings in changes, presenting pink gold, white gold and DLC (a matte black) versions of the GraffStar Date, and blue and white mother-of-pearl versions of the MasterGraff Minute Repeater.

For men, Graff has watches in three collections – Technical, Dress and Sport – plus a bespoke category, and offers a sumptuous Jewelled Watch Collection for women.

Accurately reading time for a century to come

It's too early to tell what will happen in 2100, but one thing is certain, the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar from A. Lange & Söhne will still be working. The novelty has two complications, allowing it to show the date, day and month until the year 2100.

"The Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar watch is the flagship of A. Lange & Söhne's 2012 novelties. All the indications of the perpetual calendar of the watch, such as the moon phase, jump instantaneously, enabling it to supply an accurate reading of time," says Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of the company.

Comprising 624 components, the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar's automatic calibre L082.1 movement has a power reserve of 50 hours when fully wound.

The central element of the winding rotor is in 21ct gold, while the tourbillon cocks and intermediate wheel are engraved by hand.

Housed in a pink gold or platinum 41.9mm case, the timepiece features a crown for setting the time and winding the watch, and push pieces for advancing all calendar indications or separately correcting the moon phase, the day and the month.

It has a hand-stitched crocodile strap in red brown or black.

The chronograph Datograph Up/Down, another novelty, contains the manufacture movement L951.6.

The 451-part calibre is assembled and decorated by hand and has 60 hours of power reserve when fully wound.

Housed in a 41mm platinum case, the Datograph Up/Down comes with an in-house oscillation system powered by a balance spring and has 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour. The watch's dial is adorned with rhodiumed gold baton hour markers.

"Up/Down" refers to the power reserve indicator at 6 o'clock, which tells the wearer how much of the 60-hour power reserve is left.

When asked what has been driving the brand since it was established by Ferdinand A. Lange in 1845, Schmid says simply: "A. Lange & Söhne's vision since the beginning of the brand is to make the world's best watches."

This dedication to being the best in the industry applies mostly to watches for men.

"We create predominantly men's watches, we only have one ladies' watch in our collection. The style of our watches is classic yet contemporary, with sophisticated movements. There is no difference in our target consumers this year or last year or next year; they are people who know about fine watch-making," Schmid says.

Although the brand shares an affinity with connoisseurs around the world, it seems that Asian collectors are those they want to impress the most.

"We opened a boutique in Hong Kong last year at 1881 Heritage and we opened a boutique in Shanghai in late 2010.

"We only have five boutiques worldwide, four of them are in Asia. We believe it is the best way for us to come very close to our collectors, whom we would like to understand much better. Perhaps it is not only about delivering the watch, but we also want to make sure our service is in line with our clients' expectations," Schmid says.

Language of creativity

The German watchmaking community tends to take a different approach than some of their Swiss counterparts. Reborn after reunification, this industry brought together workers and craftsmen to supply the growing world of haute horlogerie, but with a slightly different twist.

For Glashutte Original, much pride is taken in the cleanliness of design and finishing work of their wristwatches. "There's a healthy bond between the heritages of Glashütte and the engineering aspect of modernity, German design and creativity," says vice-president Dieter Pachner. The hand engraving and polishing work is a craft that is sadly being lost, and it is good to see this being made available with companies such as Glashütte. Yet, it goes its own way, in the production, for example, of the only mechanical alarm that can be set 30 days in advance in its Senator Diary.

All their movements are created in-house and onsite in Germany.

Glashütte's new PanoLunarTourbillon in red gold is a wonderful example of its design language. The flying tourbillon is visible in all its glory on the lower left side of the watch, just below the off-centre time-telling hour and minute hands. On the right side of the face will be a moon-phase indication and a large date display. The gold of the tourbillon, lower left, is balanced by the bright blue and gold of the moon-phase, upper right. Everything has its place. The watch uses a 40mm case, which allows this piece to be surprisingly subtle.

"The most important mission for us is to keep our quality, our exclusivity, our identity as a German brand," Pachner says.

For a more classic look, it has its new version of the Senator Panorama Date Moon Phase. Blued hands on a crisp white dial in classical three-hand arrangement, with the moon-phase around 10.30 on the dial and a big date display around 4.30.

The blues of the nicely-sculpted "poire" shaped hands and the sky of the moon phase put a flash of colour against the lacquered silver-grain dial with deep black Roman numerals and a railroad chapter ring on the perimeter. The bezel of the watch was opened to allow more focus to be put on the dial work, and makes the two other complication displays less cramped. The second hand can be brought back to zero with a push of a corrector button on the case.

For a minimalist look, the brand looks to its 1960s models which this year come in what Glashütte calls Midnight Blue. A classic three-hand or a big date model in the Senator Panorama Date uses domed German Silver dials with a stunning sunburst pattern as visual texture, and the white gold hour and minute hands are slightly curved, all producing a look that really does follow what Glashütte calls it - 20th Century Vintage.

A look at Glashutte Original is never complete without flipping. Turn its watches over and you will start to see what really inspires the brand - its movements visible through sapphire crystal cases show an amazing attention to detail.

Spirit of adventure

One of the oldest Swiss watch brands, Enicar, which was first established in La Chaux-de-Fonds, now retails in five continents and has a strong presence in Asia.

At present, the brand has about 300 collections of mechanical and quartz watches. But it is its reputation as one of the top 10 Swiss manufacturers of automatic watches that are COSC-certified (Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres, the official Swiss chronometer testing institute) that the company is most proud of.

Its new novelties this year include several stylish stainless steel self-winding automatic timepieces.

Notable among them is the Reference CH128, a 27.5mm ladies' model. With diamonds as hour markers on the mother-of-pearl dial and a rose gold PVD bezel, the brand is hoping this watch will become a best-seller among its female customers.

The CH325, meanwhile, is a 41mm COSC-certified chronometer with similar features, while the CH327 is even bigger, at 42.7mm.

This chronometer, which is also officially certified, comes with a date window, a second inner-ring 24-hour time zone, and luminous hour markers.

Like many of Enicar's models, the metal bracelets on these watches can be easily changed to a leather strap.

Among its hero products, Enicar presents the CH331 from their premium Art of Royals collection, which is inspired by explorers and their passion for travel and discovery.

The CH331 comes with an oversized 43mm dial and a checked wristband. The stainless steel case features a distinctive patterned white dial with Roman numerals and nine diamonds.

The brand has chosen Chinese actor and director Zhang Hanyu to be its ambassador. Zhang likens the CH331 "to a loyal companion when one is on the road".

"Maps are good references, but they are merely indicators devoid of the spirit of an explorer. Great travellers who explore for fulfilment have the inexhaustible vigour and curiosity to search for new places which are not indicated on maps," he says. "It is more about the experience of walking the path; that's what matters most. And to share the journey with a reliable companion makes it even more memorable."

Other models that Enicar is highlighting include the CH328, a 43mm diver's watch chronograph that is water resistant to 200 metres; the 44mm COSC-certified CH333 automatic watch with a day-date that comes in either rose gold or black PVD plating; and the CH351 automatic, which is now available in rose gold for both men and women. The men's model features a wavy-patterned dial and a day-date.

Watchmaker feels blue

Tudor's engineers and designers believe that this year, blue is the new black in haute horology. As a remake of its iconic Monte Carlo Chronograph, Tudor launched the Heritage Chrono Blue. Since it first debuted in 1973, the Monte Carlo Chronograph has been produced in several versions, all keeping its distinctive shades of blue, grey and orange. Heritage Chrono Blue also has retained the royal blue colour, combined with a slightly lighter grey than that of the original, and a touch of orange on the strap.

The redesigned dial has three-dimensional hour markers with two bevelled metallic edges. Two counters are inside the two blue trapezoidal shapes at three and nine o'clock, for a small seconds hand and Tudor's signature 45-minute counter, respectively. The watch is available in two styles of bracelets: one in steel with a folding clasp, and the other in reinforced fabric with a buckle that echoes the colours of the dial.

The alarm function can be activated by a push button, with an on/off display set at nine o'clock on the dial. The watch is fitted with either a vintage-size, satin-finished three-piece-link steel bracelet, or an alligator-leather strap with a folding clasp and safety catch. It also comes with an additional black fabric strap decorated with raised rows of interwoven satin.

 Tudor also decided to embrace new materials, such as ceramic, and so the Fastrider Black Shield came to be. Its case comes in hi-tech black matte ceramic, contrasted by fiery red indexes on the dial. The masculine cut and colour reflects the Diavel Carbon motorcycle that Tudor customised in collaboration with Ducati to accompany the debut of the watch. This chronograph is available with either a rubber strap or a leather strap with red stitching. It also comes in a version with a bronze tint on the hands and hour markers.

The Glamour line, which ranges in size from 31mm to 42mm, adds its smallest option yet with the Glamour Date 26mm. The timepiece comes in steel or a gold and steel combined version, with matching bracelets and folding clasps.

Basel and time

Conventions and trade shows are big business these days; so much so that even the most random things can attract crowds in the thousands. In the world of watches, the big event is Baselworld, which takes place every spring in Basel, Switzerland. Hundreds of watches get launched at Baselworld, but this week we pick three of the highlights.

Baselworld is feted for giving the smaller manufacturers the chance to glory in the spotlight usually reserved for the billion-dollar brands. However, that isn't to dismiss the watches coming from the big names, as the Omega Speedmaster "First Omega in Space" Numbered Edition Chronograph (top left) proves. Priced at an extremely attractive HK$41,200, this Omega may lay claim to being one of the most stunning re-imaginings of a classic watch launched this year, as well as the watch with the longest name.

A refashioning of the 1962 Omega Speedmaster that astronaut Walter Schirra took into space on the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission, this 50th anniversary watch retains the overall shape and bezel design of the original, with the same compliment of chronograph counters on the dial face.

In another nod to the past, the back of the case features the original seahorse emblem that adorned Speedmaster watches. The bezel itself has a tachymeter and frames the 39.7mm steel case. Every Speedmaster "First Omega in Space" Numbered Edition Chronograph is, as the name suggests, numbered, and comes with a brown leather strap.

To get noticed at Baselworld, a watchmaker has to create something exceptional, whether in design or technology. And when a maker comes up with a watch that combines beautiful design with innovation then they're onto a sure-fire winner.

The Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Open Grande Date Moon & Sunphase is a watch with looks that could stop traffic and a mighty fine engine at its heart. It's a grand complication watch, which means it has three or more complications. In this case, there is a chronograph, date indicator, moon phase indicator, and day/night indicator, on top of a gorgeously designed, open-worked view of the movement.

The wealth of complications is accentuated by classic styling housed by a 45mm case, as well as the great use of colour for the intricately designed moon phase indicator, in particular. The Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Open Grande Date Moon & Sunphase is available with either a rose gold (HK$220,500) or steel case (HK$90,400), both coming with a refined leather strap.

Among the hundreds of watches that make their debuts at Baselworld, there are always a few that get top marks for quirkiness. The Bremont Victory (top right) deserves praise, not just for its looks, but its unique story, which gives the wearer a chance to adorn their wrist with a bit of history. The watch is a tribute to HMS Victory, the warship that helped Lord Nelson defeat Napoleon at Trafalgar and which today is a floating museum in Portsmouth, England. But the watch is not merely the ship's namesake; the components of the movement of the Bremont Victory are made of copper from the original HMS Victory, while the wonderfully ornate caseback features oak from the hull.

The design of the watch echoes old maritime clocks found on sail ships, with the dial face a symmetrical marriage of seconds and hour counters at 6 o'clock and 12 o'clock, as well as pleasingly refined day and date indicators at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock. The Bremont Victory is limited to 250 pieces and is not yet priced for Hong Kong.

Turning points

Ho Kwon Ping's life has been defined by several critical junctures."Getting thrown out of Stanford University, and deciding to leave the US, though I had been accepted to Cornell as an alternative, was the first turning point. Getting thrown in jail was another turning point. Meeting [my wife] Claire [Chiang] was the most important turning point, as was the birth of my children. And, of course, creating Banyan Tree was another," says the executive chairman of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts. "In fact, I've given several speeches entitled 'Turning Points' to illustrate how each of us must live our lives with clear recognition as to when we are at turning points, so that we make the right decisions."

The self-described baby boomer was expelled from Stanford after protesting against the Vietnam war and spent two months in a Singapore prison after stirring up controversy with his work as economics editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review. The experiences only instilled Ho with more resolve. "Through journalism I learned to ask the right kind of penetrating questions to get to the heart of any issue; through time in prison I learnt that listening to your inner self is so important in a world [where] there is so much external noise," he says. "I also learned that you ultimately have to think for yourself and do what you think is right - in life or business - and not be too concerned about what others are saying or doing."

Ho joined his family business in 1981 and launched the luxury Banyan Tree brand in 1994 after transforming a tract of environmentally damaged land into the Laguna Phuket resort. The company now has properties stretching from China to Mexico. "If not for external crises such as the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Sars, the Asian tsunami or the current global crisis, we would probably be double our current size by now," he says.

"But to the extent that we have achieved anything, it's perhaps [because] I'm a man in a hurry - time waits for no one, as the saying goes." In fact, time is an important factor in Ho's business decisions. "In classical economics there are three factors of production: land, labour and capital. To me, the fourth factor of production - and therefore critically important as a business consideration - is time," he explains. "In finance, the cost of money is affected by time; in manufacturing, time-to-market is a critical consideration; in entrepreneurship, timing is everything."

Trying to balance his own time among work, family and simply enjoying the pleasures of the Banyan Tree properties is another challenge. "It's the only resource I can never have enough of, and want more of," Ho says. "So the lesson is not to be greedy for time, but to live a purposeful life so that every sliver of time is spent with meaning."

Signature quality

 Chopard is one brand which gives credit where credit is due. The LUC designation on some of its most complicated watches stands for Louis Ulysse Chopard, who founded the firm in 1860.

Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the present co-president, says his personal, "long-time favourite" is the 1997 LUC, because it was a milestone. Chopard Manufacture was founded in 1996 in Fleurier to develop proprietary movements for the brand, and the LUC marks the firm's arrival as a fully-rounded manufacturer. In the world of haute horlogerie, this is one of the biggest milestones of all.

To emphasise this point, Chopard showed several highly complicated LUC watches at BaselWorld 2013. In keeping with Chopard's preoccupation with cars, the LUC Engine One H chronometer references the engine block. The mainplate supporting the cage of the tourbillon movement is horizontal, thus the "H" in the watch's name.

LUC Perpetual T features a perpetual calendar and a tourbillon, powered by a manually-wound Chopard movement with four barrels for a 216-hour (nine-day) power reserve. The design of the perpetual calendar complication is usually challenged by readability, but Chopard has brought the date to the foreground in a large twin aperture. Days are seen at 9 o'clock and months at 3 o'clock, along with the leap year cycle.

Another LUC model - 8HF - made its debut at BaselWorld 2013. The watch, in a 42mm titanium case, houses the first high-frequency (8Hz) escapement passed by COSC, the official Swiss chronometer testing institute. Chopard was keen to make the point that this high-frequency escapement, seen at BaselWorld in the LUC 01.06-L movement, is compatible with most existing LUC movements. A higher frequency, while giving greater reliability, requires more energy, which is provided by a 60-hour power reserve. LUC 8HF is issued in a limited edition of 100 pieces.

Chopard also showed a limited series of the successful LUC XPS model, which bears the prestigious Geneva Seal, guaranteeing that the movement has received particularly high-quality finishing. Chopard is co-founder of the more stringent Qualite Fleurier seal, which guarantees a finely crafted movement and chronometer-worthy precision.

Possibly the most eagerly awaited of the large collection Chopard debuted at BaselWorld 2013 were the additions to the Classic Racing Series, inspired by the brand's association with Formula One. The new steel models are the Superfast Automatic, the Superfast Power Control and the Superfast Chronograph, all powered by same basic calibre - a self-winding movement from Chopard's Fleurier workshop.

"Twenty years from now, we want to be more vertically integrated, using more and more in-house movements," Scheufele says.

"In 10 years' time, we don't want to be producing as much as we are today, because we want to grow the quality of our service in our boutiques. That's our goal, because consumers are becoming more and more knowledgeable."

BaselWorld would not be complete with a salute to the genre. The Happy Sport watches have been delighting consumers for 20 years. Certainly, they have a huge fan base.

Now, in this jubilee year, there is the Happy Sport Medium Automatic, a mechanical watch with a guilloche silver dial and, as always, seven diamonds that freely move about the watch face. The sapphire crystal caseback allows the self-winding mechanical movement to be seen and admired.

Neither would a Chopard presence be complete without jewels, as Chopard is also one of the great jewellers of the world. Among its selection of gemset offerings was a new member of the Imperiale family, Imperiale Joaillerie Amethyste. The timepiece's artistry is evident in the shading of baguette amethysts and diamonds, along with brilliant-cut diamonds on an 18ct white gold case with a mother-of-pearl dial and amethyst hour markers.

It’s a man’s world

Before men’s liberation, a movement which originated with David Beckham’s hairdresser, diamonds were a girl’s best friend. Man’s best friend was a dog. Thankfully, that has all changed – with a vengeance.

Graff proved that in Basel. Although the luxury brand didn’t have an official presence at BaselWorld, company representatives were in the city to display its new luxury timepieces at a nearby hotel.

And what a dazzling display. The Diamond MasterGraff Tourbillon, this year’s novelty, has 634 diamonds, 15ct on the dial alone. The edition is limited to 30 pieces.

The extraordinary gemsetting skills of Graff craftsmen are on display with radiating baguette diamonds on the face and the famous mosaic setting on the bezel.

The mosaic setting is created by rows of hexagonal diamonds set off by triangular diamonds. To gemset a bracelet is some feat. Lightness and flexibility are imperatives, so the level of expertise is amazingly high.

Graff’s Geneva-based watchmaking operations are in the hands of technicians and professionals who are more concerned with a brilliant tourbillon than with a brilliantcut diamond.

Take the 43mm MasterGraff Ultra Flat Tourbillon, using the new proprietary Calibre 4, with a limited production of 50 pieces. Although the signature emerald triangle adorns the dial, there is not a diamond in sight –except on the crown. There is always a diamond on the crown.

By accommodating a flying tourbillon in an ultra-thin watch, Graff signals its commitment to be a serious watchmaker. The hand-wound movement is just 3.5mm thick and the case just 7.05mm. The signature faceted case design is interpreted in rose gold or platinum, with white, black or dark blue dial. Diamond models are executed in pure platinum 1000.

Given its brief history in haute horology, Graff has delivered on its commitment, with technological developments in each new collection. The company’s first appearance as a watchmaker was at BaselWorld 2009, and since then, it has presented new movements, for example in the GyroGraff and the diamond-set Skeleton, and developed Graff Calibres 1, 2, 3 and now 4.

This year, Graff rings in changes, presenting pink gold, white gold and DLC (a matte black) versions of the GraffStar Date, and blue and white mother-of-pearl versions of the MasterGraff Minute Repeater.

For men, Graff has watches in three collections – Technical, Dress and Sport – plus a bespoke category, and offers a sumptuous Jewelled Watch Collection for women.

14kt Gold Anklets

Of course 14kt gold anklets are not new. People have been wearing gold anklets for years. Unmarried Indian women particularly have been wearing gold anklets for hundreds of years.

The main purpose is to draw attention to the ankles and feet, which have often been considered areas of great beauty and appealing to males in many cultures.

Most gold anklets are worn on the right ankle. As well as gold, other substances including rubber, plastic and rope are sometimes worn.

Now it has become fashionable in some circles to wear gold anklets and so some attention should be given to this unique way of wearing gold jewellery.

Firstly of course one would look for and buy those gold pieces that enhance the ankles and feet best. This would depend very much on the shape and look of the feet. The gold anklet should also compliment the type of footwear being worn.

14k gold is ideal as it looks nice, is not too expensive and is relatively hard wearing. 22k and 24k gold anklets would be too soft and liable to wear away or get distorted if worn too much.

14k gold anklets should be cleaned regularly in soapy water, rinsed thoroughly and then put away to dry. They should be stored when not in use separately from other jewellery so they are not scratched or caught up in other jewellery.

When they are looked after, 14kt gold anklets can make a fine addition to one’s jewellery collection and make an interesting fashion statement as well as looking attractive.

yellow gold ring

The yellow gold ring is probably the most purchased piece of jewelery in the world.

Although it is pretty straight forward it is still important to practice some due diligence when purchasing even this simple piece of jewelery.

Using a reputable jeweler or dealer is the first step. Especially if you are going to purchase online. Is the dealer easily contactable? Do they have a contactable phone number and is their address posted on the web site? It is a good idea to read their terms of service. Do they have a returns policy. What if you buy a ring and it does not fit or is not what you ordered or is not what you expected? Can you return it?

Deciding what karat gold is going to be used is the second. Obviously the more karats the gold ring the more it will cost and the more it is worth because there is more gold within the ring.

A 24 carat gold ring is just about pure gold. 18 carat is about 80-90 percent gold. 14 karat is just over half gold and half other metals.

A few factors to take into account here. Gold is a soft metal so if it is going to be worn continuously then purse gold is going to wear away faster. A lower karat will have other metals, such as silver, nickel, copper and zinc to improve its hardness and durability. A few people get a reaction to constantly wearing lower gold karat rings due to the nickel content. However most rings these days has less nickel content so a new ring is less likely to cause any problems.

Getting a certificate to show the value of the ring especially if it contains gemstones or a diamond is vital. Not only for insurance purposes but also you want to be sure the ring is genuine and you are getting what you have paid for.

These above are just a few simple points to keep in mind when buying a yellow gold ring and by doing so you are likely to get a ring with which you are very satisfied and which will last a lifetime.

Feminine and playful

As a leading fashion brand, Dior wasted little time in entering the watchmaking scene, establishing itself with bold colours and precious materials, including opals, jades and even feathers.

Laurence Nicolas, president of Dior watches, describes the company as her "toy box". "What is really fun about Dior is that you are in a toy box, and you can play with all the toys," she says.

It was exactly this free environment that allowed her to put forward the Dior VIII Grand Bal collection with feathers last year, which was well-received by customers.

This year, a Plume model was added to the line. The timepiece is made in pink gold and ceramic with baguette-cut diamonds.

"Feathers are the lightest materials, and watch materials are supposed to be heavy," Nicolas says. "A classical jewellery brand would have been prejudiced to do this, but in Dior, yes we can."

The 38mm novelty watch is powered by the Dior Inverse calibre - its functional oscillating weight, when placed on the dial, reproduces the swirl of a petticoat.

It is decorated with coloured feathers set with diamonds, a design patented to Dior. The dial comes in either black or white mother-of-pearl, and both versions are limited to 88 pieces.

Strong femininity is an unmistakable signature of Dior watches, which, according to Nicolas, is the brand's heritage. "I'm not going to lie with that. We are feminine before everything, which is not the case for a lot of brands in the watchmaking industry."

But she says Dior does also cater to the men's market, as evidenced by its Chiffre Rouge collection.

The Chiffre Rouge C03 is equipped with the Elite 691 movement by Zenith, catering to men's preference for the mechanical. A moon-phase indicator and a small second counter are featured with a big date displayed in red, contrasting with a black dial and strap. The C03 is a limited production of only 100 pieces, with the numbers engraved on the translucent black sapphire crystal caseback.

Before taking up Dior watches in 2008, Nicolas was overseeing its fine jewellery. Now taking care of both, she says it is natural to inject precious stones into timepieces - but it is not as straightforward as one may perceive.

"Fine jewellery is 100 per cent manual in workshops. "Timepieces are different, for you have to combine industrialisation with craftsmanship," she explains.

After overcoming the differences between the two crafts, Nicolas came up with popular timepieces that swept the Asian market.

"People in Asia are more willing to take a risk as long as they are convinced that the craftsmanship and the expertise are there," she says. "The market is very stone-oriented. It has a strong culture of stones and passion for jade and diamonds. Hong Kong is the only place where the customers come with their own gemologist."

But Nicolas reiterates that she does not give in to market demands. "We don't want to compromise with being trendy and marketed. We don't want to target any specific group of customers. If we put jade on a dial, it's because the colour is stunning. If we put opal, it's not because we are targeting the Australian market, but because the quality is amazing," she says.

"This is our direction - to never compromise against creativity and quality. We'd rather stay small than give in to market forces."

Staying young at heart

When Demitris and Ketty Koutsolioutsos founded the brand Folli Follie, meaning "crazy craziness" in Italian, the Greek couple wanted their products to project a sense of joie de vivre and dynamism. So far, the brand has stayed true to the founders' philosophy and cultivated a fan base drawn to their colourful and playful range of products.

Conceived in Milan, the first Folli Follie store opened in Athens 30 years ago. It was an immediate success. Today, the brand is present in 24 countries and has more than 500 points of sale worldwide.

Folli Follie designs, manufactures and distributes its own brand of watches, jewellery and fashion accessories. Targeting 20- to 40-year-old fashion-conscious working women, it has established itself firmly, especially in the Asia-Pacific, by offering a quirky mix of fun yet quality accessories that are affordably priced.

Its international team of designers - hailing from Italy, Britain, Switzerland and Greece - is constantly introducing new collections and additions to existing lines, especially in the watch collections. The team also excels in reinterpreting iconic motifs. This year, the brand continues to play on its classic Heart4Heart design - four hearts joined to form a four-leaf clover.

One new offering is the Heart4Heart Ceramic, which comes with a white ceramic bracelet to complement the rose gold-plated stainless steel case and four shimmering hearts adorned with crystals.

The motif is transformed into an abstract pattern embedded in the dial in the Heart4Heart Symphony. Vertical baguette crystal stones provide a touch of glamour.

Another new addition is the Heart4Heart Twin. The ceramic case comes in either white or black, and the sleek, double-strap leather bracelet follows the latest trend of layering wrist accessories and comes in summery bright colours.

In the Heart4Heart Win, the motif is covered in crystals for a sophisticated look. The silky leather strap is available in an array of colours that complement the stainless steel, light gold-plated or rose gold-plated case.

Clear-cut focus on beauty

A widely circulated video interview by Nicolas Beau, international director of Chanel's watch department, explains the brand's modus operandi.

"We make a design, and then we find the right movement. We have great partners for movements in Switzerland, but if it [the movement] doesn't exist, we create it ourselves."

In other words, beauty leads. Beau points out that Chanel has been making jewellery since 1932, and "I think watchmaking has a natural link to jewellery".

One glance at the newest addition to the Mademoiselle Prive collection shows that watchmaking has a natural link to art as well. The camellia motif in previous models was a direct line back to Coco Chanel's personal style.

The new Mademoiselle Prive takes its cue from her Chinese Coromandel screen. Artist Anita Porchet has created a miniature masterpiece within the round diamond frame of the watch.

The dial, in black grand feu enamel over 18ct gold, is exquisitely hand-painted with a Chinese scene. Each leaf is a 24ct gold paillon cut into leaf shape and individually applied.

Everything about this watch is precious - its artistry and the 4.13ct of diamonds on its white gold case and crown. The hands are 18ct white gold as is the diamond-set buckle of the black alligator strap. It is absolutely unique and, just in case, water-resistant to 30 metres.

The always sought-after Premiere watch, now astonishingly more than 25 years old, was on parade at BaselWorld with, Beau says, slight variations in specifications. The familiar but never dated octagonal shape is unchanged, though shaved by millimetres here and there. The chain bracelet is now easily made tighter or looser by the wearer without the use of a tool.

Perhaps the star is the Chanel Premiere in white gold set with diamonds, a very Chanel-like contrast to the black lacquer dial and onyx cabochon crown.

The yellow gold version also has a black dial while the steel version has a white mother-of-pearl dial.

Chanel also offers an edition of its Premiere Flying Tourbillon, in only five pieces of two variations - one with a blue sapphire bezel, the other with a pink sapphire bezel. This lovely watch is a triumph of haute horologerie.

Much was made of the fact that this year, Chanel was marking an anniversary - 10 years since its first appearance at BaselWorld. On that occasion, Chanel made a big splash by launching its first J12 White model.

A decade ago, the white watch was as rare as the white whale. But when Chanel gave it "her" fashion imprimatur, the white watch became a "must-have".

The J12 has been said to be the most copied watch in the world - a dubious honour.

The J12 White Phantom 38mm is thus a celebration of the brand's success in a very demanding field. Technique might be subordinate to aesthetics, but Chanel has proved its technique is second to none. Only 2,000 pieces of the J12 White Phantom 38mm have been released, each engraved with the words "J12 White 10th Anniversary Limited Edition", the answer to any collector's prayer.

J12, of course, is no longer confined to white, though that is considered the classic version. Its unisex appeal has been interpreted in black ceramic with the matte black version creating almost as much excitement as the original pearlescent white.

Luxury lovers can buy J12 in gemset steel and gold, and there is a titanium chromatic as well.

At BaselWorld, Chanel presented a work of art in Mademoiselle Prive, an anniversary edition of the classic J12, refined versions of the iconic Premiere, and a Flying Tourbillon Premiere limited edition. No mean feat.

Pure and elegant craftsmanship

Parisian brand Boucheron straddled the extremes of purity and extravagance at BaselWorld this year, with a collection that called on its collective craftsmanship in watchmaking and high jewellery.

The brand's Épure collection is true to its name with a clean design, with only subtle degrees of variation to suit different tastes. Épure translates as working sketch and the word is frequently applied in France to contemporary art where minimalist designs play on light and lines.

Boucheron applied the same principle to this collection, resulting in an aesthetic stripped of superfluous detail and rounded out with a classic finish top to bottom.

The collection includes 19 variations where a diamond set bezel, 42mm or 38mm case in white or rose gold and a tourbillon movement sometimes deviates from the purist interpretation without straying from the fundamental design.

Characteristics include a rounded, curved case inspired by a sculpted lens and Boucheron's double gadroons, or edgings on the case and on the crown that reflect light from every angle.

The ribbed metalwork and stone on Parisian landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, inspired the double-edged feature that has become a signature in Boucheron collections. Embossed hour markers create a sundial effect on the dial and a blue sapphire cabochon at 12 o'clock and on the crown signify the few embellishments given to this timepiece.

The collection is fitted with a Girard Perregaux GP4000 movement whose oscillating weight is displayed through a hand-polished, Champagne cork openwork design.

The occasional scattering of gems in the Épure series hints at what is to follow in the Épure d'Art collection. Taking their cue from nature, artisans inlaid the dials with gem-set motifs ranging from a diamond-set pansy and an olive branch to a cicada and scarab. The collection also includes the Épure Tourbillon Vitis, featuring a trailing vine leaf crafted from one piece of mother of pearl. The flying tourbillon takes the rare position set in the back of the watch and depicts Boucheron's legendary Place Vendôme address.

Openwork gold design and precious stones characterise Boucheron's Ajouree collection with a dazzling array of intricate craftsmanship. Designs include Ajouree Amvara, featuring a diamond-encrusted snake curling around the case in a figure of eight, and Ajouree Hera, depicting a peacock fanning its tail in a plumage of blue sapphires, half-moon chalcedonies, pear-cut sapphires and paved diamonds.

But Boucheron saved its most elaborate craftsmanship for Khepri à Secret, which combines mechanics and mystery. Inspired by the Egyptian god Khepri and its associated scarab, the watch embodies high jewellery and watchmaking skill.

The scarab features a mechanism that opens the four wings by pressing the insect's blue sapphire cabochon head. Mother-of-pearl outer wings, featuring Boucheron's trademark gadroon-edging open to reveal a pair of smaller openwork wings bejewelled with diamonds and blue sapphires. The 3cm watch case and dial is revealed underneath.

Refreshingly new approach

Bruno Grande proclaims that "everything is new". The statement by the chief operating officer of JeanRichard underscores the brand's mission to redefine the spirit of JeanRichard, focusing on a complete change in strategy to build up sales and increase brand recognition.

JeanRichard has hovered under the radar for years. The venerable marque named after Swiss watchmaking pioneer Daniel JeanRichard - who is credited with bringing the craft to Neuchâtel and is recognised as one of Switzerland's oldest recorded watchmakers - garners respect due to a history of quality in-house movements and unique timepieces.

The company is part of the Sowind Group, a partnership with haute watch manufacturing giant Girard-Perregaux - which may have contributed to JeanRichard's playing second fiddle to its cousin as it struggled to make a name for itself.

Grande says that is all going to change, now that Sowind is owned by the Kering Group, formerly PPR.

Grande says the brand is making a concerted effort "to refresh its product line from scratch - new designs, new movements, new image. Our aim was to create an iconic, emblematic model that would be instantly recognisable, and at the best possible price - something with a unique look".

The redesign has resulted in an original cushion-shaped case with a round bezel.

In addition, the entire JeanRichard portfolio was reorganised into four collections and divided into two segments: the manufacture watches, which will have their own movements; and the bulk of the collection, which will use standard movements and be priced in a more accessible range.

The first two collections, launched early this year, were the 1681 and the Terrascope. The elegant, vintage-looking 1681 honours the year in which Daniel JeanRichard created his first wristwatch. It features a 44mm cushion case, a lacquered dial and rhodium-plated hands and indices, with small seconds at nine o' clock nodding to the watch's historical inspiration. Its heartbeat pulses inside the JR1000 calibre, developed and constructed entirely in the manufacture and providing 48 hours of power reserve. The watch is available in steel or pink gold, well complemented by a honey-brown ostrich strap.

The Terrascope, which has been around for a few years in various guises, is now showing a sportier and more adventurous aesthetic. Water resistant to 100 metres, it is powered by the JR60 calibre, which provides 42 hours of power reserve. There are three versions available: a beige, white or brushed-silver dial. The customer can also opt for leather or rubber straps as alternatives to the stainless-steel bracelet.

At BaselWorld, JeanRichard unveiled two more of its latest collections that pay tribute to nature's elements: the Aquascope and the Aeroscope.

The redesigned Aquascope is driven by a high-powered, automatic-wound mechanical movement, the JR60, giving it a power reserve of 42 hours.

It features a 46mm robust case with a reinforced sapphire crystal and screw-down caseback and crown, ensuring water resistance to 300 metres. Its unidirectional rotational diver's bezel has been designed for excellent grip and precise setting of dive time. The new collection boasts several colours and finishing variants - the aluminium bezel in blue PVD coating or black DLC. The bracelet comes in brushed stainless steel with a butterfly clasp or rubber strap.

For the Aeroscope, JeanRichard sought inspiration from flight-panel instruments to create a collection featuring large numerals and luminescent indexes in orange, white or black with a contrasting background. The automatic chronograph movement JR66, which also offers a power reserve of 42 hours, is designed to measure aerial exploits with precision. The dials come in rhodium-treated black or grey, vertical satin finishing and sunken counters with circular satin finishing, or in matte white.

The cushion-shaped case is made in titanium, a metal favoured in avionic design for its lightweight durability. The collection offers a wide range of choices ranging from grey or black titanium with a combination of cases, lugs and bezels. The watch comes with leather bracelets with contrasting stitches in off-white or orange, or in rubber.

JeanRichard has chosen an eclectic mix of personalities to represent the new Terrascope, Aquascope and Aeroscope collections, each firmly linked with one of the three elements - earth, air and water - echoed in the names of the collection.

On land, JeanRichard is collaborating with British photographer Nick Brandt and supporting the Big Life Foundation, which is devoted to wildlife conservation.

At sea, yachtsman Franck Cammas has been an ambassador for JeanRichard since May 2011, when the Aquascope timepiece accompanied him on the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race around the world, where he skippered Groupama to victory.

For its first flight, the Aeroscope chose Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. An experienced pilot, he made history on January 15, 2009, when he ditched the failing Airbus A320 he was piloting into the Hudson River in New York City, saving the lives of all 155 people on board.

"Rather than talking about ourselves, we decided to speak about our customer, about ordinary people who do extraordinary things and who share the same 'philosophy of life' as our brand," Grande says.

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Classy chronographs

Functional, practical and very often good-looking, the chronograph appeals to a wide demographic. In its earliest years, the chronograph was an important tool used only by professionals, such as scientists and sportsmen and women, to measure time, but as the development of the complication advanced, so did its appeal.

Alexander Schmiedt, director of category management watches for Montblanc, says the chronograph fascinates because of the complexity of the movement and the counter dial. The movement is difficult to construct because many intricate components need to be synchronised for it to operate precisely. The chronograph has played a significant role in the development of Montblanc timepieces. Its TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph contains a new calibre MBLL 100, a state-of-the-art movement containing all the elements of a haute horlogerie engine, including a column wheel, vertical clutch disc and double spring barrel with 72 hours' power reserve. "The construction of the chronograph function with both the minute and the seconds chronograph hands on one axis in the centre - thus the name TwinFly - gives the watch a unique, immediately identifiable look," Schmiedt says. Montblanc also added a 24-hour time zone function that is a standard feature on models in the watchmaker's Rieussec collection, putting it at the top of the TimeWalker family tree.

Ballon Bleu de Cartier quickly became the new star in the watchmaker's collection when it debuted five years ago. Defined by its pebble-shaped case and a sapphire cabochon attached to the crown of every model, the watch straddles the line between classicism and the future of Cartier.

The new Ballon Bleu de Cartier Chronograph for men provides a more accessible entry point while complementing the existing precious versions, says Tamie Toledano, Cartier's marketing and communications director for the Far East. The watch is fitted with Cartier's 8101 MC movement, with a two-counter dial and date window displaying its performance, while a larger 44mm case gives it a masculine and sporty edge.

Tag Heuer has pioneered the chronograph sector from the day Charles-August Heuer introduced the 1/100th Mikrograph stopwatch in 1916. The new Carrera Mikrograph 1/100th Second Chronograph marks a world first for its column wheel and integrated mechanical chronograph that displays 100th of a second with a striking central hand. Its defining characteristics are two balance wheels with separate escapements and transmission systems, one for the watch and one for the chronograph. Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Tag Heuer, says the Mikrograph sets a new milestone in grande complications and rewrites history in the field of high-frequency movements. "It is the quest to master time that has shaped and obsessed Tag Heuer for the past 150 years," he says, adding that the quest for speed is one of humanity's perpetual goals. "Without time, speed is nothing."

Panerai adds a special edition model to its chronographs with an equally extraordinary name. The Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante Left-handed 8 Days Titanio is a 44mm titanium watch with a hand-wound P.2004/9 calibre. The movement has three spring barrels providing a power reserve of eight days, plus a seconds reset function that sets the seconds hand to zero, synchronising the watch with the reference time signal.

The winding crown on the left side of the case is a reference to the watches provided to the Italian navy in the 1940s, when frogmen already wearing a compass or depth gauge on the left wrist needed a watch that could be worn on the right wrist.

Baume & Mercier has also boosted its classic Hampton collection with a new chronograph reference. The Hampton ref. 10031 is an automatic chronograph version with counters sporting just a touch of red to dress up the dial, a size of 30mm x 47mm and an ETA 2894 movement. It comes with an elegant dark brown alligator strap. Breitling combines the mechanics of a chronograph with a dual time zone for its new Chronomat GMT. The watch contains a new calibre 4 that evolved from the watchmaker's high-performance, self-winding calibre 1. The movement is paired with a patent-pending differential system that disconnects the local hour hand from the gear train when switching time zones, thereby not affecting precision or performance.

Gilbert Ho, general manager of Breitling Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, says the watch boasts unprecedented travel friendliness without losing any precision in counting the minutes. "It is one of the rare chronographs to offer a smoothly functional dual time zone system," he says.Three new models join the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore chronograph series. Each model is fitted with a self-winding movement with an instant-jump date mechanism, 60-hour power reserve and stop seconds device.