Braeden Alexander

Braeden Alexander

First Published: September 20, 2018
  1. Articles by Braeden Alexander
  2. Luxury Lifestyle: Watches and Yachts

    Luxury Lifestyle: Watches and Yachts

    It’s no secret that your timepiece is one of the most important accessories for a luxury lifestyle, especially life on a yacht. Sailing watches often share the sporty and water-resistant features of the diver’s watch but with functions useful to the yachtsman. Put quite simply, no superyacht owner’s wardrobe is complete without a trusty sailing timepiece. Luxury Lifestyle They’re a vital tool and an integral part of everyday sailing. Maybe you’re looking for a watch with tailored regatta racing functions. Or you simply need something to look the part, finding the ideal overseas companion depends on your needs. Here are some watches that are as functional as they are stylish for the next time you find yourself aboard a yacht. Rolex Yacht-Master II Rolex introduced the Yacht-Master II in 2007, but it has already become an instant classic among the luxury lifestyle including yachting and boating enthusiasts.  The timepiece brings the finest technology of Rolex for a regatta chronograph built for yachting competition. The rotating Ring Command bezel is directly linked to its internal movement. In typical Rolex fashion, the timepiece blends its functionality with its dashing style. The Yacht-Master II embodies the spirit of the sailor with subtle details such as its triangular marker at 12 o’clock. It also has the marine-blue ring bezel and sparkling oyster perpetual case. It’s an icon of regatta racing and as close to a quintessential nautical timepiece as you can get. Omega Seamaster Diver 300M For 25 years, the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M has successfully captured the spirit of the ocean. This luxury lifestyle timepiece has undergone a transformation in recent years. The newer models now feature a salt-resistant titanium case and dial, practical rubber strap, and even a five-minute regatta countdown. All the while, Omega has continued to innovate with its leading precision and performance. The conical shape of the new helium escape valve is an ingenious technology patented by Omega.  Panerai Luminor Regatta 1950 Life on the waves can sometimes get rough. The Panerai Luminor Regatta 1950 is one of the most enduring models that will hold up overseas. Panerai LuminorIn addition to its durability, the remarkable titanium of Panerai is light, strong, and hypoallergenic. The timepiece is water-resistant to 100 meters and boasts the P.9100/R Panerai movement. Its invaluable ability to precede the time measurement of the race with a countdown stage is one of the rarest functions of high-end watchmaking. TAG Heuer Aquaracer 300M Chronograph The TAG Heuer Aquaracer may not boast the rich sailing heritage of other timepieces. The model is water-resistant up to 300 meters, while the scratch-resistant sapphire makes for a trusty overseas companion. The simple and understated aesthetic comes complete with a silver bracelet and toned down dial. The Aquaracer takes an all-business approach to functionality with its lack of unnecessary complications.  Louis Vuitton Tambour Regatta Navy The Louis Vuitton Tambour provides a unique blend of luxury style and high-end performance. Source: Louis VuittonThe latest timepiece from the Maison Louis Vuitton boasts a chronograph, alarm function, and countdown with an audio indication. It also comes equipped with a water-resistant steel case and black rubber strap design not only to withstand but adapt to all-weather or sporting conditions. The sporty appeal of the timepiece one that will delight all yachting enthusiasts. Breitling Exospace B55 Yachting Hello luxury lifestyle! Built for enduring professional use, the Breitling Exospace B55 offers versions suited for aviators and motorists. Source: BreitlingYachtsman is the latest to join the B55 family. The new model features a reimagined calibre B55 movement and a range of original functions ideal for life overseas. The user-friendly model boasts an electronic tachymeter, digital countdown timer, and lap timer. 

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  3. History of the Tissot Visodate

    History of the Tissot Visodate

    The legacy of the iconic Tissot Heritage Visodate stretches all the way back to 1953. Throughout Tissot’s long-lasting history, the brand has shown that it’s no stranger to horological achievements and innovation. The Tissot Visodate is no different. The Swiss luxury watchmaker presented the timepiece as the first watch with a date function integrated into the automatic mechanism. It has since become a classic watch with a simple and gorgeous design and iconic model of the brand’s heritage range. Tradition of Reliability The roots of Tissot go back to 1853 when Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son Charles-Émile opened up an assembly shop. Out of this modest establishment in Le Locle, Switzerland, the father-son duo produced pocket and pendant watches. Tissot crafted these complex devices out of gold and they often featured rich decoration and designs. After a while, the Tissot logo became synonymous with Swiss heritage, character, and reliability. A large part of the brand’s initial success was due to the exceptional quality and affordable price. There was no compromise when it came to the quality of the materials. At the same time, the collection of advanced functions kept on growing. After a while, national and international exhibitions widely recognized the quality of the Tissot catalogue. During the 1900 World’s Fair, the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt purchased an 18-carat gold pendant watch. Tissot watches were especially popular in the United States and the Russian Empire. Until the October Revolution in 1917, the Russian Empire was the company’s biggest market. Throughout this period, Tissot made a name for itself as an innovator in the field of watchmaking. The company released the world’s first non-magnetic wristwatch in 1930, the Tissot Antimagnétique. Elsewhere, the Tissot Navigator was the first mass-produced watch to feature 24 time zones. Tissot Visodate Date Display This tradition of reliability and innovation carried well into the post-WWII era. In 1953, Tissot was celebrating its 100th birthday and decided to launch a series of watch innovations. The most noteworthy of the bunch was the integration of a date function into the automatic mechanism of a watch. The brand dubbed this creation the Tissot Visodate, the first automatic watch with a date window. The arrival of Edouard-Louis Tissot as the managing director really shifted the fortunes of the brand as well. The team came up with a “single caliber” principle in 1958, allowing the range of movements to simplify. The addition of different complications to a basic movement made it possible to produce manual or automatic watches with a calendar and day-date. This further multiplied the success of the Tissot Visodate around the world. Vintage Style Not only was the Tissot Visodate practical and functional, but the design was sleek and stylish for the time period. It struck the perfect balance as a watch that could easily be used as both an everyday watch and dressed up. This allowed the watch to match a multitude of occasions. The rich chocolate brown leather strap paired nicely with the stark stainless steel case. A gently curved dial mirrored the domed sapphire glass. This allowed for the day and date to be clear and visible. Heritage Range For the 150th anniversary of Tissot, the brand decided to release the heritage range. Tissot introduced this collection in 2003, which included watches from the brand’s mid-century days in the remade edition. The Heritage Navigator and Heritage Visodate were the most notable entries. This re-release did wonders for the overall popularity while simultaneously honoring the original Tissot Visodate. It included a snazzy placement of the date marker and a Milanese mesh strap for old-school charm. This allowed for the vintage-style watch to include all the modern luxuries of watchmaking: the sapphire crystal, reliable movement, exhibition caseback, and deployment clasp. It effectively translates nostalgia into contemporary timepieces dedicated to detail. It still has the same nostalgic look and feels with contemporary timelessness and attention to detail.

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  4. The History of the Zenith El Primero

    The History of the Zenith El Primero

    When Zenith first released the El Primero watch in 1969, it was the first automatic chronograph movement available to the public. After more than half a century later, it’s regarded as the most accurate chronograph movement ever created. The timepiece remains in production as a leading name that’s synonymous with precision. Beyond its historical significance, the longevity of the El Primero speaks for itself. This automatic chronograph has proved to be of the utmost reliability over the decades. Today, the Zenith El Primero remains a symbol of performance and continues to rule the hearts of mechanical watch enthusiasts. The Race for Innovation Chronograph watches have existed since the dawn of the 20th century, but they were all fitted with hand-wound movements. During the 1960s, the chronograph was very popular. Several luxury watchmakers were locked in the battle for ultimate precision. The leading names of the decade identified the practicality and comfort of automatic winding as the feature that would modernize chronograph movements forever. A race presented itself within the watchmaking industry to create the first self-winding chronograph. Heuer, Breitling, Hamilton-Buren and Dubois-Depraz undertook a joint project to create the Chronomatic. At the same time, Seiko had been developing their 6139 caliber. Meanwhile, Zenith began the development of what they codenamed the 3019 PHC caliber in 1962.  This arms race all came to fruition in 1969. Zenith ultimately run the race and presented the new timepiece to the public. This was the first ever fully-integrated, high-frequency automatic chronograph movement. Zenith aptly named this extraordinary leap in watchmaking technology the Zenith El Primero, Spanish for “the first” while the Chronomatic and Seiko movements hit the market released later that same year. Zenith El Primero Saved By an Act of Rebellion While innovative and popular from the get-go, the El Primero immediately met a challenging obstacle. The 1970s was what watch industry calls the Quartz Crisis. During this period, new, accurate quartz watches at a low prices became immensely popular. This plunged even the most storied Swiss luxury watchmakers into a deep crisis. In 1971, Zenith was sold to an American company, the Zenith Radio Company. The Chicago-based company then decided to cease production of all mechanical movements in favor of quartz watches in 1975, including the Zenith El Primero.  The passionate employees were not too happy to hear the news. They had invested so much time and effort into building Zenith. This included one Charles Vermont, who had spent his entire career at Zenith and was involved with the El Primero since its original sketches. With the help of his brother, Vermont decided to go behind management’s back and classified, inventoried, and labeled all parts, cutting tools and equipment necessary to create the El Primero. He secretly dismantled all the machines, put route sheets into binders and hid them away where nobody could find them.  Zenith El Primero’s Journey It took nearly a decade until the Zenith El Primero was able to rise from the ashes. The Ebel was the first to call upon the El Primero movement for some of its models in 1984. The ensuing success and enduring quality caught the attention of Rolex, who adopted it to replace the outdated movement of its Daytona watch with the same automatic chronograph movement. The Rolex caliber 4030 was simply an El Primero with a modified regulator ticking at 28,800 vibrations per hour, which did the brand wonders. It didn’t take long before Panerai, Boucheron, Hublot, Bvlgari, TAG Heuer and Daniel Roth decided to jump aboard and equip their finest watches with the El Primero movement. This continued until 1999 when LVMH took over Zenith and decided that it would reserve the benefit of the movement’s singular properties exclusively for its own brands. Zenith El Primero, From Then to Now There are many reasons why it didn’t take long for the El Primero to become a highly desirable timepiece. High-beat wristwatches were very rare in 1969. The Zenith El Primero operated at 36,000 vibrations per hour, making it the world’s most accurate chronograph upon release. The seconds hands performs at an astonishing 10 jumps per second, which means that it has the ability to measure a tenth of a second. The timepiece sweeps smoothly which is evidence of the superb engine that’s humming inside the case. This fantastic caliber was exceptionally robust and reliable, which Zenith decided to put to the test in 1970. The Zenith El Primero flew alongside the Air France AF015 flight from Paris to New York across the Atlantic. The technology was fixed to the landing gear of the Boeing 707 plane.  Throughout its 50 years of existence, the Zenith El Primero has evolved in different directions, but the core remains the same. The well-designed chronograph still stands as one of the finest pieces of watchmaking technology on the market.

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  5. The History of the Rolex Submariner

    The History of the Rolex Submariner

    With a history that goes back over 60 years, the Rolex Submariner is among the most popular luxury watches of all-time. The timepiece is a staple in the Rolex family and the darling of its sports watches. Among collectors, the Submariner has achieved iconic status. Perhaps it has something to do with the illustrious names attached to it: Jacques Cousteau, James Bond, Sean Connery and the British Royal Navy. Beyond the marketing hype, however, the Rolex Submariner is the ultimate marriage of performance and style. Rolex Submariner, Early Ocean Conquest The Rolex Submariner can trace its history back to the early 1950s when a member of Rolex’s board of directors, Rene P. Jeanneret challenged the brand to develop an innovative sports watch specifically for scuba divers. Jeanneret maintained that this diving watch should also be elegant enough to wear on a day-to-day basis. Hans Wilsdorf and his team then set out to create a timepiece with a heightened level of water resistance in mind. Wilsdorf also insisted upon self-winding movement and the screw-down crown.  In 1953, the team was finally ready to meet the challenge set by Jeanneret. The company’s team of engineers put together a timepiece working closely with oceanographers Auguste and Jacques Piccard. The father-son duo was set to take their “bathyscaphe” to a world record depth. How deep? Try 10,275 feet below the ocean’s surface. The two sides worked together to test the early experimental models of what would eventually become the Submariner. As the deep-sea submersible came back up to the surface, the timepiece was still working perfectly and shining brightly. Rolex Submariner, A New Standard The following year, Rolex introduced the Submariner model 6204 at the 1954 Basel Watch Fair. Two models were introduced, Reference 6204 and 6205. Both were water-resistant and could withstand depths of up to 100 meters. This was a feat no diving watch could even hope of achieving in the 1950s. One year later, the Reference 6200 was released, which is widely considered the holy grail of the Submariner. This version was water-resistant to 200 meters and included an “explorer-style” “3-6-9” dial. None of these first three models featured the word ‘Submariner’ on the dial yet. The clean aesthetic as well as the proprietary caliber movement built in-house served as notable selling points for Jeanneret. Rolex released this new gentleman’s dive watch to the public in 1955. Rolex Submariner Popular Amongst Everyone First and foremost, the Rolex Submariner was the ideal diving companion among professionals and amateurs. Beyond the sturdy construction, the new Submariner appealed to divers and oceanographers. Maybe mainly for its handful of utilities and tools developed specifically for them. The rotating bezel kept track of air time when divers were submerged. The handy flip lock clasp (now known as “triplock”) solved limitations pertaining to wet suits and neoprene gloves for convenient handling. In 1956, Jacques Cousteau released a documentary film about the Mediterranean Sea entitled The Silent World, which eventually won an Academy Award.  For the rest of the decade, Rolex steadily released updates to the Submariner. Most notably, the introduction of the chronometer-certified Rolex caliber 1030 was an important update for the 6538 and 6536 that improved the internal mechanisms. The 6538 is specifically what James Bond wears. The Rolex Submariner didn’t have mass appeal until the 1960s when it showed up on the wrist of Sean Connery in several James Bond 007 films. The watch sparkled especially in some of the most iconic underwater scenes of one of pop culture’s most legendary characters. The Quest For Perfection with Rolex Submariner The baseline design and mechanics remained relatively untouched. But there were sporadic innovations that continued to flow in the years to come. A cyclops magnifying glass was added in 1966 to augment the underwater legibility. By this time, the Submariner had already become an icon. This marked the introduction of precious metals to the collection. A helium escape valve, 31 jewel movement and Super-LumiNova hour markers all added a new dimension in Rolex’s quest for perfection. The continued technical improvements over the decades have made the Submariner one of the most iconic watches of all-time. As far as the design is concerned, Rolex has only made minor changes to the timepiece. The lasting legacy of the Submariner is loud and clear. It’s a watch that’s durable enough to withstand an underwater stealth mission. Yet it’s elegant enough to fit right in at any black-tie affair.

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  6. The History of the Rolex Datejust

    The History of the Rolex Datejust

    After more than 50 years, the Rolex Datejust remains one of the brand’s most emblematic watches. The timepiece contains the essence of Rolex: simple, timeless, reliable and well-made. The characteristic date display has made it the watch of choice for everybody from Winston Churchill to Martin Luther King. Unlike any of its predecessors, the Datejust embodies a timeless elegance. The understated watch has captivated generations of enthusiasts and collectors and it’s become recognized as a Rolex standard. The Swiss brand has only slightly altered the Datejust throughout its existence, making it a true icon of style. Rolex Datejust Origins As one of the oldest Rolex models, the Datejust belongs to the core of the Oyster Perpetual collection. Rolex released the Oyster in 1926 as the watch industry’s first waterproof case. This revolutionary concept and name are still used to this day. However, the story of the Datejust begins in 1945 as Rolex was celebrating their 40th anniversary. The brand wanted to create a special timepiece that was different from any other on the market. They came up with the Reference 4467, which featured a fluted bezel and the iconic Oyster bracelet fitted for the occasion as the all-new Jubilee. It was available in 18-karat gold and fitted with the caliber 710 movement. A Rolex Legend The Datejust was truly groundbreaking upon its release. It was the first officially certified self-winding waterproof chronometer with a date window on the dial. The timepiece displayed this added layer of practicality in a small window at the 3 o’clock on the dial. This 3-hand gold watch underwent a date change at the stroke of midnight instantly, allowing the wearer to read the exact time and date without a moment’s hesitation. While this defining feature may seem simple now, it was certainly a monumental step forward in the development of watches. It was able to do this because of its intermediate gears and spring mechanism, showcasing the Rolex precision to detail. The brand debuted this new technology to their watch line in 1945. Cyclops Lens Upon its initial release, the Rolex Datejust was a spontaneous success. The automatic winding, high accuracy and date display made the timepiece an excellent and practical watch. The now-iconic design was equally brilliant in its simplicity and sophistication. It was a universal timepiece that was suited for every occasion and went well with a variety of ensembles. Housed in the all-new case, the Datejust was robust with its water-resistant and dust-tight properties. Nearly a decade later came the first major update to the Rolex Datejust. Although it’s now a defining feature, Rolex added the now iconic Cyclops eye in 1954. The unique lens lays directly above the date window and increased legibility by two-and-a-half times. This feature allowed for easy visibility of the date. It was the first major aesthetic change in the Rolex Datejust. From this point forward, the Datejust was at the forefront of the Rolex collection. Continued Evolution In 1957, Rolex introduced a brand new caliber 1065 movement. This technical update was smaller and more efficient than the past movement and eliminated the need for a dome caseback. This technical update allowed Rolex to create a more streamlined and minimal aesthetic with a slimmer design. In turn, this led to the introduction of a ladies version before the end of the decade. This version was nearly identical to its men’s counterpart with the primary difference being the size and proportions. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Rolex continually introduced new caliber movements to keep the Datejust up-to-date and on the cutting-edge. The design, however, remains largely unchanged with only changes being smaller profile and slight updates to the case and dial design. Not long after, Rolex replaced the plastic acrylic crystal with a sapphire one. The epitome of timeless and elegant even in its modern form. The original Datejust was only available in Yellow Gold. Before long, Rolex introduced Rose Gold, Steel and Two-Tone editions.

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  7. The History of the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso

    The History of the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso

    The Reverso is the flagship watch of storied watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre. The timepiece rose to prominence because of its ingenious rotating case born out of a need in 1931. Through nearly nine decades of history, the double-sided watch remains true to its origins and defines the soul of Jaeger-LeCoultre.  Polo Origins The Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso is a legend that rose from practical need. In the early 1930s, British army officers stationed in India often enjoyed playing polo in their leisure time. The powerful mallets and polo balls meant players who left their watch on during a match found it destroyed afterwards. While traveling to India,  a famous watch dealer attended a polo match among British army officers. The famous watch dealer’s name was César de Trey. After the match, one of these officers approached César. The officer had just broken the glass of his watch. He challenged De Trey to create a timepiece that was durable and robust enough to survive an aggressive polo match. Upon his return to Switzerland, De Trey mentioned this to his good friend Jacques-David LeCoultre, the owner of LeCoultre Manufacture. LeCoultre placed René-Alfred Chauvot and the firm Jaeger S.A. in charge of developing the first true “sport” watch. The French engineer first experimented with a protective grill on top of the dial. Which was a technique among WWI military watches. Alongside his team, Chauvot thought outside of the box and came up with the idea of a reversible case. The double-sided case would conceal the fragile dial and glass of the luxury timepiece. The result was an elegant watch with a dial that could flip smoothly, fully protecting it from mallet strokes. They formed a patent on March 4, 1931 and marked the official birth of the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso. Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso First Release The first edition of the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso was a real success and LeCoultre developed a full collection shortly after. The serial production came quickly after its creation. And the Geneva-based company Wenger was to manufacture the cases. The original case was 38mm long, 24mm large and 6mm high. The same remains the same for today’s Reverso Classique. Famous polo players, skiers and racecar drivers boosted the launch of the Reverso. The public considered the timepiece as the first luxury sports watch. Just two years after the Reverso’s debut, LeCoultre developed its first dedicated movement. They built the caliber 410, which would perfectly suit the unique shape of the model. In 1937, the success of the Reverso led LeCoultre and Jaeger S.A. to merge into one brand, Jaeger-LeCoultre. The brand and its popular watch represented an elegant and sophisticated response to a technical problem. Art Deco Purity One of the big reasons the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso caught on like wildfire was the sheer charisma in its design. Reaching mainstream appeal at the 1925 “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes.” Art Deco was the dominant style of the 1930s. The style appealed to futurists in a world increasingly impacted by the power of machines and technology. Art Deco evoked a grand ideal that resonated with a time period marked by change. It also offered a brand new aesthetic. Designers then commonly included Art Deco motifs on everything from ocean liners and streamliner locomotives to skyscrapers. The pure geometric forms, minimalist indexes and simple hands of the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso resonated with the dawning Art Deco era. The timepiece captured the imagination of the public increasingly enamored with the surging Art Deco style. The striking lines, “golden rectangle” proportions and clear-cut gadroons made for a very popular design. The timeless face looked equally great on men and women and could be combined with every style. The original model came with a manually wound movement and featured only hours and minutes hands. It was only in 1934 that engineers introduced a version with a small seconds counter at six o’clock. Using grooves, pins and a locking mechanism, the central case could effortlessly rotate 180 degrees. While the two-faced watch served the practical needs of polo players, it also made for an elegant design. The generous surface of the case back could be used for personalization, leading to special editions, combinations and makeovers. Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Timeless Appeal The long life of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso should come as no surprise. Although the timepiece enjoyed large overnight success, its path to survival along the decades has included its share of roadblocks. Through it all, however, the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso remains largely unchanged since it was first created in 1931. The first bump in the road came following during WWII. In the post-war world, the Art Deco style fell out of favor and the popular style switched to round watches. This led the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso to enter a production limbo during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. By the Jaeger-LeCoultre 125th anniversary in 1958, the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso had fallen out of production completely. Fortunately, Giorgio Corvo, an Italian watch dealer, visited the Manufacture in 1972. He noticed the amount of unused Reverso cases and bought all the remaining stock, which was 200 empty cases. He had some of his own movements installed and sold them all upon his return to Italy. The immediate success of this venture led Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso to pursue a resurrection of the model. The arrival of Japanese quartz watches led traditional brands to look for ways to create a spark. In 1983, Jaeger-LeCoultre reintroduced the classic Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso for the 150th anniversary celebration. The re-release was slightly more complicated than the original but remained largely unchanged. It has remained the flagship timepiece of Jaeger-LeCoultre ever since.

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  8. The History of the Patek Philippe Nautilus

    The History of the Patek Philippe Nautilus

    After more than four decades of history, the Nautilus remains one of Patek Philippe’s most sought-after timepieces. The watch was first released in 1976. The watch is one of the true pioneers for the luxury sports watch, a groundbreaking concept at the time. The Patek Philippe Nautilus takes inspiration directly from marine vessels. While the aquatic capacities and rugged nature and sporty qualities have made it one of the most popular watches of all-time. The timepiece is also the signature sports watch of Patek Philippe. Patek Philippe Nautilus Luxury in Steel Before we jump into the Patek Philippe Nautilus, we have to talk about another watch. That watch is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Gérald Genta designed the Royal Oak for Audemars Piguet in 1972 and it was a huge success. Two years later, the Swiss watch designer found himself eating at a hotel restaurant when he noticed an executive from Patek Philippe. Genta recalled that he immediately asked the waiter to bring him a pencil and paper. He then proceeded to design to Nautilus while observing the executives eating their meal, finishing within only a few minutes. At the time, Patek Philippe’s collection consisted exclusively of elegant gold watches with sophisticated technical complications. They had chronographs and time-only watches, but none that could even be considered remotely sporty. Patek Philippe decided that it was time for them to put something out. They put forth their own luxury sports watch with finishes of the highest quality. This new category of timepieces disrupted the market. At the time, it was dominated by cheaper quartz watches. Patek Philippe Nautilus Porthole Design When Genta was designing the Nautilus, he found inspiration on the portholes of transatlantic ocean liners. The watch drew attention for its distinctive shape and large size. It resembled these small windows on the exterior of vessels. The bezel is neither round or rectangular, but rather an octagon.  Each of the eight sides subtly curved to trace the perfect arc of a circle. Similar to the design of a porthole, the watch’s sides served to attach the bezel to the case. That way it ensures that there is only one opening in addition to the crown. Another defining feature were the “ears” on the case. The specific construction was what made it hard for the timepiece to achieve a water resistance of up to 120 meters, which was very high for the time period. The Patek Philippe Nautilus also had a diameter of 42mm, which was 3mm larger than the already gigantic Royal Oak. The design, which featured embossed horizontal grooves on the dial and an integrated metal bracelet, was instantly recognizable when it hit the market. The first Patek Philippe Nautilus, Reference 3700, was powered by the thin self-winding movement 28-255, first used in the Royal Oak.  Finding Nemo Patek Philippe released the Nautilus in 1976 at an exorbitant price tag that was even higher than that of the Royal Oak. The headline for the initial advertising campaign read, “One of the world’s costliest watches is made of steel.” The timepiece took its name from Jules Verne’s classic novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The name Nautilus was inspired after Captain Nemo’s submarine. The Patek Philippe Nautilus was moderately popular in its first few years of existence with many drawn to its unique versatility. Sales really took off in 1980 when Patek Philippe released a version of the Nautilus designed specifically for ladies and equipped with a quartz movement. The following year the brand released a mid-sized men’s version that cut the size down to just 37mm. These modified releases were immediate successes in line with watch trends of the time. By 1990, Patek Philippe completely phased out the previous “jumbo” generation. The Swiss watchmakers have since released several less popular variations.  Including a 1996 rendition that had roman numerals and a smooth dial. For the 30th anniversary of the timepiece in 2006, Patek Philippe put forth an entirely new generation of the Nautilus that remains among the most popular. The revamped model went back to the 43mm size and marked the return of the “steel jumbo,” which continues as the most iconic model to date.

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  9. The History of: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

    The History of: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

    The story of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is one that takes a bold step outside of traditional norms to create something truly unique. Audemars Piguet debuted the now legendary watch at the 1972 Swiss Watch Show in Basel. The ambition of the Royal Oak timepiece was high. It was always to cause a stir and disrupt the watch industry–something it continues to hang its hat on to this day. The Quartz Crisis In the 60s, quartz watches dominated the market thanks to leading Japanese manufacturers such as Seiko. These battery-powered watches were seen as superior timepieces. They offered excellent accuracy and much better value on the money than their luxury counterparts. Naturally, many people abandoned their mechanical watches in favor of quartz watches. This period in the history of timepieces is known as the “Quartz Crisis” and it led to the downfall of many storied Swiss watch companies. Many luxury watch manufacturers were facing troubling financial conditions including Audemars Piguet, whose history dates back to 1875. In the wake of the Quartz Crisis, the brand knew they needed to disrupt the current market in a big way. They needed a significant change that would allow them to appeal to a new and profitable market. After conducting a few months of serious market research, it was the Italian market that caught the brand’s eye. They noticed a demand for a sports watch durable enough for all occasions. But also with a beautiful finish–something they felt they could deliver on. The Birth of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Audemars Piguet toyed with the idea of incorporating steel into a luxury watch. Which was an idea that seemed absurd at the time. During this period, most fine watches were made from precious metals. While steel was a material reserved for the working class. However, the aim of the Royal Oak was simply to create a new luxury sports watch that could be used for all occasions. Plus it had a marvelous finish to it. Steel as the material fit the bill and effectively meshed elegance and sporty into a single timepiece. Gerald Genta was the designer that Audemars Piguet chose to tackle this gutsy task. His impressive resume spanned several best-selling watches including the Omega Constellation and the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse. Georges Golay is the chief executive of Audemars Piguet. And the night before the 1971 Swiss Watch Show (known today as Baselworld), he called his friend Genta. He told him the Italian watch market was expecting an “unprecedented steel watch.” For which he would need the design by next morning. Genta agreed and hastily put together the design for a new sports watch with a gorgeous steel finish, which would become the Royal Oak. Inspiration Behind Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Genta took inspiration from a traditional divers helmet to create the design of the Royal Oak. The steel watch had an octagonal-shaped bezel secure by eight visible hexagonal gold screws, visible water-resistance gasket and a dial adorned with an exclusive blue motif. The watch was massive by standards of the time. The most iconic feature was the compact and integrated stainless steel bracelet that’s still used on Royal Oaks today. The revolutionary timeless was extremely complex to build, but Genta went on to call it the masterpiece of his career. Playing on the diving theme of the watch, Genta was adamant that the name itself had to be nautical-related. The name of the octagonal bezel, Royal Oak, came from a series of eight vessels belonging to the British Royal Navy. These ships took their name from the hollowed oak tree that King Charles II of England famously hid in to escape death during the English Civil War. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Redefined Luxury Watches The Royal Oak was finally was for launch at the 1972 Swiss Watch Show. Audemars Piguet put forth a price tag of 3,300 Swiss francs, more expensive than a gold-dress Patek Philippe and ten times as much as the Rolex Submariner. “It takes more than money to wear the Royal Oak,” the first advertising campaign read. It was certainly a bold move on the part of Audemars Piguet. Unsurprisingly, the Royal Oak was an easy target for criticism with a disruptive construction. Along with it’s visible gasket and screws, and exorbitant price tag. However, the allure of the timepiece couldn’t be denied for long. It eventually won over the watch market and its naysayers. Audemars Piguet had successfully proved that haute horlogerie no longer relied on precious metals, but rather it was the quality in the design, execution and movement that really counted. The first batch comprised 1,000 watches with the new 5402 reference, more commonly known as the A-series. These highly sought-after editions are easy to recognize with the AP symbol above the 6 o’clock rather than the 12 o’clock. The subsequent years saw them roll out a number of different variations of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. They incorporated everything from leather and rubber straps to an ultra-thin perpetual calendar. To celebrate the 20th anniversary, Audemars Piguet put forth the Royal Oak Offshore. The watch remains one of the most iconic watches to this day. The concept of this special edition was to provide a “deconstructed” approach to the timepiece.  That way it caters to a younger and more rebellious generation. For the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak’s 30th birthday, AP put forth a “lab watch” version. The watch embodied the pinnacle of performance through extreme resistance and technical sophistication. Born out of a necessity to stay alive, the spirit of the Royal Oak has grown to stand the test of time as one of the most recognize timepieces in the world.

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  10. The History of the Omega Seamaster 300

    The History of the Omega Seamaster 300

    The Omega Seamaster 300 may be well-known as the “James Bond” watch, but it has a rich history in its own right. Yes, being a beautiful timepiece doesn’t hurt it’s case either. The Swiss luxury watchmaker debuted the original Seamaster in 1948 as part of their 100th anniversary. Little did they know, this watch would go on to become the prestigious label’s best-selling watch. Today the Seamaster remains Omega’s longest standing model in the current collection. Besides the illustrious history, the Omega Seamaster 300 has a timeless design, so it’s no wonder it remains so popular today. Omega Seamaster 300, A Trusted Name in Diving Long before introducing the Seamaster, Omega had already established itself as a leading name in the world of diving. The brand debuted the Omega Marine, its first diving watch, in 1932. The Marine was worn by the “godfather of modern diving” himself, Yves Le Prieur. He was a French navy officer that invented the modern scuba mask and tank. Just a few years later, explorer Charles William Beebe wore the same timepiece while riding in the bathysphere, an unpowered sea submersible lowered into the ocean by a cable off the coast of Bermuda. Omega introduced the original Seamaster in 1948. They modeled the initial prototype after the waterproof watches worn by the British military during WWII. However, the innovative feature that separated the Seamaster from previous generations of diving watches was its resilient O-ring gasket. This greatly enhanced the water-resistance of the Omega Seamaster 300 and allowed it to remain intact at depths up to 60 meters and temperatures between -40ºC and 50ºC. Most diving watches to this point either relied on lead or shellac gaskets. They both were easily affected by the constant temperature changes of diving. The Omega Seamaster 300 The 1950s were a boom time for the sport of scuba diving. Omega took advantage of the sport’s widespread popularity and introduced the new and improved Seamaster 300. The Omega Seamaster 300 was specifically designed for underwater use. While waterproof, the original model from the late 1940s didn’t quite live up to its name. The Omega Seamaster 300 continued the traditional as the go-to timepiece for the world’s greatest divers. Including famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and his team during the 1963 Conshelf II experiments over the Red Sea. In 1964, the brand introduced a new generation of the Omega Seamaster 300. This sleek version vaulted the watch into contemporary culture. The design was sleeker with broad hands and a wide bezel. The so-called sword hands were also more robust and came equipped with dial markers and luminous properties for increased night diving visibility. This second generation Seamaster 300 was an immediate success not only among divers but also with the military.  Omega Seamaster 300, the James Bond Watch By the time the 1970s rolled around, the Omega Seamaster 300 had disappeared from popular culture. This all changed in the 1990s when James Bond vaulted the Omega Seamaster 300 back into the spotlight. During the filming of the 1995 film GoldenEye, the costume designer decided that Omega was the watchmaker most relevant to the British Royal Navy and, in turn, the James Bond character. Therefore, Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond was wearwing an Omega Seamaster 300 instead of the Rolex Submariner like in the novel. Brosnan also wore the Seamaster 300 Automatic Chronometer in three subsequent films Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002). Omega Seamaster 300’s Journey  Daniel Craig was next in line to continue the iconic James Bond character in the 2006 film Casino Royale. During the production of this massively successive film, Craig also chose to don the Seamaster 300. The two sides even decided to celebrate the partnership together leading up to the release of the 2015 film Spectre. At the same time the film hit the big screen, Omega put forth the special edition Seamaster 300 Spectre. It was an ode to the original Seamaster from the 1940s. The association with James Bond launched the Omega Seamaster 300 from a diver’s specialty to worldwide favorite. The watch will forever be synonymous with one of pop culture’s most legendary characters and film franchises of all-time. It’s really the perfect partnership, as both sides naturally carry the spirit of the other. It’s no surprise that this is a fan favorite. Do you think that it’ll stay a classic in the future?

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  11. The History of the Panerai Luminor

    The History of the Panerai Luminor

    The Panerai Luminor was designed specifically for underwater commandos leading up to the Second World War. The watch was only available to military forces until 1993. Once the Panerai Luminor watch became available to the public, it was clear that it was a worldwide success for its value. And also for its purposeful functionality and rugged style. So it’s not a surprise that this watch has such a long and beautiful history. Panerai for the Royal Italian Navy Panerai was born when Giovanni Panerai opened a watch shop in Florence in 1860. The boutique immediately became an authorized dealer of some of the most reputable Swiss watch manufacturers of the time, including Rolex, Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe. By the early 20th century, Panerai began to supply the Royal Italian Navy with the range of high-precision instruments.   Leading up to the Second World War, Panerai put forth its first in-house prototype.  You guessed it, it was the Radiomir. This was the culmination of decades of research and tinkering within Officine Panerai as they initially filed for a patent for the Radiomir concept in 1916. The radium-based powder gave luminosity to the dials of sighting instruments and devices, boasting high visibility in extreme conditions and excellent underwater adhesive elements. Radiomir This Radiomir model was initially made for the frogman commandos of the First Submarine Group Command. This division wanted a rugged watch that could survive the extreme underwater conditions that they faced on a regular basis. The watch met the specific requirements that the navy was looking for, particularly with its enhanced visibility and underwater readability thanks to its unique luminous Radiomir. Following a series of secretive tests that involved both Panerai and the Royal Italian Navy, the Radiomir became the official watch of these submerged troops. The Navy’s historical archives contend that just ten prototypes were produced in 1936. The Constant Evolution It took two full years for the functions of the 1936 prototype to actually make it into production. Despite this, the subsequent years were defined by a constant strive for improvement. They wanted to better it in order to continually meet the navy’s lofty requirements. Making sure that the watch was constantly up to date, Panerai an d the Royal Italian Navy worked together. The watches had to remain underwater in extreme conditions for long periods of time. It’s also important for it to have resistance to extreme tension. The use of overlapping plates on the dial and the steel reinforcement of the wire lugs made for further resistance and underwater visibility. Panerai also opted for a 47 mm cushion-shaped case.  When Rolex stopped supplying equipment, Officine Panerai opted to equip their watches with the Angelus 240 movement. This dramatic shift guaranteed tightness over time since it reduced the number of times required to wind the watch. Radiomir Becomes Panerai Luminor The final evolution in the development of the watch came when Officine Panerai developed a new self-luminous substance. The innovative Luminor substance superseded the former radium-based paste. That lead the company to file a patent for the compound in 1949, officially replacing the Radiomir. The Panerai Luminor substance was not only far more radiant than the Radiomir, but also much safer. The initial radium-based paste was actually highly radioactive. With the Second World War having now drawn to a close, Panerai was also able to continue the technical research. It  culminated the development of the Panerai Luminor. As well as further reinforced wire lugs, cushion-shaped case and a flat, wide bezel. The watch went down in the annals of history in 1993. It happened when Panerai Officine Put forth their very first public collection. Consisting of the classic Panerai Luminor, Panerai Luminor Marina and Mare Nostrum.  They immediately became highly sought-after items for collectors and enthusiasts due to its immense historical value. As well as its unbeatable underwater properties and rugged style. The release vaulted Panerai Luminor into widespread contention when it comes to the most technically skilled manufacturers in the world of fine watchmaking.

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