The ongoing Covid-19 virus is making drastic changes to our lifestyles. Due to the contagious nature of the viral strain, many individuals have begun practising “social-distancing”. In fact, if it is possible, many are cut down on outings and opt to stay home instead.
Now, notwithstanding Netflix and video games (and of course, work), there are still plenty of things to do within the realms of four walls. For watch collectors, now it is perhaps the time to take out your prized collection and admire it slowly. Perhaps, it might be the time to take your hobby a step further, with macro photography.
Macro photography, for the uninitiated, is the act of taking close-up photographs of relatively small subjects. This was previously only available on camera with good lenses, but technology evolution had made it possible for our mobile phones to take decent macro shots. This form of photography allows one to capture the tiny details on the watch – and allowing us to see things that typically escape our eyes. Additionally, it also gives us a newfound appreciation for our watch, as well as the amount of craftsmanship that goes behind it.
In this week’s article, we attempt to introduce the art of macro photography and fine watchmaking with six exceptional timepieces. We hope that with this article, collectors will further appreciate their watches and the attention to detail that they were showered with by the artisans.
Grand Seiko SBGA011/SBGA211 “Snowflake”
The Grand Seiko collection is probably one of the best kept secrets in the horological world, until a few years back where collectors have caught on the bandwagon.
Amongst the finely crafted watches from the atelier, the “Snowflake” (Reference SBGA011/SBGA211) is perhaps one of the most popular options. This is highly attributed to its textured dial, combined with the immaculately finished case and Spring Drive movement. The result is an aesthetically stunning timepiece at all angles. This makes it a prime candidate for macro shots.
Priced at ¥570,000 (approx S$7,444) in Japan, the Snowflake offers collectors tremendous value. While Grand Seiko might not be glamourous as some of the other brands that we are featuring in this article, but the quality of the craftsmanship is up there with some of the very best. It is indeed difficult to go wrong with this exceptional piece.
H. Moser & Cie. Concept Watch Fumé
When it comes to watches from H. Moser & Cie., the company tends to travel off the beaten path. In fact, the Swiss-based watchmaker is known to produce watches with a minimalist concept – most notably for its award-winning perpetual calendar.
Besides its clean design, the other thing that H. Moser & Cie. is famous for is its fumé dial. With that in mind, the watch manufacturer actually went a step further, by creating the most minimalist watch ever – so much so that it is completely devoid of any markings or branding on the watch itself. Named the Endeavour Concept Watch, the timepiece is stripped of any of its frivolity and does what it is supposed to do – and that is to tell time.
The 40.8mm timepiece is not only brilliant in its concept, but the execution is sublime too. With the extremely clean dial, the focus is now placed on the stunning fumé dial, which in itself is a sight to behold. On the other side, no expense is spared in the finishing of the Calibre HMC 343 movement as well. The 7-day power reserve timepiece is nicely decorated, and the manual-winding timepiece also features the trademark interchangeable escapement module. The Endeavour Concept Watch is available in 4 different options, with each limited to a production of 10 pieces. It is priced at CHF22,000 (approximately S$30,420), and we think that this is a fair price for an independent manufacturer with a low production count.
A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin in Copper Blue
It is not an open secret that we have a soft spot for A. Lange & Söhne’s watches, but the Saxonia Thin in Copper Blue certainly reinforces our love for this German watch manufacturer.
While the Saxonia Thin 37mm may be the brand’s entry-level piece, but the Glashutte-based manufacturer decided to go a step further with a stunning dial iteration. This particular version features a solid silver dial that is layered with goldstone, which is a man-made glass consisting of tiny crystals of copper dispersed within to create a glittering appearance. The sparkling stardust-like effect works brilliantly with the blue background, and it gives the watch a rather dreamy appearance. We think that the stunning dial – under different lighting conditions – will provide multiple effects, and give the watch a multitude of characteristics.
Retailing at S$31,500, the 37mm Saxonia Thin in Copper Blue is priced at a large premium as compared to the normal Saxonia Thin. However, the dial is definitely unique, and this surely makes the highly-acclaimed dress watch a whole load more desirable than ever.
Philippe Dufour Simplicity
Argubaly one of the most talented watchmaker of our time, it is almost a sin not to include Philippe Dufour’s timepiece in this article.
The Simplicity is the perfect watch for this. Contrary to its namesake, the watch is nowhere close to being simple. The pièce de résistance of this piece lies in the movement, and more specifically the superlative finishing. There are a multitude of hand-finishing techniques were applied, and that includes black polishing, interior angling, and chamfering. The double assembly method is also applied to ensure that the final finish isn’t marred by the assembly and adjustment process. This is dedication at its finest.
The Simplicity is discontinued, and its last known retail price is CHF89,000 (approximately S$126,109). We have, however, seen some of the pieces being priced upwards of US$200,000 (approximately S$278,349), and even then, it is rarely seen or available in the secondary markets. If there is just one watch that you’d keep for the rest of your life, we will surely bet our money on the Simplicity. It doesn’t get any better than this.
MB&F LM Thunderdome
MB&F is known for collaborating with some of the top watchmakers to produce some of the most stunning timepieces that we’ve seen in recent times. But this particular piece is a tad more special.
Produced in collaboration with Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilanen, the LM Thunderdome is an epic watch that features a triple axis tourbillon, a sublime light-blue guilloché dial, and a ridiculously stunning movement. It is certainly noteworthy to point out that the tourbillon features a unique combination of Potter escapement, hemispherical balance and helical hairspring – with the 3 axes completing its record-breaking revolutions in 8,12, and 20 seconds respectively. Talk about theatrics at its finest.
MB&F have never failed to surprise us with its novelties, and the 44mm LM Thunderdome is no exception either. There is something special at every angle of the Thunderdome, which makes it so photogenic and macro-worthy. In fact, this is perhaps one of the finest creations by the company ever, and it has definitely set the benchmark even higher for its future references. This spectacular timepiece – cased in platinum – is priced at CHF 270,000 (approximately S$396,870). Expensive? Yes. But then again, how can you ever price perfection?
Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1
We round up the article with Greubel Forsey and its latest and possibly one of the most ambitious creations: Hand Made 1.
The Hand Made 1 is the result of 6,000 hours worth of man hours, which culminates in the prototype model as seen above. The goal of the watch is to create a timepiece that is 95% made by hand, and it is moneumental as many skills or machineries have been made obsolete with modern watchmaking processes. In addition, Greubel Forsey hopes to take these watchmaking skills to a level that has never been attained before – with the help of a team consisting of the most skilled craftsmen in each field.
The result of all these can be seen in the tiny details. It is like an easter egg hunt, with a surprise at every corner. In the traditional Greubel Forsey fashion, plenty of finishing techniques are used on the watch – special mentions to the black polishing, frosted finish on the plates, and patchwork pattern on the reserve side of the timepiece. It is noteworthy to mention that every haute horlogerie finishing method is executed at the absolute top level. For the lack of a better work, the watch is simply unreal.
Perfection, however, does come at a price. The Hand Made 1 can be yours at CHF 1 million (approximately S$1.47 million), and Greubel Forsey only plans to make 2 to 3 watches per year. This will be the perfect watch for macro shots – and perhaps the only way to do justice to the efforts invested.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this week’s article. It was certainly a joy for us to introduce so many stunning pieces, where only the macro shots can do it justice (second only to seeing the timepiece in person, arguably).
Definitely, as one goes up higher in price point, one can expect better finishing and finer detailing on the watch. But that does not mean that watches on the lower end of the price scale are not good. In fact, as we have always advocated, almost every watch has its own merits.
With the advancement in technology, we highlight recommend you to rry this out. Perhaps, with some macro photography, you might have some newfound love for some of these timepieces as well. Let us know how you fare, and do share with us some of your macro shots on our instagram page (@deployant) as well!