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Wixon Jewelers Watch Fair In Minneapolis On October 24-25, 2014 Shows & Events

Parmigiani Fleurier Ovale Tourbillon

Aventurine is a beautiful semi-precious stone that is actually a form of quartz. It comes in a range of colors with most aventurine rocks being green. Having said that, in watches, I've only ever seen the deep blue form of the mineral.  What makes aventurine special for me is that the deep blue forms of the mineral, when used as a background, offer the look of space. Space, as in the night sky. There are small shiny mineral inclusions in aventurine that sparkle like stars against the deep sky blue. When watches wish to have a background that looks like space, aventurine is often used.

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At first, I was a little bummed that there was not any luminant to be found on the belts. Thinking about it a bit more, I realized that it would make for a poor user experience. If there was lume, only the numbers on top would be charged up, and as the belts rotate, you would end up left in darkness. So, it is really a practical concern more than anything.

What makes the Citizen Promaster Aqualand particularly usable to me for diving are two unique features that are most commonly found in either dive computers or mechanical watches ten times the price of this one: a depth gauge with indication of current depth and max depth.

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Frank Muller Gravity skeletion

For those who are in the area, though, you also have the option of stopping in their space in the Loop. It is a great dual-purpose area, with a smaller reception spot for talking through the watch, and then a few different workbench type of areas where you can see things in progress (there is another one in the back, but that is where the "skunkworks" is, and most folks will not see that section). If that is not local enough for you, just consider the name of the brand - it is derived from the cross-streets where Perez lives.

Welcome back to an original aBlogtoWatch feature, "My First Grail Watch." In this series, we ask prominent people in the watch industry about the first timepiece that they lusted after. Today, we're speaking with Robert Michelsen, a fourth-generation watchmaker who, along with instructing students, oversees production for Icelandic brand Michelsen. Read on to learn what grail has eluded him, even to this day.

According to Christophe Claret, it was a distinct challenge to combine both the mirascope device as well as hands to indicate the hours and minutes. As you can see, there are unique traveling indicators around the dial which are labeled "M" for minutes and "H" for hours. The style they are done in makes them appear to be stone blocks, where the letters have been chiseled in. This same style is used all over the watch where "V" is used instead of "U" just like in the Bvlgari brand name.

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A few tech industry journalists suspected that Watchville was the beginning of a new commercial venture for Rose, or that he has immediate plans on how to monetize Watchville. Rose denies these claims, saying that he isn't planning on including any type of advertising in Watchville, and even plans to offer traffic metrics to publishers like aBlogtoWatch that he includes in his feed. Rose doesn't outright prohibit the future opportunity to develop Watchville into something with a commercial element, but there are no current plans. Something like that would require a rich community of users - and Watchville has just begun.

In addition to a ribbon, the winner with "the most elegant car" gets a Rolex watch with a special engraving on the back. This is actually a big deal and relates to something that other brands have tried to replicate, but really haven't succeeding in doing. When someone wins a Rolex watch, they feel extremely special. It doesn't matter if they can afford it or not. How is it that Rolex has succeeded in making it such a big deal to "win" a Rolex watch when so many of the people competing - no matter the sport or event - can in all likelihood just purchase the watch?

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Making a prototype watch isn't easy, but harder is getting to the point of having production partners and suppliers which will take your timepiece from concept to reality. Fiona was perhaps lucky to be a part of an established design department at a well-respected school - a gateway to necessary contacts. Even then, it was through kindness and luck that she was able to get the right contacts necessary to make the Fiona Krüger Skull watches a reality. The truth is that, unless you have "an in" at many Swiss watch making suppliers, etc... their doors will be mostly closed to you. Fiona Krüger gave special thanks to Peter Speake-Marin.

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Starting several years ago, the media started reporting on the fact that various intelligence agencies around the world were using wearing a Casio F-91W as one of several factors to help determine if an individual should be suspected as a possible terrorist agent. This was partially due to the fact that infamous terrorist Osama Bin Laden was known to wear one for a while, and intelligence existed to suggest that terrorist training camps were either supplying Casio F-91W watches to its recruits or suggesting that they buy them. In a less sinister sense, the Casio F-91W has remained popular because of its huge reliability, durability, and functionality for an extremely good price, as evidenced by this tongue in cheek fan article here on 10 reasons why you should love the Casio F-91W. Of course Casio isn't too happy about some of the more negative associations with its brand and many of the militant groups that buys its watches. Of course Casio does not sell to these groups directly at all.

Breguet Marine

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I'll get to the technology part in a moment, but I do want to say that Christophe & Co. designed these wearables to incorporate small rotors that charge their batteries like automatic or auto-quartz watches generate power via the motion of one's wrist. Christophe & Co. claims that the power reserve can be up to one year, and with frequent wear, users won't likely ever need to charge their Armills devices.

I finally stumbled upon what I was looking for. In the 1980’s, I collected Gruen Drivers' watches, and these watches were designed to fit the wrist on the side of the arm, so that when racecar drivers wanted to clock themselves from their watch, they didn’t have to take their hands off the steering wheel. These watch cases were very curved, and were even named “Curvex.” But not all the case curvatures would fit all wrists, so Gruen added another dimension by “articulating” (hinging) the lugs. This allowed the watch to fit most all wrists, since the lugs could easily rotate further and further back towards the case.

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To summarize, there are both good and not-so-convincing reasons why a company would want to make movements in-house. However, when they do claim to make movements in-house they often don't back it up with facts, or are clearly not using fully in-house movements. That is something that we at aBlogtoWatch would like to change, and we are advocating for a new era of "truth in watch movement advertising."

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Exterior view of one of Rolex's manufacturing facilities near Geneva. Their movements are produced near Bienne, Switzerland.

The Rarity Of A Truly In-House Made Watch Movement

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Since we are on the topic of antiques, we were also introduced to a special watch safe that is made using an antique medieval safe also dating to the 1800s. Leaving the realm of the antiquities, MB&F recently released a brand new Horological Machine watch - the HM6 Space Pirate - and we were there to check out Max Büsser’s latest masterpiece. Another piece of high-end horology that we spent time with recently is Ulysses Nardin’s Freak Cruiser. Even though the Freak was introduced some thirteen years ago, its design remains fresh and exciting today.

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The brilliant part about having a power reserve indicator on the dial is that if you choose to have the Amortiser engaged for a long time, you can a least know the power left on the movement so that you can manually wind it if necessary. So for that reason, the Amortiser works really well with a power reserve indicator, because with it engaged, an automatic watch is turned temporarily into a manually wound watch. It is thus impressive that even with this moving caseback part, the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Hunley watch has 200 meters of water resistance. It also has shock resistance of up to 7,500 Gs and 4,800 A/m of anti-magnetic resistance.

As was the case with all the other Romain Jerome Space Invaders pieces, the theme of this series will either work well for those in the niche market it is intended for (fans of the arcade game who also happen to be watch nerds and well-heeled enough to be able to afford such an unusual blend of luxury watches and arcade games), while it will certainly leave others cold and uninterested. The Space Invaders theme is one that hardly ever could have been picked up by any of the major luxury brands – but that does not mean it is not a viable idea; it just took a niche brand to find this niche market and try and make the most of it. With many different models in the Romain Jerome Space Invaders series being sold out already, one cannot argue that this venture for Romain Jerome has been an unsuccessful one.

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Breitling Superocean

People who see Interstellar might not believe that Hamilton had no hand in crafting the incredible screen time that the watches enjoyed in the movie. In addition to a Hamilton watch worn by McConaughey's character "Cooper," another Hamilton watch was used as a key plot device by his daughter in the movie Murph Cooper played mostly by young Mackenzie Foy and later by Jessica Chastain. This latter watch is very much the more important piece when it comes to the movie's story, and takes on the incredible role of being used to communicate Morse code through time and space. It really shows the symbolic power of a watch, and its placement in the story is very interesting (and very Nolan-esque). It is also a wet dream for watch companies given how it is able to make traditional timepieces very relevant for modern viewers.

The Hamilton Watches From The Movie Interstellar Hands-On
Custom Hamilton "Murph Watch" used in Interstellar movie.

Now, normally on a bracelet, this is not an issue - you can fiddle with the micro-adjustment pegs on the clasp, right? Not so with the Marvelight. Here, they have a very tricky flush-end clasp that looks great - just no micro-adjustment for you and me. Depending on how you like your watch to fit, this is definitely something you would want to consider.

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