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4. Basel 2011

  • Most improved might go to Urban Jurgensen, the late Peter Baumberger's baby for the past decades, which has now a new owner, Dr. Helmut Crott and now the watchmaking power house of Kari Voutilainen & Jean Francois Mojon. Previously the great Derek Pratt, masterminded the development of the new Caliber 8, with it's detent escapement, it is now being developed for series production in their new watches and should be available soon for collectors.

    Here are some images of the new pieces:



    I love this chocolate guilloche dial in the red gold case!


    Here we have a steel version:



    The UJS Cal 8:

     

    I have followed with much interest the exploits of a watchmaker from Germany, Karsten Fraessdorf, whom I first came across with Marc Brogsitter back a mere 2 years ago in Basel. Mr. Brogsitter is an avid collector and attorney in Switzerland, who contracted Mr. Fraessdorf to design and build his movements. The watches I saw were prototypes in superb vintage "Patek/Vacheron" looking rectangular cases with 1930's dial designs. From there he was involved in FDMN, a brand building watches in Brionne, France, who also was involved in a much anticipated Chronoswiss collaboration, designated as the Sauterelle.

    Moving on the the present, Mr. Fraessdorf is now the technical man behind the concept & design of the chronometer calibers of the Heritage Watch Manufactory, a privately held company based in Neuchâtel. Here he continues on his quest for technically superior, classically designed manual wind calibers, that have superb chronometric performance for the connoisseur. His first three calibers are found in watches designed by a name familiar in watch circles, Eric Giroud. The Magnus and the Tensus are simple, yet classic wristwatches, that convey a feeling of tremendous quality together with a precision engineered in house caliber. Those that admire and value precision and very high chronometric performance will find these compelling. The third watch is a version of the Magnus, the Centenus, with an additional Chinese time measuring capacity. The day is subdivided into 100 units, this watch shows this.

    Here is the Tensus, Cal 880:



    And a close up:


    And the Magnus:



    This is the Cal 888, which is found in the Centenus.



    In finishing, I was most interested to meet Karsten, and find out about these superb watches with his precision engineered calibers. He took his time to explain to me many of the technical aspects, patented, of his designs, from the "Vivax" balance wheel to the Constant Force escape and even the power reserve, that uses a differential to measure the power reserve without using up any power from the mainspring.

    For those of you who are technically minded and find the movement designs interesting and fascinating will certainly enjoy his improvements to basic aspects of a mechanical caliber in order to improve accuracy.

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  • Back at it for day 2. Having seen yesterday, some stunning small Independent creations, I thought I was mostly done, and it would be some of the bigger Independents pieces that wow me. Well they did, Messrs Claret and the guys behind MDT, however I was not ready for the amazing work done by one of the truly great guys in the watchworld, Martin Braun.

    Martin's story is a somewhat common one in watchmaking circles, long but suffice to say, his latest creation in fantastic.


    this caliber is amazing, note te massive balance wheel:


    a new truly handmade curved watch, by Eva Leube


    OK, now I can finish Day 2. Here is the extraordinary mystery automatic Tourbillon movement from Thomas Prescher...


    And the latest iteration of the Maitres Du Temps chapter 2, a WG piece with a lovely blue dial.


    On the wrist...


    I have to say the weather has been great so far.


    The fascinating Ressence, not haute horology by any standards, but a wonderful way of telling time with interconnected discs. The designer is a great guy and has a compelling concept.


    Now to Haute Horology, the much anticipated inhouse caliber from Kari Voutilainen, the Vingt-8.



    And Christophe Claret's latest tongue in cheek mechanical "Black Jack", it shuffles & deals cards to you and a dealer, with amazing results, and the mechanism, while having nothing to do with traditional watchmaking, is a stroke of genius. This version has a darkened sapphire crystal dial, so that one can see the card wheels underneath.


    And the back side, showing the roulette wheel rotor.


    More to come later.....

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