Archive for March, 2012

SIHH 2012

The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie took place between January 16th and 20th in Geneva. The very exclusive show organised by Richemont gave rise to many parallel events, especially the Geneva Time Exhibition, as well as the presentations held in hotels by some independent watchmakers.

For one week (or even longer), Geneva was the watchmaking capital of the world; everybody lived, breathed and ate at the rhythm of horology. The merest chocolate bar was labeled with watch logos, and it is with our heads full of dreams that we saw the SIHH close its doors. We are going to review in detail some of the finest pieces presented during the event.

To read the feature in full, please click here.
And, for a more in-depth look into all the novelties presented at the SIHH, please log on to Watchonista.com

Harry Winston – HdT3

The most explosive ‘highlight’ was not in a hotel, at the GTE or at the SIHH. It was presented directly at the Harry Winston manufactory. From a mechanical standpoint, the watch features 3 tourbillons (for 2 escapements). The design proposes something never seen before in the domain of rotary tourbillon with Grande complication. The layout and the volumes were intended to highlight the tourbillons’ spinning. While the technology of tourbillons exploded throughout the last 10 years, always pushing further the concepts of tri-dimensional architectures, the exterior designs never evolved enough to match these technological feats.

The creators from Harry Winston drew their inspiration from the lively New-Yorker culture, in order to exalt the complication by providing it with a Pop Art case. The TV screen shaped watchcase,
dear to some independents, makes for a good distribution of its almost 250 grams along the wrist (the watch is 65mm by 45.9mm), and the watch remains wearable. In all likelihood, if you can pay €500k for this watch, you will be able to afford a wardrobe
adapted to this machine.

As a matter of fact, when one sees the Triple Tourbillon, the hour display (at 12 and 1 o’clock) becomes totally peripheral. It is the ultimate avatar of luxury mechanical watchmaking!
Since the advent of quartz, the utilisation of mechanical solutions falls under aesthetics and/or dandyism. Here, more than ever, the precision time is no more than a pretext to erect a mechanical cathedral. With the HdT3, Harry Winston creates the sensation, with a watch that is far more than a ‘talking piece’. Nevertheless, regarding HW, it is first and foremost the moment when the exceptional Opus series fuses with the other collections. To be continued…

www.harrywinston.com


Beaume & Mercier – Capeland 100068

These last two years, Beaume & Mercier took a neo-vintage direction. The Capeland is the flagship of this renewal; and 2012 saw the presentation of the Capeland 10068 fitted with a chronograph movement modified by Lajoux-Perret. The watch’s design was influenced by the productions of Beaume & Mercier during the 40’s. It is of course a tribute to the artillery officers’ chronographs, whose telemetric scale on a black background is based on the speed of sound.

This scale, combined with the fly back functionality of the Capeland, allows for short periods of time and long distances
to be measured with maximum precision. The black dial with white secondary counters features maximum legibility, whereas the red scale and the big date with its offbeat font keep with the vintage codes while offering a touch of refreshing fancy. The size, 44mm (waterproof up to 50m) and the steel case can be surprising on a vintage inspired watch. However, very large wristwatches intended for professionals (railroad staff, manufacturing) already existed during the period 30s-40s and 50s, for example the legendary Rolex 4113.

Last but not least, the gold ‘Breguet shaped‘ hands splendidly contrast with the white steel of the case. Thus, this Beaume & Mercier Capeland 10068 manages to combine a large part of the most desirable military-vintage aesthetical codes, telemetric scale, black dial, central red scale, 44mm steel case & gold hands. For €6000, it is an unquestionable achievement by B&M.

www.baume-et-mercier.com

Cartier – Tank Anglaise Grand Modele.

The rejuvenation initiated by Cartier a few years ago, especially with the superb Santos 100, continues with the ‘Cartier Tank Anglaise Grand modele’. If both of these watches seem to come from a sports club, the result is quite different: while the Santos 100 is bulky, with a hard work-out and steroids, the ‘Tank Anglaise Grand modele’ seems instead to have completed an intensive race course.

All the measurements increase, but keep to the ideal proportions of the golden ratio. Thus, the watch is less than 10mm thick, 36mm wide and 47mm long (including the lugs!). Its dimensions certainly increased, but they remain under 44mm, the norm for sports watches. The watch is already becoming a classic of the French horological elegance (despite its name).

This balance is achieved through the rounded bevelings of the lug-middles. The convex look of the watch and its built-in bezel contribute to the feeling of harmony and softness it conveys. On the wrist, it is heavier than it seems, because the watch and its wristband are for the moment only available in gold. Nonetheless, the watch remains comfortable as its mass is well balanced. Regarding the movement, it is one of the first models to feature the new homemade 1904MC caliber. It is an automatic movement; set at 28800v/h with a 48h power reserve, through a double barrel, this device optimises the torque and therefore the chronometric efficiency. With this ‘Tank Anglaise Grand modele’, Cartier once again demonstrates its ability to be fashionable without being a fad.

www.cartier.com

The SIHH was reviewed for the March edition of the magazine. You can read the full feature here, which also includes the Tag Heuer Mikrogirder, MB&F LM1 and the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Calendrier Annuel.

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Fit Retreats: Training the military way

Rediscover a new you at a Fit Retreats luxury weekend in the Cotswolds. Just an hour from London and set amongst 2.5 acres of original farmland and a former quarry, with stunning views over the Windrush Valley, it’s the perfect location for week or weekend’s training regime.

Accommodation is set within a modern and elegant eco barn conversion which has all the mod cons one would expect from a luxurious country retreat. Exercise classes are taken by the best military physical training instructors. Classes are kept varied and fun, and the instruction is second to none. Fitness levels fast become markedly improved, which will leave you feeling lighter and brighter, energised and recharged. Guerlain spa treats are also available on site, although at an extra cost.

The menu follows a delicious low GI diet plan, high in nutrients and protein. Thoughtfully compiled using locally sourced ingredients, it is designed to aid your body in recovery and help you get the most out of your stay. Fit Retreats has a real ‘family’ feel, and Kate (founder/manager) cannot do enough to make her guests feel welcome and at home. You leave the fold bursting with confidence and armed with the tools to continue your diet and exercise plan at home, and the feeling you can conquer the world. Highly recommended!

A weeks stay with Fit Retreats costs £1195, weekends from £495.
www.fit-bootcamp.com

Fit Retreats was reviewed for the March edition of the magazine, which you view here.

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Chi Yu – Japanese wellness in the heart of London

Therapists are a mixed bag; they all look great in brochures but very few actually leave you feeling like your money has been well spent. On this occasion however, I am pleased to say that a session with Mami Tsang, the founder of Chi Yu, was more than worth every penny and extremely memorable!

After an initial 15 minute consultation; more thorough than any I’ve had to date, I opted for a signature massage using aromatherapy oils. Using a combination of Shiatsu, Swedish and Thai massage techniques, with a bit of reflexology, I was treated to one of the best and most effective treatments to date.

It’s easy to mix brute force with technique, and as much as sometimes you just need a little ‘abuse’ to disperse all that pent up tension, nothing compares the former with the latter. And it is this skill set that many therapists lack, especially when dealing with stressed out individuals like me who lead hectic lives along with all the negative effects it has on our bodies. Suffice to say, I walked out feeling completely de-stressed and completely rejuvenated following my session. Mami has set the bar pretty high, and will be hard to beat. I know I will definitely pay her another visit soon, and most definitely recommend you do so too. You will not be disappointed!

Chi Yu signature treatments start from £67 for an hour.
www.chi-yu.co.uk

Chi Yu was reviewed for the March edition of the magazine, which you can view here.

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Montblanc – The Beauty of a Second

To celebrate the 190th anniversary of the Chronograph, Montblanc paid homage to its inventor Nicolas Rieussec by producing the ‘Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph Open Hometime’ last year, which made its debut at this year’s SIHH. This is the newest addition to the Rieussec collection, which Montblanc has been producing since 2008.

When Rieussec invented the Chronograph, it revolutionised the world of fine watch making by measuring time to an accuracy of a fifth of a second, and Montblanc’s recent project; ‘The Beauty of a Second’, continues to explore this theme by applying it to the world of film making.

So what exactly can you do with a second? As it turns out, quite a lot actually. And, under the watchful eye of master film-maker, Wim Wenders, this question has sparked a great debate and attracted competition entries from all over the world via Montblanc’s dedicated website: www.montblanconesecond.com

The competition has now closed, and the winners were announced at the award ceremony at the historic Astor Lounge in Berlin on March 20. In attendance were stars of stage and screen, media, artists and creatives, including Our Editor-in-Chief, Ataur Rahman, who attended the event with actress Selina Lo.

“One of the great things in cinema is how it makes us aware of time. Each film consists of many brief moments of life that all together create a unique space of time. What if you could contribute to the movie of life. The short film contest ‘The Beauty of a Second’ pays homage to Montblanc’s Nicolas Rieussec’s invention of the Chronograph.” Wim Wenders

Red carpet images from the award ceremony at the Astor Lounge


All images © Getty/Montblanc

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LFW AW12 – Burberry


All images courtesy of Burberry.

As featured in the March edition of Urban Life Magazine.

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LFW AW12 – Aquascutum


All images courtesy of Aquascutum.

As featured in the March edition of Urban Life Magazine.

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LFW AW12 – Alexander McQueen


All images courtesy of Alexander McQueen.

As featured in the March edition of Urban Life Magazine.

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LFW AW12 – Kinder Aggugini


All images courtesy of Kinder Aggugini.

As featured in the March edition of Urban Life Magazine.

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LFW AW12 – Temperley London


All images courtesy of Temperley.

As featured in the March edition of Urban Life Magazine.

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Range Rover Evoque

The Range Rover Evoque was shown as the concept LRX back in 2008 at various international motor shows. It had its global launch at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2011, followed by various promotional launches around the world attracting a lot of attention.

So after flying up to Scotland for its UK launch towards the end of last year, I experienced my first drive in the new Evoque. Various combinations of 3 and 5 door models in numerous configurations and colours were lined up ready to be put through their paces. The first thing you notice about the car is its wedge shaped design – almost as if it had been squashed from behind! Inside is a different story however with plenty of room and the finish is what you would expect from a luxury SUV of the Range Rover clan.

We took off into the borders in a top of the range dynamic 5-door .The car has a 2.2 diesel with automatic transmission, with auto stop start. Although for those who want something sportier this can be switched to Sport mode for a little more oomph, including gear change with the paddles on the steering column. A panoramic glass roof with power blind allows for a good all round view. The central console has an 8 inch high resolution display which has everything from sat-nav to full TV; should you get bored. We are used to cameras for rear view and parking, but the Evoque takes park assist to new levels with a 5-camera surround system with tow assist, allowing for an all round view, including those mounted under the large wing mirrors that feature blind spot indicators for vehicles coming alongside, as well as two others in the front spoiler…

The Range Rover Evoque test drive was featured in the March edition of Urban Life magazine. You can read the full article here.

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Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S

To get behind the wheel of a super sports car like the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S is always a pleasure. The 4-door saloon is very roomy and not the standard 2+2 style where rear passengers usually have to be vertically challenged in order to enjoy the ride without discomfort.

Normally Maseratis are understated, but still head turning. And, this model, with its new exhaust system, sporting a dashboard switch to open a bypass flap in the rear exhaust muffler, certainly commands attention with a deeper, throatier growl. This is any petrol head’s dream engine sound – a V8 rumble producing a spine-tingling note – so nobody misses you driving past.

The Ferrari built all-aluminium V-8 gives an impressive acceleration quoted at 62 mph in 5.1 seconds, for which Maserati claims an ungoverned top speed of 177mph, which sadly I couldn’t
attempt on a short road test. The 4.7-litre engine delivers 433bhp with its ZF automatic gearbox, putting the car up there with the top luxury sports saloons. It is a fantastic auto – quick to change in manual mode with steering wheel paddles – and really smooth and seamless in automatic…

The Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S test drive was featured in the March edition of Urban Life magazine. You can read the full article here.

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Only Watch – Charity Auction 2011

Luc Pettavino has been organising charity auctions for more than 10 years in order to finance research against Duchenne disease. Charity auctions dedicated to watchmaking started in 2004, the inauguration having taken place at Lausanne with the attendance of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and of Osvaldo Patrizzi, former CEO of Antiquorum.

Duchenne Myopathy affects around 15.000 boys a year. As the number of cases is too small to get a Return on Investment, laboratories devote very little resources to this soreness. Hence, myopaths have to rely on solidarity in order to finance medical research in this field. Solidarity for Only Watch is cross-generational, as Luc Pettavino’s son, Paul, suffers from this disease. Luc Pettavino asked himself what best he could do to fight this disease. The answer is Only Watch.

The auction progressively gained momentum, to reach a record breaking result for this 2011 event. When most of the good causes content themselves with titillating the generous donor’s heartstrings, Only Watch boldly chose to get two kinds of donors involved: the final bidder, namely the watch collector, but first and foremost the Great watchmaking brands. The only constraint imposed by Only Watch to the brands is to produce unique pieces. It is up to the brands to play the game limply or whole heartedly!

The event is a beautiful showcase for the great names of watchmaking, as it takes place during the off-season, at the beginning of the calendar year. For some brands, it even can be something more, Only Watch being an ‘in vivo’ laboratory of horology. Finally, it is the ultimate dream for watch lovers, aimed to impress and be blown-away. It’s also a way to demonstrate to ‘Watchophobes’ that horology also includes passion, solidarity and glamour. 40 watches were presented during this edition of Only Watch, and as it is impossible to describe them all, I invite you to take a tour of the Only Watch section on our website for more detailed information on the event and the brands associated with it. Rather than talking about the highest bids, of which there are many, I’d like to talk about the most beautiful pieces, about the brands that devoted the most energy, talents and resources to Only Watch…

Only Watch was featured in the March edition of Urban Life magazine. You can read the full feature here.

To read more on the final bids for all of the watches presented at Only Watch 2011, please visit Watchonista’s blog entry here.

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Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs Exhibition at the Arts Decoratifs in Paris

Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs Exhibition at the Arts Decoratifs

Date: 9 March – 16 September 2012
Address: Les Arts Decoratifs, 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

Press release:

The exhibition is opening on Wednesday 7th March 2012 (to the public from the 9th) and will show how with over a century between them, both Louis Vuitton, founder of the house of Louis Vuitton in 1854, and Marc Jacobs, its artistic director since 1997 were able to fully discern their specific era and take advantage of all the possibilities offered

The exhibition space, curated by Pamela Golbin and designed by Gainsbury and Bennett, is spread over two floors, each dedicated to the creators.

The first floor, devoted to Louis Vuitton, explains how, under the Second Empire, he was able to develop his packing company in a rapidly growing district. The industrial revolution brought about new technical possibilities, while giving rise to affluent customers: an increasingly high number of aristocrats, bourgeois and rich tourists were beginning to travel more frequently, yet the expanding number of garments required made transportation more difficult.

The second floor explains how, since 1997, in a world of fashion that has expanded on an international level, Marc Jacobs has adopted the Louis Vuitton cultural codes and added his own personal touch. And so, quite naturally Marc Jacobs, who perfectly embodies today’s contemporary creator, called upon artists like Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince – associations between art and fashion that have become textbook examples for the industry.

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LFW Closing Party

To celebrate the closing of London fashion Week, we organised a last minute party for a selected group of friends in fashion, media, broadcast, art, music and other related industries at Luxx members club in Mayfair.

We have some great interviews with some of the guests, which we will be uploading on to our You Tube channel shortly. In the meantime, here are a selection of pictures taken at the event.


All images © Junior Monney for urban life Magazine

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