Take me to the Parmigiani blog!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Watchscapes takes a break today...back Fri.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Lion, The Horse, The Fish and The Eagle: tales of beauty and art from Cartier

Craftwork in art watches. Cartier has been at this game for a long time, and with great success. Today's post shows several beautiful and artistic techniques by the marque, to show off the virtuosity of their craftsmen.

The lion, with marquetry.

The horse in enamel painting work

The fish in cloisoine

And the eagle in enamel technique

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 and soy sauce

Japanese watches...mixed feelings...they make watches in the millions...many equipped with soul-less quartz movements, but they do have some gems.

One such soul-less quartz watches is this Casio that my son is wearing now for his military service.

Works perfectly. A grand complication, with alarms, full perpetual calendar, time, sometimes in several timezones, and many other functions. But lacking in emotion that a quality luxury watch provides.

The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph is at almost the other end of the polarity scale. Sensous, beautiful. Well made, well thought out by the folks in Shiojiri.

Photographed above at a Japanese of the small containers is for soy sauce specially brewed for sushi, and the other for sashimi. Interesting in the degree of care taken to the smallest detail, like Seiko takes in the watch.

Equipped with the magnificent Spring Drive movement, the seconds hand moves with a smooth swoop, mesmerising. Quiet, beautiful. And often under appreciated.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Delaneau Amazone 1608 series of piece unique watches

I typically associate DeLaneau as a jewellery watch company. Mea Culpa, they are not only about jewellery, but also about high horology, as evidenced by their Amazone 1608 collection of unique artwork pieces, with an interesting movement.

I show here a trio of interesting ladies timepieces...

The movement is based on the Federic Piguet 11.50, and I understand with custom work done by Renaud et Papi, and features 4 separate digital discs, which jump to show the time. This the closest to this intuitive style of digital display, which one reads horizontally from left to right is in the exemplary Lange Zeitwerk.

While the Zeitwerk movement is rather more sophisticated, featuring a remontoir, the DeLaneau movement is still very nicely done.

Each piece not only features the technically interesting jumping hour/minute mechanism and display, but also showcases unique 3 dimensional art in enamel, gemsetting, cloisoine.

As a result, each piece is unique. And breathtakingly beautiful.

On my lieu of a beautiful lady's wrist...looks good too...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Single shot day: A modern IWC Ingenieur

After a week of classic IWCs, I show today a more modern IWC...the Ingenieur, jumbo size

Taken at a recent collector's dinner, in situ under restaurant lighting.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Roger Smith Series 2

Roger Smith is the only disciple of the famous late George Daniels. Roger is a fine watchmaker, and works out of Daniel's workshops in the Isle of Man.

Designed as a watch by an English artisan craftsman, the approach is to make everything in the house...the dial, hands, case, and components of the movement are all made in the workshops of Smith.

The watch is quite handsome, with a beautiful hand guilloched dial, hand made hands.

The finish is very English, characterised by guilded and frosted plates, appled to gold cocks

The escapement features the Daniels' coaxial escapement, with one escape wheel

I find the finish to be quite interesting, though lack of embelishment we have come to expect from Swiss and German watches. But I was quietly reminded by Roger Smith in an earlier conversation with him, that the English were the first to build high accuracy watches, and it was the Swiss and Germans who introduced the finishing to attract customers away from the functional English style.

Quite a beautiful watch, and nicely done.

Photographed in situ at L'Atelier by The Hour Glass, handheld, shop lighting.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Anatomy of a photoshoot

I have been asked often how I execute the shoots which end up being shown as extreme macros in these pages, and in large prints. Today, I show a brief look at how I do this.

Many photographers focus on the camera and lens, trying to seek out the most expensive or highly reviewed gear...but gear also includes the support system and the lighting. In my books, the lighting is probably the most important aspect. Then the camera support, and then comes the camera and lens. Get the first two correct, and today's modern camera system are so good that most, which can be set to Manual mode, and able to focus close enough will suffice.

I use a humble Panasonic Lumix GH2 with the Panasonic-Leica 45mm Macro lens. Modest by professional standards, and very modest when compared to the camera I use for large prints - the Hasselblad H3D-39 with the HC120 Macro with extension tubes.

Lighting is by Profoto. I uusually use the Profoto Compact 600 on an umbrella. In a studio environment, I would select either just the Profoto Reflector or a soft box, but for on-site and travel, the umbrella offers almost as even a lighting, and much more portable and easier to setup. The Compact 600 is an excellent tool, very even lighting, reasonably fast flash durations. Broncolor might be a better alternative, but for the price performance ratio, Profoto's Compact is tops in my book. A Pocket Wizard PlusII triggers the flash.

I do not use a light box, as I find this end up in bland, uninteresting photographs. I prefer to use white and black flags to tune the lighting. This sometimes require a bit of trial and error, but experience provide the guidance so I don't have to try every combination. Sometimes, the bezel reflects the camera and lens...for a given camera angle, this is totally unavoidable, and has to be dealt with by the digital artist in post production.

Supporting the camera is also critical. A strong, stable tripod is essential. The Gitzo 3540LS is my choice. Rock solid. For the head, which is equally important, I use a Photoclam Multiflex, a Korean made geared head, which offers 3 dimensions of adjustment. Built much like the Arca Swiss Cube, the Multiflex, in my opinion, is just as good. I bought it while it was much less expensive than the Arca Swiss, and when there was a constraint in the supply of the Cube, and I needed it for my grand US Tour in 2010. The Gitzo and the Multiflex cost more than the camera and lens.

For stacking, I also use a Manfrotto macro focussing rail, so I can move the camera/lens in small increments needed for each photograph in the stack.

Friday, July 5, 2013

IWC Portugeiser Jubilee: The extreme macros

On Tuesday, I showed the IWC Portugeiser are the extreme macros of the same watch.

Owned by my great friend Eddie...thanks for the loan of watch. Do note this is a well loved, and often worn watch...I take no additional precautions to remove dust and evidence of wear.

Details of the watch...

The barrel

The magnificent bridge, flowing, elegant.

The cocks, bearing the 4th, 5th wheels.

Detail of the center jewel and the endstone jewel of the balance

Final on it for a large 1920 wide wallpaper.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

IWC's magnificent Jubilee Portugese

Another IWC which was one of my dream watches in my early days in collecting. The Jubilee Portugese...what a beautiful, well proportioned watch.

Though it was not always thought to be correctly sized. Twenty years ago when I first started collecting, the Jubilee was considered a very large watch. But these days, it is considered perfect sized...times have changed. And they don't make it like they used to anymore.

Elegant, simple and yet beautifully executed. Very nice. I said these very same words in my IWC 5251 post last week...but they still ring true.

The dial is absolutely magical...I find the proportions perfect...very nice.

The movement, based on an IWC pocket watch, is also magnificent...the lepine caliber with flowing, graceful bridges...

Finish is also outstanding...

Watch this space...more high magnification, extreme macros on Friday.