June 2007


That little marking on many swiss made watches just got revised today by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH). The 2007 general meeting was held today and numerous new percentages of what needs to be made in switzerland for a watch to bear the “Swiss Made” designation.

For a mechanical watch it has been increased to 80%, while a quartz watch has been increased to 60%. Previously 50% was the minimum. This is another big change for the FH. Read more about the article here:

Strengthening Of Swiss Made Step One Accomplished

One of the things that often determines the price of a watch is the Movement, usually it’s whether or not the watch has an In-house movement, or some sort of stock or modified movement such as one from ETA or someone else. With the large amount of companies now moving to manufacture movements, it is making them much more affordable. Here are some examples:

Omega now almost exlusively their own in-house Co-Axial base movement in all their watches.

Ebel has developed their own manufacture movement but has yet to use it throughout their whole line, I believe.

Nomos, a small horology house from Germany creates in-house movements at a fraction of the cost of most of the big players out there.

Chopard released their L.U.C. movement a few years back now, with beautifully crafted microrotor designs, not typical of a primarily Jewelry design house.

Tag Heuer has started with some in-house movements, the Tag Heuer Caliber 360 which does have a ETA 2893 base movement, but the 1/100th second chronograph module that has been added to it is completely original and has been patented. This still does not include the new prototype movement for the Monaco V4.

There are a ton more, but in addition to the major Manufactures out there such as Franck Muller, Patek Phillipe, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, A Lange & Sohne, Glashutte Original, Breguet, etc, there are new players now, providing arguably the same quality unique in-house movements maybe without some of the nicer aesthetic features of the movements and how they are put together. Seeing an A Lange & Sohne movement in action is truly an experience like no other.

But is it worth the money? A swiss-made watch using an off-the-shelf ETA 2824-2 movement will cost you about $200. A Breitling using the same movement in a kit form with several modified and replaced parts will run you about $2000. A Patek with the same type of basic movement will cost you upwards of $15,000. A Nomos with an automatic manufacture movement will cost you no more than the Breitling, with the added “benefit” of a manufacture movement. Now, is that really a benefit? Sometimes that is a detriment as some watchmakers may have a harder time working with an unfamiliar movement, in which case you may have to send it back to Germany for servicing or repair, while just about any watchmaker can fix or clean an ETA 2824-2.

Now, which one is better? Certainly the COSC Breitling will be very close to the Patek in accuracy, but tests usually show that Pateks and other high-end horology houses have better accuracy, perhaps due to regulation after the watch is assembled… which ensures consistancy across the board. Mass-produced products like Breitlings will likely not be tested after assembly.

The Nomos is also extremely accurate, and tho not COSC claim to be within COSC specifications. The standard drop-in ETA movements are not as accurate as the COSC movements, and cannot be unless they are modified and tweaked. They also dont have the level of decoration that the Breitling movements will, which is not really an issue for many people especially since you can’t see most Breitlings movements from the outside anyway!

So in the end, its ultimately a personal choice as to which watch and movement you choose, and likely will have a lot to do with your budget as to which watch you choose. Happy shopping!

One watch that I’ve been wanting for a long time is a Zenith El Primero… not any specific one, just a larger 42mm+ watch with the high oscillating El Primero Movement. 36,000vph, highly accurate and beautiful, this movement was used in the Rolex Daytonas until the early 2000’s.

I’ve come across many Zeniths using this movement and still can’t decide on which one, though the Defy Classic Chrono Aero seems like it might be the ticket. Newly introduced at Baselworld 2007, this is probably my favourite of the Defy Classics, thought the Defy Extremes are very nice in my opinion.

http://forums.timezone.com/?t=rview&th=789760&goto=2550706

That is a nice watch.. and I can’t stop thinking that I should buy one! With increased pressure to purchase a “Full Ling” (nickname for a larger Breitlings with a 46mm or larger diameter) Its tough to decide what I should buy next… maybe it should be indeed a Motors T as I’ve wanted one for a while. But the El Primero keeps calling my name!

Sometimes when scouring ebay or for sale listings in forums such as Timezone, you will notice that people are selling these “American Airlines” or “15th Airborne” Edition of Breitling watches.. Usually they are Chronomats, Aerospaces, or occasionally B-1’s or Navitimers.

Ever wonder how these custom dialed versions appear? Its nothing special… Breitling does not represent these organizations or companies in any way.. they are simply making custom dials for them at a cost.

Breitlings does custom dials for customers if they will make at least 50 of them.. and the cost of the custom dial is added onto the overall price. This can be done through a dealer, but the minimum of 50 is very strict. Usually these editions go for slightly more than the standard models, as there are collects out there willing to pay a premium on them.

Here are a couple of examples.. one is the Isreali 50th and the other is a Land Rover dial.
99d2_1jpg.jpg650a_12jpg.jpg

Most of the newer Breitling bracelets are adjusted with fine screws, such as jewelers screws, rather than pins. A question often asked is how do you adjust them? In fact, here is an email that someone sent me a couple of days ago:

“hello…i stumbled upon this site in search of info on the old colt automatic. i just purchased a NOS Colt Auto I (ca. 2005) and was wondering if you can point me out to articles on how to size the fighter bracelet..”

So I figured I would post a Youtube video demostrating how this is done. I accidently went off screen at one point but its still servicable! Hope this helps:

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