A jumping hour watch is nifty device. It can be argued that a jumping hours format is even more legible than the traditional analog hand format. Essentially, jumping hours is a hybrid of analog and digital. The hours portion of the watch is done through a hour display window. There is a disc underneath the dial that features the hour numbers. The next hour literally “jumps” when the previous ends. This is the digital component. So when the time is 4:59, the next minute the 4 in the hour window jumps to 5 rather than gradually move to 5. Then, you have the analog minutes hands that revolves around the dial like a gauge. Do you have the benefit of quickly knowing the hour, and having the graceful analog indication of the minutes.
In addition to this, the Bell & Ross Vintage Jumping Hours line features a well inserted power reserve indicator. There are currently four watches in the line who share the same automatic mechanical movement that dispenses with such superfluous functions like the date or a seconds display. The watches are really nice in style and offer what I’d picture a successful industrialist would like to wear. The Bell & Ross Vintage line is really connected by a certain case style, and numeral font, which these watches share. Being on the higher end of the Bell & Ross line, these watches are constructed from either platinum or gold, or a mixture of the two.
Size of the case is modest at 39mm, but shouldn’t look too small as the bezel is relatively thin. The thicker a bezel is, the smaller the dial appears, no matter the size of a watch. You can see the two styles of watch hands which are nice in their own degree. Each and blued and plump, with some being shorter than the others. They really connect to the overall design of the watch face, which incorporates the layered look on some of the faces. These are really classy looking watches, something that Bell & Ross does a great job at. The straps are various colors of crocodile.
Vacheron Constantin isn’t good at everything, but they are good at a few things. One of those things is making effectively simple luxury watches. Getting too avant garde really isn’t their thing. Releasing “modern” watches really isn’t their thing either. In my opinion the newer Quai de l’Ile collection was a visual and logical disaster.
Moving forward, Vacheron Constantin has been focusing a great deal on platinum watches. The expensive and hard to work with metal has been increasing in popularity, especially as many of the world’s wealthy watch lovers are seeking more and more exclusive materials for their watches. While there is nothing new about platinum, it has always been of the rarest precious metals, and notorious for requiring extreme efforts to work.
The Platine Patrimony Double Retrograde watch (Limited Edition of 100 pieces) features a platinum case, with a platinum dial, platinum hands, and even platinum threading (exclusive to Vacheron Constantin) on the strap. However, the hour indices are white gold (easier to polish, and the contrast with the sand-blasted platinum dial assists with legibility). You then have the blue hands for the retrograde date (on the top), and day of the week (on the bottom). The layout is really nice and simple. Not the same as Patek Philippe, but similar in terms of simplicity. It is a good idea to keep things easy to ready, and this is one of the better executions of a retrograde calendar that I have seen.
Inside is an in house Vacheron Constantin caliber 2460R31R7 with 27 jewels, beating at 28,800 bph and with a power reserve of 40 hours. Pretty simple, but the power reserve is a bit low in my opinion. The decoration of the movement is impressive however. Meticulous polishing on the movement itself, and the 22k gold rotor is guilloche engraved for a great classic look. Further, the rotor is coupled with ceramic ball bearings which are proving to be a better alternative that steel ball bearings that rely much more on lubrication.
The PT950 stamp on the watch dial and the rear of the watch indicate the purity of the platinum, which in this case is very close to being pure. The watch case is 42.5mm wide, a good size. It is good to see Vacheron Constantin focusing more on the things it is good at. No brand wants to hear that it cannot do everything, but it is important to focus on a company’s strengths. Watches like the Platine Patrimony Double Retrograde fall into this category, and should be seen as an example of Vacheron Constantin as a whole.
Panerai is pretty regular about their watch release schedule. We tend to get a few new ones each year. With the pre Basel announcements coming up, I expect to see a lot from Panerai this year. One new announcement is the Panerai Luminor Chrono Daylight Titanium, which is the ref. PAM 327. This Panerai is distinctly modern in its approach with a broad demographic appeal. I am no Panerai historian, but it is easy to tell that there is mostly “new direction” design accents in this high quality Panerai replica watch. Ignoring the watch itself for a moment, looking at the titanium bracelet indicates a new, more angular look to the masculine watches. Older Panerai metal bracelets featured some really unique curved links. The PAM 327 has what are arguably something simple, plainer Y-shaped links. The look in nice, but not exciting – and the small size of the links adds to wearing comfort, but gone is a lot of the character.
The dial itself shows the metallic blue that people go crazy over. It is a great color, and when done right makes for a beautiful watch. The Sinn 203 Arktis was one of the first to use such a blue dial, and since then a few have displayed it. I am not sure why the watch is known as the “Daylight.” I am guessing that since blue faced models are often arctic themed, the name refers to the fact that such polar locations of the Earth experience far more daylight, especially in the summer. The little touches are also nice, like the matching colored date window disc, and the easy to read chronograph seconds hand.
Inside is a Panerai caliber OPXII automatic chronograph movement. It isn’t in-house made though. Gladly the movement is a certified Chronometer, but Panerai has neglected to mention this on the face. This is a positive or negative trait depending on whom you ask (some people do or don’t like lots of text on the face). From a design standpoint, the tri-compax chronograph layout and overall face design is no nonsense. So practical and utilitarian, you might forget it is a Panerai. That isn’t to say it isn’t nice, but this is of the most function oriented Panerai watches I have ever seen. The 44mm wide case is standard Panerai size, and the titanium used to make the case and bracelet ensures light weight even though the hefty package. The Panerai Luminor Chrono Daylight Titanium is an excellent watch for the conservative watch lover who values function and is drawn by the Panerai name.