Saturday, July 8, 2017

Time: A bit more insight into an old 'in-house' movement scandal.

I've started looking at bit more in-depth at a couple newish in-house movements by new companies that don't have any significant horological history.

First issue is with Bvlgari which is claiming that a catalog-picked Vaucher caliber is in-house. But what's telling about the watch 'journalists' is that they are writing about this and their articles are using photos of the movement that CLEARLY show the Vaucher hallmark on the movement. So Bvlgari, or the journalists, or both, are frauds. Sigh...

This led my memory back to the Great Bremont In-house Wright Brothers Movement Scandal. They got caught trying to pass off a catalog Lajoux Perret movement as designed and developed in the UK. Uh-oh. In the shitstorm that followed they first attacked the claim as industrial espionage by competitors for the 'leak' of an image that was used to compare the LJP to the Bremont. They claimed they helped engineer it, had their own movement designers work on it, and that you'd only see it in a Bremont since it was brand new. Then photos of a predeceding Arnold and Son with the same movement, plus a module, surfaced and their whole narrative died horribly. They went on damage control and in a video discussing their 'naïvety' one of the founders sure looked stressed out. And that pretty much ended things. They claimed the partnership was their first step to true Manufactory status, and that they would continue to develop more and more themselves, and be careful that there weren't any more misunderstandings in the future.

Fast forward to today and where are Bremont now with their in-house status? Nothing has changed beyond their terminology. The movement is now used in a car-themed watch (rather than the original aviation-themed watch) and this exclusive movement costs £3600 more than an identical watch with an ÉTA 7753 chronograph, Chronometer grade. And I should mention that their exclusive movement is just an automatic 3 hander with date. That is a fuckton more money for less functionality. The rest of their line is still catalog movements. And the exclusive one hasn't trickled down to normal prices in other lineups they have.

"So what?" You ask. "Lots of other companies charge a fuckton of money for functionally identical in-house movements." Yes, Jimmy, they do. But for a true Manufactory they've spent money on r&d, development of supply chains, capital equipment to make the parts, and human capital to run every thing. Bremont at best makes some of the easiest components (they mentioned bridge and rotor, a 20 foot long piece of brass and a little Haas VMC office CNC running the G-code provided by LJP covers about a year's worth of production) for a pre-existing, developed, tested movement, with no risk (assuming you don't overstep your claims of what you do yourself).

But then I got to examining the Lajoux Perret movements themselves.  Well, well, what do we have here?

Yeah, Lajoux Perret is just making modifications to ÉTA catalog movements.
The movement they put into the Arnold and Son 90 hours power reserve, ultra thin handwind? Peseux/ÉTA 7001, with an extra mainspring barrel.  This Bremont movement? A Valjoux/ÉTA 7750 stripped of it's automatic winding and chronograph components. They do use space left behind to put in their own bi-directional system, but everything else is Valjoux development.

Have a look at the attached pics, including the infamous overlay gif. The first batch of three are: the Bremont, a stripped Valjoux, the gif. The next are: a Peseux 7001, the Arnold and Son made from a 7001 train with an extra barrel, and some fancy Arnold and Son movement made with a couple 7001 trains jammed into a single movement with lots of proprietary stuff too, an LJP tonneau design made from reorganizing a 7001 train.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Time: What I've been up to.

Quick update. Pictures should tell the story. The bronze case parts turned out well and I will be doing a complete case for specific movement next.

The other pics are of a skull dial development for a client. Raw casting, hand textured, then patinated and sunburst polished in the client's case for test fitting.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Time: What I've been wearing.

For all the horological uppity-ness that I can write about, this Casio has been on my wrist about 4-5 days of the week.

It's an incredible value, at less than $50 CAD and features the standard digital mix of chrono, alarm, countdown timer, world time, but adds a moonphase and tide graph to the 100m water resistant, Tough Solar, Illuminator package.

So why this? Just a sole digital beater right? Well, no. At least not the sole one, third attempt really. My first attempt was a Casio G-Shock, G-Lide version with similar functionality, but adding Multiband 6 atomic synchronization, and increasing WR depth to 200m. But Casio plays a weird limited edition colour game with G-Shock. And it was available in bright white or bright red with a negative LCD display.

But I never grew to like the white that I chose, and the negative display wasn't my first choice either.

So this ended up the functionality winner.

Ideal would be the G-Lide in this colour/display combo, but so far it doesn't exist.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Speed: Another fancy boat.

Just a pic of a boat and a bit of skyline in downtown Vancouver.

Time: My projects.

So, adventures in case-making. I just got an email indicating that some case castings I ordered from the USA have shipped. Now, why would I order castings instead of having them done locally? Well, I'm waiting for some bronze blanks that I was intending to mill and file by hand into cases, to be cast in Vancouver. I talked to the guy in person in mid-December, was told it was the busy time as local jewelers swamp him with rush work at that time. Fair enough, but it's nearing the end of January now with no sign or communication.

In the meantime I've designed a set of case, caseback, and bezel blanks in 3d (the pic), uploaded the 3 models to a service in NYC that has 3D-printed them in high-resolution 'digital wax', sent them to have molds made, lost-wax cast them in bronze, trim the sprues, polish them, package them, and ship them to Canada. I'm anticipating getting them and have them all evaluated and measured out for finish machining before the 6 identical bronze donuts I ordered from the local guy show up.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Time: Part 2 of American Horology

Well some interesting things have come about in the American-Made circle of watchmaking.

First, is that the previously discussed Weiss has changed his description of what he previously claimed was an FTC compliant Made-In-America caliber 1003 movement.

His website now states: 'Caliber 1003 movements are manufactured and assembled from US and Swiss parts'. So with the qualifier involved, that would indicate that FTC requirements were not met. I continue to suspect that this is fundamentally just a complete Swiss 6497 movement internals (gear train, power, jewel, and timing assortment) sandwiched between just a USA-MADE plate, balance cock, and bridge. Possibly even just the more visible top 3/4 plate and balance cock.

But their description is now more appropriate, so good for them.

Which brings me to a new company:


Jesus Christ what a train wreck. Currently offering a tacky rebranded (barely legal) vintage Rolex knockoff, but the claims made... Again, Jesus Christ.

An American-Made 2824 clone. OK... With a self-developed copper-rhodium alloy for the plates and bridges. Right... And their own proprietary different alloy for the wheels. Um... All machined and hand finished in America, yet the edges show marks from shitty stamping. Err... And topped off by an admittedly Chinese anti-shock system that is a knockoff of not the superior Swiss Incabloc, but the cheaper Swiss Novodiac. What. The. Fuck?

Their website is full of retarded shit like this. And their claims of researching the best lume reads like some Lord of The Rings quest.

But we have the internet and can travel into the past with it, looking for a younger Charles Ginault. And we find him being introduced on counterfeit watch forums. Not a great start. Then we can search some of his very distinct, flowery description and find the same descriptions being used to pitch counterfeit Rolex watches a couple years ago on replica/counterfeit forums. Uh-oh...

But now this clown is sponsoring a major 'legitimate' watch forum, and said forum is using their 'no-fake' rule to remove and suppress discussion of the relationship of the company to past and possibly current illegal counterfeit production. As well as shut down talk about the dubious American Made claims.

This major forum is being sponsored by a (Former? Current?) manufacturer of counterfeit Rolex watches and defending them from criticism and reasonable investigation through aggressive censorship.

Jesus fucking Christ...

If a couple people get on the FTC's case about this Ginault clown, he will probably go down hard. For both the deceitful use of American-Made, and maybe catch him with his pants down with counterfeit Rolex inventory as well.

One can only hope...