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 Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches

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PostSubject: Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches   Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches Icon_minitimeFri Jul 27, 2007 4:02 pm

Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches 16n_top_10
The Vacheron Constatin Skeleton Minute Repeater, a feat in watchmaking
It’s been said that the only acceptable jewelry for contemporary businessmen is the watch. They equate cuff links
with the old guard, and bracelets are just a little too close to neck
chains. And unless you’re trying to sell rugs, anything gold and dangly
is not appropriate accessorizing. Opinions may vary, but we can likely
all agree on the value of a timepiece.

Here are 10 of my
favorites that blend elegance with relative accessibility. These are
current luxury models from prestigious watchmakers with enduring style;
none overly contemporary, none excessively conservative. These aren’t
quite mass produced in sheer numbers to rival Swatch
or Timex, but they’re not the most expensive on the market. They’re not
necessarily the best known among casual watch enthusiasts, either. For
instance, not a single Rolex
made our list. They’re fine timepieces, without question, but with only
room for 10 examples, some assumed natural picks didn’t make the cut.
Read on to learn which models did…
Number 10

TAG Heuer Kirium F1


$3,000Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches 16d_top_10


TAG Heuer loves sailing, racing or most any active pursuit of the good life. After all, this is the watchmaker who honored Steve McQueen’s 75th birthday and their Le Mans
film and race connections with the release of their Monaco Vintage
timepiece. Still a trackside and driver favorite today, TAG Heuer
hasn’t missed a beat. At first glance, their Kirium F1 appears to be
overly simplified -- attractive, of course, but simple. In reality, it
offers seven functions; both analog and digital time displays, 1/100th
of a second chronograph, countdown, daily and diary alarm, perpetual
calendar, second time zone, and dial backlighting. It also features an
anti-reflective, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal surrounded by a
stainless-steel case with a black rubber strap. Just in case you
unexpectedly find yourself in the drink, no worries -- at least for the
Kirium F1’s well-being: It’s water resistant down to 200 meters.
Number 9

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique Grande Automatique

$8,200Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches 16f_top_10



Although a number of respected watch makers do not appear in our
review, we would be remiss to exclude Jaeger-LeCoultre. The firm has a
history of blending innovation and style. The Reverso Grand Automatique
is an excellent example. For those who are unfamiliar, the Reverso
designation is just that: The stainless-steel case has the ability to
be swiveled or reversed. The automatic movement features hour, minute,
second, date, day/night indicator, and second time-zone -- the latter,
a thoughtful inclusion of a smaller hour hand. And just what function
does the 30-meter water resistant Reverso perform, other than a neat
trick to show off? We can think of two primary functions, as a matter
of fact. First, the crystal can be protected from damage (essentially a
nod to times when watches were more fragile). Second -- and perhaps
even more important -- there are times when you don’t need to know the
time to conduct yourself.
Number 8

Bulgari Ergon

$15,000Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches 16e_top_10



Like the aforementioned TAG Heuer, the Bulgari Ergon is another example
of style doing the talking in the absence of a six-figure price. In
this instance, curved form follows function and even lends itself to
the name: ergo, Ergon. As the basic models in the line feature a
scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, crocodile band
and no-nonsense stainless-steel case (water-resistant to 30 meters),
their sporting elegance defy gaudiness and befuddling functions most
wearers grudgingly admit they never use -- at least, with much success.
Rather, only the very basic functions of hour, minute, second, and date
are represented here. Still, rarely is such an uncomplicated timepiece
so envied and admired. One could almost include “cool confidence” as a
function.

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PostSubject: Re: Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches   Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches Icon_minitimeFri Jul 27, 2007 4:03 pm

Number 7

Patek Philippe Celestial

$194,200Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches 16g_top_10


Rather than speculate whether the odd behavior of those around you is the result of a full moon, consult your Patek Phillipe
Celestial. Yes, this self-winding model most certainly qualifies as a
"grand" complication. Its face features a sky chart showing moon
phases, lunar orbit, meridian passage time and star progression
relative to Sirius (the star, you do realize). This 25-meter water
resistant marvel features 45 jewels, 301 parts and a 48-hour maximum
power reserve. Oh yes, and it happens to tell time, if that’s all you
require of it.
Number 6

IWC Grande Complication

$215,000Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches 16h_top_10



Another grand complication, IWC’s Grande Complication earns its moniker
in no uncertain terms (more on that in a second). “Exclusive” isn’t
weaved into the nomenclature, though it could be. Only 50 fortunate
gents will acquire one of these each year -- which happens to be
confirmed in four-digit Gregorian form on the face (sorry, Julian
fans). Additionally, the 659-part, 75-jewel, self-winding watch
features a chronograph with minute repeater, convex sapphire crystal,
crown-activated rapid calendar advance, perpetual calendar and moon
phase display, and screw-in crown. If situations dictate -- and when
don’t they? -- you can set it to chime on the hour, quarter-hour or
every minute; the latter presumably serving as a CEO’s rescue ring for
unwelcome elevator pitches.
Number 5

Richard Mille RM 002-V2 Turbillon

$240,000Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches 16c_top_10



It’s difficult to settle for a single model from this relative newcomer
who’s taken watchmaking to another level from day one in 1999. But
first, let’s make it perfectly clear that we’re not gushing mindless
praise at yet another corporate rebel of his particular industry.
Having said that, owning a Richard Mille is a rare treat. Several
models are offered, and as we said, singling one out is not easy. As a
good example, the RM 002-V2 Turbillon, with its carbon nano-fiber
construction, is what you might imagine as the outcome of the most
avant-garde designers locked in a studio with NASA engineers. To relay
a few specifications in the allotted space we have here would do a
great injustice to the several dozen other impressive characteristics.
And that’s just our non-gushing assessment.
Number 4

Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type 370

$274,000Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches 16i_top_10



Granted, the Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type 370 does retail for over
a quarter-million dollars. However, it’s only about one-quarter the
going rate for the car it was designed to complement, the Bugatti Veyron.
You’ve no doubt heard of the car’s phenomenal performance; and the
watch is quite impressive in its own right. Foremost, you can’t ignore
the unconventional display angle. This allows the wearer to check the
time at a glance without lifting his hand from the wheel or turning his
wrist. Not a bad idea when scorching the Earth at over 200 mph. The
watch also pays tribute with an upright parts arrangement, to resemble
an engine layout. Look closely through the six sapphire crystals held
by the 18-carat white-gold case. You’ll see movement wheels designed to
replicate the design of Bugatti wheel rims of the 1930s.

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PostSubject: Re: Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches   Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches Icon_minitimeFri Jul 27, 2007 4:03 pm

Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches 16b_top_10
The Richard Mille RM 002-V2 Turbillon worth a quarter million dollars Number 3

Breguet Double Tourbillon Classique Grande Complication

$329,000Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches 16k_top_10



It’s one thing when fine watches enjoy status among the rich and
famous, but when you’ve been in the business since 1775 and your past
customers include Marie Antoinette
and Napoleon Bonaparte, you must be Breguet. You must also be the maker
who patented the Tourbillon, designed to compensate for gravity and
improve the watch movement’s accuracy. You may just get the impression
they have a knack for this watchmaking thing. With 50 hours of power,
their Double Tourbillon Classique Grande Complication strikes an
appealing harmony between sophistication and simplicity with a rotating
textured center plate, turned by hand. An image of the solar system is
hand engraved on the back of the movement. A case of platinum surrounds
the 588 pieces and 69 jewels.
Number 2

Vacheron Constantin Skeleton Minute Repeater

$623,000Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches 16l_top_10


Henry Ford
would not wear this watch. If he were still with us and the morbid name
or heavenly price didn’t deter him, its assembly definitely would.
There are perhaps just a few more parts -- moving or otherwise -- at
work here than in a Tin Lizzie, and it wasn’t mass-produced on an
assembly line. Any other captain of industry who can appreciate the
thousands of hours spent in the creation of a Vacheron Constantin
Skeleton Minute Repeater will wear one with pride. This 30-jewel
timepiece has a 34-hour power reserve. Functions include hours,
minutes, repeating hours, quarter-hours, and minutes by demand. So this
is also not the ideal choice for feature-loving wearers, but if you
appreciate craftsmanship over gizmos, this is one skeleton you won’t
want to keep in the closet.
Number 1

Girard-Perregaux Opera Three

$630,000Fine Living Top 10: Luxury Watches 16m_top_10



Desirability is understandably great for the Opera Three, and even at
$630,000 we can envision hordes of the well-to-do camping out for the
chance to buy one, iPhone-style.
There’s just a small flaw in that scenario. Girard-Perregaux position
themselves as crafting “watches for the few since 1791.” They’re not
about to change. For the especially privileged few who acquire one,
life could be worse. Owners can let the arrival of each hour pass in
silence or they can embrace it by allowing the Opera Three to play one
of two personalized tunes on its (very) miniature carillon, somewhat
like a diminutive music box -- on your wrist -- that cost over half a
million.
this watch cost more than your car

Like jewelry
for men, displays of wealth should be understated for best results.
When combining jewelry with a show of status, understated timepieces
are a tastefully bold way of conveying the message. And you'll always
be on time to boot.

Resources
www.tagheuer.com
www.jaeger-lecoultre.com
www.bulgari.com
www.patek.com
www.iwc.com
www.richardmille.com
www.parmigiani.ch
www.breguet.ch
www.vacheron-constantin.com
www.girard-perregaux.com
www.thewatchquote.com
www.forbes.com
www.blitzwatches.co.uk

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