Of all the inventions that have helped improve the precision of mechanical watches, none is more important, or less well-documented, than the development of the regulating organ. To help bridge that gap, we retrace the history of escapements from the earliest devices to the very latest silicon regulators. Part nine: silicon escapements.
In 1969 TAG Heuer launched the first ever automatic chronograph in a water-resistant square case. Half a century later, the Monaco is still in the race. Two of five anniversary models have been revealed, at the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
After being sold in 2003 and re-launched as of 2006, Favre-Leuba's new directors have uncovered a manuscript, dated 1718, which relates how Abraham Favre, a former church elder, began to learn the intricacies of watchmaking that very year. The company itself was established in 1737.
With the counterfeit market apparently thriving, and intent on taking advantage of the current crisis while ever it can, the weapons with which to fight this scourge are many and varied.
The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, in partnership with the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, is launching an international campaign to wipe out counterfeiting. This new campaign targets those who carry the most responsibility for keeping this twenty-first century scourge alive: the people who buy.
Twelve exceptional clocks from the 18th and 19th centuries are on display inside the workshop of this watchmaker with a passion for the history of time measurement.
Counterfeiting hits hardest in three markets: brands, pre-owned and collectors. Spurred on by the current infatuation with watches, itself fuelled by the media and by brands' all-out marketing campaigns, more and more people, from enlightened amateurs to recent converts, are turning to collecting. Meanwhile, the century's biggest communications channel, the Internet, has taken this interest in vintage watches to just about the four corners of the globe.
Imagine Cuba, pearl of the Caribbean, in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The first democratic constitution had come into force. The country had recently gained international recognition as a member of the United Nations. President Batista came and went and came again, helped by the United States which had an iron grip on the island's mining, agriculture and public services. Americans fleeing Prohibition had already flocked to the island at the turn of the century. Fifty years later they would once again be seduced by Havana, now a hub of corruption, gambling and trafficking of every possible kind.