When all balance springs were metal, Swatch Group's Nivarox enjoyed a virtual monopoly. The most widespread alternative, patented silicon technology, is also the property of a handful of manufacturers. However crucial it may be, mechanically and strategically, the balance spring is about materials science, not horological genius.
With the vintage trend showing no signs of abating, now is the time to pay tribute to the iconic watches worn by late, great celebrities. Brands happily revisit legends from the past while at auction, watches with celebrity provenance are achieving record amounts.
The Geneva School of Watchmaking and Chopard have worked together on the L.U.C EHG movement, which equips the L.U.C Louis-Ulysse The Tribute anniversary watch. This new calibre has also been supplied to the school in "kit" form for its students’ future study pieces.
Quartz saw the last of timing competitions. Now they return with the Concours International de Chronométrie, organised by the Musée d’Horlogerie du Locle. Jaeger-LeCoultre and René Addor are the victors of this first edition.
Numerous societies of watch enthusiasts have sprung up either side of the Atlantic. Through their activities and journals, they foster enthusiasm for the instruments that measure time. Michel Viredaz from Chronométrophilia explains.
After conflict diamonds, advocates of sustainable development from industrialists to watchmakers, jewellers and retailers are training their sights on dirty gold. The first certification system will come into operation next January.
Efforts to track down and eradicate dirty gold must contend with numerous hurdles. According to a report by the WWF in Guyana, clandestine operations continue because of the "disconcerting facility" with which illegal production can be infiltrated into authorised channels. And Guyana is far from being the only country in this situation. Another major stumbling block is that supply is highly fragmented as refineries source gold from mines in more than 60 countries.