Archive for the ‘News’ Category
Monday, January 5th, 2015
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry is one of the best-loved stories. I would like to share it with you as my president’s message for December.
Mr. James Dillingham Young and his wife Della lived in a furnished flat at $8 a week that in its former glory would fetch $30 per week, but the property had fallen from grace. The Dillingham’s were living on $20 per week. In other words, times were hard.
Tomorrow was Christmas, and all Della had to buy Jim a present with was $1.87. That was all, and a lot of it was in pennies she had saved from the grocery money. She wanted to buy Jim something really nice, but what could you buy that was really nice for $1.87?
The only things that Jim and Della had of value was Jim’s gold pocket watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s, and Della had beautiful hair that was the envy of most women. Her beautiful hair fell down in ripples and cascades like brown water. It reached below her knees and made a garment for her.
What could Della get for Jim for $1.87 for Christmas? She put on her coat and walked into the street and stopped when she saw a sign that read: “Hair Goods of All Kinds.” She asked the owner, Madame Sofronie, “Will you buy my hair?” “I buy hair,” said Madame. Take your hat off and let me look.” Down fell the brown cascades. “Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the brown rippling hair. “Give it to me quick,” said Della. With the $20, she went shopping for Jim’s present.
She searched the stores for that perfect gift, and there it was—a platinum watch fob chain that was worthy to be attached to such a beautiful watch as Jim’s was. The fob cost $21, leaving Della eighty cents to buy chops.
Della had been admiring three combs in a store on Broadway. Jim knew just what he had to do—sell the watch and buy the combs for his lovely wife for her beautiful hair. The beautiful combs were made of pure tortoise shell with jeweled rims, just the right shade for Della’s hair. Home he went with the three combs in his possession.
He opened the door and to his dismay there stood his beautiful Della with her hair all in short curls. “Jim, I hope you don’t kill me or hate me. I sold my hair to buy you the most beautiful Christmas gift,” said Della. Then she showed him the wonderful watch fob. “My hair will grow back,” said Della.
“Dell,” he said “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ‘em a while. They’re too nice to use at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now, suppose you put the chops on.”
So this is what Christmas giving should be about—being willing to give our most valuable possession to the one we love. But greatest of these is LOVE.
From the White house, here’s wishing you and yours the most joyful and blessed holiday season, filled with all the things that make you happy.
Monday, January 5th, 2015
Becomes a Distributor of Renata Batteries
By Donna Hardy
NSY Kessler Sales, Inc., the North American headquarters for the Swiss-made Renata Batteries, is pleased to announce that Stuller has become authorized as a Strategic-Key Renata Battery Distributor. According to Darrell Warren, Stuller’s Vice President of Tools, Equipment, and Supplies, the addition of the Renata product line was well timed. “Our customers demand top quality and great service, and Renata is a good fit for us.”
To learn more about Renata, please contact Stuller at www.stuller.com, 800-877-7777, or Sy Kessler Sales, Inc., moc.relssekysnull@selas, 800-527-0719, renatausa.com.
The Henry Graves
Sold for $24 Million
By Donna Hardy
The Henry Graves Supercomplication watch, a marvel of early 20th-century watchmaking, sold for $24 million on November 11. It is the most expensive watch ever to sell at auction. The watch was commissioned by New York banker Henry Graves in 1925, made by Patek Phillipe, and delivered in 1933. It boasts 24 complications, including grande and petite sonnerie that emulate the bells of Westminster; a record of the phases and age of the moon; sunrise and sunset indications; a perpetual calendar; and a celestial map of the New York sky. According to Sotheby’s, it is the most advanced timepiece ever made without the assistance of computers.
According to CNN’s website, “The Supercomplication was made as the result of a friendly competition between Graves, a member of a well-known banking family, and James Ward Packard, the luxury automobile manufacturer, to see who could produce the most impressive timepiece. Packard’s attempt was a pioneering feat. It was the first ever watch to feature a sky chart, which included 500 golden stars and was centered above his home in Ohio. However, it contained just 10 complications, making Graves’ timepiece the undisputed winner with 24.”
The buyer of the watch is undisclosed.
Plans to Produce a Smartwatch
By Donna Hardy
LVMH’s biggest watch brand, TAG Heuer, plans to release a smartwatch at Baselworld, March 10, 2015, but they have divulged little else about the watch. This release is timed to align closely with the release of the Apple Watch in spring 2015.
Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer’s parent company Hublot, has been quoted as saying that TAG Heuer’s smartwatch “must not copy the Apple Watch.” Biver also said, “Communications is not the business of the Swiss watch industry. We don’t have the technology. And if you don’t have the technology, you have to buy it. If you have to buy it, you’re always late.”
Last year TAG Heuer made a one-off smartwatch for members of the Oracle sailing team.
Citigroup Inc. analysts have forecast that the smartwatch market will probably expand to about $10 billion in 2018 from as much as $1.8 billion this year, funneling customers away from traditional products.
TAG Heuer also makes the luxury smartphone, Meridiist.
Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Niall: A New American Watch Brand
By Donna Hardy
Niall is a startup watch company in Kansas City, Missouri. It uses a Swiss-made automatic movement—either an ETA 2824-2 or a Selitta SW200—but the case and all other components are sourced in America. Niall (pronounced Nile) is the brainchild of Michael Wilson, a former marketer whose father owned a fabrication shop where he learned to cut and shape metal on industrial equipment. Niall’s debut watch, the Niall One, costs $3,950, which is in line with Niall’s American competitors, such as RGM and Xetum.
Niall’s website (niallluxury.com) says their quest is “to build the next great American luxury brand.” Wilson would like to build something of equal status to Hamilton, which he calls “the last great American watch company.” He also hopes to develop his own mechanical movement timepieces someday.
According to Techcrunch.com, “The watches themselves are evocative of Hublot or Audemars-Piguet, but the handsome back-slung lugs and the understated face are unique to the brand.” For now Niall is producing only men’s watches with black or brown leather straps, but they hope to produce women’s watches in the future.For the crown, Niall uses a push-down crown system that they call “Airlock.” The Airlock crown has a set of three gaskets that keeps the watch locked and sealed from elements such as water and dust. Niall worked with Corning to create crystals with shatter- and scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass, the product Corning originally created for iPhone touchscreens. Wilson and a partner, Barron Link, assemble the watches themselves in their small business quarters in Kansas City.
Niall is a recent addition to that group of American watch brands on the forefront of a return to watch manufacturing in the US. Other American brands include Minuteman, Kobold, RGM, and Shinola.
“US watches are the wave of the future,” says Gary Borel, vice president of Jules Borel & Co. “Swiss is the best, but there’s no reason we can’t restart this industry in America.…We’ll have American-made movements, no question about it.”
Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
~John F. Kennedy
One day King Solomon summoned his goldsmith because he wanted a special ring made. Upon arrival, the goldsmith asked, “What can I do for you, old wise one?” The mighty king responded, “I want you to make me a grand ring, one like no one has ever seen before. Make it of the finest gold you can find. I want it engraved with the most prophetic statement you can think of.” What a charge to be given to the goldsmith. He thought, “Wow, what can I as a goldsmith do to honor such a mighty person as King Solomon?” He gave it a lot of thought. After hours of thinking, he came up with “THIS TOO SHALL PASS.’’
In the late 1800s and early to mid-1900s, America was the premier watch manufacturer in the world. They made watches by the thousands from 1852 till 1957. American Waltham Watch Co. made 35 million watches from 1867 to 1956. Elgin produced 55 million. Hamilton, from 1893 to 1942, produced almost 4 million. After 1942, they changed their numbering system. They continued to make watches until 1969; their last model was the 992B. They stopped manufacturing at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and so ended the era of watches produced in the US. “THIS TOO SHALL PASS.’’
During the heyday of American watchmaking, the Swiss were getting on the bandwagon with watches whose names sounded American-made, such as Hampton Watch Company [not Hampden], Rockville Watch Co., H.W. Co., or W.W. Co. These fooled many customers into thinking they had bought an American watch. The Swiss started making better-quality pieces, and so they made an inroad into the US market. Bulova, Gruen, Omega, Font, Felsa, A. Schild, ETA, and many other brands and ebauches came into being during those years. Parts were readily available, both genuine and generic, from your local material houses. After World War II many people went to watchmaking school on the GI Bill. This produced a flood of watchmakers in the marketplace, and as a result, watchmakers cut their prices so drastically that it was hard to make a living.
In the 1960s the Accutron and the electric watch came out, and then the quartz watch made its debut. That was the end of watchmaking to many craftspeople, so they left the trade and sought other ways to make a living. Those who stayed with it found that the quartz watch needed repair, and there still was Uncle Joe who liked his watch that ticked, and the family heirloom that needed restoring. And they found that they could charge a fair price for their labor.
With the manufacture of so many cheap quartz watches, many people said it was the end of the mechanical watch. “THIS TOO HAS PASSED.” The mechanical watch has made a strong resurgence in the marketplace. Thus the need for a watchmaker who is qualified to work on these timepieces is stronger than ever. The parts issue will be with us until the demand from the customer is so loud that it starts to hurt the sale of watches. In time “THIS TOO SHALL COME TO PASS.”
Friday, October 17th, 2014
Apple Unveils the Apple Watch
By Donna Hardy
On September 9, Apple announced that it would debut its Apple Watch, starting at $349, early in 2015. “It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made, because it’s the first one designed to be worn,” says Apple’s website. Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design, said, “It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface.” Apple is emphasizing the personal and intimate qualities of its newest product. The message seems to be that this is more than “wearable technology.”
So, what are the facts about the Apple Watch? There are three collections, two sizes, and six straps. At the high end, Apple Watch comes in solid (not plated) 18-karat yellow or rose gold case.
Apple’s press release says: “Apple Watch comes with 11 watch faces ranging from traditional analog faces to new faces like the dynamic Timelapse face; the Astronomy face with its interactive, real-time 3D model of the earth, sun, moon and planets; and the Solar face, a contemporary sundial. Apple Watch can be personalized in appearance and capability with additional information such as upcoming events, moonphases or your activity level, enabling millions of possible configurations.”
The Apple Watch features the Digital Crown, which allows the wearer to scroll, zoom and navigate, without obstructing the display. The Digital Crown also allows the wearer to access Siri. The Retina display on Apple Watch features Force Touch, which senses the difference between a tap and a press, providing access to controls within apps.
The watch can receive notifications from iPhones. The watch works with Apple’s new iPhones, as well as the 5S and 5C. It doesn’t work with non-Apple phones. Like the new iPhones, the watch will be able to be used as a payment device, part of Apple’s new Apple Pay service.
In keeping with popular devices such as the Fitbit, it includes an activity app designed to help motivate the wearer to be more active throughout the day, as well as a workout app designed to provide metrics during the workout session.
While Apple displayed the watch’s induction charging system, it’s not clear how often it will have to be used. There was no mention about battery life.
Friday, October 17th, 2014
I am honored by the trust you have bestowed upon me by electing me your president. As your Board of Directors, we can make AWCI a much stronger, more viable organization that can better serve your needs as a member, whether you are clockmaker or watchmaker, novice or accomplished craftsperson.
We need volunteers. Many of you have already come forward and said put me to work on committees, special projects, or whatever needs to be done. For this I’m thankful; it is not my organization but ours. If you have an idea for a project, please come forward with it.
My pledge to you when I ran for reelection to the board was that we should make AWCI work for all of its members. We should offer classes for everyone at every level, with emphasis on quality workmanship.
Our convention in Clinton, Maryland, was a success, and I’m looking forward to seeing you in Kansas City, Missouri, next year. My thanks to Terry Kurdzionak for her tireless and diligent effort in putting this convention together and also to those who were on her committee. Thanks also to David Kurdzionak and Chris Carey (your new secretary) for their efforts in the hospitality room.
Our two keynote speakers from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Ms. Martina T. Driscoll and Ms. Jacqueline L. Devereaux, got us off to a great start. Their warmth and willingness to engage with our members was welcoming. We are grateful to them both for a job well done.
A special thanks to our Educational Symposium presenters: Mr. Andrew Baron; Mr. John Davis; Mr. Michael Gainey, CC21; Mr. Wesley Grau, CW21; and Mr. Aaron Recksiek, CW21. They each presented a challenging program and made us think about how we can use this in our everyday work.
It was gratifying to see that approximately 30% of attendees were attending the convention for the first time. My charge to everyone who attended: If you were happy with the convention, tell as many people as you can that it was a great experience. If you were unhappy, tell us so that we can address the concerns you have.
We were pleased to have Mr. Terry Irby from Tourneau, along with four students: Diomaris Parra, Pablo Gonzalez, Mathiu Perez, and Edwin Larregui. We also had two students from Lititz Watch Technicum, Michael Dudley and Michael Krilich. These young students joined right in and participated in the activities. It was a pleasure having them.
In closing, the Board of Directors needs your help to make AWCI as strong as possible. With your help, we can climb any mountain and overcome any obstacle.
Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
Kering Buys Watchmaker
Kering, the luxury goods conglomerate formerly known as Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR), has acquired 100 percent of Swiss luxury watch brand Ulysse Nardin, an independent brand.
According to Reuters, “Ulysse Nardin was one of the last remaining major independent family-controlled luxury watchmakers in Switzerland after more than a decade of consolidation led by rivals Swatch Group, Richemont, and LVMH, a race Kering entered relatively late.”
“Kering, whose Gucci brand also makes watches, started investing in 2008 in independent watchmakers Girard-Perregaux and Jeanrichard. It bought control of the brands in 2011 and had long since been hunting for new targets.
“Ulysse Nardin gives Kering greater legitimacy and weight in the watchmaking industry, analysts said, as the brand is one of the country’s few integrated producers, in terms of parts and movements.
“It will give Kering precious independence from the industry’s top supplier Swatch, which started whittling down deliveries to its main rivals in recent years.”
A press release from Kering states that Ulysse Nardin will join Kering’s Luxury–Watches and Jewellery division, headed by Albert Bensoussan, and the management team will remain in place. The deal should be finalized during the second half of 2014.
Ulysse Nardin was founded in 1846 with its roots in the nautical world. The company has a strong brand identity based on its historical expertise in marine chronometers and ultra-complication watches. It was a pioneer in the use of cutting-edge technologies and state-of-the-art materials like silicium.
François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering, says: “Ulysse Nardin benefits from a rich heritage, high profitability, and solid growth prospects. Independent high-end watchmaking manufactures are rare. We have great ambitions for this company and we will help it continue its international expansion whilst staying faithful to its roots and its identity.”
Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
Cecilia A. Dunn
John Gray Sr.
Joseph M. Jabbour
Daniel R. Kessler
Justin D. Kirschkorn
Kathryn S. Marshall
Robert J. Zwack
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Tourneau Honors Graduates of Watchmaker Program
On June 12, 2014, seven students successfully completed Tourneau’s new Watchmaker Program. The eight-week course explores the art of watchmaking, giving at-risk students in New York City the skills and knowledge they need to start a career as a professional watchmaker. The graduation ceremony marked the third session of the Tourneau Watchmaker Program, which was started in 2013. The next class of the Tourneau Watchmaker Program will begin in the fall.
Actor and Avid Watch and Clock Collector, Dead at 98
Eli Wallach, a famous character actor best known for his role as the Mexican bandit, Taco, in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,
a spaghetti Western from 1966 co-starring Clint Eastwood, died on June 24 at age 98.
The interest for readers of Horological Times is that Eli Wallach had a passion for collecting watches and clocks. His interest in collecting began when he was an officer during WWII and the interest continued through the years. As
Mr. Wallach pursued acting roles that took him to many countries, he had the opportunity to seek out-of-the-way flea markets and jewelry and watch stores that sold items from estate sales in America and across the globe. As a result, his collection was eclectic. He didn’t seek out specific brands or types of watches or clocks. According to a 2002 JCK article, Mr. Wallach didn’t collect “…for the investment or financial value of the timepiece—according to Wallach, he doesn’t even know what their appraised value is.” As his friends and work colleagues became aware of his hobby, they helped add to his collection by presenting him with gifts of watches or clocks. He received a blue Cartier cloisonné pyramid clock from Walter Matthau and his wife. Cheryl Crawford presented him with a Longines Automatic. Designer Nathan George Horwitt gave him an engraved Movado Museum watch. Sergio Leone, Italian director of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, presented
Mr. Wallach with a stainless steel Baume & Mercier with an unusual chain bracelet.
Wallach had displayed his collection at three separate venues in New York City over the years. In 1999 to commemorate Wallach’s 50 years in theater, he showed his collection at Tourneau’s Time Machine Store. He also brought his collection to Sotheby’s in the summer of 2001 for an American Watch Guild Event. The final time he showed his collection was at the July 2001 Concours d’Elegance, co-sponsored by the American Watch Guild at the Jewelers of America New York summer show. Part of the draw of seeing Mr. Wallach’s collection was also to hear the stories of how he found each piece, what movie or theater project he was working on at the time, or the circumstances of the gifts received from famous people. For a charity auction, he once donated a watch given to him by director Elia Kazan, raising $14,000.
Eli Wallach’s collection, which numbers over 100 pieces, has been stipulated by his will to go to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, where he began his acting career and was listed as vice president on the board of directors at the time of his death.
“Eli Herschel Wallach Biography” IMDb, July 3, 2014.
”Eli Wallach Dead: ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’ Actor Dies at 98″ by Bill Trott. Reuters, June 25, 2014.
“Eli Wallach, Veteran Character Actor, Dies at 98″ by Jake Coyle. The Associated Press, telegram.com, June 25, 2014.
“The Good, the Bad, and the Horological Eli Wallach’s Fascination with Watches” by William George Schuster, Senior Editor. JCK, March 1, 2002.
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
By Donna Hardy and Henry Kessler
It is always sad to lose a friend, yet early this summer, we all lost one of the good guys. Paul Borel passed away on May 24. He would have become 62 in July. Having literally grown up in the watch industry, Paul served American watchmakers most of his life.
There are many Borel family members involved in Jules Borel, the business where Paul worked most of his life. Paul’s grandfather, Jules Borel, founded Jules Borel & Company in 1920. Several of Jules Borel’s children joined him in his business. One of his sons was Pete; Paul, Roger, and Becky are Pete’s children. Another of Jules’s sons was John; Gary and Bob Borel are John’s children. Mark was yet another son of Jules, and Kay is Mark’s daughter-in-law. Other family members were involved in the past, and younger generations are getting involved today. Paul was fortunate to be surrounded by so much family. Jules would have been proud of the work of his children, grandchildren, and other family members.
Over Paul’s 40 years at Jules Borel, he served as IT manager, and he was also a watch-parts expert. He served as a director of the Jewelry Industry Distributors Association (JIDA) and the Kansas City Swiss Society. He was also a member of the Oklahoma State University Watchmaking Advisory Committee and the AWCI Industry Advisory Board (IAB).
Bob Frei, Paul’s cousin, referred to Paul as a classic—yet fun and very athletic—computer geek. Paul was so athletic that one day he and Roger began racing as the two were descending the stairs of their multi-story offices in Kansas City. Unfortunately, Paul tripped on the way down, fell, and broke his leg! Paul’s love for computers served him well when managing the company’s computer operations, maintaining the watch-parts database, and watch materials department. While in his 20s and on a trip to Switzerland in 1973, Paul decided that he’d stay in Switzerland and work at Albert Froidevaux & Fils, where Bob Frei’s sister also worked. A*F is recognized as a worldwide distributor of watch parts. Paul studied the French language and took courses at the Bulova Watch Company. Upon his return to the United States in 1975, he joined Jules Borel & Co. full-time.
In the 1980s Paul worked with his brother Roger to capture watch case numbers and their corresponding case part number information. Initially, this was for internal purposes to assist in accurately filling orders from Borel’s inventory of over 100,000 items. Today this watch-parts database is available on the company’s website and is used daily by thousands of watchmakers around the country. This was Paul’s pride and joy.
Furthering his interest in computers, Paul took many courses in various program languages and operating systems. In the late 1970s, he moved to Miami, Florida, where he took courses in jewelry repair at the Stewart School, worked at the Borel Miami office, got married, and became manager of the Miami office upon the retirement of Frank Murray.
His interest in personal computers grew, and while in Miami he developed an order entry/invoice printing set of programs. His pride and enthusiasm was overwhelming when he got one of the early hard drives for a PC—a 20-megabyte Rodyne for $600.
In the late 1980s, Paul and Roger worked together to compile several widely used books of case-part number to case-part references, supplying these to BB/American Perfit Crystal Company and Froidevaux in Switzerland. These were the beginnings of the Borel parts database used today.
A unique aspect of this project was the use of a desktop publishing program Paul wrote that controlled the special escape codes for the early Hewlett-Packard laser printers. This was used for many years to create laser-quality hard copy for the Tick-Tock-Talks, ads, flyers, and drawer-front labels before the availability of PC publishing programs.
As a hobby, Paul loved to make large wall clocks and other items out of multicolored woods. These projects required precise cutting using his laser. He loved cooking, exercising, and conversation. He was friendly and had a positive outlook on life.
The family suggests donations be made to the Salvation Army or Old Mission United Methodist Church, Fairway, Kansas, where Paul was a lifelong member.