Time Machine

A luxury watch is more than utilitarian—it’s a piece of art that will last through the generations



Montblanc Villeret

Photographs: Courtesy of Designers

Collectors appreciate the precision and inner workings of a luxury timepiece, but those who are less horologically inclined may wonder why certain watches cost more than cars. Fine craftsmanship, the history of the brand, complexity of the movement (the internal mechanism of the watch), technology and limited availability all come into play, says Robert Weintraub, manager of Manfredi Jewels in Greenwich. Some independent watchmakers create bespoke timepieces for customers, while others work with unusual materials and craft everything by hand, producing a portable style statement with lasting value. “If you take care of it, a luxury watch is an heirloom to be passed on to the next generation,” says Weintraub. “It’s with you all the time. And as long as it is properly serviced and cared for, it will still look fantastic a hundred years from now.” Here’s what makes some of the most exclusive brands tick.

1. Montblanc Villeret 

Representing classicism at its best, the Montblanc Villeret collection dates to 1858, when these watches were made under the name Minerva. The watchmaker still follows traditional practices, with only about 200 watches handmade each year. “This is the closest you can get to the way watches were made back in the day,” says Weintraub. Even the hair springs are made in-house and all micromechanical refinements are performed by hand. Machinery from the 1940s is still in use, and craftsmen finish tiny pieces using wooden dowels to beautify the edges. Bespoke watches are a specialty, and the company employs several artists who sketch custom dials, creating full color drawings for clients so they can approve their one-of-a-kind designs.

2. Richard Mille Richard Mille

Perhaps the ultimate sports watch, Richard Mille blends watchmaking tradition with futuristic techniques. His brand “ambassadors” include Bubba Wilson, Rafael Nadal, Yohan Blake and Pablo MacDonough with watches designed for these sports stars to wear in action. Mille’s watches are inspired by race cars; with each one, the movement is bolted into the case, much like an engine is bolted into the chassis. Known for his use of exotic materials, including cases made of NTPT carbon and sapphire, Mille makes 1,500 watches per year. Designs are often retired, so there are a select number in circulation explains Weintraub. Prices start at $85,000.

3. Laurent Ferrier Laurent Ferrier

Founded by the former creative director of Patek Philippe, Laurent Ferrier makes only 140 watches each year, each with components finished and decorated by hand. The Galet Micro-Rotor currently at Manfredi is the only one available in North America. “I was amazed at the beauty and simplicity of this watch,” says Roberto Chiappelloni, owner of Manfredi. On the flip side of its elegant, understated dial, the watch’s beautiful automatic movement features a gold, fan-shaped micro rotor that’s suspended by a bridge opposite the winding stem. Its technology is impressive, fitted with a double direct-impulse escapement (the heart of the watch) for a smoother transfer of power. Designed for long-term efficiency, the watch is housed in a handmade wooden box with a loupe, polishing cloth, a travel case and five-year international warranty; from $46,500.

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • SAT & ACT Prep Classes

    2014.08.02
     @ Greenwich Education Group

    If you are planning on taking the SAT or the ACT in October or November, this is an ideal time to start your preparation! Once school begins,...

  • Seaside Center: Shoreline Seining and Plankton Tow

    2014.07.20
     @ Seaside Center

    Help us gather plankton and see what creatures are living in our ocean’s water! Examine microscopic organisms caught in our plankton net...

  • Cool and Collected ‘14

    2014.07.10
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    (Gallery 1) Featuring artists:  Carla Goldberg, Melanie Kozol, Francis Sills, and Eve Stockton Summer exhibition at Kenise Barnes...

  • TREEHOUSES: Look Who's Living in the Trees!

    2014.06.21
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Saturday, June 21 - Monday, September 1 Hidden in the leaves, snug in the trunk or burrowed under the roots, what types of animals actually...

  • Exhibit: Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.03
     @ Bruce Museum

    May 3 – August 31, 2014 Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing This exhibition focuses on two of the world’s leading...

  • Seaside Center: Story Time

    2014.07.19
     @ Seaside Center

    Grab a comfy seat as we read stories about our favorite sea creatures. We will even take a peek at a real-life version of the animal in our...

  • Saturday Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.10
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    We will feature an array of new and different International wines that are selected by our staff as “Staff Picks Favorites” in...

  • Seaside Center: Naturalist's Choice

    2014.07.19
     @ Seaside Center

    Be surprised! Changing topic that is fun and fascinating, selected by the Naturalist!

  • Happy Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.26
     @ Morello Italian Bistro

    Refresh yourself with our famous Red & White Sangria! Don’t forget that during happy hour every day 4:30pm-6:30pm your 2nd drink...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Animal Meet and Greet

    2014.06.22
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 22 - August 31, 3:30 - 4:00pm Stop by for a chance to meet one of our Overbrook Nature Center or Heckscher Farm animals up...

  • Bar: Live Music | Greenwich, CT

    2014.03.09
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    Join us in Greenwich every Sunday for live music and half-priced bottles of wine!

  • Wine Time Social Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.27
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    $4.00 select wines, $4.00 well drinks, and $3.00 beers.

  • Bar: Ladies Night | Old Greenwich, CT

    2014.02.18
     @ Beach House Cafe

    Drink Specials starting at 9:00pm 'till close, $2.00 off any Martini or Margarita.

  • Tuesday Wine Appreciation Night | Greenwich, CT

    2014.02.04
     @ Terra Sole

    Receive 50% off on most listed Wine under $100.00 and 25% off on bottles $100.00 and over!

  • Seaside Center: Shoreline Seining at Low Tide

    2014.07.15
     @ Seaside Center

    Help us collect data for the Long Island Sound biodiversity database. 1:00 pm: June 24, July 8, Aug 5, 19. 4:00 pm: July 1, 15, 22, 29,...

  • “Summer Sings!” Wraps up the Season at First Congregational Church of Greenwich

    2014.08.27
     @ First Congregational Church of Greenwich

    Do you miss singing in your church choir during the summer months? Then join ‘Summer Sings!’ at First Congregational Church of...

  • Happy Hour Beauty Thursdays!

    2014.06.30
     @ ELLELA Cosmetics & Lashes

    Our Summer Happy Hour Beauty Thursdays are back at ELLELA Cosmetics! Hit the top of Greenwich Ave from 4pm to 8pm for the BEST Blowouts before...

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Seaside Center: Arts and Crafts

    2014.07.18
     @ Seaside Center

    Let your creativity float free! Practice the art of Gyotaku fish prints; make a sundial, a shell wind chime, or fish bowl! Activities vary every...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Best of Greenwich
    Delamar Greenwich Harbor
  2. Island Time: Nantucket
    Even if you’ve been visiting this little slice of paradise for years, here are a few gems you may not know about
  3. 10 Things Greenwich Teens Can Do This Summer
    One Greenwich teen shares some suggestions for summer fun!
  4. Save the Children Benefit
    Riverside Yacht Club
  5. Villa Maria School: Annual Spring Gala
    Richards of Greenwich