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

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • SPLURGE Matches Scarf Donations for Cancer Patients

    2014.10.01
     @ SPLURGE

    SPLURGE and the Cancer Institute at Greenwich Hospital are partnering to bring comfort and encouragement to cancer patients.  From October...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    FLINN GALLERY Opening Reception 'IN FOCUS' Thursday October 30, 6 - 8pm Seven artists share their visions - Carolyn Conrad,...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Harvest Fair and Gift Show

    2014.11.01
     @ Second Congregational Church

    Event Will Include Hay Mazes, Games, Crafts, Food, Holiday Shopping The community is invited to a Harvest Fair and Gift Show on Saturday, Nov....

  • New Fitness Class: SalsaTone

    2014.11.01
     @ Latin Moves Dance Studio

    Starting November 1st ~ Every Saturday morning 10 to 11 AM Instructor: Melissa Lopez Start your weekend off right with this exciting cardio...

  • Lynne Scalo Design Opening

    2014.11.05

    Please join Lynne Scalo, Greenwich Magazine and athome Magazine to celebrate the Greenwich showroom opening of Lynne Scalo Design Cocktails...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show

    2014.11.06
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

    Breast Cancer Alliance to Host Branching Out, Coming Together, Aspiring to a Cure 19th Annual Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show: November 6,...

  • Free Screening of Documentary ' Children of the Inquisition'

    2014.11.06
     @ Bush-Holley House

    Join filmmaker Joseph Lovett as he presents his documentary film and multi-platform project of personal exploration and...

  • P.A.L.S. 2nd Annual Soarin' Soiree~ November 7, 2014

    2014.11.07
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    You are invited to join our State Senator, L. Scott Frantz and our First Selectman, Peter J. Tesei, for an awe-inspiring evening to benefit Patient...

  • John Hardy Event

    2014.11.08
     @ Bloomingdale's

    John Hardy One of a kind. One at a time. Each by hand. Bloomingdale's is inviting YOU to meet the head designer Guy Bedarida as he presents...

  • Olivine Gabbro Opening

    2014.11.08

    Olivine Gabbro invites you to join them for their Opening Party! DJ | Cocktails | H'Orderves | Gift Bags Made to Measure Beautifully...

  • Meet Joshua Safran, Author of "Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid"

    2014.11.11
     @ YWCA Greenwich

    Meet the author of this powerful memoir. Joshua Safran is an author, attorney, occasional rabbi, and nationally recognized advocate for...

  • Markham Roberts: Decorating the Way I See It

    2014.11.13
     @ Belle Haven Club

    Join us as Interior Designer Markham Roberts shares coveted design insights, key to creating the perfect home. The program will include...


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