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

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     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

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    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...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

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  • Exclusive Tour of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery

    2014.09.09
     @ Yale University Art Gallery

    Join JCC Greenwich for an exclusive tour with museum curator Elizabeth Manekin. The collection is noteworthy for exemplary works from the...

  • Understanding the Gaza War: Strategic & Political Implications

    2014.09.09
     @ Greenwich Library, Cole Auditorium

    Dr. Efraim Inbar is a Professor in Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University and Director of its renowned Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic...

  • Bruce Museum: Look and See - Into the Deep

    2014.09.10
     @ Bruce Museum

    A program especially designed for children ages 3-5 years and their adult caregivers, who will explore the Museum’s exhibition through...

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    2014.09.13

    College Prep 360 will be offering two college admissions “boot camps” in their Greenwich office over the summer. The first workshop...

  • 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...

  • Greenwich Area Newcomers Annual Lobster Fest

    2014.09.14
     @ Tod's Point Clambake Area

    This is our kickoff event each year-held at Tod's Point Clambake area. The event is scheduled for Sunday September 14th starting...

  • Information Fair

    2014.09.16
     @ YMCA

    Our Annual Information Fair - This event showcases non profits , community businesses, schools and  services in the Greenwich...

  • Laurel House Family Seminar Series

    2014.09.18
     @ Laurel House

    Thursday evenings, September 18, October 2, 16, 30, 6:30-8:00 pm Join us Thursday evenings for this four part Family Seminar Series as...

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • SoulCycle GWCH for Make-A-Wish CT

    2014.09.20
     @ SoulCycle

    Make-A-Wish Connecticut is thrilled to be partnering with SoulCycle's Greenwich location for a charity ride on Saturday, September 20th!...

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     @ Greenwich Country Club

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     @ Bedford Street

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