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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     @ Bruce Museum

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

    2014.05.10
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

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  • Happy Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.26
     @ Morello Italian Bistro

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  • Polo Benefit for Hope

    2014.08.31
     @ Greenwich Polo Club

    For the second year in a row, Virginia's House of Hope is having a fundraiser at the Greenwich Polo Club! Join us on Sunday, August...

  • 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

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  • 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!

  • 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...

  • 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

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  • Greenwich Area Newcomers Annual Lobster Fest

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     @ Tod's Point Clambake Area

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    2014.09.16
     @ YMCA

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


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