Markham Fine Jewelers Blog
2017-03-28

It was a wild and wonderful Baselworld, with a host of new introductions. One of our favorites is the Breitling Avenger Hurricane with an ultra-light case made of the proprietary Breitlight®. The material is not only super lightweight, but also incredibly durable and scratch resistant. This is the first time the brand has used Breitlight® for an Avenger Hurricane watch. The properties of the material make it corrosive resistant and thermally stable. It's also anti-magnetic and non allergen.

The new 50mm extra-large diameter watch is offered with either a yellow or black dial and is water resistant to 100 meters like the previous watch. However the new watch is now powered by the high-performance Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01 chronograph movement — offering form and function to the wearer. The watch is, like all Breitling timepieces, a COSC-certified chronometer.

2017-03-23

Every year since we can remember, the world's largest and, perhaps, most important watch exhibition, BaselWorld, has taken place in Basel, Switzerland, in March. This year, the exhibition runs from March 23 until March 30. This is a huge affair, with hundreds of watch brands unveiling their newest timepieces — watches that are sure to set wrist trends for another year.

BaselWorld is a meeting of minds, of technology and craftsmanship. Here, in five separate buildings, as well as off-site, some of the best brands in the world unveil the watches that they have been secretly working on for years.

While we will bring you specific watch brand information after the show, here are five trends we expect to be prevalent this year:

Affordability. As global economics have a huge effect on watch lineups, we expect this year to see some more affordable timepieces with quality movements and great design. These will appeal more to the younger audiences and those being a bit more frugal this year.

Over the Top.  We also still expect to see some truly over-the-top watches: timepieces with astronomical complications, musical features, and top-of-the-line complexities. Along with that, we expect that diamond- and gemstone-set watches will be strong.

Color. This is the year for brands to make a color statement. From blue to red and from pale pink to white, color should abound this year. Along with colorful dials and straps, we may find some interesting new interchangeable straps.

Sporty Appeal. Chronograph watches, pilot watches, dive watches and watches inspired by the world of automotive racing will continue to steal the spotlight. We look forward to seeing the newest affiliations and iterations from the brands we carry.

Connectivity. Smart watches in the "traditional" watch world continue. Let's see what is unveiled this week.

2017-03-16

If you love clocks and their history, you may well be interested in the upcoming webinar being offered by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC). The webinar is entitled "Hidden History: Clock and Watch Records in the Riggs Archive at Winterthur."

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Taking place on Sunday, March 19, at 7 p.m. EST, the presentation will be made by Bob Frishman, a full-time restorer of antique clocks since 1992. He regularly lectures on the history, science and culture of timekeeping. The webinar is free. You can register for it at NAWCC.org. If you are interested but not available on March 19, you can view a recording of the session as long as you have registered.

Winterthur's clocks number more than 100 and include chiming shelf clocks made in America more than a century ago. The Riggs Archives at Winterthur are part of the Winterthur Garden and Museum in Delaware. Winterthur was opened to the public almost 60 years ago by collector Henry Francis du Pont. It is considered one of the premier museums of decorative arts with nearly 90,000 objects on display. Winterthur is set amidst a 1,000-acre preserve of rolling meadows and woodlands in the town of the same name, about 7 miles northwest of Wilmington.

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2017-03-14

The results are in from the latest Antiquorum auction of Important Watches & Jewelry, where nearly $4 million was generated from the sale of nearly 300 collectible timepieces and some top jewelry items, once again proving that the best of the best in watches can hold — and increase — their value over decades.

Top lots included a Patek Philippe rare perpetual calendar watch with baguette diamond bezel that sold for $227,000. Also at this auction, watches by Franck Muller and Vacheron Constantin performed well, as did Richard Mille and a host of others.

In fact, there was some fierce bidding for the  Franck Muller Calibre 97 Unique Grande et Petite Sonnerie Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar in platinum with diamonds [lot 270]. Originally estimated to sell for $20,000, it went for a whopping $221,000.

Also achieving a spectacular result was the Richard Mille Ref. RM 011 Ivory Felipe Massa Annual Calendar Flyback Chronograph in pink gold [lot 123]. The extremely rare annual calendar wristwatch exceeded its estimate and sold for $143,000.

As usual, rare pieces from Rolex attracted interest from collectors. The Rolex Ref. 116599 Daytona Baguette Diamond Ruby watch in white gold [lot 267] sold for $75,000; while the Rolex Ref. 116759 GMT-Master II Diamond Sapphire and White Gold timepiece [lot 268] sold for $50,625.

A Vacheron Constantin Honeycomb dial yellow gold watch, circa 1950, that was in very fine condition was estimated to sell at $3,500, but it ended up fetching nearly 10 times that amount.

2017-03-10

This weekend you will lose an hour of your time... that is because Daylight Saving Time 2017 will start on Sunday, March 12, at 2 a.m. That's the bad.

The good is that we will finally gain a little more sunlight in our day. In fact, on Saturday, March 11, sunset is at 5:59 pm (EST) and on Sunday, March 12, it will set at 7 pm.

Thankfully, with many high-tech devices in our lives being automatically aligned, we don't need to worry about adjusting the time on our phones or computers, for example. But, we will need to do the manual reset on our traditional watches and clocks.

Germany was the first country to implement Daylight Saving Time in 1916. It was during World War I and the change was made to conserve electricity. In the United States, Daylight Saving Time was first established in 1918, although it is not currently observed in every state. Hawaii and parts of Arizona do not change times. Standard Time resumes on Sunday, Nov. 5.

Credit: Image by BigstockPhoto.com.

2017-03-07

Chronographs are watches that track intervals of time. For instance, they can monitor laps around a track, the time it takes to hike a mountain or how many minutes it took you to grill that burger. A basic chronograph has an independent sweep second hand and typically hour-counters and minute counters. Generally, a chronograph can be started, stopped and returned to zero by successive presses on a chronograph button on the case side.

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The amount of time a chronograph can track varies depending on the watch. Most offer up to 12 hours, 60 minutes and fractions of a second. There are also different types of chronographs, including some that can time multiple events at once. Also, chronographs often incorporate other useful functions, including tachymeters to measure speed or distance.

It was Louis Moinet in 1816 who invented the first chronograph. He wanted to track astronomical objects. In fact, Moinet’s device was called a “compteur de tierces” (three-thirds) and was started in 1815 and completed in 1816. It was one of the most accurate watches of its time. Because Moinet used two pushbuttons to start, stop and reset the central hands, the watch is considered a chronograph (though the term wasn’t coined until later).

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A few years later, French watchmaker Nicolas Rieussec unveiled his version of the chronograph, which he patented in 1821. It was then, as he presented his watch with seconds counter to the Academy of Sciences, that the watch was termed a chronograph (time writer). Rieussec’s chronograph was developed to measure laps of horse racing, and the early versions used ink dots to calculate the duration of events, and often were large clocks encased in table boxes.

Centuries later, we have come a long way in the development of the chronograph. Most today have small sundials on the main dial, wherein the hours and minutes are recorded. The seconds are usually tracked via a central seconds hand on the main dial. Of course, different brands use different methods of indication, but the concept is virtually the same. We invite you in any time to explore and discover our wonderful array of watches offering this historic function in modern time: the chronograph.

2017-03-02

We haven't even hit spring yet and the Pantone Color Institute has already named its fall colors. The Institute has taken its cues from the runways of New York and Paris to create a color palette that will serve as a reference throughout the rest of the year for fashion enthusiasts, reporters and retailers. That means we expect to see some nice red watch straps this fall for men and women alike.

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According to the Fall 2017 Fashion Color Report, an annual overview of fashion designers’ use of color for the season, the hot hues will be sizzling Grenadine Red, Tawny Port, and autumnal hues. Pale pink Ballet Slipper — a hue that borders on nude — will also be important.

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Secondary colors include Navy, Neutral Gray, Butterrum and Marina Blue. The Institute analyzed collections at both New York and London fashion weeks to determine the trending colors.

"There is a commonality between the colors we are seeing on the runway in New York and London," says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. "However, individuality is evident and we are seeing a distinct difference between the shows in the two cities in the way these same colors are being combined."

Color Palette for New York

“Bookended by a dynamic Grenadine red and a tawny Autumn Maple, the color palette for Fall 2017 leans more to warmth," Eiseman noted in reference to the trends seen in New York. “Standout shades include a pale pink Ballet Slipper, a refreshing Golden Lime and a bright Marina blue. These hues add a striking touch when paired with the classic autumnal shades of Navy Peony, Neutral Gray, Butterrum and Tawny Port.”

  • PANTONE 17-1558 Grenadine
  • PANTONE 19-1725 Tawny Port
  • PANTONE 13-2808 Ballet Slipper
  • PANTONE 16-1341 Butterum
  • PANTONE 19-4029 Navy Peony
  • PANTONE 17-4402 Neutral Gray
  • PANTONE 19-4524 Shaded Spruce
  • PANTONE 16-0543 Golden Lime
  • PANTONE 17-4041 Marina
  • PANTONE 17-1145 Autumn Maple

Color Palette for London

“Led by a vivid Flame Scarlet, the color palette for Fall 2017 is comprised of strong classic colors complemented by a few unpredictable shades for the autumn and winter seasons,” Eiseman said in reference to the London trends. “Unexpected combinations, such as Royal Lilac and Otter Brown or Lemon Curry with Bluebell, are eye-arresting and create an unusual color dichotomy.”

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  • PANTONE 18-1662 Flame Scarlet
  • PANTONE 12-2904 Primrose Pink
  • PANTONE 16-1331 Toast
  • PANTONE 14-4121 Bluebell
  • PANTONE 18-3531 Royal Lilac
  • PANTONE 18-1018 Otter
  • PANTONE 19-4029 Navy Peony
  • PANTONE 16-1338 Copper Tan
  • PANTONE 15-0751 Lemon Curry
  • PANTONE 16-0639 Golden Olive

Credits: Swatches by Pantone.

2017-02-28
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Always wish you could own a piece of Hollywood? Well, this could be your chance, as Bonhams gets ready to auction the jewelry and art that famed writer Jackie Collins kept in her much-loved Beverly Hills home from 1992 until her death in 2015. Collins was an avid collector of fine art, sculpture, jewelry and watches. Portions of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to support the empowerment of young women in the arts and education.

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The auction, "Jackie Collins: A Life in Chapters," will take place on May 16 and 17 at Bonhams Los Angeles. Highlights include a  6.04-carat diamond and platinum ring (estimated at $100,000-$150,000), and watches by Patek Philippe, Harry Winston, Chanel and Chopard, among others. There will be 1,000 lots in total.

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The British-born star published her first novel, The World is Full of Married Men, in 1968, marking the start of a 47-year writing career. She passed away in 2015 at the age of 77. Like all auctions, this one only reconfirms the fact that watches and jewelry hold their value and, depending on the life you lead, could become nearly priceless.

Photos courtesy of Bonhams auction house.

2017-02-22
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In a big announcement, Swiss watch brand TAG Heuer has unveiled its newest fresh face for women's watches in its "Don't Crack Under Pressure" ad campaign: supermodel Bella Hadid. Signed to IMG Models, the 20-year-old has already walked the runways for some of the finest fashion houses in the world, including Chanel, Givenchy, Dior, Versace, Fendi, Michael Kors and Victoria's Secret. Additionally, she was named the ambassador for Dior Makeup last year. Her sister Gigi is also a model, as was their mother before them.

“My family taught me to be strong and confident. I believe that everything happens for a reason and no matter what it is that happens, you will get through it," says Hadid.

Heading into the TAG Heuer relationship, the brand released a teaser video revealing that Hadid spent 1,500 hours in six-inch heels and made 34 wardrobe changes in fewer than 10 seconds — signifying that she doesn't crack under pressure. The new TAG Heuer ads with Hadid are shot by American photographer Cass Bird.

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Says Hadid, “I have always thought that watches are very classic. When you wear one it is classy and beautiful. I also think their ‘Don’t Crack Under Pressure’ message is incredible; it is about being strong and this is who I am.”

Appearing with Hadid at the big announcement in New York City was Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of the LVMH watch division, who said the campaign should bring a new millennial customer to the brand.

2017-02-16

The Swiss Federal Council recently approved a partial revision of its "Swiss made" ordinance for watches, effective as of January 1, 2017. The revision strengthens the label requirements for watches and movements and aligns them more with the new "Swissness" legislation that has been updated since its 2013 adoption by the Swiss Parliament.

Any watch bearing the indication "Swiss" or "Swiss made" must be backed by Swiss watchmaking expertise. According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, a number of studies have shown that consumers are willing to pay up to 20% more for Swiss watches, in general, and up to 50% more for certain mechanical watches. The revision of the "Swiss made" ordinance for watches is designed to strengthen the link between "Swiss made" watches and Switzerland, and to counter any possible abuse of the label.

The "Swiss made" ordinance for watches fine-tunes the "Swissness" legislation, stating that from here forward at least 60% of the production costs of a finished watch must be Swiss based. At present, only the cost of its movement is taken into account in determining the Swiss origin of a watch. The movement will still enjoy pride of place, however, as Swiss-made components must continue to represent at least 50% of its value, while at least 60% of its production must be generated in Switzerland.

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Additionally, the new rules of the "Swiss Made" ordinance state that the technical development of a "Swiss made" watch and movement must be executed in Switzerland.

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