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Go retro with the pocket watch | Business Line

Go retro with the pocket watch Elizabeth Mathew Share   ·   Comment   ·   print   ·   Tweet Old is gold The "Equestrian Lépine" from Longines is a pocket watch whose design is closely inspired by a piece from 1927 Two in one The "L.U.C Louis-Ulysse - The Tribute 2" from Chopard can be worn as both a pocket watch and a wrist watch Ticking again The "Grand Complication No 42500" from A. Lange & Söhne was created in 1902 and restored to perfect working condition in 2010 New-age classic The "Pocket Watch 3 Days" from Panerai is a traditional pocket watch with a modern aesthetic Priceless Auctioned at Christie's this year, the "Breguet No. 1176" was sold for CHF 821,000

A wise buy now can lead to great returns decades hence

watches Wearable tech is all the rage right now, with everything from smart watches to fitness track bands. But how about the oldest wearable technology of all – the pocket watch?

fake Pocket watches, which went out of style along with the waistcoat, are now witnessing a resurgence with vintage watchmakers giving them a makeover.

fake Vintage inspiration Inspiration often comes from looking at the annals of history and in horology, few things are as inspiring as the classics.

Replica watches Many watchmakers who have been around for more than a century started off as makers of pocket watches − the original masculine accessory.

fake It was only after World War I that the wristwatch — considered feminine until then — was deemed appropriate for men.

copy A Lange & Söhne is one such revered maker of pocket watches since 1845. The company was restored after suffering setbacks in the war years, and produced its first range of wristwatches in 1994.

In 2010 the firm revealed to the world a fully-restored complicated pocket watch that it produced in 1902.

More than a century later, this piece, now called the Grand Complication No 42500, is in working condition. The inspiration for many of the brand’s iconic creations came from this restored antique.

Chopard is another brand that has long utilised its pocket watch heritage for innovations. In 2010, it unveiled the LUC Louis-Ulysse - The Tribute 2, a novelty watch that seamlessly converted from a manually-wound pocket watch into a wrist watch by insertion into a metal cradle attached to a leather strap.

Chopard’s LUC 1963 is a classic chronometer inspired by the clean aesthetic and large size of the pocket watch.

In fact, the piece features a pocket watch movement, with the dial occupying almost the entire diameter of the watch. The mechanical, hand-wound movement is a tribute to the classic pocket watch.

In addition to pieces inspired by classic pocket watches, some brands are creating pocket watches that find relevance in the watch market even today. Longines is a brand that has used equestrian inspirations in many of their pieces in the past.

Reinventing retro To mark the Year of the Horse, the brand revealed at Baselworld this year the Longines Equestrian Lépine, a pocket watch in rose gold.

The inspiration for this piece came from a metal Lépine pocket watch from 1927, which is now displayed in the brand’s museum.

The pocket watch features a manually-wound L506 calibre and detailing like a railway track minute ring and painted Arabic numerals marking the time, just like the original.

While Longines went in for the classic style, Panerai has given the pocket watch a modern reinterpretation with their new Pocket Watch 3 Days, which comes in two options — Oro Rosso and Oro Bianco (white gold or rose gold).

The classic cushion shaped case, inspired by the Radiomir, is 50-mm in diameter and the dial is in keeping with Panerai’s style featuring baton hour markers and numerals at every quarter.

The back cover can be flipped open to view the P.3001/10 calibre with skeletonised barrels and bridges that allows a clear view of movement. Just 50 pieces of this limited edition piece are available. It comes with a strap inspired by nautical chains, completing the sleek look that makes a traditional design relevant in the present.

Jaeger-LeCoultre this year revealed their Hybris Artistica collection of 12 timepieces, each showcasing the horological expertise of the brand.

Of these 12, one was the Duomètre Sphérotourbillon Pocket Watch, inspired by a grand complication pocket watch from 1928.

JLC gave the traditional classic pocket watch a complication as fascinating as the Spherotourbillon, visible through the opening at 6 o’clock.

In an ode to the original, the new piece retains the white enamelling and a gold framed bezel, while modern additions like the transparent tourbillon bridge made of sapphire give it a modern touch. But while buying a pocket watch, don’t just go by style — history is proof that a wise buy now can lead to great returns decades hence. A timely purchase of an antique piece could turn out to be a wise alternative investment, just look at recent auctions for proof.

Must-have accessory At a recent Sotheby’s Geneva auction of important watches, historically significant time pieces like vintage pocket watches from Vacheron Constantin were big ticket items.

A white and pink gold pocket watch from 1933 sold for $343,037 — nearly ten times the original estimate — and a rare platinum pocket watch with calendar, power reserve and moon phases at noon was sold for $194,575, which is about 12 times the expected price.

At Christie’s Important Watches sale in May this year, one of the remarkable pieces sold was a gold open-face pocket chronometer with a four minute tourbillon, power reserve and stop-seconds feature, from the year 1809.

The piece was the third tourbillon ever created by Abraham Louis-Breguet and its historical importance is second only to the remarkable movement it houses. Sold for 821,000 Swiss francs, the piece increased almost twenty times in value since its first sale.

So go through the antique stores and auction houses for a classic piece from years ago, or invest in a brand new piece from hallowed watchmakers — the classic pocket watch is slowly becoming a must-have accessory, and a great investment.

(This article was published on June 29, 2014) Post Comment Related TOPICS advertising and marketing | branding and design | lifestyle and leisure | fashion | lifestyle and leisure | What's this? X These are links to The Hindu Business Line suggested by Outbrain, which may or may not be relevant to the other content on this page. You can read Outbrain's privacy and cookie policy here. What's this? X These are paid-for links provided by Outbrain, and may or may not be relevant to the other content on this page. To find out more information about driving traffic to your content or to place this widget on your site, visit You can read Outbrain's privacy and cookie policy here. Tweet You can now login with LI or FB and share your comments with others Please Wait while comments are loading... 1.  Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team. 2.  Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published. 3.  Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters,       or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text.       (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and'). 4.  We may remove hyperlinks within comments. 5.  Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.