The Breguet Replica Watch Sounds as Beautiful as It Looks

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Unconventionality sets the tone for Breguet’s Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon 7087.

“We wanted to choose the sound and then develop the watch around the sound, and not the other way around,” says Nakis Karapatis, vice president and head of operations for Breguet. The methodology he describes makes its appearance in the company’s Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon 7087, a fake watch that was unveiled in 2017 but underwent significant subsequent refinement before reaching the market this year. Like other Tradition replica watches, it is a visual feast of updated Enlightenment-era constructions, but its most interesting feature is the remarkable level of sound engineering.

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In an about-face from traditional minute-repeater construction, in which the major tuning is done by the watchmaker, much of the Tradition’s sound is designed at the computer. The developers selected the sound from a large database, then designed the parts to produce that frequency. The replica watch retains hammers and gong springs—Abraham-Louis Breguet’s seminal contribution to repeaters—but with distinctive vertical hammers and off-round gongs. The bezel, crystal, and a resonant cavity are designed to propagate sound, resulting in a roughly 15 percent increase in loudness.

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Conversely, the plates and internal pillars are designed to dampen sounds other than the primary frequency. The result is a chime that sounds remarkably pure, but without the harmonic frequencies that can add perceived richness in the best traditional repeaters. For some collectors drawn to the watch’s technical content, which Karapatis terms “vibro-acoustic design,” the sound may dovetail perfectly.

Look for additional coverage of minute-repeater replica watches in Robb Report Watch Collector, available in November.

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Rosamund Pike on IWC’s new women’s replica watches collection

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Rosamund Pike sporting a rose gold, 36mm IWC Da Vinci replica watch

“I became interested in replica watches because I’m such a terrible timekeeper,” admits Rosamund Pike. The British actress and ambassador for IWC replica glances at the timepiece adorning her wrist, a bracelet version of the brand’s new 36mm Da Vinci automatic with a delicate diamond bezel and round date window. The rose-gold case goes nicely with her pink and black metallic cocktail dress – something of a development for a brand whose slogan not so long ago was “engineered for men”.

I put this to her. “Oh, that’s an invitation to storm the bastion!” she replies. This is the first time in decades that replica IWC has openly courted the women’s market, although it has long had female ambassadors, including Cate Blanchett. Three years ago it launched the 37mm version of its dress watch range, the Portofino, with a diamond bezel and coloured strap, which it coyly described as “for the smaller wrist” – the campaign pictures featured women wearing dinner suits.

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IWC 36mm Da Vinci watches for women, in rose gold, rose gold with diamonds on a bracelet and steel with diamonds and a pink alligator strap

The 36mm Pilot’s Fake Watch Automatic which launched last year, with its deep blue dial and strap, opened the door for the new feminine style of the reborn Da Vinco collection. Inspired by a 1980s perpetual-calendar model, it returns from a tonneau to a round case.

The Da Vinci is also available with a dramatic 12 o’clock moon phase and an engraved “Flower of Life” case-back, as well as the choice of a bracelet or colourful Santoni alligator straps. There is also a 40mm men’s automatic version with a square date window.

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The IWC Da Vinci 36 moon-phase in steel, with diamond bezel and Santoni strap

While IWC is making incursions into the women’s market, Pike says she’ll happily wear some of the men’s models too. “I like a man’s watch on a woman; it can make your wrist look slimmer. One of my favourites is the Big Pilot – it looks cool on a man and I love the history and the stories behind it, but I admit it’s too big for me to wear. I do wear the Portugieser, which is so elegant but has all the detail of a sporty chronograph.”

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She tells me about her first watch, a much-loved Swatch when she was a child. “A proper watch with hands,” she adds. “I never liked digital replica watches. The magic was in watching the passage of time on this tiny dial.”

Pike – who most recently starred in A United Kingdom, about the 1940s marriage of an Englishwoman to the prince of Botswana – says she prefers a bracelet to a strap. “When you’re all over the world filming – I’ve been in southern Africa and Morocco recently, and it can be extremely hot and humid – a bracelet is just more comfortable, and it turns a woman’s fake watch into a piece of jewellery.”

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The IWC Da Vinci 36 in steel with blue dial

She is at ease talking about functions and complications, though makes no claims to a deep technical knowledge. “My grandmother used to make beautiful clothes, so I grew up with a knowledge of fine details,” she says.

“I like complications such as the beautiful Da Vinci moon phase. I hanker after a minute repeater, but I think that will remain a dream.” If Pike is hinting that she would like this to be a future IWC complication for women, she’s far too discreet to say so.

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Tag Heuer’s new ludicrously opulent but practical smart replica watch

Buying anything technological is pretty much the opposite of buying a posh watch. In replica watches shop, white-gloved assistants scurry to your side to make you feel important.

In your average High Street phone shop, even catching someone’s eye is a major achievement, and asking about the phones is about as rewarding as asking supermarket staff in-depth questions about the carrots.

Smartphones and smartwatches are disposable: proper, ticking watches aren’t. So Tag Heuer walks a tightrope with its Connected smart replica watches – which are both painfully expensive (like watches), and also liable to be outdated in two years’ time (like anything ‘smart’).

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This year’s Connected Modular 45 is still (of course) ludicrously opulent, but it’s more sensible

 

It’s a tribute to Tag’s prowess at selling posh baubles that it’s sold tens of thousands, regardless. Tag is a dab hand at this stuff, having previously sold a handmade metal phone with a 24-hour concierge on call, with the alarming motto, ‘Just ask, and it is yours.’

This year’s Connected Modular 45 is still (of course) ludicrously opulent, but it’s more sensible – the watch part is modular, so you can replace the screen with a ‘proper’ ticking watch when it’s out-dated… or indeed when it runs out of batteries.

You press buttons and unclip bits to pop the faces in and out. It’s all satisfyingly James Bond-esque – although even Q Branch might blanch at the price, as you pay £1400-plus for each fake watch face.

If you’re feeling extra flush, you can swap in a completely over-the-top tourbillon gadget for £15,000 (a thrumming clockwork device used by oligarchs to signal to each other just how much cash they have).

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The Android Wear watch is much improved from Tag’s previous effort. The screen’s brighter, the processor is faster (so you can flip between your messages and other apps quicker), and it now has Google’s latest voice assistant built in, so you can wow dinner guests by asking your wrist, ‘How old is Prince Charles?’ and actually getting an answer from your cuff. Truly, we live in exciting times.

Like any smartwatch, the Modular 45 is not going to make you more efficient, or more ‘connected’, nor is it going to make beautiful women look at one another and whisper, ‘Who is he?’ But it’s ‘smart’ and actually rather desirable, all at once – and that’s a step up from almost everything else in this market.

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