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6 facts about watches: did you know that ...?

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… Vacheron Constantin is the longest-serving watch manufacturer in the world?

D he Geneva company was founded in 1755 and has been building clocks without any interruption, currently around 20,000 watches a year. Its competitor Blancpain is a little older with its founding year 1735, but the brand ceased business activities during the quartz crisis in the 1970s and was not revived until 1983. Both factories are run by proven sports car fans: Vacheron boss Charlie Torres is a passionate driver of Porsche, while Blancpain President Marc Hayek drives a Lamborghini.

... the first self-winding chronograph movements did not go into series production until 1969?

It was a head-to-head race between Zenith on the one hand and a consortium made up of Breitling, Heuer-Leonidas, Hamilton /Büren and Dubois-Dépraz - a race between Zenith and the Presentation of a chronograph caliber with an automatic winding mechanism on January 10, 1969. This extremely aesthetic caliber 3019 PHC, which is still in production, is called 'El Primero' (the first) to this day. The consortium of other brands did not show its caliber 11 to the public until March 3rd of the same year.

... Rolex is the uncrowned world champion among chronometer manufacturers?

In 2013, the Geneva-based 804,896 movements had their accuracy certified by the independent Swiss chronometer test center COSC, which is around 80 percent of the estimated annual Rolex production of around one million. The silver medal goes to Omega with 447,477 course notes for their mechanical movements. Breitling secured third place on the podium with 155,737 COSC certificates, two thirds for mechanical and one third for quartz movements. The figures for 2014 have not yet been fully evaluated.

... the most expensive watch of all time was auctioned for 19.4 million euros?

Watches from Patek Philippe have been achieving top prices at auctions for many years, so it's no wonder that a Patek at Sotheby’s reported a new auction record last year with around 19.4 million euros. It is a pocket watch that the New York businessman Henry Graves bought from the Geneva Manufacture in 1933 for $ 15,000. TheThe so-called 'Graves Supercomplication' has 24 additional functions such as a perpetual calendar, chronograph, minute repeater and astronomical displays.

... the lightest movement in the world weighs only around one gram?

It is the caliber 101 from the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufactory that traditionally offers the greatest variety of mechanical movements. According to managing director Daniel Riedo, 90 different calibers are currently running in the current production in Le Sentier, Switzerland in the Vallée de Joux. The spectrum ranges from simple manual and automatic movements to highly complex manufacture calibers with minute repeater, calendar functions, chronographs and spherical tourbillons. The manufacture founded by Antoine LeCoultre in 1833 owns more than 400 patents.

... the most exclusive leather for bracelets comes from a shipwreck?

On December 10, 1786, the Metta Catharina from Flensburg sank off the coast of Cornwall, the two-master was on its way from St. Petersburg to Genoa and had, among other things, several bales of the finest Russian leather on board. In the 1970s, English divers discovered the wreck at a depth of 30 meters and were able to recover some bales in the course of the following years. The leather, which is more than 200 years old, was in excellent condition and was used, among other things, to sew exclusive watch straps.

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