Vulcain Watches – now available at www.AZFineTime.com

Vulcain is a brand that is very rich in history.  From the dawn of the brand by the Ditisheim brothers in 1858, when it was know for its Chronometer grade and complicated pieces, to the development of the 1st functioning mechanical alarm wristwatch (the Cricket) in 1947, the brand has been renowned for it quality.  I am happy to say…  AZ Fine Time is now an authorized dealer for Vulcain.

Vulcain Watches

Vulcain Watches

In 1947, Vulcain also started being worn by US Presidents.  Trumann, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Johnson all wore Vulcain Crickets and utilized the alarm function when necessary.  Today, it is still labeled “The Presidents Watch” and even owned by our current president.

Vulcain Watches

Vulcain Watches

All Vulcain Crickets are in house manufactured in Le Locle Switzerland, the same city in which it was born.  This year, Vulcain also added heavily modified & decorated ETA based movements to the series to add more variety.

Vulcain Watches

Vulcain Watches

Vulcain Watches

Vulcain Watches

The movements are incredibly impressive in both finish and in complication.  The cricket series (ranging from the V-10 to V-28) use 2 barrels (one for the time keeping and one for the alarm) and come in both manual wind and automatic variations.  In either form they both have Vulcains Exactomatic system (patented in 1946) for the balancewheel/hairspring axis, which equalizes the friction on the balance staff by modifying the end jewels in the Incabloc shock absorber to give the hairspring a more stable and regular amplitude when being worn.  This makes the watch more accurate, consistent and less prone to shock.

Vulcain Watches

Vulcain Watches

Vulcain Watches

Vulcain Watches

The rotors in the automatics utilize ceramic bearings to make for smooth winding with no need for lubricants.  There are many notable benefits to ceramic bearings such as less friction, greater durability and a higher winding efficiency.  Ceramic bearings are also found in such high-end brands as JLC or Patek Phillipe.

Vulcain Watches

Vulcain Watches

There are anywhere from 157 parts (manual wind) to 257 parts (automatic) in a Cricket movement and both beat at a rate of 18,000 beats per hour.  All Crickets have a 42 hour power reserve and and a 15-20 second alarm duration.

Vulcain Watches

Vulcain Watches

Vulcain is a very high quality brand with great complications.  We have always admired this line and are very happy to add it to our roster.  We are expecting our 1st shipment of this brand to arrive from Switzerland in the next couple weeks and are very much so looking forward to having them in the store.

Vulcain Watches

Vulcain Watches

See below for more pictures…

Please feel free to check out Vulcain Watches on our site and to contact us if you ever have any questions.

Thank you!

Joe

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Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA011 – a new meaning to the name

I just recently pulled the trigger on a GS Snowflake. I have always loved the watch. I loved the story and the dial is amazing, but never had the opportunity to see how spectacular it is to wears. I’m happy to say, this is my favorite watch, hands down.


Snowflake-5 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

I’ve had it for 5 weeks now, and it hasn’t lost or gained a second.


Snowflake-6 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

I was worried I was too used to my SRQ013 which is 44mm and a lot heavier, but the size and weight are extremely comfortable. I’m very happy with the feel.


Snowflake-7 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

I’m still astonished with the Zaratsu (Blade) polishing on their in house Hi-Intensity Titanium. It really is beautiful and after the tests I’ve put it through, I’ve discovered it is VERY strong.


Snowflake-8 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

I love the GS lion hologram in the back, even though it’s tough to see.

But the weirdest thing happened this morning. I get in the car to head to work and I notice a reflection on the visor above my head. I know the High Definition Crystal is supposed to prevent reflection and so I look closer….

Sure enough, the reflection coming from the dial and hands look like a snowflake! Coincidence???


Enlarge this imageReduce this image Click to see fullsize

Snowflake by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

Back in December of 2011 I wrote about the Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT SBGE001, the ideal travelers watch.  In that I included a sneak peak of a new limited edition labeled SBGE021.  This exquisite green dial has finally landed at AZ Fine Time……

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

As a quick overview, the original SBGE001 is one of the most coveted Grand Seiko’s in the collectors market.  The supreme accuracy and quality of Spring Drive (rated +/- 1 sec a day, but performs within a 3 sec a month deviation); a sapphire crystal protecting the lumed, bi-directional, 24 hr bezel; and the convenience of an independently setting hour hand (so you can change timezones without deviating the immaculate accuracy of Spring Drive) are some of the attributes that make this watch so renowned.  Now Seiko has introduced a very special, small batch, variation of this piece that will have only 150 lucky owners.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

Green is certainly a color of luck in most cultures.  In Japan, green is also a symbol of eternal life.  The inspiration behind the deep green dial on the SBGE021 is, much like the adored “Snowflake”, a seasonal tribute to the home of Grand Seiko, Suwa Nagano Japan.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

The rich spectrum of green found in the dial was designed and inspired from the lush green plant life you will find in Suwa during Spring time.  Lake Suwa, in the Nagano prefecture, is surrounded by beautiful forest preserves.  The vegetation in the area has been well preserved and protected by the towns people.  There is great pride in the conservation of these natural environments.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

In the past, Seiko introduced limited edition model SBGA005 which had small fir trees embossed into the dial, also baring the dark green color as a tribute to the firs.  Fir trees are actually treasured in the Suwa region.  Every 6 years (the year of the monkey or tiger) the Onbashira Festival is held in Suwa, where 6-10 men will take down and ride the fir log down a steep hill.  It’s actually very dangerous with many injuries and even deaths during the event.  To die while coming down the hill is believed to spiritually renew the 4 Suwa-taisha Shrines and considered a very honorable death.  While the SBGE021 is not specific to firs, they do make up a lot of the green color found in the region.  Being of the evergreen family, they stay green all year round, which is a perfect example of green symbolizing eternal life.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

The SBGE021 is the exact model as the SBGE001, but with the beautiful dark green embossed sunburst dial and gold plated GMT hand.  The shades of green in this dial are unbelievable.  In darker settings, the dial almost looks black and is difficult to notice the texture.  Inside lighting seems to bring out much more variety in color.  It ranges from the almost black and has what would look to be an hourglass of vibrant green.  In sunlight, the hourglass grows larger and brings out tremendous ranges of green, with almost a reflective appearance to the sunburst embossing.  This dial is truly unique and indescribably gorgeous.  I have included a video to help capture the wide range of color in the dial. Also included are the smoothest gliding second hand of Spring Drive, the independent hour hand adjustment, and the phenomenally strong lume.

On the subject of green…..

I wanted to take the time to mention Seiko’s dedication to being “Green”.  Seiko utilizes and keeps producing new Clean Energy for their watches.  While many people may not see the cause for concern in watchmaking, over 1.7 billion watch batteries are thrown away every year.  Technologies such as Kinectic, Solar, Spring Drive and Mechanical all contribute to the prevention of throwing away batteries.  On top of that, Seiko does a lot more to contribute to a “green” earth.  Please feel free to learn more at Seiko’s Clean Energy website.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT Limited Edition SBGE021

I hope you all enjoyed.  While there are only 150 of this model, and I’m sure will all be sold out soon, the beauty of this Spring Time Spring Drive will be greatly remembered.

Please check below for more pictures…


As always, please let me know if I can ever be any help.

Joe @ AZFT

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT SBGE001

As the days go by, I see more and more love for Grand Seiko, and
totally understand why. They’re all gorgeous pieces, beautifully
crafted and have some of the finest motors in watches today. The
piece I would like to discuss today is one of our best selling models
here at AZ Fine Time…. The Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT – SBGE001.


GS-SBGE001-1 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


GS-SBGE001-2 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


GS-SBGE001-3 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


GS-SBGE001-4 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

Grand Seiko is notorious for their meticulous manufacturing. One of
the finest attributes to a high-end “travel” watch is the operation of
the GMT function. Seiko is using their completely in-house
manufactured 9R66 Spring Drive movement in this traveler’s master
piece . This gives the watch accuracy unattainable by any other
spring driven watch including what seems to be service free for many
years over most of the Swiss competion.


GS-SBGE001-5 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


GS-SBGE001-6 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


GS-SBGE001-7 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


GS-SBGE001-8 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

For those not familiar with Spring Drive, it is basically a fully
mechanical watch where the traditional escapement is replaced by a
tri-synchro regulator. The tri-synchro regulator utilizes the energy
from the mainspring to make electricity, that powers an extremely high
accuracy quartz crystal, and transfers the frequency of the crystal to
an electromagnetic brake that regulates a glide wheel (what would be a
balance wheel, but rotates in only one direction) to 8 rotations per
second. Of course, that’s the simple explanation. This in turn gives
the watch a rating to +/- 1 sec a day accuracy, but actual performance
within 1-3 sec a month deviation. On top of that, the 9R66 has an
independently controlled hour hand as opposed to GMT hands you will
see on most other pieces. This gives the wearer ability to change the
time without having to stop the second hand and ruin the time you had
so masterfully paired to the atomic clock. Pull the crown out, turn
to move the hour hand forward or back, screw the crown back in and
you’re ready for the next city. Now you have the ultimate, accurate,
travelers movement.


GS-SBGE001-9 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


GS-SBGE001-10 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

The other key feature on this piece is its sapphire bezel. Seiko
actually develops a domed Sapphire crystal just for the bezel! It
truly gives the piece a gorgeous look on top of the fact it is scratch
resistant. Under that crystal lies lumed indexes and numerals that
glow like there’s no tomorrow. They actually use the same natural
lume that illuminates the Seiko Space Walk, just in slightly smaller
applications. The bezel is bi-directional and allows you to view up
to three time zones at once. The bezel operates smoother than any I
have ever felt and the toothed edge only adds benefit to it’s
operation. Naturally, there is a domed – dual AR coated –
high-definition – sapphire crystal that covers the dial of the watch.
As I’m sure you can imagine, they are not easy to manufacture.


GS-SBGE001-11 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


GS-SBGE001-12 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


GS-SBGE001-13 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr


GS-SBGE001-15 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

Karatsu “blade” polishing is something I have mentioned in many of my
posts. The SBGE001 uses this ancient form of artistry to polish the
stainless steel in this watch. Everything in Grand Seiko, from the
steel they use, the way it is forged, and the polishing technique
applied, derives from the art form in manufacturing the katana blade.
This gives the piece a gorgeous sparkle that competes with the finest
pieces in the industry. It is also applied to the steel on the
indexes and hands to make for supreme legibility.


GS-SBGE001-16 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

The deep matte black dial also contributes to the legibility of the
timepiece, making it very easy to see the glitter of the indexes
reflecting light. The red GMT hand is also incredibly legible against
the black matte. As you will notice, legibility is a major attribute
to all Grand Seiko’s.


GS-SBGE001-17 by JoeAZFT, on Flickr

Overall, the SBGE001 is an incredible timepiece and a true thing of
beauty. It’s the ultimate watch for the ultimate traveler (or even if
your not). Grand Seiko has yet again set a new standard in quality.
And soon, you will have the opportunity to own it’s very limited
counter part, SBGE021.

Click to see the SBGE021…

As always, thanks for reading and I hope you all enjoyed. Please let
me know if there’s ever any help I can be.

Joe