Ca'd'oro Blog

Ca'd'oro Blog

There is an enticing exhibition taking place until the end of the year at the National Watch & Clock Museum. Entitled Sacred, the exhibit focuses on the symbolism and religious concepts of time. The exhibit is designed to give visitors an inside view about how various religions view the passage of time.


Time has been used for millennia as a major focus in many religions. Christians focus their feast days around different times of the year, the Islamic and Jewish community focus on the stages of the moon, while the Buddhists see time as a wheel that focuses on the movement of the sun. Similarly, many ancient religions view time differently. The Druids measured time by the solstices, the Egyptians by the stars and rise and fall of the Nile, and the Mayans and Aztecs around a solar year."

The exhibition showcases many of these views of time for both the ancient and modern civilizations. The museum, home to America's largest timekeeping collection, is located in Columbia, Pa., and has an impressive collection of watches and clocks — with revolving special exhibits such as this one.


Once you're there, don't forget to visit the ongoing "James Bond Wore the Quartz Revolution" exhibit, which showcases many of the timepieces worn by Bond stars in EON Productions movies from 1973 through 1995.


When you are buying a fine timepiece with a mechanical movement inside, the technical specifications for the caliber usually list the number of jewels. Typically, those jewels are synthetic rubies, but sometimes brands use synthetic blue sapphires, as well — for a bit of a different look. The thing is, unless the movement is visible via a transparent caseback, you don't even see those jewels. So then, why use them at all? The reason is simple and effective: using synthetic jewels in the movement as bearings actually reduces friction within the caliber and therefore gives the movement a longer life by reducing wear and tear.

Adding jewels instead of mechanical metal pieces to do the bearings' job helps ensure accuracy. It also enables the watch brand to make the movement smaller in size and in weight than it would if the parts were made of metal. Additionally, rubies can withstand temperature changes and so offer stability. However, setting these minuscule jewels into their designated spots on the movement is no easy task. In fact, seasoned watchmakers must do this job using tweezers and microscopes. In the end, though, the look is beautiful, and it is great if you get to see the rubies (or sapphires) in all their glory in the timepiece.

As noted, these jewels are synthetically developed. Most use aluminum and chromium oxide that undergo heating, fusing and crystallizing processes. These rubies are not as valuable as natural rubies.  The number of rubies that are used in each watch movement varies depending on the timepiece and its complexity. Typically, a three-hands watch will have about 11 to 17 rubies in it. Generally, though, more complex calibers and more moving components will demand the use of more rubies.


It isn't every day a Swiss watch brand in the affordable luxury category, such as Baume & Mercier, unveils a more expensive complicated watch. In fact, for this brand, it is only about once a year. To demonstrate its technical savior-faire and true watchmaking capabilities, once annually for the past five years, Baume & Mercier has released a specially made complicated piece in its much-loved Clifton collection. This year, that piece is a perpetual calendar watch.


The Clifton Perpetual Calendar features a silver opaline dial with day, date, month, leap year and moon phase indications. The perpetual calendar tracks day, date (taking into account different lengths of the months), month, year, leap year and moon phases via a mechanical memory of 1,461 days (four years).

Crafted in 18-karat 5N rose gold, the watch is powered by an automatic Vaucher 5401 base caliber that features a Dubois Depraz 5100 module for tracking the celestial factors, such as moon phase and perpetual timing.

Baume & Mercier designed and developed the concept in its Geneva headquarters, and the finishing and  assembly in the its Les Brenets (Jura Mountains) workshops. The dial — harmoniously balanced with four sundials — is slightly domed, and its fine silver opaline finish gives it a vintage appeal. The watch deftly achieves what it set out to do: demonstrate the abilities of the Baume & Mercier designers and watch makers.

Stop in any time to see our selection of fine Baume & Mercier watches.


We've all heard the term "shock resistant" in the watchmaking world. However, what does this term really mean and is your timepiece resistant enough to absorb shocks caused by falling, dropping, exerting too much acceleration at once, and more?


It is a viable question in today's fast-paced world where active lifestyles put us on the edge of powerful sports and lifestyle engagements all the time. As such, today's top watchmakers are going to new heights to make their watches sturdier so they can withstand the rigors of daily life.

Essentially, a truly shock-resistant watch is one whose movement is not damaged when dropped or subjected to constant impactful motions (i.e., worn on the wrist during a tennis match). Generally, watch brands achieve this via different types of suspension systems for the balance wheel. Such systems include pivots that can hold a balance wheel in place, while offering enough "give" to go with the situation or even more complex multi-level suspension processes.


The most commonly used system is the Incablock — invented in the early 1930s and perfected time and again. Incablock is a trade name for a spring-loaded mounting system for the jewel bearings that support the mechanical watch’s balance wheel. Some brands today combine the Incablock system with synthetic jewels, silicon hairsprings, non-ferrous escape wheels, outer housing containers, ceramic ball bearings and other high-tech materials and trains that make the watch movement ever more resistant to blunt force trauma.


The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) has also issued certain standards of shock resistance. In the watch world, to be called shock resistant, a watch must meet certain tests and controls and adhere to the standards of shock resistance issued by the ISO, including keeping accuracy while undergoing shock of  +/- 60 seconds/day. Additionally, most watch brands using shock resistant movements also use top-quality case and crystal materials to avoid breakage.

Is your watch shock resistant? If you have purchased a certified chronometer, yes. Other watches that are shock resistant mostly include dive watches, pilot watches and certain high-tech sport watches. Stop in any time to discuss shock resistance with us and to find the watch that is right for your active lifestyle.


We are often questioned about what "power reserve" really means, so here we take an in-depth look at what the Swiss refer to as "Reserve de Marche."

Essentially, when a mechanical watch is fully wound, it will continue to work for a designated number of hours — even when laid on your dresser — before needing to be rewound. The length of time the watch will continue to run is called its power reserve. Watches have differing lengths of power reserve based on their mechanics.

This is how it works: To power a watch, a host of gears, teeth, barrels and springs must interact. But it is the spring and barrel that essentially keep the watch operating. A long piece of metal is tightly wound into a spring and then placed inside a cylinder or barrel. This is where the energy is stored. The spring releases its tension in a consistent manner, offering constant energy to power the watch at a regular rate.

The amount of power a watch has is determined by many factors, including the number of barrels and springs. A watch with a longer power reserve will usually have two barrels and two springs.

Additionally, power reserve can differ from watch to watch depending on whether the mechanical watch is manually wound (by the wearer) or is an automatic watch (wherein the rotor of the watch automatically winds during use). The norm on an automatic watch is 36 to 42 hours, while a manual wind watch can be equipped with enough power reserve to last for week (and in extreme circumstances, longer).

Some watches offer what is a called a power reserve indicator on either the dial or the case back. This tells how much power is left in the watch before needing to be wound. Indicators are most often shown via a subdial with a hand pointing to a number that shows the remaining power. Sometimes that indication shows a color palette instead of a number. This type of indicator often displays a blue or white color and then a bright red area. When the hand is in the red, it means it's time to wind the watch.

Other indications may use plus or minus signs, an up or down indication, or a linear read out. Some watches do not offer power reserve indications and you just need to know when you wore the watch last to know that it may need to be wound to avoid having to reset the time. Even better, you can use an automatic watch winder to keep your automatic timepieces wound perfectly all the time.


If you are a watch lover and plan to be in New York City on October 14 and 15, you are going to want to visit the Watch Time New York exhibition, with top watch brands, expert panel discussions, watch book signings and so much more.


Organized by WatchTime Magazine, the annual luxurious consumer event is held at Manhattan's Gotham Hall. This year, more than 20 of the world’s finest watch brands will not only be showing their latest and greatest timepieces, but also will be bringing in watchmakers, artisans and even celebrity brand ambassadors so that consumers can get a taste of watchmaking from every perspective.

Attendees can mingle with watch company executives, industry experts and fellow watch aficionados, including Instagram star Anish Bhatt, founder of the Watch Anish watch blog. A full lineup commences on Saturday, October 15th, including a talk on “Vintage Collecting” presented by Phillips Auctions, with WatchTime Editor-at-Large Joe Thompson; an expert panel discussion of the distinctive quality of hand-made luxury mechanical watches, moderated by Media Personality and Reporter Bill McCuddy; a presentation on the history and evolution of dive watches by WatchTime Editor-in-Chief Roger Ruegger; and book signings with authors and industry experts, including 33-year watch veteran journalist Roberta Naas, author of six books on watches and timekeeping.


Brands strutting their stuff at Watch Time New York will include A. Lange & Sohne, Armin Strom, Bell & Ross, Blancpain, Breguet, Carl F. Bucherer, Corum, Harry Winston, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jaquet Droz, Jean Rousseau, MB & F, Moritz Grossmann, Nomos Glashutte, Omega, Perrelet, Romain Gauthier, RGM, Seiko, Peter Speake-Marin, Tutima, Urban Jurgensen and Vacheron Constantin.


While watchmaking technology has been steadily improving for more than five centuries, there always seems to be room for improvement. Today’s finest watchmakers continually push the boundaries when it comes to innovation – offering new and exciting technology, functions and even materials.


Gold, platinum and steel will forever be forged into watch cases, but today, many brands also take their inspiration from the space, aviation, automotive and medical worlds when it comes to super high-tech materials.


Among the favorites are engineered ceramics, multiple grades of high-tech titanium, hypoallergenic alloys, aluminium (a derivative of aluminum that can be colored and is super light weight), carbon fiber (a dense yet light-weight material that is super strong thanks to the layering or weaving of thousands of strands of fibers), kevlar and more. Some brands are even working with transparent sapphire to create cases that are virtually see through.


The point behind these materials is not just to offer an exciting marketing angle, but, more to the point, to offer more durability, more scratch- or shock-resistance and lighter weight. Indeed, the materials used have to meet a clear objective, whether that is achieving a certain color, a certain weight or a certain aesthetic appeal.

Some brands are even building their own alloys of gold that will keep the gold from scratching or wearing in any way. This, of course, makes them even more precious in the long run.


Additionally, brands are even perfecting the coatings they apply to the materials. Years ago, when one wanted to add a different color to a metal, the piece was bathed in an electroplating process. Today, at the high end of the luxury watch spectrum, a host of coating methods can be employed, including PVD (physical vapor deposition), DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) applications and other methods that make the coating last longer and resist scratching.

We invite you in any time to see our vast array of timepieces that utilize high-tech materials in their cases, bracelets, bezels and straps.


With Labor Day behind us, it seems to be a signal of oncoming fall – shorter days, earlier nights. This makes it a great time to invest in a watch that tells time in the dark. Luminous watches that don’t look luminous during the day but that glow brightly at night or in the dark took about a century to perfect.

In the early 1900s Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium. It was only a decade or so later that watch companies and dial makers turned to the substance as a luminous aid. Little did they know the dangers involved in using the material, which emits particles that have the effect of ionizing and glowing fluorescent.


Dial makers developed a radium-based paint and, in 1914, Radium Luminous Materials Corporation began producing the phosphorescent paint for watch hands and markers. Workers would paint the dials and often lick the tip of the brush to get a finer point on it for thinner, more exact lines. They began getting sick from the radiation within the paint and many died. A group of women banned together in the late 1920s and took the company to court, which led to its closing and the implementation of new rules about the material.

Scientists and researchers looked for other options and, in the 1960s, found tritium, which was more harmful than radium, but limits were established on how much could be used in a paint (vintage 1960s watches using this material may have a single or double T on the dial).

Eventually laws prohibited the use of radioactive paint and in the 1990s Super-LumiNova was unveiled. The non-radioactive substance is the material of choice today. It offers a strong glow (in several colors) without the danger. Additionally, the material has been improved over the past 20 years and is brighter today than it was in its original forms. The material glows after absorbing sufficient UV light, and the strength of the glow depends on how many layers of Super-LumiNova are applied.


Some watch companies also use a new tritium-based system called “Gaseous Tritium Light Source” (GTLS), wherein the material is encased in tiny glass tubes that are placed together to form numerals or markers. This system is brighter than Super-LumiNova but also more expensive and more difficult to execute.

At any rate, now that you know how much research has gone into creating watches with lumen, we invite you to stop in any time and see our great selection of luminous watches.


Planning a trip to Paris in September? If so, you may want to visit the 2016 Biennale des Antiquaires that is taking place at the Grand Palais from September 10-18. This year, for the first time ever, the Biennale organizers are working with the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) of Geneva to showcase a thematic exhibition based on "The Mastery of Time" book about man's quest to track time.

Convertible Bracelet

While the Biennale transforms the Grand Palais into one of the foremost showcases for art and culture, the new time-themed exhibition is guaranteed to bridge the gap between the past and the future when it comes to timepieces. On display will be artifacts and historical watches that span centuries, including sundials, table clocks, astronomical clocks, pocket watches, automatons and more. Additionally, master craftsmen and watchmakers will be on hand throughout the exhibit.

Atomic Clock

Credits: All images courtesy of FHH.

watches 1

Recently, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) released its July export statistics, and while the overall numbers weren’t on a roll, the U.S. market came out on top. For nearly a decade, the Asian markets — led by Hong Kong — were the largest consumers of Swiss watches, with the U.S. not too far behind.

However, with tough economic times in Asia, the United States unseated Hong Kong as the top importer of Swiss watches — accounting for 10.9 percent of all Swiss watch exports during the month of July (10.7 percent of the exports that month went to Hong Kong). The last time the United States held this top spot was nine years ago.

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