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I heard some interesting history which helps to explain at least part of why there are so many watch brands up here. The mostly agrarian culture (traditionally) didn’t have much to do during the long winters. So an indoor activity would have made the most sense. This area also has relatively easy to mine metal ore deposits which the people here have been using for a long time to make metal tools and things like musical instruments. One use for their tool making skills and available metal was watch production. So out here in the middle of nowhere, Switzerland, near the French border, is where a number of world-class watch brands are based. One of them is Jaeger-LeCoultre.

The Titanic DNA case is 46mm wide and 15mm thick. You'll find that over the years Romain Jerome has offered it in a variety of styles and materials including steel, gold, and ceramic. While the case is simple in concept, there are a number of small details that make it interesting. These include the brushed and polished sections, and of course the bezel "claws." My favorite part is the dial. The hands are meant to look a bit like anchors, with lume at their tips, and the applied Arabic numerals are period perfect and brushed on the surface for ideal legibility. The hint of red on the subsidiary seconds - that looks like some type of engine room gauge - is a delicate and refined touch. There are Titanic DNA models with other dials identical to this one, but with date windows in the sub-seconds dial. However, I think this dial sans the date is more elegant. Look closely and you'll notice that the face has a texture a bit similar to the bezel. According to Romain Jerome the dial is made with a bit of "Titanic coal."

One of the best mechanical watches for 2011 shown at the GTE (Geneva Time Exhibition) was clearly Frederic Jouvenot's masterfully creative and well-executed Helios watch. The talented Mr. Jouvenot - a young and ambitious watch maker - was nice enough to show off the watch to me himself. I was dazzled by just how different, yet easy to read it was - and for about 50,000 Swiss Francs you too can have one.

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One of my favorite A. Lange & Sohne watch designs of all time is the famous Datograph - and to think the design is over 11 years old now! For 2012 Lange is revisiting the Datrograph with a new and updated model that retains the desirability of the original watch. The new model will be called the Datograph Up/Down (Update: it was originally called the Datograph AUF/AB in German, but they changed the name to English).

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