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Do You Need a World Time Watch?

chopard luc time traveler oneThere’s a lot going on at any given time in the watchmaking world, as a big part of any luxury brand’s day seems to involve coming up with something that will attract the attention of buyers.

That makes sense, as the market is somewhat crowded and there are only so many buyers out there.  On the other hand, a lot of buyers own more than one watch and will gladly buy more if they see some new shiny thing that they don’t already have.  That’s why makers are always tweaking their product line, coming up with new complications, features, and precious metals combinations to try to attract people to buy.

One elaborate complication that we’re seeing more of these days is the idea of a world time watch.  A world time watch is one of the busier looking watches out there, and they tend to make a chronograph look rather tame by comparison.  If you’re the kind of person who likes a simple watch face, a world time watch is not going to be for you.

The term “world time” isn’t just a clever name; the watches are designed, more or less, to be able to show you the time of day anywhere on the planet.  The main display will always show you the local time, but most world time watches also have a rotating dial that will show you the time of day in 24 other places around the globe.

A good example would be the new Chopard L.U.C Time Traveler One, a limited edition model that also represents the company’s first attempt at a world time watch.  This particular timepiece uses the company’s own calibre 01.05-L movement and the timepiece will also display seconds and the date.  It’s also a self-winding automatic, and you can view the entire mechanism via the sapphire crystal case back.

You adjust the time via the crown at 2 o’clock, and you adjust the world time ring using the crown at 4 o’clock, which has a globe on it so you won’t confuse the two.

chopard luc time traveler oneThe end result is an interesting watch, but like all world time watches, it also has a very busy face.  If you’re just looking for the time, you’ll find this one a bit cluttered.  On the other hand, if you actually need a watch that tells you the time of day in 24 different time zones, what kind of person are you and what do you do for a living?

We’re not really sure that a world time watch is something that anyone really needs. On the other hand, if you’re a collector of gadgets, a fan of watches with complications, or just a fan of Chopard watches in general, this is one you’ll likely find to be interesting.  It may, or may not, be one that you’ll be adding to your collection anytime soon, depending on your finances.  The Chopard L.U.C Time Traveler One is available in stainless steel, rose gold, and platinum, at roughly $13,000, $23,000 and $36,000 respectively.

It’s nice to see that you can get it in steel, as the watch is essentially the same, aside from the case material, as the platinum version.  On the other hand, it’s roughly one third of the price.

As production is limited, this one will likely be hard to find regardless of your finances, so if you need to know the time in Burkina Faso, you might just have to ask someone.

A Coin With a “P” Mint Mark

2017 P Penny
2017 P Penny

Each of the mints that produce U.S. coins have long put a letter, or mint mark, on their coins to indicate to the public and to collectors where those particular coins were made.

While current production comes from three mints – Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver, and West Point there were previously minting facilities in:

  • Carson City, Nevada
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Dahlonega, Georgia
  • New Orleans, Louisiana

All of these locations have always used mint marks on their coins, though the Philadelphia mint traditionally did not.  Collectors generally knew that any coins that did not have a mint mark were produced at the Philadelphia mint.  An exception was Jefferson nickels produced there from 1942-1945; those did have a fairly large “P” on the reverse side of the coin.  Another exception was the 1979 Susan B. Anthony Dollar.

Since 1980, coins produced at the Philadelphia mint have had a “P” mint mark, with the odd exception of the penny.  For whatever reason, that coin, and that coin alone, did not have a mark.

That’s going to change in 2017, as the Philadelphia mint is celebrating its 225th anniversary.  As part of that celebration, the mint is using the “P” mark on all of its coins, including the cent.

1944 Philadelphia nickel
1944 Philadelphia nickel

Ordinarily, collectors would rush out to buy these pennies, and chances are that many people are hoarding at least a few.  After all, the mint has announced that this is a one-off aberration, and that in 2018, we’ll likely see pennies coming from Philadelphia that lack a mint mark again.

That sounds like a great opportunity for the opportunistic, with just one problem – the 2017 pennies being produced at the Philadelphia mint aren’t rare.  In fact, they’re quite common, as the mint has produced nearly two billion of them through the end of May, 2017.  At that rate, there might be 4-5 billion of them in circulation by the end of the year.

It’s times like these that the oddities may turn up.  Perhaps the mint has (or will) accidentally produce a few cents that lack a mint mark.  In this case, as with the 1944 steel penny, it’s the exception that generates the appeal among collectors.


Putin’s Patek Philippe for Sale?

Putin's Patek?
Putin’s Patek?

Vladimir Putin is a man who is well known to most people, and he’s certainly been in the news a lot in recent years.  What’s unusual, however, is to see him in the news in matters related to watches.

It turns out that Russia’s leader is actually a collector of fine watches and he reportedly has a collection of both size and repute.  We didn’t know this, but then again, most people who collect world-class examples of rare watches rarely make themselves known.  In fact, more often than not, when a super-rare watch comes up for auction, both the seller and the eventual buyer are usually reported to be “anonymous.”

This week, however, a site called Antiquorum has reportedly listed for an upcoming auction a watch whose owner is reportedly Vladimir Putin himself.  That might seem to be a fraud, but the watch is a rare Patek Philippe, and the company usually insists on recording the name of the buyer for their more unusual timepieces.

Furthermore, the timepiece in question is an unusually rare model, the reference 5208P grand  complication.  These watches aren’t sold to just anyone, and you likely have to be famous (or suitably wealthy) to the extent of a Vladimir Putin to even be permitted to buy one in the first place.

It’s a lovely watch that cost roughly $1 million new, and it features:

  • A platinum case measuring 42mm
  • Black leather alligator strap
  • Self-winding automatic model
  • Minute repeater
  • Mono-pusher chronograph
  • Minute repeater with two gongs
  • Chronograph has 60 minute and 12 hour counters
  • Moon phases
  • Instantaneous perpetual calendar with day, date, month, leap year and day/night indicator

This is a nice watch, and as we pointed out, it sells for roughly $1 million when new.  Obviously, it’s a used example of a watch that is currently available if you have the money and are well-known enough to have the company sell one to you.  On the other hand, the current owner is a well known celebrity (or despot, depending on your point of view) and that alone could dramatically affect the sales price when the watch is sold in July.

Part of the question for all potential bidders is this one – Is this actually Putin’s watch?  At the moment, there is not a lot of indication on the auction company’s site about this, but perhaps at some point in the future they will offer something in the way of provenance to indicate whether this watch belongs to the Vladimir Putin, someone else by that name, or someone who simply used that name to register the watch when they initially purchased it.

Watches that belong to famous people have often sold for tremendous amounts of money, so it’s likely that a lot of eyes will be on this one.

Regardless of ownership or provenance, this Patek Philippe is a beautiful watch with an incredible number of complications and not one that is often seen for sale anywhere.   One can rest assured that there will be plenty of bidding and the off-chance that it might be previously owned by the Russian leader will certainly keep both interest and bids high.