Decimal repeaters

 By: nickd : December 26th, 2008-00:36

There were some experiments with decimal repeating clocks using the French revolutionary calendar and decimal hours, and I have an idea there may have been decimal repeating pocketwatches - a good excuse to dig some books out.


Didn't AP unveil a decimal repeater in the same year as Kari premiered his?

 By: SJX : December 26th, 2008-22:00

Or maybe a year later? I remember seeing it at Basel 2006 or 2005.


It was a year later, and through grated teeth, as...

 By: ThomasM : December 26th, 2008-23:30

the idea for the "decimal repeater" was floated inside AP nearly a decade before (I know who floated the idea...)

The other brand didn't make it to production, as they didn't even want to come in behind someone else.

Of course, the shoes have been reversed; according to principals, Martin Braun was working on his sunrise/sunset EOT when AP released their landmark WRISTWATCH Equation du Temp in 2000...Martin Braun was thinking, "Scheiss!" while AP took all the accolades.

Of course, AP admits they were inspired by one of their own pocketwatches from the early 20th C, and experienced, well read collectors know the EOT complication preceded even that...

And so it goes...



Regarding Kari's inspiration for the decimal repeater,

 By: tony p : December 26th, 2008-20:20
I actually asked him once "How did you feel when you first came up with the idea?"

His reply, delivered with an impish grin, was "I had to go and make the watch...immediately!"

Tony P

Great anecdote

 By: Gary G : December 26th, 2008-21:53

I can easily imagine Kari saying that!

I will hope to learn more about any precedents for the decimal repeater -- proves once again the depth of knowledge and insight of other members of this forum!



Are you familiar with...

 By: whitestrat : December 25th, 2008-19:30

The product known as the Starwheel from AP? If so, then why is Urwerk a totally original concept again? I think in this industry, there are no such things left as original concepts. There are either borrowed concepts, modified concepts, or re-hashed concepts. Even the great F.P Journe built his hame on borrowed ideas.

As for being purely original, I'm not sure you could claim RM is either. The case shape is not a new design (c'mon, you really believe the tonneau shape was invented by him?), the internal workings were most likely done by a hired gun (as with most other brands out there), and the movement isn't even an in-house calibre (Renaud & Papi?). So, why does it warrant such a high price tag and such awe? Yes, the entire package is an enticing one. But again, that's marketing. Not watchmaking.

Sorry, not to be a troll here, but just wanted to point out some parts that I couldn't agree with while reading this long thread. smile

You have a point, and I'm surprised it took this long in the thread for someone

 By: ThomasM : December 25th, 2008-21:44

to voice this point of view (though I kept hinting around it...  smile

Actually, Whitestrat, even AP did not come up with the Starwheel concept; the wandering hours on radial spokes tracing the minutes has origins to pocket watches all the back to the early 19th (maybe even 18th, I don't remember) century.

I have to agree (and was tempted to write in my reply to Gary G about the decimal repeater) that there is very, very, very little truly new under the sun in the world of high horology...but lest we get too cynical, there have been advances...really there have...

The issue I have with selective "appointments of originality" (and a large part of what I was trying to get at with Geo) is that oftentimes, individuals discussing these issues frequently have a lack of historical context (this includes me; I do not hold myself above gaps in knowledge, but I hopefully realize my limitations...and always keep my mind and "opinions" open to differing points of view, or corrections on held historical facts/errors, such as the case may be) to reach the conclusions they do;

or they use flexible and sometimes inconsistent standards to determine what is acceptable "inspiration" and what is unacceptable "intellectual property theft" which reduces these discussions to "personal feelings" - I like this design, but not that one; I like this individual or company but not that one.

The same goes for the whole beaten to death "inhouse vs not inhouse" topic, and many, many others.

And again, I do not hold myself above or immune from these criticisms, but I hopefully realize my limitations, or force myself to remain open minded to other points of view, or to corrections to held historical facts or errors, such as the case may be.

Cheers, and thanks for pointing this out, whitestrat.

Although I can already see the fanboy homeboys coming out, in force, to defend that Urwerk is not really a Starwheel implementation, or is different enough to warrant immunity from the "inspiration/IP theft" issues.  I can, to a certain degree, understand where they are coming from, as I do see the Urwerk movements as separate and different from the Starwheel/radially mounted wandering hour indicators, just as I see the RM case as unique enough to be easily identifiable from other tonneau cases.

On this note, I have problems with those that "unequivocably" see the Cvstos as being blatant ripoffs of the RM (Geo, Tony, Anthony, Gaz, monochrome et al -  not with the individuals, mind you, just the statement of opinion as obvious facts) - just as I don't feel RM ripped off preceding tonneau designs because I can easily distinguish his tonneau design from other tonneau designs, I can, applying the same standard, easily identify the Cvstos cases and complete watches from the RM, no matter how similar or "inspired" they may be.

For me, you can't have it both ways - what lets one off, lets the other off; what indicts one, should indict the other.

And that, I guess, is where I have the most problem with most of the discussions of this sort on subjects of this sort. 

But again, insofar as the opinions are stated as such, that's fine (what was it again that the previous thread on the subject defined "opinion?"

"It needs no explanation or defense."

I still don't agree, but that's just my opinion...


But when those opinions are stated as self evident fact, and any one who doesn't agree is either stupid, deluded, or blind, then THEN I have a problem with that, and it ain't opinion no more, but ego-centric dogma!



This message has been edited by ThomasM on 2008-12-25 21:53:15

Yep... Agreed

 By: whitestrat : December 28th, 2008-18:48

Thanks Thomas. Good logical expansion on what I was saying. Didn't know that the starwheel took it's roots from somewhere else, but I'm not surprised either. Even the Masque idea from VC stemmed from the starwheel, though when it debuted, no one mentioned.

I think genuine "creations" mainly take place in a fledgling industry, where boundaries are being explored. While the industry seems to have saturated for a while now, we have advances today, but they are advances. I think gone are the days of Abraham Louis Breguet and his Tourbillon. Yet there are some ground breaking ideas today that are being ignored. Today, some of the true blue creations are hidden by others under some clever counter marketing ploys. The Seiko Spring Drive, not an entirely new concept (but started by Seiko still, i think), was one of the few really fresh approaches to time keeping. Yet it receives little attention in collector's eyes. Why does the world's largest and truest in house manufacture not garner such appreciation?

I bought a nice Seiko Brightz previously, and was questioned by a would-be watch enthusiast "why on earth would you buy a Seiko?" Ignoring the fact that this brights comes with a full polished and sculpted titanium case and enamel dial, I was thinking that this guy was off his rocker for simply questioning the integrity of Seiko, or that he simply didn't know as much as he thought he did.

Today, in many industries, true advances in technology are expensive. (sort of like the law of diminishing returns) To think that a new brand with little financial support could have made these advances is a little naive, I think. I think the GP dual escapement idea is one of the few true advances today, but that doesn't seem to be helping the brand sell. as well as it should. Yet I'm sure this idea cost Gino Macaluso a lot of money.

One thing to note about advances. The whole world isn't questioning something here. General coatings of watches today are PVD and DLC. These are surface layers. this technology is easily 20 to 30 years old. Yet PVD is a desired finish. It's crude, flimsy, and scratchable. How come no one notices that Cvstos is using Plasma? A surface penetrating treatment that's quite unusual in the watch line. (read: thi means that when you scratch it, if you do, it's probably still black underneath!) It's a rather superior technology in surface treatment that no one seems to have picked up on.

Alas, how much corksniffing must we do before we realise that the only true value of anything is our own appreciation of the item, and not what others think of it?

Talking design

 By: Geo : December 24th, 2008-14:04
Hi Thomas, Art,

In my original post I was only talking design, not mechanics/movements and I mentioned that line of companies,
only because of their incredible start from scratch with original ideas, not borrowed from other established companies.
(This has nothing to do with my personal taste.)
Vianney Halter certainly belongs in that line of companies, since he released a couple of very original watches.
The fact that he used to work with Mr Barnes has nothing to do with that.
The ideas were new and they were made by Vianney Halter or someone hired by Vianney Halter
and not copied from someone else.


Especially if your comments were about design, Geo...

 By: ThomasM : December 24th, 2008-14:57
There are some claims that the Antigua; even the Trio and Classique, were Jeff Barnes designs.

If that were true, how would that change things, if at all?



I love the Antiqua regardless of its origin

 By: SJX : December 24th, 2008-19:32

As I understand it, the watch was designed by Jeff Barnes. It was originally meant to be a partnership, Barnes design and Halter watchmaking. Interestingly Vianney - and I like him personally - has a history of terminated or unsuccessful business relationships: Harry Winston Opus 3, Jeff Barnes, THA, Ruchonnet. Whatever it is, I still love the Antiqua for its revolutionary design, it WAS revolutionary in 1998 when it was premiered on , and its amazing execution, no doubt thanks to Vianney's obsessive compulsive manner.


I appreciate your point, SJX, and I agree with you, insofar as

 By: ThomasM : December 25th, 2008-02:02

the explicit statement you are making.

But it is a non-sequitor to my comment and question asked to Geo.

Also, the original Halter-Barnes did see the light of day in addition to, and concurrent to/prior to the "premier" on Timezone. "premier" is such an over-used and loosely used term (same with the so-called "exclusive" that some mutual acquaintances of ours love to throw around...)


(ps: it did occur to me that you didn't mean premier as in "first in the world" but rather "when first shown on Timezone" and in that case, noted, and understood.

pps: please see my subsequent follow up comments to Geo.)



My comment was just an opinion

 By: SJX : December 25th, 2008-02:08

rather than in response to your discussion with Geo.

I know the Halter-Barnes was shown elsewhere besides Timezone but it was on Timezone that I first saw the watch and truth be told, first time I saw it the Antiqua didn't strike me as particularly interesting, perhaps because I saw a drawing rather than the actual watch.

By the way, thanks for participating in this thread. Rare it is that ThomasM posts at length, and this thread has developed very well. smile


LOL! Thanks, SJX.

 By: ThomasM : December 25th, 2008-02:27

I wanted to tell you that I really like the balance you took with the original article interview - respectful, yet keeping that slight edginess that shows we are not stooped over bottom lickers and capable of seeing marketing fluff from real substance. We are not here to "out" anyone but neither do we swallow BS shoveled wholesale in this industry (not specifically referring to the Cvstos article or comments therein, of course! smile

So I might as well say it here smile

Kudos, young Jedi...


You don't want to understand what I said

 By: Geo : December 25th, 2008-00:19
Dear Thomas you don't understand me, or you don't want to.
Barnes was in the beginning part of the company; it was Halter Barnes.
Besides that many companies hire designers from outside to create something,
that's way different than borrowing something, that's been made by another company.

Audemars Piguet, Cartier and even Patek have all worked with Gerald Genta f.i.
and these watches are still seen as the brands own and not as copies.
If you don't see that, this discussion can go on for hours.
I don't know how else I could make myself clear to you.

Geo, understanding works and goes both ways...

 By: ThomasM : December 25th, 2008-01:49

Hi, Geo,

I have no agenda, and I was simply asking for your point of view on a specific set of circumstances so I can try to understand your position better.

Is it possible you are not understanding my point?


Vianney didn't hire Jeff Barnes; Jeff Barnes developed the case designs and proposed them to Vianney to make a complete, working watch out of, the introduction being made through a mutual acquaintance. (at least that is one version of the history.)

Given this, are the Vianney designs (as you write yourself, your comments are referring to the DESIGN of the watch, not necessary the movement, hence the relevence of this detailed point)  -  are the now-iconic "Vianney Halter" designs actually VH, or JB, DNA?



to be clear, Geo...

 By: ThomasM : December 25th, 2008-01:57
look, I'm not really interested in having this discussion "get heated" (I sense a little "heat" in your last reply) - for me, the issue in this sub-thread is origin of idea, and motivation.

I see a clear difference between AP engaging Gerald Genta (and others) to submit designs and then picking what AP feels is consistent with what they want to do;

versus having someone like Jeff Barnes come up with some original designs, and then search around for someone to execute it with. (if, again, that version of the history is true and correct, which I have no reason to doubt, especially given the timeline and what I actually know about the history and the principals.)

Is my point and distinction that hard to understand? Your last response, alas, is a non-sequitor to this point.

Also, I want to make clear - I am not implying ANYTHING about Vianney Halter; I love his finished work and I find his personality eccentricities both charming and endearing, only adding to the aura of his pieces.

My comments are ONLY specific to the very limited context of this sub-thread, and only in trying to understand where you are coming from, in your comments preceding.



There is absolutely no heat at all in my post

 By: Geo : December 25th, 2008-05:49

Three photos for Thomas to make myself more clear

 By: Geo : December 25th, 2008-02:29
Hi Thomas,

Explaining is obviously not my strongest side, hope these pictures tell the story.





I am well aware of those pictures, but Geo, you still don't address my question

 By: ThomasM : December 25th, 2008-02:35

and distinction on these points - those drawings were already H-B (Halter-Barnes) so have the DNA of both men, which subsequently was taken over by Vianney Halter, solo. So insofar as these examples, I have no issues and completely understand your point.

But if one were to look further back, and consider that the original concept drawings for the Classique; Trio; Antigua; MAY have originated with Jeff Barnes, solo, and he then went searching for someone to make them complete watches, then, to my mind, the entire discussion takes on a different light and to me, have the DNA of ONLY Jeff Barnes (at least in terms of the design, which is the aspect you limited this discussion to)

Anyway, I appreciate the discussion, and thanks for digging up those old pics. Nice to see them again after nearly a decade!


Thomas what was your question then ???

 By: Geo : December 25th, 2008-03:01
I think I have said it all.
Vianney Halter surely qualifies to be in the line of companies that started with original designs, not copied from other companies.
The company started as Halter Barnes after all, these guys were a team.
I think everybody knows that.


SJX aptly summarized the question (thanks, SJX) (nt)

 By: ThomasM : December 25th, 2008-03:04

If I may...

 By: SJX : December 25th, 2008-02:37

What I understand Thomas to be saying is the difference between the examples.

AP, Cartier et al hired Gerald Genta to design watches for them. Now they make Genta's designs under their own label but the public is fully aware Gerald Genta designed the watches at the request of the watchmaker. Genta was the contractor hired by the brands to perform a task.

On the other hand, as Thomas tells it, one version of the story is that Jeff Barnes created the designs for the Antiqua, Classic and Trio as you posted, and then recruited Vianney Halter as a watchmaker to execute the designs. But now Vianney Halter is making those watches with no mention of Jeff Barnes at all, so the uninformed it would appear that they were completely Vianney's designs.


YOU certainly may

 By: Geo : December 25th, 2008-04:29

Thanks SJX, as always for your on going interesting articles,
even if I don't agree everytime and maybe a I am a pain in the ass sometimes,
I do enjoy very much, all the information the forum brings me every day.

Gerald Genta formed his own company in 1969, please correct me if I am wrong.
He designed the Pasha watch for Cartier in 1984, so he was doing that while running his own company.
No company advertises who designed their concepts, (except Louis Vuitton maybe who hired the famous Marc Jacobs)
When Jeff Barnes pulled back, why should he still be mentioned. That's only creating marketing chaos for the consumer,
not to be understood.

It does not appear that they were completely Vianney's designs, it appears that they are the companies design.
Like Patek, Cartier and AP do.

Designs CAN be bought but should NOT be stolen.

Merry Christmas to all of you and I wish you all the best for 2009!


design of VH and Kari

 By: LVT : December 24th, 2008-23:35

I read some information about design of VH and Kari

Kari is similar with Urban Juergensen




Thanks for these links - there's one REALLY interesting quote from Jeff Barnes in there:

 By: tony p : December 25th, 2008-08:02

RP:  I have seen your designs with the Vianney Halter name on them, was this planned?

JB:   He is using them without my permission.

OK, this was an interview from 2000, and perhaps permissions have been negotiated and granted since then, or perhaps everyone has just cooled off a little. The point is that at that time, JB obviously felt that Vianney had stolen his designs.

Now, while this detail does tend to weaken Geo's case, I neverthless regard Geo's basic point as still being valid. JB may have felt that Vianney "stole" his design, but initially there was some level of collaboration. There has never been any level of collaboration (at least publicly documented) between RM and Cvstos. Cvstos certainly can't claim that "we started out working together on this design, then there was a falling-out, and both of us now claim ownership of the IP and are running with it".

(This scenario takes me back to 1977, with Magazine's "Shot By Both Sides" utilising the same chorus riff as The Buzzcocks'  contemporaneous chart release "Lipstick" - Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto having rather acrimoniously parted company shortly after co-writing said chord sequence...)

No, the Cvstos tonneau-shaped range of watches is simply a blatant and shameless rip-off of a singularly original and highly successful design by Richard Mille. Whether it qualifies as actual "theft" is something that remains untested in law - as long as RM doesn't litigate. But it's obvious to all and sundry what's going on here.

I return to my original statement - several miles higher up in this thread. So long as Cvstos start coming up with some original design and/or engineering ideas, and so long as their execution continues along the ambitious path mapped out by this new series of high-end offerings, then I'm prepared to excuse their rather ignoble beginnings and not begrudge them whatever prosperity comes their way. However: the sooner Cvstos get rid of these all-too-obvious "hommage" case designs and spare-tyre crowns, the better.

(BTW, let me be the first to point out another "steal" - the use of a "V" rune in place of the letter "U". Bivvle-Gari must be well riled over that one!)


Tony P

Tony you're brilliant

 By: Geo : December 25th, 2008-12:45
your last line.......that nobody had seen that yet.
It's really something to think about.

There comes a point when...

 By: ThomasM : December 25th, 2008-15:16
One's point, such as it is, is just not worth the effort to make.


Hi, Tony,

My original question in this sub-thread, based on an admittedly subtle distinction, is clearly leading to more talking across each other than to each other.

I'll "drop back and punt" -

Before I saw the actual Cvstos watches, I thought (and this was reinforced by RM dealers and others with vested interests) that is was a clear and unequivocal "rip off" of the RM "design."

After seeing and holding it in person, I saw and felt enough differences that, in my opinion (now how did those people in that other thread define opinion again? smile that it was different enough in important details the the "rip off quotient" was not so unequivocal.

No more than RD was a rip off of FM, and FM rip offs of designs from the 20's and 30'; or Jaquet Droz of FP Journe, or FP Journe a rip off Jaquet Droz pocket watch from 18th C...and so on, and so on, and so on...



Thomas, I agree with you.

 By: tony p : December 26th, 2008-08:08
All watches look to a certain extent like all other watches. Otherwise we'd be criticising Cvstos, Patek, indeed everyone, for stealing the idea of time depiction via swivelling hands coaxially mounted on a dial, the whole lot being wrist-mountable.

But come on mate, that CROWN - just that one detail alone is enough to justify the use of the pejorative term "rip-off". Let alone all the rest...

Tony P

Not quite sure

 By: Gary G : December 25th, 2008-20:42

...that I see the strong resemblance between KV and Jurgensen, but I must say that I like the designs of both quite a bit!


Gary G

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