The Diamond… King of all Birthstones

Arguably the most popular gemstone on earth, the diamond is recognized as the birthstone for the month of April.  Although it is uncertain how various stones became connected with specific months, some speculate it dates back to biblical times when priest’s breastplates were adorned with assorted gems.  As time passed, the gems became associated with the zodiac and the months connected to it, thus starting a tradition of wearing a different stone each month, as sort of a good luck charm.

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If you or a loved one was lucky enough to be born in the month of April, you have bragging rights to the diamond being your birthstone.  Adopted from the Greek work “adamas”, meaning invincible, diamonds are known to be the hardest and most

resilient gems on earth.  They come in a wide variety of colors including black, blue, green, pink, red, purple, orange and yellow.  However, the clear, colorless diamond

is the most highly revered and renowned stone employed when recognizing

April-born babies.

 

As an Aries (the zodiac sign for the month), you are considered to be an innocent person that shows a great amount of affection towards those you hold near and dear.  You are very strong-willed, yet kind and caring.  Your diamond birthstone is in theory presumed to be a direct reflection of these fervent, yet delicate character attributes.

 

For the fortunate individuals born in April, your diamond birthstone signifies love,

clarity, strength, and everlasting affection.  No wonder it’s a staple gemstone in engagement rings and wedding jewelry.    It is believed to bring good luck, protecting

its wearing from any type of misfortune.  During the middle ages, diamonds were thought to hold healing powers as well.  By heating the crystal and taking it to bed, it was believed that the stone had the power to draw out harmful toxins from the body, curing ailments of all kinds.  To this day many remain steadfast in this belief, regardless of whether it is their birthstone, or not.  Today’s diamond is also acknowledged for having an effect on an individual’s balance and clarity, and offers boosts of energy

when coupled with other gemstones.  It is also traditionally associated with mystery, romance, power and magic.

 

The April diamond birthstone has garnered the hearts of people worldwide, and since medieval times has remained the most coveted crystal to date.  It is the most famed

and fabled of all gemstones, famous for its sparkling fire attributes, durability, and rarity.  Deemed the King of all birthstones, the diamond is unequivocally the most prized and sought-after of all gems, making it the ideal choice for April birthday gifts.  No gemstone contains as much allure and interest as does the diamond!!

Aquamarine “Water of the Sea” Gemstone

Did you know Aquamarine is not only the birthstone for March-born babies, but it is also the stone of choice given as gifts for 19th wedding anniversaries?  But, putting all of this aside, the stone has only grown in popularity among all people, in large part due to of its broad range of blue hue color variations.  The diverse range of the blue shades make the Aquamarine stone a perfect complement to spring and summer fashion wardrobes.ring_3_6_2015

Deriving its name from the Latin words “aqua marina”, the gem was appropriately coined its title because of its many shades of blue, to blue-green, to sea-green uniformities.  The “water of the sea” gemstone has long been known to symbolize youth, health and hope, along with faithfulness, courage and friendship.  The serene color, reminiscent of the sea, is said to cool the temper, and allow those in fear to remain calm and level-headed.  Wearing such a stone allows one to stand stoic and in control, despite any provocation.  The reflective colors of the Aquamarine stone are representative of the soothing and relaxing emotions that the sea evokes in the human race.

 

The Aquamarine birthstone is mined in Nigeria, Zambia, Pakistan, Brazil, Mozambique and Madagascar, with Brazil being the largest source.  Hence, it is no wonder that in 1910 Brazil tendered the largest Aquamarine stone, weighing in at an astounding 243 pounds.  It was cut into smaller stones which yielded a total of over 200,000 carats.  Yet another of the biggest Aquamarine gems, also found in Brazil, was given the name Dom Pedro and is now being housed in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, for all to gaze upon.  Without a doubt, these were, and are two of the most remarkable gems to have ever graced our earth.

 

Pisces is the zodiac sign for the month of March.  Anyone whose birthdate falls during this month is blessed to have the blue majestic Aquamarine as their birthstone, symbolic of the watery domain where the fish live, tying in with the serenity and tranquility that it brings.

 

Like the new spring that comes each March, the cool and optimistic Aquamarine stone imparts a sense of youth and hope.   Whether it is your birthstone or not, adorn yourself in the soft blue hue of Aquamarine, creating a soothing escape from the everyday hustle and bustle.  Your mind, sprit and body will thank you!!

Cars, Watches and the Daytona 500

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This past weekend, the Daytona 500 took place in Daytona Beach, FL, though certain favorites didn’t make it to the final run, including Kyle Busch, who broke a leg and foot in a hard crash during the Xfinity Series race on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Nonetheless, the race was exciting – with Joey Logano speeding to victory in the 57th Great American Race. Logano is the youngest winner in the history of the Daytona 500 at just 24 years old.

All of the excitement with this race, and others coming into the season, reminds us of the precision mechanics it requires to build these performance engines and the patience and fortitude of the drivers. It is a field not unlike the world of precision mechanics under the hood of a watchcase.

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In fact, as more watch brands recognize the synergy between precision mechanics of timepieces and automobiles, they are getting more involved in the world of motorsports. From actually taking title roles as Official Timer of certain races to sponsoring teams, drivers and rallies around the world, watch brands are on top of the fast-paced world of automobiles.

Rolex, for instance, has been intimately involved in auto racing since 1935, and solidified its position in the sport in 1959 when it began its association with the Daytona International Speedway. The brand continues to sponsor the Rolex Daytona races, as well as the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion every year in August, among other automotive activities. The brand’s iconic Daytona watch is the one most associated with automotive sports.

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TAG Heuer has long been involved in the world of auto racing – dating back to the Pan-American races. The brand is actively involved in the fully electric FIA Formula E Championship, World Rally (with Sebastien Ogier joining as a brand ambassador), is the Official Watch Partner of Nissan NISMO, and sponsors the TAG Heuer Premier Motor Racing Exhibition, which kicked off in Kuala Lumpur in January. The brand creates both the Monaco and Carrera watch lines that honor this sport and that have become renowned around the world for their race-inspired design and top-quality craftsmanship.

Icons in Time — A Look at the Hermes Kelly Watch

The history of the now-famed Kelly bag — and subsequent Kelly Watch — is a storied one that spans more than half a century. Marked by the signature padlock design, the Kelly has stolen hearts around the world.

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Hermes, founded in 1837 in Paris as a purveyor of fine saddles and harnesses, quickly gained a strong reputation for its unparalleled artistry and perfection. When the equestrian mode of transportation gave way to the motorcar, Hermes adapted, creating trunks, gloves, handbags, scarves and other motorities for the well-to-do Parisians in cars.

By the mid 1900s, the House of Hermes had become a global brand name, and in 1956, when Princess Grace Kelly appeared on the cover of Life Magazine with an oversized Hermes saddlebag to cover her pregnant belly, the bag quickly gained the name the Kelly bag. The signature look has remained in high demand over the years, often with a waiting list for handbags that retail for more than $10,000.

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In 1975, the Kelly bag’s padlock motif became an adornment for the new Kelly Watch, which garnered international acclaim almost as quickly as the bag had. Today, the Kelly Watch is offered in steel or in gold with a single leather strap or a double-tour leather strap in a huge array of hand-stitched-to-perfection leathers and colors. We are happy to carry Hermes timepieces in our store, including the iconic padlock Kelly Watch, which has become a symbol of love, commitment and style.

A Look at Presidential Watches From George Washington to Barack Obama

Over the years, the Presidents occupying the White House have worn a good number of watch brands. In honor of President’s Day, we bring a closer look at how time was kept in the Oval Office.

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Our first president, George Washington, owned a Jean-Antoine Lepine pocket watch during his presidency. A friend traveling abroad in the late 1770s reportedly purchased the watch at Washington’s request. Thomas Jefferson, our third president, owned a pocket watch made by Paris-based watchmaker, Daniel Vaucher. Vaucher was known for his precision watchmaking and excellent finishing.

George Washington wore a pocket watch by Lepine. Photo courtesy NAWCC

George Washington wore a pocket watch by Lepine. Photo courtesy NAWCC.

Moving fully into the 20th century, our 33rd president, Harry Truman, owned several wristwatches, including a Vulcain Cricket alarm watch, which had gained in popularity in the 1940s. He also owned a Universal Genève Tri-Compax watch in 18-karat yellow gold.

Subsequent presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th) and John F. Kennedy (35th) also owned multiple wristwatches. Eisenhower had a Vulcain Cricket, a Hamilton, a Rolex Datejust and a Heuer. His likeness was even used in a Heuer ad. Kennedy owned a Cartier, an Omega, an interesting Bulova tonneau-shaped watch, and was reportedly gifted a Rolex watch by Marilyn Monroe, which he immediately gave away and never wore.

Universal Geneve Tri-Compax watch. Photo from Antiquorum

Universal Geneve Tri-Compax watch. Photo from Antiquorum.

Taking a more affordable watch stance, our 42nd president, Bill Clinton, was seen wearing a Timex Ironman watch, but has since been seen wearing a multitude of different watches, including a Rolex, Panerai and Jaeger-LeCoultre. President Barack Obama (44th) has been seen wearing a Jorg Gray 6500 Collection Chronograph that apparently has been inscribed on the caseback of the watch.

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 Images: Oval Office via Wikicommons. 

Red-Hot Watches for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the ultimate romantic rendezvous. So, then, why do so many people give chocolate? Skip the chocolate and dazzle your loved one with a rich, red-hot watch that will remind her of you with every glance at her wrist. Our sure-fire recommendation is short and sweet: Give the gift of time.

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Some great watch options for Valentine’s Day:

– Red watches and those with love or heart motifs;
– Floral motifs always win the heart over;
– Moon and star motifs – because nothing is more romantic than stargazing.

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Stop in and let us help you select the perfect watch for her this Valentine’s Day. We have a great selection in all price ranges.

TAG Heuer Partners With Nissan’s Performance Division

Long involved in the world of automobile racing, rallies and even auto-inspired movies, TAG Heuer propels this DNA to new heights with the news that the brand has become the Official Timekeeper and Official Watch Partner of Nissan NISMO — just in time for the LeMans 24 and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

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With a tag line of “Don’t Crack Under Pressure,” TAG Heuer is all about endurance, strength and precision. The brand made the bold move of announcing the relationship on Super Bowl Sunday, when Nissan used a commercial to unveil its new GT-R LM NISMO (Nissan Motorsport International Limited) car that will race in the WEC. While the red car sped across TV screens, TAG Heuer’s logos were highly visible on the car and driver overalls.

Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer and President of the Watch division of LVMH group, says this alliance drives home the brand’s commitment to motor sports: “TAG Heuer’s legitimate ties to endurance races in motor sports are without rival. I wanted an innovating partner to come back on these tracks. Nissan NISMO is the perfect challenger, a pioneer regarding the technology of the car and regarding its way to communicate specifically with the young through their massive presence on social media.”

The new Nissan GT-R LM NISMO testing in preparation for its 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours debut.

Indeed, the Nissan NISMO is packed with key technological innovations, including a front-engine, front-wheel-drive car powered by a V6 3-litre twin turbo petrol engine and a kinetic energy recovery system.

TAG Heuer will serve as the official timekeeper and watch for Nissan NISMO. The watch of choice: the Monaco Chronograph. The drivers wear a Monaco chronograph, a tribute to Steve McQueen, and to the legendary movie, Le Mans, wherein the blue-eyed icon was wearing the blue-squared Monaco chronograph. Stop in and see our wonderful collection of TAG Heuer watches.

Power Reserve: An Inside Look at What It Is and How It Works

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With so much focus on mechanical watches, you’ve probably heard the term “power reserve.” But what does power reserve really mean and how do watch companies make it happen? Essentially, the power reserve indicates the amount of time the movement can dispense constant energy (the autonomy) before the watch needs to be wound.

Most mechanical watches offer a power reserve of several days on up to eight days (though some brands offer even more than 8 days). Eight days was the target time, as this means the owner of a mechanical hand-wound watch can plan to wind the timepiece once a week (with a single day of safety for the forgetful winder). Of course, should the power run all the way down, the owner can naturally wind it again, but then has to go through the task of resetting the time, date, etc.

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Accomplishing longer power-reserve durations is all about proper springs, gears and cylinders. Essentially, a spring is tightly wound and then placed inside a cylinder. This is where the energy is stored. The spring should release its tension in a consistent manner, offering constant energy to power the watch at a regular rate. Longer reserves mean the caliber has to be larger to make room for a larger mainspring and cylinder, which sometimes translates into a slightly larger watch size.

Two things are worth noting here. One is that winding that spring and placing it into the cylinder is no easy feat. It takes months of training just to properly wind the spring, place it in the cylinder and adjust it so that the force is constant. Additionally, it should be noted that all of these incredible mechanics take place inside a movement that is usually no bigger than the size of a half-dollar coin.

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Most contemporary hand-wound watches feature a power-reserve indicator on the dial. This indicator displays how much energy is left in the movement before it needs to be wound. Some watch brands have made amazing strides in offering creative power-reserve indicators that go above and beyond an arc display on the dial. Either way, the power reserve offers, in a sense, a true symbiotic relationship between the person and the hand-wound watch. The timepiece needs to be wound to continue tracking time, and the wearer has the distinct pleasure of breathing life, so to speak, back into the watch.

Our knowledgeable staff would be happy to demonstrate the power-reserve indications on some of our hand-wound watches. Just stop in any time.

3 Simple Tips for Taking Care of Your New Mechanical Watch

Purchasing a luxury watch can be an exciting time — whether it’s your first watch or your fifth watch. Once home, however, you will need to properly take care of your watch to give it a longer and healthier lifespan. While all watches need regular professional servicing, following these few tips can help you get the most from your new investment.

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1. Clean It. Everything you do while wearing your watch causes it to come into contact with dirt, dust, perspiration and even a few splashes of water while washing your hands or doing the dishes. The best thing you can do for your watch is a simple cleaning. When you take it off at the end of each day, wipe it down using a soft cloth to remove grime. If your watch has a metal bracelet, you can use a soft cloth and warm water to clean it, but be careful not to get too much water near the case. Even if you have a water-resistant watch, it’s best to clean it after swimming, as chlorine and salt can be abrasive. Also note that leather straps may require special care and cleaning.

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2. Know the Basics of Winding. If you own a mechanical watch it is important to follow the brand’s instructions about when and when not to wind it, and in which direction. Some complex watches cannot be wound at certain hours, when the mechanics inside are making their own calculations and adjustments. It is also important to remember when setting the watch to move the hands in a clockwise direction instead of counter clockwise.

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3. Have it Serviced. As mentioned above, mechanical watches require regular servicing — just like a car. The gears and wheels must be oiled, and that oil can dry out over time. The watch needs to be carefully opened, examined, re-oiled, cleaned, have new gaskets put in to replace old gaskets and be retested for water resistance. Most brands suggest this be done every five to seven years.

Appraising Time: Why Your Luxury Watches Should Be Appraised and Insured

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We all know that generally you need to carry extra insurance to cover your luxury goods, including jewelry. However, we often forget about covering watches. Somehow, because they are utilitarian pieces, they often slip our minds. However, we believe that you should have your luxury watches appraised and insured.

Having a watch appraised is vital, especially if it is a vintage or heirloom piece. Often, the value of these watches fluctuates based on the market and, in just a few years’ time, watches can gain in value. While you may never be able to replace these keepsakes should something happen to them, you at least want to be sure you are properly insured.

For new watches, often your receipt will suffice for insurance purposes. However, a watch that is typically a couple of years old could have appreciated in value based on the market demand. Therefore having a recent appraisal may help in retrieving full value of the watch. This is also true if the timepiece is diamond- or gemstone-adorned.

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Reasons to have your watches appraised include not just theft, but also fire or other significant loss. Proper appraisals are helpful for estate planning or when facing life’s eventualities, such as divorce or death. While many suggest that a new appraisal on jewelry be done every three years, watch appraisals have a slightly longer shelf life of about five years or so, depending on the timepiece. While appraisals do cost a little money, the truth of the matter is, if you don’t have your fine watches appraised, and you suffer a loss, you will be in a regretful state. Better to protect your investment. Watches should be appraised by watchmakers and retailers who are authorized to carry the brand. Stop by and discuss watch appraisals with us any time.