Chuck Maddox’s Watch Blog

This page is a journal of my journey in the field of Horology, which is timekeeping. In other words, watch collecting. Which in my case is the collecting of chronograph watches. To contact me, email me at: .

Location: Chicagoland, United States

The Extremely wordy version of my Resumé is located here:

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Basel News: oversize Speedmaster Broad Arrow co-axial GMT with sapphire display back

Just received this from Frank N.:

To: Chuck Maddox <>

From: Frank Nikolajsen <>

Subject: In case you have warmed to the 33xx...

...then Omega has unveiled an oversize Speedmaster Broad Arrow co-axial GMT with sapphire display back at Basel earlier today. They also unveiled it, even if you haven't warmed to the 33xx. :-) Photos are coming Monday if you haven't seen them already by then. Price about 20% above the current creme dial BA-on-steel (like mine).

Sorry 'bout the Schumacher not being a Pro and having a red dial instead of a blue. I will have the proper source thoroughly flocked at the earliest convenient opportunity.

Take care (and yeah, you can spead this around if you like. :-)


Thursday, March 31, 2005

TAG Heuer "Calibre 360" Concept Chronograph

From: "TAG Heuer Web" <>
To: <>
Subject: TAG Heuer "Calibre 360" Concept Chronograph Press
Release Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 18:24:22+0200

Avant-Garde Daringness in motion:

The TAG Heuer „Calibre 360,, Concept Chronograph

The first ever 1/100th of a second mechanical wrist chronograph

TAG Heuer, the world leader in prestigious chronographs since 1860, which has set several major milestones in Swiss chronograph history, is presenting at Baselworld 2005 the most accurate mechanical timepiece ever crafted, the „Calibre 360,, Concept Chronograph. The „Calibre 360,, Concept Chronograph is the first mechanical wrist chronograph to measure and display time to 1/100th of a second, thanks to the exceptionally high frequency of its balance wheel, which oscillates at 360,000 beats per hour, 10 times faster than any other chronograph˜a rate that until now was considered impossible. More than ever, with this quantum leap in mechanical watchmaking accuracy, TAG Heuer asserts its unique know-how and reaffirms its motto: „Swiss avant-garde since 1860.‰

This ultra resistant and light titanium Ti5 "Calibre 360" Concept Chronograph is the flagship of a rich new offering in prestigious TAG Heuer Chronographs presented this year in Basel, such as the Aquaracer Automatic, the Link Tachymeter automatic, the Link Lady Diamonds and the Microtimer Lady Diamonds Chronograph.

It confirms TAG Heuer's superior innovation potential and its commanding lead over the rest of the Swiss watchmaking industry, as underlined in 2004 by the consulting firm A.T. Kearney and the business magazine Bilanz, which identified TAG Heuer as one of the three most innovative companies in Switzerland and one of the leading innovators in Europe. The prestigious distinction bears testimony to TAG Heuer's determination to always exceed the boundaries of imagination in a sector not usually given to radical developments.

Formula 1 driver and watch collector Juan Pablo Montoya has tested this new revolutionary timepiece and has given his input in the design of this car racing-inspired Concept Chronograph.

360,000 Beats per Hour: A Major Breakthrough for the Swiss Watch Industry

Every year at the Basel Watchmaking Fair, TAG Heuer puts it reputation as one of the world's most audacious and innovative watch brands on the line.

Last year marked the launch of the Monaco V4 Concept Watch. A revolutionary timepiece with a belt-driven mechanical movement inspired by high-performance racecar engines, it has so far been named "Watch of the Year" by Wallpaper* magazine, the "Best of What's New" by Popular Science and „The Best of the Best‰ in the category Fashion Product Design (including watches, eyewear, clothes, bags, footwear, jewelry and travel accessories) at the Red Dot Design Awards, joining previous award winners such as Lamborghini, Apple, Bang & Olufsen, BMW, Maserati and Nokia. This watch is currently being industrialized.

Another 2003 Basel launch, the Monaco 69 Concept Watch, a double-sided, digital-analog wonder, went on to win the coveted Best Design Award at the „Grand Prix d‚Horlogerie de Genève‰.

In 2002, TAG Heuer unveiled the Microtimer F1 Concept Watch, the first Swiss wrist chronograph accurate to 1/1,000th of a second. It too won the Best Design Award at the „Grand Prix d‚Horlogerie de Genève‰ and was successfully brought to market in 2003.

And these are only TAG Heuer achievements in the 21st century

1860 to the Present: The TAG Heuer Revolution Continues

A history marked by truly ground-breaking technology and leadership in Chronographs

TAG Heuer's history has been more than just radical. Starting with its first stopwatch patent in 1869, followed by the revolutionary oscillating pinion of 1887 ˜ still an essential component in today's mechanical chronographs like the TAG Heuer Calibre 16 ˜ the Company has relentlessly pushed Swiss watchmaking tradition forward by challenging and innovating on its most time-honored conventions. Not content to rest on its laurels, it seeks perfection, the mastery of time beyond every definition of what is possible.

In 1916, with the invention of the Micrograph ˜ the first pocket timepiece accurate to 1/100th of a second ˜ TAG Heuer took the first step towards this year's revolutionary „Calibre 360,, Concept Chronograph. It quickly became the timepiece of choice at top-level sports events, solidifying TAG Heuer's reputation as the world's best timekeeper. Having earned renown for the mechanical perfection of its products, the company continued its quest for accuracy and innovation in the service of both sports and science. In 1969, TAG Heuer revolutionized chronographs at Basel by being the first to market an automatic chronograph movement, the famous Calibre 11 (Chronomatic) with a microrotor to rewind the barrels.

Three revolutions in Swiss Watchmaking, all driven by TAG Heuer

First the Micrograph, then the 1969 Chronomatic Calibre 11, and now the TAG Heuer „Calibre 360,, Concept Chronograph. The world's most accurate wrist chronograph, the revolutionary new „Calibre 360,, Concept Chronograph directly incorporates technology and techniques drawn from both of these prior innovations.

The „Calibre 360,, Concept Chronograph represents the culmination of TAG Heuer‚s know-how and expertise in the field of precision mechanical watchmaking and sports timekeeping. Finally, after years of painstaking research and experimentation, every mechanical obstacle has been eliminated through a groundbreaking manufacturing concept and a world first in horology: The first 1/100th of a second wrist mechanical chronograph

To achieve this exceptional level of precision, TAG Heuer has developed a unique and complex movement, the principle of which was set by the Chronomatic Calibre 11 in1969. Made of more than 234 components and modules which 131 are directly from the chronograph movement, it actually fuses two distinctive mechanical movements, each connected to the other but operating independently.

A world first: two distinct movements controlled by a single crown

To ensure precision adjustment and independent operation, the basis of the „Calibre 360,, Concept Chronograph is an automatic movement, the TAG Heuer Calibre7, with a power-reserve of 42 hours and a heart beating at28, 800 vibrations per hour. Highly resistant to wrist shock and wear effects, embellished with Côtes de Genève decoration on the oscillating mass, this movement has been certified as a chronometer by the COSC (the Swiss Official Chronometer Control institute).

What is most extraordinary about the „Calibre360,, movement is that the chronograph function is not just a "module" added on to the automatic watch movement.

With its barrel, separate manual winding system, gearwheel and the independent balance wheel and spiral mechanism, it is a genuine and wholly separate movement, a chronograph with a power-reserve counter and a quick-rotating barrel that offers 100 minutes of power reserve, plus its most remarkable component: a single-pallet escapement wheel and special balance wheel. The high-precision mechanism, specially created and hand-assembled, provides an unbelievable oscillating frequency of 360,000 vibrations per hour. With such a high-powered system, the „Calibre 360,, creates a new milestone in Swiss watchmaking history. The quantum leap to360, 000 vibrations per hour from usually 28,800 or 36,000 could be compared to a Formula 1 engine jumping from 18,000 rpm to 180,000 rpm !

As the „Calibre 360,, is a worldwide first in the history of watchmaking, TAG Heuer has filed for two exclusive worldwide patents :

The first patent protects the 1/100th of a second counter on a mechanical wrist chronograph.

The second patent protects the unique crown control system. The single crown winds both movements and controls the watch‚s hour and date settings. A clockwise rotation loads the barrel on the manual chronograph movement; a counter-clockwise rotation rewinds the automatic movement that gives the time.

From Dream to Reality : Avant-garde design inspired by high-tech car engines

As usual, TAG Heuer's designers, stimulated by the input of watch collector and star Formula 1 driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, have created an exceptionally daring timepiece to house the „Calibre 360,, movement. This masterpiece is easily recognizable thanks to its unique and exceptional architecture: like a pure high-tech engine, the chronograph functions are displayed through the wrought Côtes-de-Genève „chronograph engine‰, which contrasts with the flat-black dial. At 6 o'clock, an oversized circular fine-brushed counter keeps track of the 1/100ths-of-a-second red hand, while at 9 o'clock, a red minute needle directly integrated into the „chronograph engine‰ displays the elapsed time on a 9 minutes scale disk, particularly adapted for the car-race timekeeping. At 12 o'clock, the wearer can see the power-reserve indicator of 100 minutes, displayed in the same way as the fuel indicator of car‚s dashboards, through the „chronograph engine's‰ angled polished opening. The result is a look as radically inspired by car racing as the high-tech technology housed inside it.

Designed to accentuate the Calibre 360‚s exceptional movement, the case has been crafted from titanium Grade 5, an exclusive TAG Heuer material developed with McLaren in 1997 for the Kirium series, and combining utmost resistance with utmost lightness as well as sparkling polish effect. It‚s a pure TAG Heuer case with oversized crown and asymmetrical pushbuttons, the larger of which, at two o‚clock and capped bright red, controls the stopwatch. Once pressed, the chronograph mechanism springs into action, simultaneously activating the chronograph second hand in the centre of the dial and the 100ths-of-a-second hand located in a counter at six o‚clock. Thanks to the high oscillating frequency, the centre hand advances at a perfectly regular pace, and the 100ths counter makes a complete rotation in one second. This invention is not only an aesthetic success; it also lets the user explore just how long a second can last and discover how pleasant it is to watch time pass in a „smooth-as-silk‰ fashion.

On the caseback, two semicircle windows in sapphire give another perspective on this extraordinary movement, a new classic masterpiece, uniquely designed and manufactured by TAG Heuer.

Developed with Juan Pablo Montoya, the bracelet is, naturally, in stylish black rubber with folding buckle, further enhancing comfort and ergonomy, even when driving at 300 km/h and crossing the finish line with a few 100ths-of-a-second lead.

The TAG Heuer „Calibre 360,, Concept Chronograph: A new world first and a brand-new concept in watchmaking.

With the boldly innovative „Calibre 360,, Concept Chronograph, the world's most iconoclastic watchmaker has once more revolutionized Swiss watchmaking by creating a startling new icon of high-tech design. The „Calibre360,, Concept Chronograph does not break with tradition; it learns from it, borrows from it, and in so doing pushes it further, into the next millennium. Once again, TAG Heuer lives up to its reputation by surpassing all expectations. And once again, the brand to beat lays claim to the cutting-edge of watchmaking and honors its motto: „Swiss Avant-Garde since 1860,,

TAG Heuer, the benchmark in prestigious sports watches and chronographs since 1860, currently ranks as the fourth luxury brand in the world watch market. The Swiss watchmaking legend draws from its active engagement in the world of sports to create the most accurate measuring instruments and sports-inspired timepieces ever made. From the Olympic Games in the 1920s to its new role as official timekeeper and chronograph for the legendary Indy 500 and IRL championship, TAG Heuer has maintained a constant quest for innovation and excellence, pursuing the summit of performance and prestige. This is reflected in its partnerships with Team McLaren Mercedes in Formula 1 racing; with number one worldwide golfer Tiger Woods and with Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raïkkönen at the top of Formula 1. With the tennis sparkling star Maria Sharapova, Hollywood greats Brad Pitt and Uma Thurman, TAG Heuer more than ever stands for „Sport and Glamour‰.

TAG Heuer International Press Contact:


Charlotte Walhain ˆ Tel: + 1 33 1 55 80 09 22 ˆ Fax: + 1 33 1 55 80 09 21

Mobile: + 1 33 6 12 22 78 87

OK, a little searching around yields the following for images scaned in from a Japanese watch magazine/book published late last year:

If we scrutinize the enlargements of these scans we learn that the watch is based on the ETA 2892 with some sort of module to add the chronograph and other complications. This is probably the most extensive module ever grafted to the 2892.

It'll be interesting to see if this ever makes it to an actual model.

-- Chuck

NEW — Omega Speedmaster Legend Collection — Schumacher

NEW — Omega Speedmaster Legend Collection — Schumacher [Mar 31, 2005 - 07:51 AM]

Since first becoming an Omega ambassador in 1995, Michael Schumacher has added five consecutive Formula 1 world championship drivers' titles to the two that he already had. Omega's designers produced special limited-edition Speedmaster chronographs in celebration of each of these titles, with their own distinctive sporty design. Now, with no records left to break and an inconceivable eighth world championship title on the horizon, Schumi's watch brand of choice also seeks to surpass its own previous levels of achievement with the launch of not just one special watch, but a whole collection.

The Legend Collection consists of three Speedmaster chronographs that combine Omega's high-end column-wheel chronograph movement with sporty Formula 1-inspired dials. Each model has a 42mm diameter stainless-steel case with the familiar curved Speedmaster stainless-steel bracelet and safety clasp. Sealed between the scratch-resistant anti-reflective sapphire crystal and the screw-in case back is the exclusive Omega caliber 3301 self-winding chronograph movement. It is an officially certified COSC chronometer and has a power reserve of 55 hours.

The three models are distinguished by their highly individual dials, all of which have an applied Omega symbol at 12 o'clock and 12 applied rhodium-plated applied hour markers with luminous dots : the first model has a black dial with silver subdials and a silver exterior hour circle with black minute scale and red Speedmaster name; the second a silver dial with two-tone silver subdials with black outer zones and a black exterior hour circle with white minute scale and red Speedmaster name;

the last model has a red dial with black subdials, black hour circle and white minute scale and black Speedmaster name. The former model has a tachymeter scale engraved on a black aluminium ring on the stainless-steel bezel, whereas the latter two have it engraved in black directly on the brushed stainless-steel bezel. All three models have a white-on-black date window at 6 o'clock and baton hour and minute hands with an arrowhead central chronograph seconds hand - all with luminous SuperLuminova inserts.



Thanks Jorge as always for your reports...

My take?

I like them (not thrilled about the movement - big surprise!) and boy are the Rolex guys going to scream about them emulating certain vintage Daytona's!

Everyone knows my concerns about the c.33xx movements, so I don't need to re-trace that. I like the looks, the subdial's are very nice, and Omega's left themselves a variation they can use next year if MS wins another F1 World Championship: Red dial w/White Sub's...

Thanks again Jorge for your continued postings of news from Basel!

-- Chuck

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Omega Speedmaster Gemini 4 Special (Limited) Edition:

Jorge Merino Posts: N E W M o d e l &endash; Omega Speedmaster Gemini 4 Special Edition [Mar 30, 2005 - 07:54 AM]

This special Speedmaster model, created for Baselworld 2005, commemorates not only the 40th anniversary of the first space walk, but also the 40th anniversary of the Speedmaster's flight qualification for manned spaceflight missions.

These important milestones are celebrated with a distinctive model with a blue dial and matching blue aluminium ring on the steel bezel. Only 2,005 pieces will be made.

The Gemini 4 limited-edition Speedmaster is characterised by its blue dial and silver counters for the 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph counters and continuous seconds. The blue theme is also continued on the bezel, with the familiar tachymeter scale reproduced on a blue aluminium ring. The commemorative nature of the timepiece is indicated by a subtle red engraving 1965-2005 below the Speedmaster name at 12 o'clock on the dial.

The applied Omega symbol above the name, as well as 12 rhodium-plated hour markers, also add a hint of luxury and indicate that this Speedmaster is special. In all other respects, the watch remains a classic Speedmaster, with the same case, bracelet and hesalite crystal found on the "Moon Watch" - the standard Speedmaster Professional model. Movement is the hand-wind Omega caliber 1861.

However, one of its most striking features is destined to remain hidden most of the time, since it is the distinctive Gemini 4 mission patch, bearing the names of the crew, McDivitt and White, and an illustration of the first space walk, that is etched in colour on the sapphire crystal case back with the engraving "First Space Walk 40th Anniversary" and the limited-edition number (0001/2005).

For the most part the watch looks much better than I had expected based on the rumors I couldn't comment upon. The only thing I don't care for are the rhodium subdial hands, which will be hard to read on the silver subdials. A mistake Omega made on the Mitsukoshi and 35th Anniversary edition Speedmasters as well.

On the other hand this leaves the door open for Omega if they wish to produce any of these models in the standard product line, they can change the hands and proceed full speed ahead.



THANK YOU Jorge for your postings!

For my part, I believe (unless something else pops up betwix now and then) this one will be #10 and I'll have to do a new Moonwatch Spread before the end of the year.

For those of you who are not familiar with the significance of the Gemini 4 mission I post a portal and link to my article "35 years ago today…" which was literally the only mention of the Ed White Spacewalk anniversary anywhere in the media with the possible exception of NASA's website nearly 5 years ago...

It was 35 years ago today - (4 June 1965 - 4 June 2000)


-- Chuck

Pictures/Details of Omega's new De Ville Rattrapante Co-Axial

Jorge Merino Posts: N E W M o d e l &endash; Omega De Ville Rattrapante Co-Axial [Mar 29, 2005 - 09:25 AM]

Omega will present at Baselworld 2005 the new De Ville Co-Axial Rattrapante, with a revolutionary design inside and out.

The 41mm case comes in polished or brushed stainless steel with a matching polished or brushed stainless-steel bezel. The silver or ruthenium dial has applied Omega symbol and name, facetted hour markers, silver totalisers with applied Roman numerals for the chronograph function and a truncated sector date window at 11 o'clock, as well as an unusual small-seconds counter with two sectors.

The time is read off by luminous, facetted and diamond-polished Alpha hour and minute hands and a double-tipped small seconds hand. The split-seconds pusher has a varnished red circle that recalls the red zone at the tip of the split-seconds hand.


Movement is the Omega caliber 3612 with split-seconds chronograph complication.

This COSC-certified automatic movement is fitted with the unique Omega Co-Axial Escapement, has a power reserve of 52 hours and a double column-wheel mechanism.

Its luxury finish includes blued-steel screws and two blued-steel column wheels, as well as a domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides.

It is water resistant to 100 metres and it is available with a black alligator leather strap.



Well, it certainly is revolutionary, that's for sure. This is a watch that would be much more at home in another brand's product portfolio.

Two main thoughts... 1) Lately whenever Omega does something revolutionary, it typically means customers spending a lot of time with After-Sales repairs and Customer Service. I certainly hope that Omega has done due dilligence this time around and will hopefully avoid some of the teething problems that owners of the Seamaster GMT and c.33xx based chronographs have (and in the case of the c.33xx continue to) suffer(ed). 2) I don't think NATO or NASA will seriously be considering this model for their pilots anytime soon!

-- Chuck

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

New c.33xx found defective @ TwinCities AD…

 eilander Posts: Broad Arrow Shopping [Mar 28, 2005 - 05:14 PM]

I was having some trouble finding a BA in the flesh around detroit (or a decent omega collection for that matter). That all changed last weekend when I was touring law schools in Minneapolis. I absolutely love the cream/blue dial as well as the idea of an exclusive Piguet movement. I loved it so much, that I've definitely decided to make it my first nice watch. Unfortuanetly, the piece that I handled didn't have a working chonograph. It wouldn't zero... stuck somewhere around 10 seconds. I was told it was "brand new" from omega that week.

Yup... I would be lying if I said I was surprised... While it appears that the frequency of problem reports with c.33xx chronographs is down a little bit from this time last year. It seems that problems are still occuring with a frequency for serious concern well over a year since Omega revised this movement.

Dispite the unsupprted claims of certain people that the problems with the c.33xx are in the past, this is the third c.33xx problem reported this month, and the sixth since early December.

It was marked down 30%, so I inquired as to why, and was told that the store could only stock a specific number of SKU's. The "brand new" broad arrow was one SKU too many, so it was discounted. The salesman also told me the movement was being used by "Breitlinger," so I walked away immediately.

It's really hard to determine if a salesperson(s) who says such things are ignorant of the facts of the matter or are outright lying. In either case the salesperson(s) in question were not acting in your best interest but rather theirs. You did the right thing by doing an about-face and walking.

Is the 33xx worth the risk?

That is an answer best determined by each person on their own.

Having said that, I know what the answer is for me...

I personally have no interest in being an unpaid Beta-Tester for Swatch Group on a item with such a dubious track record, at my expense/risk and bearing the burden of dealing with the Omega Customer Support Channel to get the thing to perform as promised. Hence in my opinion the answer to this question is no.

Are the new BA's problem free?

No, it appears to be far from problem free. As they continue to fail at a frightening rate.

Anyone know a good discounting AD that I could trust to get me a new/problem free piece?

Your best strategy, if you are committed to roll the dice with a c.33xx, is to get in contact with Keith Downing's Authorized Dealer. Keith's Dealer has a policy (especially with the c.33xx's) of winding them, setting them to an Atomic clock and scrutinizing them for several days before turning them over to the buyer. Keith's dealer hasn't had any returns since he started doing this, and while past performance is no guarentee of future results this might increase your chances of sucess.

Oh, now that I think of it, Keith announced that he is in the process of relocating his family this week and next. Send Keith an email and if he doesn't reply in a day or two email me and I'll set you up. I am certain that requests go through him, but he's appreciated my helping out when he's been off-line in the past.

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks...

I hope I have. I wish the news was better on the c.33xx front. The fixes that Omega has instituted thus far have been long on promise and short on results, and barring additional measures, I suspect that we haven't seen the last of these sorts of posts.

Good Hunting.

-- Chuck