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Month: April 2015 (Page 1 of 3)

5 Things You Should Know About the Audemars Piguet LeBron James Royal Oak Offshore

With the NBA playoffs in full swing, and LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers moving on to the second round, we re-present our feature on the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore LeBron James limited edition, launched in fall 2013, which had the design input of James himself. Here are five things to know about the timepiece.

1. It’s not what one usually expects in a star athlete-branded sports watch. “King James’s” Audemars Piguet is not predominantly black; it does not display his current team’s colors or his jersey number; it has no obvious references to his sport (i.e., the baseball counterweight on the seconds hand of Randy Johnson’s Ulysse Nardin or the basketball pattern on James’s teammate Dwyane Wade’s Hublot); and it’s not even overly large (the case is a relatively modest 44 mm in diameter). The color scheme choice of light gray (in certain light, it appears almost off-white) for the dial and alligator strap, combined with rose gold, came from James himself. The Cavs (and former Miami Heat) star is known for being intense off the court but stylish off it, and for the Breitling replica watches bearing his name, he chose to go with a more “off-court” look, a watch he could wear with a tuxedo. “I love the strap,” James states in Audemars Piguet’s release. “We talked a lot about the possibilities and I thought gray would be the perfect color. At first you don’t really think pink gold and gray will work together, but when you match it up with this watch and this style, it’s a perfect combination.”

Audemars Piguet LeBron James Royal Oak Offshore

2. Its got a touch of bling — but just a touch. LeBron not only wanted to go stylish over sporty, but also, unlike some other celebrity-endorsed timepieces, subtle over showy. The chronograph push-piece at 2 o’clock is the only place on this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore watch that is, almost discreetly, set with diamonds. Both push-pieces, as well as the winding crown, are made of black ceramic.

5 Things You Should Know About the Audemars Piguet LeBron James Royal Oak Offshore - chrono pusherLE - side

3. The case combines two rarely combined materials. The Rolex replica watches for sale is still instantly recognizable as a Royal Oak Offshore, with its famous octagonal case and “mega-tapisserie” patterned dial. The case is in 18k rose gold and also features a brushed titanium bezel, with the traditional eight screws, which echoes the gray tones in the dial and strap. The push-piece guards combine rose gold with gray rubber. The sapphire crystal has a glareproof coating. The case is water-resistant to 100 meters. The applied Arabic numerals and hands are also in 18k rose gold.

4. The movement is complicated, highly decorated, and on display. The Royal Oak Offshore LeBron James Limited Edition contains Audemars Piguet’s automatic Caliber 3126/3840, whose functions include a date display (in a window at 3’clock on the dial), small seconds (on a subdial at 12 o’clock) and chronograph (with counters at 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock). The movement is 26 mm in diameter, 7.16 mm thick and consists of 365 parts, including 59 jewels. It has a frequency of 21,600 vph and a power reserve of 55 hours. Its embellishments include circular graining on the mainplate, côtes de Genève on the beveled bridges, and a partially openworked 22k gold rotor with an anthracite galvanic treatment and a raised Audemars Piguet “AP” logo. The movement is visible through a sapphire exhibition caseback that also bears James’s signature, printed in blue.

Audemars Piguet's chronograph Caliber 3126/3840

5. If you’re planning to buy one, you’ll need a tidy sum, and maybe a bit of luck. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore LeBron James limited edition is limited to only 600 pieces worldwide. The price of admission to wear the same cheap Rolex replica watches as the four-time NBA MVP and two-time world champ? That would be $51,500.

LeBron James wearing Audemars Piguet

Linde Werdelin: SpidoLite Titanium and SpidoLite Gold

Dexterity in skeletonised design. The remarkable story of the SpidoLite continues.

Linde Werdelin’s SpidoLite family was born after an expedition to Mount Everest; they are designed for high performance during the most active of lifestyles. Representing an evolution in weight-optimised construction, the SpidoLite Titanium is the lightest Linde Werdelin timepiece to date. The open dial on both the SpidoLite Titanium and SpidoLite Gold reveals the first ever power reserve indicator for the brand.


The Idea

The SpidoLite family has a simple goal: to save weight without compromising on strength, integrity or performance. The fourth generation of the family is the most extreme skeleton to date, as co-founder and creative mind Morten Linde explains: “By looking at the Rolex replica watches for sale holistically, we have stripped the components back to optimise weight, whilst creating balance in design.”

The Case and Materials

As pioneers in the integration of technically-complex, skeletonised replica watches case design, Linde Werdelin approach weight reduction as a design philosophy, not an end goal. The SpidoLite Titanium has a lightweight Grade 5 titanium skeletonised case with an industrial-style satin and microbillé finish. The SpidoLite Gold challenges the assumption that a heavy precious metal cannot produce an incredibly agile sports timepiece.

The Dial and Movement

Under the case and past the clean, minimalist dial, Linde Werdelin’s commitment to weight optimisation is realised through extreme skeletonisation, as the inner workings of the SpidoLite are exposed for all to see. Making use of a new calibre with components individually modified by Linde Werdelin in partnership with the award-winning best Rolex replica watchmaking powerhouse Chronode SA, the LW07 movement allows for a 42-hour power reserve.

A single red triangle points to the open spring barrel cover, which acts as Linde Werdelin’s first-ever power reserve indicator. The spring is visibly loose when unwound and tight when fully wound. In keeping with the design philosophy, there is nothing superfluous added to the indicator; it is simple, it is functional and it blends harmoniously with surrounding components.


Technical Specifications


– Titanium Grade 5; satin, polished and microbille finishing or;
– 18K rose gold (5N); satin and microbille finishing
– Sapphire crystal, anti-reflective on the inside
– Crown: Titanium Grade 5; rough circular satin; engraved with a spider icon
– Case dimension: 44mm x 46mm x 15mm


– Titanium Grade 5 (SpidoLite Titanium); satin on top surface; polished facet; microbille in grooves
– Black ceramic (SpidoLite Gold); satin on top surface; polished facet; microbille in grooves


– LW07, movement skeletonised and customised by Linde Werdelin
– 42 hours power reserve
– Balance frequency: 28,800vph (4Hz)
– Jewels: 20
– Movement plate: rhodium; microbille


SpidoLite Titanium:

– Titanium Grade 5; circular satin
– Eight hexakey titanium screws
– Limited edition number laser engraved from 1 to 75
– Laser engraved with LW and SpidoLite logos
– Water resistant to 100 metres

SpidoLite Gold:

– Black DLC-treated Titanium
– Eight hexakey titanium screws
– Laser engraved limited edition number from 1 to 75, LW and SpidoLite logos; filled with rose gold (5N)
– Water resistant to 100 metres


– Interchangeable premium natural rubber strap in cool grey
– Titanium screws; circular satin on top
– Black tension discs
– Titanium buckle


SpidoLite Titanium:

– Skeletonised dial
– Réhaut and dial: titanium colour, circular satin finish
– Hands blued by heat treatment; polished; cool grey Luminova
– Cool grey hour and minute indexes
– Logotype printed in black

SpidoLite Gold:

– Skeletonised dial
– Réhaut and dial: black circular satin on top surface
– Hands: rose gold (5N); satin on top surface; cool grey Luminova
– Cool grey hour indexes
– Rose gold (5N) minute indexes
– Logotype printed in cool grey


SpidoLite Titanium:

– Rhodium; satin direction 9-3
– Logo and “07” printed in black

SpidoLite Gold:

– Rose gold (5N); satin direction 9-3
– Logo and “07” printed in black


– Barrel cover: rhodium; circular satin (SpidoLite Titanium)
– Barrel cover: rose gold (5N); circular satin (SpidoLite Gold)
– Trigon pattern


Going Creative: 4 Artistic Watches

High horology isn’t just about movements: it’s also about aesthetics. The best Rolex replica watches brands in Geneva call on a range of decorative techniques, such as guillochage, enameling, and skeletonizing, that can add as much to the cost of watch as can a notable manufacture movement. Here, four watches showcasing the skills that some high-end watch companies call the “metiers d’art.”

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Ultra Thin Grand Feu, a new version of its razor-slim Master Ultra Thin, looks simple but is anything but. Above its 1.85-mm-thick movement, Caliber 849, rests a dial made using the very demanding grand feu (French for “big fire”) enamel technique, so named because of the particularly intense heat it requires (800 to 900 degrees C). The enamel is applied in layers; each is fired separately. An instant too long in the oven and the dial, made of gold, is ruined. Jaeger is proud indeed of the dial: the words “Émail Grand Feu” (Émail is French for enamel) are inscribed between 7 and 8 o’clock. The watch is 5.04 mm thick, about 1 mm thicker than the non-enamel version because of the added layers. The price is $40,900.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Grand Feu

Vacheron Constantin introduced a high quality Rolex replica watches with an open-worked rendition of its Caliber 4400, which is manually wound. The delicate arches of the skeletonized movement are meant to evoke the ribbed vaults of late 19th-century European train stations. Nearly half the movement’s metal was removed during the open-work process, Vacheron says: the trick is to leave enough so that the movement functions as well as if it were solid. Assembling the movement after the components have been skeletonized is also difficult, the company says, because the components are distorted when they are decorated and need to be tweaked to get them into their original shapes so they will work correctly. The watch incorporates another metier d’art: grand feu enameling (see above). The enameling is used on the ring around the dial’s circumference. The watch shown here has a gray ring; blue- and black-ring versions are also available. Price: $75,200.

Vacheron Constantin Caliber 4400 SQ

Van Cleef & Arpels used enameling too, in its Midnight Nuit Boréale and Midnight Nuit Australe watches. The type of enameling it chose was grisaille enameling, in which dramatic contrasts of light and dark are produced with just two shades of enamel. About 30 firings are needed to make each dial; the entire process takes some 70 hours. Tiny gold dots represent the stars. The Boréale watch (pictured here) was inspired by constellations from the Northern Hemisphere; the Australe model by those from the Southern Hemisphere. The watches are 42 mm in diameter and contain automatic movements. Each watch is a limited edition of 22 pieces, priced at $98,000 each.

Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Nuit Boreale

Roger Dubuis put guillochage front and center on its new version of the Double Flying Tourbillon, which is part of the Hommage collection. The watch does, as its name suggests, have two tourbillons, but they aren’t the watch’s most eye-catching feature, according to a press release. “Doubtless the most striking aspect of the new Hommage Double Flying Tourbillon and the one that immediately catches and holds the gaze is the highly original guilloché work on the front,” the company says. This guilloché work, applied to the mainplate, is different from standard guilloché for two reasons. First, it was applied without crémage, a technique in which wet talcum powder is used to impart a matte, rather than shiny, finish. Crémage is used to disguise the tiny imperfections caused by the guillochage process; skipping this step means being extra careful not to create such blemishes. Second, the guillochage is unusually deep. Each groove in the sunray pattern requires at least four passes of the tool, compared to just one or two in standard guilloché. This results in a 3-D effect. The Rolex replica watches sale contains a new movement, the RD100. The case is 45 mm in diameter and comes in rose gold ($328,500) or white gold ($338,500).

Roger Dubuis Hommage Double Flying Tourbillon

Throwing A Curve: The How, What, When, Where and Why Of Mainsprings

In this in-depth feature,best Rolex replica watches expert Gisbert L. Brunner explained that mainsprings perform herculean tasks. With a maximum thickness of just 75/1,000 mm, they develop strong torque, which they keep almost constant.

A mainspring’s torque is directly proportional to its width. Doubling a mainspring’s thickness increases its torque approximately eight times. Its length also influences the movement’s running autonomy: each millimeter added to a mainspring’s length extends the movement’s running time but  simultaneously causes a linear decrease in its torque. Building movements that ensure uniformly strong driving torque and long running time poses a special challenge for watchmakers.

Mainsprings must satisfy diverse requirements. They must not become weakened, bend out of shape, kink or (heaven forbid) break. They should also resist corrosion and magnetism. Around 1965, the carbon steel used to make mainsprings began to be replaced with cold-rolled alloys that were less vulnerable to friction and wear.  Mainsprings made with these alloys rarely suffer any of the problems listed above.


Nivaflex is the alloy most frequently used for mainsprings in high quality Rolex replica watches today. Nivaflex mainsprings are antimagnetic and have an extremely high tensile strength of up to 3,000 megapascals (equivalent to 300,000 meters). They attain values of 800 or greater on the Vickers hardness scale. (For comparison, 316L stainless steel ranges between 200 and 240 Vickers in hardness.) They are highly resistant to reverse bending, retain good temperature stability in a range from -50 to +350 degrees Celsius, and are exceedingly resistant to corrosion. By weight, Nivaflex consists of 45 percent cobalt, 21 percent nickel, 18 percent chrome, five percent iron, four percent tungsten, four percent molybdenum, one percent titanium and 0.2 percent beryllium; carbon accounts for less than 0.1 percent of this alloy’s weight. Increasing the percentage of beryllium in an alloy further increases its strength and hardness, factors that are important for miniaturization.

For a mainspring to perform at its best, it not only should be made from an alloy like Nivaflex, it also should have a specially constructed end and bridle. The bridle holds the outer end of the mainspring against the inner wall of the barrel. As the mainspring gradually unwinds, the bridle coaxes it into the most nearly concentric shape around the barrel arbor. The barrel of a watch is the fuel tank of its movement. Without a barrel, no wheel in a watch’s mechanism would turn.

Friction between coils must be reduced to maintain a mainspring’s performance. In hand-wound watches, the mainspring is attached to the inside of the barrel near the outer end (but not at the extreme end) of the mainspring. For a self-winding watch, a stationary connection between the mainspring and the barrel would not work because energy is continually flowing toward the mainspring while the watch is on its wearer’s moving wrist. The connection used instead is the “slipping mainspring” or “slipping bridle” device that was patented by Jean-Adrien Philippe, of Patek Philippe, in 1863, before self-winding wristwatches appeared. (The device was designed to wind two mainspring barrels simultaneously.) In this configuration, the mainspring is attached to a circular expansion spring (the bridle), which presses against the inside wall of the barrel. The device prevents overwinding: with a little help from this precisely calculated sliding spring, the mainspring can first accumulate its maximum tension and then dispose of excess tension through the friction generated when the bridle glides along the inner wall of the barrel.

The mainspring covers the entire movement in Ulysse Nardin’s Freak (above and below).


One of the advantages of the mainspring’s coiled shape is a more nearly equal distribution of tension along the entire length of the spring, which goes hand in hand with relatively constant torque. A fully wound mainspring provides very strong driving torque, and a mainspring in its middle range between fully wound and totally exhausted delivers a relatively constant level of torque. The force declines significantly as the mainspring’s tension lessens.

The barrel and the mainspring inside it play a fundamental role in the design of every movement. The center of a classically constructed caliber is occupied by the hour wheel and the cannon pinion, so the maximum diameter of the barrel is limited by the radius of the plate. The barrel’s rotational speed defines the loss of torque during the first 24 hours after the mainspring has been fully wound. Afterward the mainspring in a hand-wound cheap Breitling replica watches is usually given a complete tightening.

A small translation ratio to the center wheel’s pinion and fast rotations of the barrel combine to minimize loss of torque. A typical mainspring should unwind after eight to 10 turns. From these parameters, engineers calculate the ideal thickness of the mainspring, which should fill half to 55 percent of the barrel. Torque arriving at the escape wheel should decline by no more than 15 percent the first day. The calculation of the entire gear train is oriented using these criteria so the watch’s movement runs at a regular rate.

The barrel’s interior, showing the mainspring in its slackened state (left), is concealed from view beneath the cover (below).

The frequency of the balance plays an essential role in all calculations. As the balance’s frequency increases, the movement’s running autonomy decreases. Skillful construction can achieve up to a week’s running autonomy with only one barrel: the Swiss company Hebdomas proved this in 1913, when it introduced a watch with a big barrel that covered the entire movement. Ulysse Nardin used a similar construction in its Freak in 2001. The 1930s saw the advent of eight-day movements with standard barrels, modified gear trains and tiny balances paced at a frequency of 2.5 hertz. Today’s four-hertz rapid oscillators can usually run for 72 hours without a fresh dose of energy. IWC’s Calibers 51011, 51111 and 59210 demonstrate that a single barrel and a balance paced at 28,800 vph can achieve a full week of running autonomy.

A. Lange & Söhne uses an uncommonly long mainspring to achieve 31 days of running autonomy.

Dividing the driving torque between two mainsprings is by no means a new idea. Henri Louis Jaquet-Droz employed this technique as early as 1785. Abraham-Louis Breguet also devoted considerable attention to optimizing the energy supply for his chronometers: two barrels acting simultaneously on one center pinion not only replaced the conventional chain-and-fusée system, they also enabled Breguet to reduce the mainspring’s thickness by half. The Favre-Leuba company caused a small furor in the Rolex replica watches for sale world when it debuted its three-mm-slim caliber family 25x and 27x in 1962: both movements were hand wound and, similar to Breguet’s invention, each had two barrels acting on the center pinion. The thickness – or rather the thinness – of the springs was quite impressive: each was a mere 0.05 mm thick, yet produced 9 1/4 barrel rotations and approximately 40 hours of running autonomy. The advantages lie in reducing one-sided bearing pressure on the minutes wheel and in the fact that thinner mainsprings develop their force more uniformly. On the other hand, the height increases with parallel switching of two barrels and their collaborative action on the center pinion.

Glashütte master watchmaker Alfred Helwig took a different approach. He relied on a pair of serially switched barrels that act one after the other. After the first mainspring has been fully wound, it then begins to tighten its counterpart. This arrangement doubles the overall length of the springs. Longines first used this principle in its caliber family 89x with two piggyback barrels in 1975. The subsequent Caliber L990 was much slimmer, partly because its two barrels were positioned side by side. The advantages of two quickly rotating energy reservoirs are apparent: lower torque reduces the forces acting on the gear trains while simultaneously enhancing performance. The winding mechanism can work more efficiently in self-winding movements. Partly because of these advantages, this principle can be found increasingly in new constructions. Running time also increases when the length of one mainspring is added to that of its companion. Depending on the details of their construction, most of these calibers run for two to eight days. The pinnacle was reached by A. Lange & Söhne and its Caliber L.034.1 in the Lange 31, which can run for 31 days without a fresh dose of energy.

Panerai’s Caliber P.2002 has three barrels for eight days of running time.

Panerai installed three serially arranged barrels in Calibers P.2002, P.2003, and P.2004, which resulted in a minimum of eight days of running autonomy. Blancpain followed suit in automatic Calibers 5235DF and 6938, each of which achieves 192 hours of running autonomy. Chopard packed a quartet of barrels into the L.U.C Quattro: four mainsprings, each 470 mm long, give Caliber L.U.C 1.98 a running time of at least 216 hours, or nine days. Vacheron Constantin’s tourbillon Caliber 2253 runs for 14 days with one winding. TAG Heuer’s linearly self-winding Caliber V4 has 52 hours of running autonomy.

The four barrels are visible on the back of TAG Heuer’s Caliber V4 (above), used in the Monaco V4 (below).


Enrico Barbasini, Michel Navas and Mathias Buttet, founders of the now defunct Swiss movement maker BNB Concept SA, joined with Jacob & Co. to create its hand-wound Quenttin tourbillon with Caliber 5 that has a frequency of three hertz, seven barrels arranged side by side, and 31 days of running autonomy.

The Quenttin from Jacob & Co. contains a record-breaking number of barrels: seven.

Far more important than increasing the number of barrels is the technical evolution of the energy reservoir per se. With an overall concept designed to maximize energy efficiency, Cartier’s concept cheap Rolex replica watches, the ID Two, achieves more than a month of running autonomy with four normal-sized, polymer-coated barrels made of fiberglass-reinforced material.

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