Friday, December 28, 2007

THE 24-7 Loungewear of choice

Scanty Loungewear - comfortable, cute, and yes, "yummy"

Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, courtesy of Think Public Relations, LA

As we spend a lot of time behind our laptop in our home office, finding some comfortable AND stylish loungewear is a priority.
We examined the options. Juicy sweats? Frankly - more suitable for our tween daughters and nieces. Once the kids are wearing it [like Uggs] time to move on. Besides, velour makes us feel like an Elvis impersonator en route to a gig.
Thanks to Think PR, LA, we discovered the Original Scanty Brand while mentioning our quest to locate loungewear stylish enough to wear out to do errands, and to travel in.
What is Scanty? About the Founder & Creative force, MICKEY SILLS:
This lifestyle brand of 60’s and 70’s infused prints is the brainchild of Mickey Sills, an avid Harley Davidson enthusiast, surfer and the product of California culture. He’s been creating the line in his little backyard studio decorated with inspirational shots of nostalgic materials like airstreams, kitschy, retro Hawaiian knickknacks and classic movie posters since 2004. Scanty’s not just a hobby though. It started with a few bralets, panties, chemises, thongs, boxer briefs and pj-sets and has evolved into a multi-million dollar loungewear brand. Mickey wisely brought in industry leader, SBH Intimates, allowing him to focus his creative energies on image and brand design.

Point of differentiation:
Each season, Scanty incorporates its signature ‘60’s and ‘70’s vibe to everyday silhouettes, which give the pieces that “special something”.
New for spring 2008: the new collection features Housecoats and Chemises that can be worn “day-to-night, work-to-play”.

Who’s already onto it?
Celeb fans include: Demi Moore, Brooke Shields, Carmen Electra, Vanessa Manillo, Adrian Grenier, Mischa Barton, Rachel Bilson, Deborah Messing, Minnie Driver.

At LYRA MAG we’re big believers of road testing product before commenting.
So, we road tested 2 spring 2008 Scanty outfits in a few different scenarios:

Outfit #1: The hot pink retro pj’s
The scenario: Going to school
This rose pink v-neck long sleeve top with extra long ribbed cuffs and a black Edie Sedgewick look alike black print was cute enough to wear under a gray Michael Kors cashmere v-neck to go to a Thursday night continuing ed class at our local community college.
The reaction: 3 classmates commented on the top and asked where to get it.
How it performed: What really impressed us -how smooth the weathered looking fabric felt, especially after the first washing.
Bonus: The top was long enough to tuck into jeans.

Outfit #2: The green floral print elbow length tunic
The scenario: as a travel dress over leggings on a pre-Christmas NY – Miami trip. Could it transition from comfortably from 25 to 82-degree weather?
How it performed: Once in Miami, presto change-o. We pulled off our triple ply Michael Kors turtleneck and exchanged our silver Limited Edition Pumas and socks for a pair of green J. Crew flip-flops and were Miami ready in under 30 seconds.
Bonus: The best part…You can sleep in them [we did before waking up at 3:30am to catch a 6:00am flight our of Newark]. The soft 100% fabric is virtually wrinkle-proof and looks even better after a few washes.

Secret Shopper: While in Miami, we stopped into Neiman Marcus at the Bal Harbour Shops. The sales associate in the Intimate Apparel Dept. reported that the Scanty PJ’s in bright colors were “selling super well”. “A lot of women wear the tops or the leggings out to run around,” she added.

**LYRA MAG’S Road Test Rating: ***** out of a possible 5.
Top-sellers: Henleys, Tunics, Tanks, Chemises, Dresses and Robes
Available for spring 2008: all that and deep v-neck tunics, long gowns and polo dresses.
Coming soon: flip-flops, towels, travel kits and accessories.
Retail price: between $34.00 and $120.00.

Where to buy it:

Also available at: Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Fred Segal, Kitson, and Lisa Klein

AVEDA is Aces for the latest hair trend: natural shiny hair

Text, Vivian G. Kelly

Runway image of Marc Bouwer’s red gown, courtesy of Mercedes Benz USA

Last September, Aveda went backstage to create the lead makeup looks for Marc Bouwer, Evisu and Designers for Darfur. These three head-turning looks dominated the runways for skin, eyes and lips. We're especially partial to the creamy, flawless complexions and daring, metallic eyes at Marc Bouwer.
Said Rudy Miles, Global Makeup Artist and Educator for Aveda of the looks,
“A red lip on a naked face is such a sexy statement,” “It’s simple and elegant—easy glam. Aveda Petal Essence Eye Definer adds depth to the eye, heightening this effect.”

Those moments of backstage buzz sold us on Aveda. Admittedly, we’ve been sold by backstage hair and makeup buzz before, but what REALLY sold us was the company's well-known eco tendencies. Eco's an issue that’s moved from the backburner to one of great interest to the fashion industry this year but Aveda's was on to it way before then.

We finally got to the Shine Salon 4 months later, one of Aveda’s nationwide Concept Salons, located in Ridgefield, CT

OUR MISSION: to see if the Aveda colorists could bring our overly dyed hair [a splotchy mélange of browns and reds] back to our natural dark brown without inflicting any more damage to our already tired hair and scalp.
If time permitted, we hoped to also leave with a new shade of lipstick to suit our new complexion. We say “new complexion” because changing your hair color can alter the appearance of your skin tone, for better, or worse.

THE APPOINTMENT: We indulged in a bit of secret shopper behavior, booking the color appointment as a civilian, not as press, as we do 90% of the time we go in to have something done.
Everyone on staff at an Aveda concept salon must undergo hours of training at the Aveda Institute before being allowed to work on clients. Aveda stylists don’t “specialize” they do both color and cuts. Our stylist, Amanda Hine, examined our multicolored mop and determined from our 1/4-inch re-growth that we were a level 3N, not the 5N we had thought we were.

1. No snap decisions.
Amanda took her time looking through ALL our hair before applying the color

2. No client vs. stylist tug of war.
She didn’t try to talk us out of our plan of going back to our natural color and of growing it out.

3. The product didn’t stink or sting,
Aveda dyes are 97% natural [those who are going lighter take note that there’s a bit more chemical in those formulations].

4. Complimentary neck rubs administered by the very low-key male masseuse, Michael, who also tipped us of on a genius massage tool, “the original theracane” he promised would break up the most stubborn knots we get after hours hunched over our laptop. [Available on eBay for approximately $30]

5. The result! Our hair came out just as we’d envisioned it – glossy, rich and healthy looking, the shade Jacqueline Smith’s so famously was during “Charlie’s Angels” way back in the seventies.

6. The no-pressure vibe.
At no time did anyone hover or exhort us to buy any products, which made us much more likely to make a purchase. WE like to feel as if it’s our idea to make a purchase, not a force. We'll be buying the Aveda Color Conserve shampoo and conditioner Amanda used to maintain our color.

Found: the perfect shade of nude
As the color and blow-out took just under an hour, we made a pit stop at the makeup counter in the front of the salon.
We showed Cameron Lynch, the esthetician/makeup artist on duty the cover of January W of Hilary Swank, wearing a delicate nudelip color. Cameron was by the way, a great advertisement for the Aveda look; she sported the fresh-faced no-makeup look popularized by designer Vera Wang.
We left with the perfect color, “zingber” 811 spf15.

THE TAB: $65 for one-step color, $14 for lip color
HOW LONG IT TOOK: Start to finish, 1 hour and 20 minutes
OUR RATING: ***** out of a possible 5.

Shine Salon Spa, 392 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877
Tel: 203-438-5000

Friday, December 21, 2007


Beauty Splurges That Won't Set Off The Radar Detectors

Text J Ecochard
Photos, J. Ecochard, Scott J, Aveda

When tending to our tresses – we hit the local salon-less hassle and no divas co-opting our stylist’s attention.

So we were surprised when the big cheese of the Aveda laden Scott J-NYC Salons and Spas-Scott J himself- greeted us with an 1000 watt smile, hung our coats, fetched us tea, pampered our dried out paws-and gave us a blow out that would have Veronica Lake turn a shade of envy green. Seems our regular clipper, Roberto ‘won’ his boss’ time for 3 hours as an assistant for Christmas. What a treat!

Scott, an engaging entrepreneur- gave us the inside scoop on Aveda’s new be Curly Collection “it really holds, easy to use without the crunch…” He also raved about the brand's eco-orientation based on plant technology. In fact, Scott said- Aveda is more conscious than ever and has yanked big selling products from the market if the ingredients aren’t up to the company’s new higher standards of purity. Wow.

Perhaps nothing can be as toxic a beauty experience as getting one’s nails done. It seems there is always some ingredient being banned by European regulators. So we were thrilled to discover a LES salon, Priti Organic Spa -devoted to all natural ingredients. Amazingly, their SOY BEAN nail polish remover does the deed. Who knew?

The cozy salon, off the Bowery was founded by former model Kim D’Amato. It is simply decorated in an Asian vibey way… and utterly relaxing. No hard sell on stuff we’ll never use after the first week-just shimmery non-toxic mani/peds with a rainbow colored Priti Princess Polish. Their other beauty indulgences also use non- carcinogenic ingredients.

Last week, we hauled our freezing selves to an intimate evening launch of the 5 brush adesign Skincare Brush Kit. At first we were skeptical-we have enough clutter on our closet shelves.
But we did a 180 in ‘tude when we saw a live demo of these novel shaped, durable brushes (including the pointy Kabuki) that showed how much easier and more consistent makeup (foundation, shadow) and beauty lotions' (cleanser, moisturizer, mask) applications are …using less product too (thrifty)!

Shana Marshall, the knowledgeable co-founder came up with the concept based on her experiences in the biz-including a long stint with Aveda. “The brushes specifically began in Toronto with a Canadian brush manufacturer” Shana said. “That is when I fell in love {with} my design and development. It gave me the opportunity to create tools and accessories…that delivered superior application.”

The time-pressed or plain lazy will also appreciate the hand made synthetic brushes nifty wash/rinse cleanliness unlike animal hair make-up brushes found in pricey lines. So even if you forget to wash your hands (yech) your makeup application will be 100% germ free.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Badgley Mischka's Beautiful Brides - the spring 2008 collection

Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, courtesy of Badgley Mischka

We've already posted a spring 2008 bridal round-up based on a full day [October 21] of running around NYC visiting a number of bridal resources at the Waldorf Astoria and venues all over town. The much anticipated Badgley Mischka show was so strong that it merits a mention all its own.

Mssrs. Badgley and Mischka set up in a salon at the Hotel Inter Continental, with little gold chairs and elegant chandeliers. We felt as if we were at a Givenchy show circa 1960 and might find fashion icons such as Audrey Hepburn seated in the front row.
Although Badgley Mischka has been a significant label for well over 10 years. they’ve hit some road bumps along the way when it’s come to finances. Thanks to a deal they struck with Iconix (previously Candies), the boys are back in the saddle again designing, working on umpteen licenses, and bigger than ever. They have handbags, eyewear, fur, accessories, couture, swim and watch licenses, and of course, bridal. It’s not humanely possible for every single on of these pieces of the brand to be a hit, but most are. The Limited Edition fragrance is doing very nicely, according to a counter manager at the Westchester Mall’s Neiman Marcus,
Returning to bridal, we had possibly the best “seat” in the house. Although we were standing behind the 4th row of chairs, we had a bird's eye view of Mark and James arranging the gowns before the models stepped out onto the runway.

Many bridal designers have resigned themselves to creating somewhat predictable strapless gowns, not so here. There were many surprises, such as the paper white silk satin mini gown with a beaded bow at the neckline. They provided novelty via the upturned points on the bust of a strapless gown that spiced up the traditional sweetheart neckline. While we realize that bridal designers design gowns that they hope will sell, it’s a great designer[s] who has the imagination to add a twist such as this on a predictable silhouette.
Most dresses were of the column variety either strapless or with wide shoulder straps embellished with pearls and Swarovski crystals which immediately stood out in the sea of strapless we’d looked at all day.
The duo showed their design skills in what we’ll call “the forgiving dress”. The empire spaghetti strap number boasted a Swarvoski crystal cluster at the breastbone pulling your eyes away from the tummy and hip area.
All in all though, the waist continued to be well defined by the judicious use of Swarovski crystals and beading. The effect was to draw the attention to the workmanship on the waist.
Gowns this ornate and this beautiful need little to no help accessory-wise. Wisely, the designers accessorized with only a pair of chandelier earrings. The few veils they showed were tailbone length and quite spare.
The designers gently reminded the audience that they also design gorgeous RTW gowns. The last exit resembled a Badgely Mischka Oscar gown. The column dress had an illusion waist and plenty of that gorgeous beading that helped define the RTW brand, and made Badgley Mischka one of Hollywood's most sought after Red Carpet resources.


December 17th, 2007 Annual Charity Ball

Text, Images by J.Ecochard

What does it take to get swarms of swank A-listers to stop checking their addictive Blackberries?

-A pumping belt-em out set by the soulful, ageless Chaka Kahn?
-A rockin’ 20 minutes of heart pounding music by “it” hipster Cat Power ?
-A live auction of drool inducing KWIAT jewels, a Saks Fifth Avenue shopping spree, a private airplane flight for a luxe weekend jaunt…?
-Open bars with Grey Goose Vodka confections, bubbling Champagne, and yummy eats proffered by cater waiters who were genuinely happy to be there?

Yeah, and then some.

We don’t know the full back-story on founder Scott Harrison. Yes, he was a club promoter/event planner (what?) back in the day, volunteered in Liberia, takes amazing photos etc. But better - this guy pulled in a stunning crowd of dapper financiers, chic socialites, a healthy dose of the celebufabulous, and amazing silent auction items courtesy of fashion bigwigs like Marc Jacobs, YSL, David Yurman, Be&D, Marni, Kenneth Cole- plus meals at top gourmand haunts CRU and Eleven Madison Park, weekends at Miami’s hip Standard Hotel, rare wines destined for oenophiles’ dream cellars, and artwork …for his 2nd NYC charity event benefiting

And 100% of every cent dropped in the till went towards providing safe, clean drinking water in Africa. That’s right, Metropolitan Pavilion donated the glorious space, the state of the art media technology came gratis, and even the outgoing B lister that plays an A lister on HBO’s Entourage (his words) Adrian Grenier, who like Justin Timberlake-makes the ladies and gay guys swoon while still managing to ‘hang’ like one of the regular guys (if only) -all contributed to a memorable night in the usually partied out Big Apple.

Highlights were numerous. Taking center stage was a runway set-up where everyone who strutted to the tunes spun by DJ David Katz-lugging the 80 lbs yellow water containers, earned CharityWater a $120 donation (from someone?). Even the model-phobic walked the walk to raise scores of $20 bottles of Charity:Water that each generates the equivalent of 545,000 bottles in a developing nation.

During the short presentation, Terry George- director of the remarkable movie Hotel Rwanda, debuted a short clip featuring the un-credited but easily recognizable stunning Jennifer Connelly serving tainted drinking water from the Central Park Pond, hauled by hundreds of extras through NYC’s byways, to dejected school kids…to illustrate the realities of what most of Africa’s population goes through everyday.

Better yet were the videos shot in Africa, showing birthday boy Scott Harrison celebrating the big 32 (!!!) by opening a health clinic in Mogotia, funded by Charity. Amazingly the documentaries really showed how little it takes (like one fresh water well) to change the way of life for so many- when there are not government officials to bribe and shareholders to answer to.

We’ve volunteered for several charitable organizations, and never have we seen less peacock poseurs at a hot ticket NY event. REALLY. The security guards were cordial and the public relations teams efficient and professional (Brand Building and State Pr). No wonder Mr. Harrison seems to be the kind of guy one wants to wrap up and take home to meet the family for the holidays. A sincere do-gooder who gets it done…and with a phenomenal rolodex to help him do it.

Don’t miss next year’s event or better yet, volunteer. After all, to paraphrase one speaker, we are all on a journey in life…what will you be remembered for?

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Organic Balms For The Holidays

Text-J. Ecochard
Images-Pure Inventions™

Even the holistic esthetes amongst us have too much of something not good for us- during the Thanksgiving-New Year’s onslaught.

Coupled with NO TIME, we were game to try idiot proof, immune boosting aids…that are sugar- carb-calorie-and caffeine-free.

One genius, tasty way to this healthier life was presented in the cozy confines of NY’s Cornell Club last week by Pure Inventions™…a collection of good for you liquid extracts now available online. Simply put, one or two droppers of these delectable enhancements added to plain old water, doused on an AM’s bowl of cereal (or like us, late night munchies) or added to a festive cocktail…can provide a load of healing ingredients that sure beats gulping down a handful of supplements any day.

Completely free of anything that adds the weight but naturally sweet, and flavor packed with anti-oxidants, Pure Inventions concentrates are available in:

Green Tea: scientifically shown to work wonders with each standardized ‘dose’ worth 100mg without the caffeine-and now in palatable fruit flavors (raspberry, pineapple-coconut)

Pomengrate with Acia Berry: the new “it” free radical buster

Cranberry with Elderberry Extract: boosting immunity and calming an overworked digestive system

Blueberry with White Tea: A proven anti-aging antioxidant

Chocoholics can even indulge in the brand new line of COCOA extracts that are PROMISE- sugar and caffeine free. A dropper of this addictive essence in some warm frothy non-fat milk is as satisfyingly delicious as those calorie loaded numbers we usually sip.

We also feel the soon to launch (March 2008), tropical energy extract will become the choice of athletic water bottles, replacing that nasty tasting, calorie packed sugary stuff. Plus the thrifty ease of these extracts…. each 4oz bottle provides 60 servings- are guaranteed to be real deal/full strength, standardized nutritional additions unlike the vitamins seemingly peddled everywhere.

We really must congratulate founders Lori Mulligan and Lynn Gerhards, two clinical nutritionists- who pioneered these yummy therapeutic essences.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Pre-Fall Shoe Preview-2008
Press and Buyers Presentation-NYC: December 4-6th, 2007

Text, Photos by J. Ecochard

Former Lilly Pulitzer fashion designer Holly Dunlap often gets lumped in with designer Tory Burch in that socialite world spawned from the rarified Carolyn Roehm/Vera Wang upscale milieu. Both are:

- Popular in Palm Beach
- Design affordable luxury lines of women’s clothes, shoes, accessories
- Schooled by retail veterans
- Pretty picture-perfect 30 something blondes
IMHO- Dunlap has more posh panache to her products- because she sources top of the line Italian materials and manufacturing.

And does not emblazon her initials on the goods you wear.

Hollywould’s glamorous play on words modus operandi successfully translates into her flirty pre-Fall 2008 collection that was staged for buyers and press last week at her spacious 57th Street, NYC showrooms. Coined Sucré and Epicé –sugar and spice- Dunlap’s collection is inspired by the interplay of contrasting materials and textures in largely deep earthy colors. Our favorites included a lush brown (also black) sensuous suede ankle boot with removable matching suede upper with criss crossed closures wrapped around (in satin grosgrain ribbon)-and a sure to be popular dark brown suede stilleto with grosgrain ribbon that cleverly wrapped the heel. Plush caramel leather booties without the tongue are not a manufacturing goof but intended to show off what lies beneath.

Other notable looks are flirty girly pink leather edged, black pony skin ankle boots and espresso/ slate gray eel skinned pointy toe pumps that are sophisticated re-interpretations of the now standard stilettos. Best selling flats are refreshed in styles like the new elasticized ballet flats and rubber studded driving shoes in patent leather black, silver, burnished bronze, rust and anthracite metallics. Animal prints also abound, as women are still demanding these eye-catching prints.

Feminine, fun and fashionable.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images, courtesy of the Jack Rabbit Collection


“You have to meet Mollie [Culligan], not just come-in and see the bags her assistant Kevin, told me. You’ll see, he promised, she’s really special, a character." The comment piqued my interest, as did the fact that Mollie was also a published author. Her book, Ninja Chick, [Six Sacred Lessons For Becoming Cheeky, In Charge, and simply genius!] sounded, well, interesting. After half a dozen of emails and phone calls, I was finally in front of Mollie, a tall brunette who could have passed for a model or actress.
Her Jack Rabbit Collection, was display in the Design Pavilion, right in front. There were some great little evening bags and belts in very high quality leather. Mollie shared her “journey” from her getting her start in the accessories market. Her break came when retailer Fred Siegal picked up the cuffs she was spray-painting in her garage. Belts and bags came next as did Ninja Chick, the book she just “had to write”.

Ninja promises to help us “say good-bye to the fragility of your life – because as a ninja chick, you are finally in control…you’ll emerge a dynamic, lovable, and confident ninja chick who’s got it going on.”
Back home, on the East Coast, I cracked open the book.
Two chapters into Ninja Chick, I found I couldn’t wait to read more as my pre-going to bed treat. The book is emotionally comforting and one immediately feels a bond with the author, who is a very brave and engaging woman in addition to being a talented accessories designer. She gets into the behind-the-scenes side of what it takes to be a woman today in a world that seemingly demands that one look like Barbie and like Barbie, never break a sweat or ever look awkward or insecure.
As an added bonus, Mollie offers helpful little aromatherapy tips, such as “for muscular aches and pains, put some peppermint essential oil in the hollow of your collarbone. In the throes of a low-grade flu, we gave it a try. It works!
Says Mollie, “Ninja puts a thumbprint on who we [women] are as a collective group.”

The Jack Rabbit Collection – city chic Bags and Belts
These little quilted bags that would have received Audrey Hepburn’s stamp of approval. “The Petite Audrey” has been spotted on Hollywood types such as Lucy Liu who need just these kinds of clean and sleek city bags to complete their outfit. What makes these bags shine are those all-important details – hand cut brass with 18k gold plating on top, Italian zippers and bullet rivets and “soft as buttah” Italian quilted leather. Although the pieces hail from Italy, we love that the bags are made entirely in Los Angeles.
Approximate retail price: $300 – 500

Belts are still going strong and Mollie’s got a colorful array of them.
What’s special: She’s taken high quality leather that’s made for handbags and has taught her craftsmen to cut it which results in one h—l of a refined belt.
Our favorite: “the Cary Grant”

*Ninja Chick, by Mollie Culligan, New American Library, 2007, $12.95
The Jack Rabbit Collection: tel. 323-461-4974

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Hands Of Time


Text by J. Ecochard

The time-obsessed may be kissing cousins to the OCD afflicted. And as fanatics, we confess; complex wristwatches are the embodiments of heavenly perfection.

The hundreds of mechanisms behind the motions are beyond comprehension-so to even partially grasp the physics of watches- separate from stylish accessories- helps one to understand the four- five –six figure price tags. Just get a look at the innards under a microscope… there are often 735 (gasp!) distinct, smoothly functioning parts per timepiece –as in the ultra horologist BLANCPAIN’s now famed “1735” model- that rivals a sleek Formula Race car-and arguably requires more precise artistry than all of the hand laborious steps engineering wait-listed (yawn) “it” bags.

So it’s no surprise to us that über merchandiser Tiffany has turned over the reins of their watch-making duties to the Swatch Group. Hhhmmm…yes they are the ones spawning the hip, affordable Swatch watches. But this Swiss incorporated entity now owns the ne plus ultra of horological companies…with storied pasts and manufacturing expertise.

For New York visitors and residents…the BLANCPAIN, haute boutique on a chi-chi Madison Avenue may be the initial and only Big Apple palace of luxe to beckon. The brand’s tradition of complex, innovative timepieces hark back to the rural Jura Mountains village of Villeret where master watchmaker Jehan-Jacques Blancpain set up the company’s first shop in a farmhouse (1735). Since then, every watch slavishly pays homage to this Frenchman’s genius including the critical accomplishments of the smallest self-winding chronograph, and the complicated Self- Winding Tourbillon Split Seconds Flyback Chronograph timepieces.

As scuba enthusiasts, we crave the practical advancements of the BLANCPAIN’s Fifty Fathoms collection. Now available in extremely limited editions (what else?) we marvel at the watch’s watertight operational abilities to depths of 300 meters courtesy of special seals (most ‘stop’ at 100 meters), and the new black sapphire scratchproof bezel featuring easy to read, fresh luminescent coatings applied to the markings. Choices in the line include:

- A modern update of the original Automatic model (1952) with all-new mechanical movements in steel or red gold…
- A Flyback Chronograph with functioning special joints easily pushed above or below the seawaters…
-A magnificent Flying Tourbillon version in steel or gold with a new instant restart timing function to keep track of under water outings.

All the Fifty Fathoms are strapped with rugged water-resistant bands of rubber-lined black canvas that we feel appearance-wise - could carry one from a nautical outing to a black-tie soirée.

New to us, Glahütte Original is an elite brand making inroads in the American luxury watch market. Its collection of hand crafted masterpieces are delicately finished by the company’s own skilled watchmakers from hundreds of components preciously born in proprietary factories…and then rigorously ‘road-tested’ for rate precision, water resistance, shock resistance etc.

The company’s new collections pay homage to the rich traditional mechanical watch-making knowledge of founders Ferdinand Adolph Lange and Gustave Bernhard Gutkaes who meticulously produced the first pieces in the small German village of Glahütte (1845). The tradition of refined excellence continues with the stunning complex mechanisms of the Senator Rattrapante. A highlight of the fine art of horology, the watch features a manually wound movement caliber 99, outfitted with split-seconds mechanism (coined after the French word “rattraper”) handsomely fashioned with a classically designed dial in limited edition platinum.

Like many women, we prefer the heft of men’s watches but have to admit that Glahütte Original’s Star Collection got our approving nod… especially the technologically innovative manually winding movement caliber 65-01 muscling the feminine diamond case of the PrettyButterfly 18k white gold piece.

Technological advancements and masculine styles effortlessly come together in the Grande Seconde Hommage Genéve 1784 collection by the ultra- exclusive Jaquet Droz Swiss Manufacture of Haute Horologerie. Inspired by a quote from the dashing Louis Aragon, in Le Fou d’Elsa: “I have reinvented the past to see the beauty of the future…” these one-of-a-kind creations are equipped with Jaquet Droz Caliber 2663-4, a self-winding double-barrel movement with 72 hour power reserve, off-centered hours and minutes, and a large seconds subdial. Further adding to each time masterpiece’s allure is the superlative hand-finishing of the “secret signature” clover leaf engraving- with an oscillating weight in 22-carat white gold in a sunray decorative pattern- visible through a unique glareproofed sapphire case-back.

Just in case one needs a reminder of the sheer grandeur of the variations of this collection! No wonder these unique items would make the company’s uncompromising visionary founders, Pierre and Henry-Louis Jaquet Droz, smile. These treasures only grace the wrists of confident connoisseurs.

Breguet watches have been favored treasures since it’s launch of the world’s first self-winding watch, known as perpétuelles, with an oscillating weight and two-going barrels (1780). Now, the brand is rapidly opening elegant boutiques worldwide- to better display the fruits of technological labors. One major breakthrough in design is the highly efficient self-winding caliber 777 of the 5177 timepiece that won the Public’s Prize at Geneva’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie. More watch wizardry is with the Tradition 7047 watch featuring a patent protected spectacular tourbillon mechanism coupled with an innovative fusee-and-chain transmission to optimize watch-rate regularity.

Admittedly, learning all the bells and whistles of horology is as daunting as our college Physics classes. Nevertheless we appreciate and share Galileo’s passion with recording time and are in awe of the intricacies and flawless finishes of these imaginative timepieces.

Images courtesy of BlancPain, Glashütte, Jaquet Droz,Breguet