It’s Complicated

(top to bottom) Sampling of the most expensive (and coolest) watches at auction:
#1 $31.19 million, Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime
#3 $17.75 million Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona
#8 $7.259 million Patek Philippe Stainless Steel
#14 $5.48 million Rolex “Paul Newman Big Red” Daytona
#16 $5.48 million Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon
#20 $4.987 million Patek Philippe Stainless Steel
#21 $4.93 million F.P. Journe x Francis Ford Coppola FFC Blue
Full list, and details at the”Top Watches”  link below.

Complications. Just part of business, right.  Comes with the territory we’re told. We all know about them. For manufacturers and servicers, aside from just procuring raw materials and scheduling manufacturing, we face additional issues all the time – like processing time, production, storage, assembly, packaging, delivery, pricing, employees and so much more. At KHT, we revel in all these things, working hard every day to tackle your PIA (Pain in the @%$) Jobs! For each job, we jump in, test – problem solve then develop a solution for our customer’s unique needs – all the while juggling “complications” that may arise. The other night, while out with friends, a buddy of mine used the phrase “just another watch complication”.  I had to look it up when I got in front of a computer and smiled – yep – watch complications are real. And part of being a good steward of the KHT way, it’s what we do all the time.  I found some interesting info on why watch complications are real – adding layers of complexity each time adds just another set of challenges and solutions to get them right. So next time you are out shopping for a Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 (sold at Christie’s Auction for over $31M), be sure to check the complications to be sure everything is running smoothly.  Thanks to,,, and for the info.  Enjoy!

Top Watches
Click while reading – Time Tunes

The sub-dials on an analog watch aren’t just for show. They have a special purpose. However, to some people, watch complications are (surprise!) – complicated. Apart from taking up real estate on the watch’s dial, some of these watch complications can be difficult to use – and even more difficult to repair.

In layman’s terms, watch complications are features of a watch aside from telling the time. A watch that only shows the hours, minutes, and seconds is dubbed as having a simple movement. Even the day and date windows on the dial of your watch are already considered as watch complications.

The more complicated a watch is, the more difficult it is to assemble, design, and repair. Thus, making the watch more valuable. This makes it very desirable to a lot of watch enthusiasts, called horology lovers. Complications include:

The Day-Date complication is perhaps one of the most basic functions of a watch. As the name implies, it tells both the date of the month and the day of the week. This could come in handy whenever you’re filling out forms that require dates. Some people even find it more convenient than whipping out their phone to check the calendar.  A famous watch that bears this feature is the Rolex Day-Date. And no, the folks from Rolex aren’t too lazy to give it a more creative name. Its name is a reminder that it is the first-ever wristwatch that displayed the full day and date on the dial.

Developed by French-Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, the Tourbillon’s original purpose was to increase a watch’s accuracy. What it does is that it counters the effects gravity has on the small parts of a watch. Watchmakers would pair it with a crystal window on the dial and watch lovers would huddle up and just watch the tourbillon spin. If truth be told, the tourbillon really is mesmerizing to look at.  (show link to a tourbillon)

You do not have to be an astronomer to appreciate the moon phase feature. In fact, it is one of the most highly-desired watch complications by scientists and non-scientists alike.

How many times did you have to adjust your watch’s date just because it couldn’t tell whether a month has no 31st date in it? It can get annoying especially if you’re dealing with a non-quick set date function.  No need to do that when your watch has a perpetual calendar complication. Not only does it know the number of days of each month. It also knows when it’s a leap year.

The Chronograph is used to measure the time elapsed the same way a stopwatch works. (it is a requirement for motorsport watches). It was originally invented to work with astronomical equipment. Soon, people started using it to time horseraces and then sports car races. This contributed to the deep connection between motorsports and horology.

Were you ever trapped on a boring date and want to subtly check your watch for the time without being rude? The Minute Repeater is the way to go, making sounds that tell the wearer what time it is. As an example, it would make two sounds of the same tone to indicate that it’s 2:00. It would then create a sound of a different pitch to indicate the minutes. This way, you wouldn’t have to glance at your timepiece to know what time it is.

GMT means Greenwich Mean Time. Simply put, it tells two different time zones at the same time. One easy way to tell that a watch has a GMT complication is if it has another big hand aside from the seconds and hour hands. This is one of the most common watch complications around.

What if you need to know the time from more than two different time zones? Enter the World Timer. This complication tells the time of multiple time zones of the world. The dial of a watch displays 24 cities as a representation for each time zone. For example, Hong Kong for GMT +8, etc. The user would then have to rotate the bezel to their preferred city. And as the bezel moves, the hour hand automatically jumps with it.

The Alarm is one of the oldest watch complications around and one of the most useful albeit we rarely see them in analogue watches anymore. The alarm complication of a wristwatch works just like your normal alarm clock. There is a separate alarm hand connected to a cam underneath the dial. The wearer then sets it to any time in a 12-hour period. When the desired time is met, it triggers a lever that powers a hammer which in turn hits a bell.

The Annual Calendar is just one step ahead of the Day-Date complication. It is basically a Day-Date with the added function of a monthly calendar. It can tell whether a month has either 30 or 31 days. With that said, the only time you would have to adjust it is in February. When the month only has 28 (or if it’s a leap year, 29) days.

Want to take your love for cosmology to another level? If the moon phase complication of your trusty wristwatch is not enough, you’ll love the Planetarium. This watch complication doesn’t just tell the time – it also tells you the positions of the planets in our solar system! Each of the planets on the dial orbit around the sun in real-time.

The Power Reserve Indicator is one of the most practical watch complications on this list – it tells the wearer if they should already wind their watch (think of it as the battery gauge on your phone).

The Tachymeter is usually paired with a Chronograph. While the latter is a stopwatch, the former measures speed. To put it another way, it calculates the elapsed time over a fixed distance. A rule of thumb is that the Chronograph is on the subdials of the watch and a Tachymeter is placed around the watch’s bezel.

The Jumping Hour is one of the watch complications that is a joy to look at. While the hands of clocks and watches traditionally sweep counterclockwise, the same cannot be said for the Jumping Hour. Instead, the hand jumps directly to the next hour as soon as the minute hand reaches 60. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it is also more convenient, because the hour hand is always directly pointed at the middle of the current hour lessening confusion when reading the time.

Serious collectors do not buy high-complication watches because they need the features. Instead, they buy those because it is a symbol of excellent engineering. Whether these are outdated or not, watch complications are a mark of watchmaking virtuosity. Think of watch complications as trophies that you can show off to your friends or other watch enthusiasts.

If you think 14 complications on a watch are more than enough, then wait until you see the Vacheron Constantin Reference 57260 . It is heralded as the most complicated watch in the world. Indeed, this timekeeper contains 57 watch complications! The watch contains bells and whistles (quite literally) that you’ve never heard of! Among its watch complications range from the most basic to the most extra such as the date of Yom Kippur and Star Chart.

Plus a couple more cool videos!!
How Automatic Watches work:
Painstaking art of Luxury Watchmaking



Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!


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