Meridian Greilsammer Brothers Manila pocket watch (1920s) by Meridian Swiss Watch Co.
In a practice that recalled Cartier and Tiffany, Greilsammers Brothers Manila, the now-defunct jewelry firm located in the once elite shopping mecca of Escolta, had its name imprinted on the dial together with that of the manufacturer’s. 900 silver. Open face. Fancy engraved case.
Commissioned porcelain dial with roman and Arabic numerals and the name of the Escolta retailer imprinted on the dial. Fancy hour and minute hands. Secondary second hand dial.
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La Estrella Del Norte pocket watch (1930s) by Omega Swiss Watch Co.
La Estrella del Norte was a high-end jeweler that once resided in Escolta. Like similar establishments in its day, the store name was printed on some of the other watches it sold.
Base metal, nickel-plated, open-face unadorned case, commissioned porcelain dial with floral design roman numerals with the name of the Escolta retailer printed on the dial. Swiss mechanical movement. Breguet hour and minute hands. Sunken secondary dial.
IWC Portuguese Chrono-Automatic Edition Lucerne
IWC and Lucerne collaborated on this 50-piece limited edition watch in celebration of Lucerne’s 25th anniversary. It uses a mechanical chronograph movement—caliber 79350—with 31 jewels. Impressive at 40.9 mm, the case is of stainless steel and engraved on the caseback is the little detail that makes this watch special: the outline of the Philippines, with Cebu and Manila highlighted, representing the key cities where Lucerne is present. Also engraved is “Lucerne 25th Anniversary 2007,” marking the reason for this special edition, and the watch’s number in the series. Like its regular brothers, this Portuguese Chrono-Automatic Edition Lucerne features a stop watch function, as well as small hacking seconds. It has a power reserve of 44 hours and is water resistant to 3 bar. A convex sapphire crystal, with anti-glare treatment, covers the dial, and a brown crocodile leather strap holds it securely on the wrist.
Hublot Oceanographic 4000 Special Edition Lucerne 30th Anniversary
The Hublot Oceanographic 4000 is already a rare watch; the Hublot Oceanographic 4000 Special Edition Lucerne 30th Anniversary even more so. Though the watches are numbered from “00/30’ to “30/30,” there are only 28 pieces existing, given an Asian market that doesn’t go for the numbers 4, 14, and 24. Two reasons for this limited, limited watch: the 30th anniversary of Lucerne and the opening of the very first Hublot boutique in the Philippines. As with the original version, the Lucerne 30th Anniversary watch is waterproof to an astounding 4,000 meters. A stainless steel helium valve, necessary for deep-sea diving, ensures that the watch is able to decompress upon surfacing.
It has two screw-down crowns, with the one at 2 o’clock, which is unidirectional and sets the dive time, protected by an oversized guard. Superior legibility is provided by Super-LumiNova® on the dial, flange and hands. A thicker-than-usual sapphire crystal, 6.5 mm thick, protects the dial. Minor tweaks to the look of the regular model give the Lucerne 30th Anniversary watch its unique look. The 48 mm King Power case, for example, is a fusion of titanium and carbon fiber, unlike the regular models. The dial is matte blue instead of black; and the “Diver 4000” on the crown guard is orange rather than blue. A rubber strap with a crocodile pattern in front holds the watch in place.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Squadra World Time Chronograph Philippine Edition
The Squadra is the most remarkable among Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso models, and it was the one chosen as the canvas for the Philippine Limited Edition. Also remarkable is the fact that the Philippines is the first country to have its own limited edition watch from Jaeger-LeCoultre, ever. The watch was issued in 2009 to celebrate the first year anniversary of the Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique in the Philippines.
The Reverso Squadra World Time Chronograph Philippine Edition comes in a titanium case, with an articulated rubber bracelet, and the pushers and crown in black PVD. Striking red minute and hour chronograph counters make a bold statement, as do the red second hand and numeral “8,” the latter acknowledging the year that the boutique opened—2008—and the fact that Philippine time is GMT+8. Then, to make full use of the Reverso’s iconic feature, the back of the case reveals the Worldtime disc that shows the major cities in each of the 24 time zones. As the disc turns inside a 24-hour collar, you can instantly tell the time in any part of the world. Usually Hong Kong is the highlighted city in our time zone. But for the Philippine Limited Edition, Manila takes center stage—in red—and replaces Hong Kong on the disc. Then on the inner case, an outline of the Philippine archipelago is engraved, framed by “limited edition” and “philippines 2010,” all coated by black enamel to prevent dirt from sticking to the engraved surface. The series number of each watch is also engraved, from 1/50 to 50/50.
The Reverso Squadra World Time uses the JLC Calibr 753, a self-winding mechanical movement. The square Art Deco-inspired case is water-resistant to 30 meters.
Panerai Luminor Marina 44 mm and Panerai Radiomir 10 Days GMT 47 mm, Manila Boutique Editions
Panerai has a tradition of issuing special edition watches to pay tribute to select cities where there are Panerai boutiques. And with the opening of the newest boutique in Bonifacio High Street, Panerai has issued two special watch models, each engraved with the Rizal Monument at Luneta Park on the back.
The Luminor Marina’s 44 mm case is made of polished steel, with the bridge over the crown in brushed steel. Ecru Super-LumiNova® coats the hour markers and numerals, as well as the hour and minute hands, and the small seconds hand at 9 o’clock. These contrast elegantly with the classic Panerai black dial, on which the words ‘Panerai’ and ‘Luminor Marina’, and a picture of the historic slow-speed torpedo provide minimal décor. The hand-wound caliber OP II movement beats inside the watch. An antiqued leather strap completes the look. Only 50 pieces of the Luminor Marina 44mm Manila Boutique Edition have been made.
The Radiomir 10 Days GMT 47mm Manila Boutique Edition is an even rarer breed: only 10 pieces have been made. Like the Luminor Marina, a Panerai black dial sets off the ecru Super-LumiNova®- coated hands, numerals, the calendar, small seconds at 9 o’clock, the linear 10-day power reserve indication, and the inscription ‘Radiomir Panerai’. All these functions are powered by the automatic caliber P.2003 movement, which was created entirely in-house. A strap of vintage leather holds the watch securely on your wrist.
Photographs by Pat Mateo
This story originally appeared on Vault Magazine Issue 9 No 1 2013