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MMT Blackwater Pre-built: New ordering page

I have consolidated the MMT MOD1A, MOD1B, MOD1C, and MOD1RC into one ordering page. I did this because after the Stingray and Sea Fighter are added to the pre-built ordering pages it was going to get a little cluttered. The Sea Fighter is going to have one page for the date-only version (2824) and one page for the day/date version (2836) and then the Stingray will have its own page. In addition the MMT will be offered in the Type II date version in September/October in a separate ordering page. This consolidation should make the navigation easier once all of the pages are up and running.

The pre-built MMT is undergoing slight tweaking. The MOD1 (Type I date dial) will be changing from the black background date wheel to one with a white background, black text date wheel. After a good deal of feedback from customers I had to agree that this was a more balanced and appropriate look for this model. If you have already ordered a MOD1 I will be contacting you regarding the change.

The new MOD 2 (Type II date dial) will come with a black background date wheel that I feel best suits the design of the dial. One feature that is woefully neglected on my site is the detail that the Type II date dial’s larger Arabic numerals are all luminous. I hope that this will be a welcome addition to the MMT Blackwater collection.

Sea Fighter

The custom ordering page is up and running! Delivery begins in February of 2008. The 2824s that we need for this model are in stock and the 2836 movements, including the current delay from ETA, are due in at the end of October. Given the current backlog, the introduction of the Vantage and the holiday season it seemd prudent to start shipping custom Sea Fighters in February rather than try to pack the schedule with another watch before the end of the year. The Swiss Made versions however will begin shipping before the end of the year. The date version based on the Bundesmarine diver should be ready by the end of the year. The day/date watches will largely depend upon how close to November that the movements actually arrive. The Swiss Made Sea Fighters will be available in three versions, not counting the different insert styles. The pre-ordering page for these watches will go live as soon as I can produce some mock-ups of what the watches will look like.

The pricing, as you will notice, is different from the past. The day/date version of the Sea Fighter is $50 more expensive than the date only version. This is because the 2836 is the first hightly decorated movement that we will be using. The rotor features cote de Geneve and the bridges on the movement are all decorated. The 2824 will be upgraded in 2009 to feature the same decoration but for the next year or so the 2824 has a standard decoration. Ignoring the cosmetic differences both movements are Elabore grade, plated in Rhodium, and feature upgraded Incabloc shock protection as usual. To try to keep things “simple” the surcharge for the 2836 is actually grouped together with the day/date dials. Since the crown is at 4 o’clock on the Sea Fighter the date and day/date wheels had to be custom printed at some expense. For the time being there is only one option for the date and day/date watches.

Pre-order customers will get a $95 discount on their orders. The pre-order discount is higher than in the past because the Sea Fighter, like the Vantage, is being lauched at the new price levels. The pre-order discount offer will end either November 1st (when the new pricing goes into effect) or after we receive 45 pre-orders, whichever comes first.

This project has been in the making for the better part of a year now. I hope that you enjoy my take on this vintage design.

Status

I will be replying to e-mails later today. In an effort to catch up on watch orders I haven’t been as responsive to e-mails as I normally am.

Stingray orders…I should be almost back on schedule by the end of the week. The one exception will be for customers that have ordered an acrylic insert. There is a small bottleneck because of the number of customers that added this option after the orders were scheduled.

Sea Fighter: The ordering pages are undergoing final testing and tweaking but I want to get back on schedule with shipments before putting up the new page. I should have the new page up during the weekend.

Vantage: The mass production of the dials will be near completion in the next two weeks or so. The first look at this model with its actual handset should be available sometime next week.

Mk II Vantage

The pre-order pages are now up and running! The pre-order is going to work a little differently this time because of the current backlog. The Swiss Made Vantage will be shipping first, approximately in the October/November 2007 timeframe. In the past the custom versions have shipped first but that isn’t possible given the number of product launches planned for this year. The custom Vantage will begin shipping roughly in January of 2008, which is where our current lead times place new custom watch orders at the moment. As a result the pre-order discount for the custom Vantage is higher than for the Swiss Made version. The custom versions will be scheduled together with other custom watches so the lead times might change quickly (especially when the Sea Fighter ordering opens later this month.)

The length of the pre-order period will depend upon overall demand and the beginning of a new phase for Mk II. Demand is a factor because of the industry wide shortage of mechanical movements for the foreseeable future. Starting this winter we will begin a new phase in the continuing development of the Mk II brand; print advertising and an increased focus on marketing. As a result this November prices for Mk II brand watches will be going up to accommodate a cost that we won’t be able to avoid any longer. Prices for custom parts are expected to remain unchanged. More details will be available in the coming weeks.

Status

I fallen a little behind at the moment on e-mails and shipments of watches. The movements didn’t arrive early enough for me to finish any watches last week since I had to review them to make sure there weren’t any hidden problems. Watch shipments will resume by the middle of this week.

The Vantage pages will go up sometime tomorrow. I also spent quite a bit of time over the last week finalizing details for the ordering pages, taking photos, and reviewing the bracelet samples. The pictures of the Vantage that will be posted tomorrow are what the mass production will look like with one important exception. The preview of the new hands that were commissioned for this project won’t be ready until the 3 week of this month so I substituted some Stick and Ball hands and the sweep seconds hand off the Sea Fighter. Its close enough for now but I didn’t want anyone to think I have lost my attention to detail ;)

The one spot of bad news is that the SKX007 sapphires are going to be out of stock for at least another two months. The Monster sapphires are still in stock.

The Sea Fighter pages I hope to have up in the next week or so…

Movements are here!

Big sigh of relief! ETA delivered my 2824-2 movements earlier this week. I will finally be able to send components again to Switzerland for assembly of Blackwaters and begin offering pre-built Stingrays in about two month’s time. Much of the industry is currently “on vacation” for another two weeks or so. There are a few companies, like ETA, that don’t formally observe the summer break but the vast majority of firms are practically shut down for 2-4 weeks each summer.

The pre-order of the Sea Fighter and the Vantage will open in a few days to a week from now. I am working on the ordering pages at the moment and now that the movements are here a huge varible in the production schedule for the next couple of months has finally been removed. The Vantage should begin shipping around the end of October. The photos that will be posted in a few days of the 1016 homage will actually be temporarily using the older Stick and Ball handset and not the new hands as they aren’t ready at this time. The Sea Fighter, initially shipping as a pre-built homage to the Blancpain BUND diver using a 2824, should begin delivery before the end of the year. A 2836-2 version of the Sea Fighter should be available around January of 2008.

Vantage - First pics of the Mk II 1016 homage

I am pleased to post the first pics of a project that has been in the works for almost a year. I started sketching out the case design, which is based on the vintage Rolex 1016, last summer while I was visiting my sister-in-law out in San Francisco. Here is a short list of the specifications for this watch that should debut in the early Fall this year:

Diameter: 39 mm
Water resistance: 200 meters
Movement: ETA 2824-2, Elabore grade
Crystal: Domed sapphire
Strap: Blackwater natural rubber strap or Mk II solid-end link bracelet

The case, Mk II reference “39″16 ;) aka the “Vantage”, is compatible with all of the QUAD10 dials and hands. Shown below is the GS date dial with Type 53 hands and a stock date wheel. The railroad tracks on the GS dial make the watch feel smaller than it should with the new 1016 style dial. A new 369 date dial and “Mercedes-style” handset are currently in the works specifically for this watch but won’t be ready for a preview until probably the end of July.

Vantage.jpg

The following is a better shot of the bracelet:

Vantage_bracelet_open.jpg

The bracelet features the following:

- Solid links with screw pins
- Solid-end links
- Mk II signed adjustable safety clasp
- Heavy guage milled deployant arm

Regarding Pre-orders:

Its a bit premature to be talking about this but I am going to address it because I know I am going to get quite a few e-mails asking about the option. Given the anticipated demand for the version with the new 369 date dial and Mercedes-style hands we will be taking pre-orders only for a Swiss Assembled/Made version of the Vantage. The other reason we are only going to take pre-orders for the Swiss Made version is because I don’t want to see my backlog get ridiculously long, which it is already approaching. Custom versions will be available but customers will have to go through the normal ordering process. As soon as we are able to post pics of the watch with the dial and handset that are currently in the works we will begin taking deposits. I hope to be able to post pics of the watch with the 369 date dial and hands by the end of July.

With the introduction of the Mk II Vantage the QUAD10 will be pulled from the line-up in July to undergo a re-design.

New Toys…er….I mean tools

Its always exciting getting new tools. Most of the time, like today, it represents a new stage in Mk II’s development and the watches we build. While I was at Baselworld I ordered these new toys/tools from Bergeon (yes its taken more than 2 months to get them in). The toolmaker actually doesn’t take orders directly from retail customers except for once a year at the industry’s Swiss tradeshow. A few of these items are new and should provide you a hint of the kinds of watches I have in the pipeline.

Here is a pretty basic tool that is used to remove screw-pins found in bracelets and used in place of spring bars on cases. The case or bracelet is placed over the top of the tool and one end of the screw-pin is placed on top of the blade protruding from the tool. With your free hand it is safe then to unscrew the pin from the top with a screwdriver.

Bracelet_stand.jpg

This should save me of having to use two screwdrivers, one from each end, and assuming the risk of stabbing myself in each hand simultaneously. This may not sound that bad but these screwdriver blades have to be kept quite sharp so that they do their job well.

This next tool I think is relatively new as I hadn’t seen it offered anywhere until recently. To be honest I am not much of a bracelet person so I haven’t really looked for this kind of tool in the past. It was designed for attaching bracelets to watch cases. By compressing the spring bar from both sides simultaneously it’s much easier to seat the final link into the case without scratching the case lugs. This is especially useful for solid-end-link bracelets that are made to fit at very tight tolerances to the case lug width. I have a plastic version of this tool made by another Swiss company that works reasonable well but never felt quite as stable as this one below should. Both are quite expensive ranging from $60 to $120.

Bracelet_tool.jpg

The standard bracelet tool works fine if you own the watch but to keep it looking pristine before shipment the above tool is essential. A larger pic of the same tool:

Bracelet_tool_closeup.jpg

Here is something bright and shiny…. :D It actually is really quite beautiful, especially if you have seen the previous model which was just made of cast iron painted gray. This isn’t really something that I had to have. It was more of something that I wanted to get to make my life a little easier.

Hand_setter.jpg

I have been using a smaller tool made by Horotec that did the job very well but required changing and cleaning the tips after setting each hand. The movement also had to be manually positioned under the setter and on the movement holder. On this new tool the movement’s position is fixed precisely under the plunger and for each hand the top half of the hand setter actually swivels into position over the movement. In addition the travel for each plunger can be adjusted to stop at a set height so that hands are not pushed too far down. This particular one has one tip for a GMT hand, hour hand, minute hand and sweep seconds hand.

The next Mk II watch will be announced later this week. I hope the above was of interest.

Stingray: Shipment updates

The order status portal is now up to date. Revised sales orders haven’t been e-mailed yet but will start going out tonight. Crystals and the final components required to resume Stingray deliveries will be in hand next week.

The only potential issue at this point is that the movements we have been waiting for from ETA are now scheduled to ship at the end of this month (i.e. nearly 10 weeks late). We have enough movements to deliver every watch scheduled through the end of July but for those down the line its cutting it close. Hopefully this will be the final revsion of the shipment date from ETA and I can start breathing again.

Stingray et al: Standby for updates

I have the revised schedule completed and will be e-mailing updates to customers over the next few days.

Unfortunately for non-Stingray customers some ship dates had to be pushed back. I apologize for having to do this.

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