Luxury pocket watches are back in fashion with collectors.

The fascination revolving around the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication wasn’t just because of its record-breaking price or its calibre – the most complicated mechanical movement ever created – but also because of the provenance, legendary stories and a whiff of mystery. Fetching US$24 million at Sotheby’s Geneva sale in November last year, it holds the record for the world’s most expensive timepiece.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Pocket Time Instrument is a modern interpretation of the traditional pocket watch.

“It was such a significant and rare piece that got everybody talking,” says Sharon Chan, Sotheby’s head of watches for Asia. “[The sale] helped the pocket watch market too. We have more clients approaching us with beautiful pieces to sell, and we have noticed growing interest among collectors.”

The past year has seen the “Henry Graves effect” boost auctions and the retail market. Luxury watchmakers such as Vacheron Constantin, Officine Panerai, Roger Dubuis and Hermès have launched modern interpretations of pocket watches, catering to the surge in demand.

Vacheron Constantin launched its Reference 57260 pocket watch at Watches&Wonders in October in Hong Kong. The piece, not unlike the impressive Henry Graves Supercomplication, features 57 complications in celebration of Vacheron Constantin’s 260th anniversary. It took three master watchmakers eight years to create and is estimated to have a retail price of US$8 million.

Designs come in various materials, styles and forms. While the Reference 57260 adopts classic and traditional aesthetics, Roger Dubuis’ new Excalibur Spider Pocket Time Instrument falls on the futuristic end of the spectrum. The piece adapted the RD101 movement featuring four separate balance wheels first applied in the Quatuor wristwatch in 2013.

Vacheron Constantin artistic director Christian Selmoni reckons pocket watches are no less prominent than wristwatches. “There has been a lot of interest in the last 20 years concerning wristwatches, especially when it comes to complicated designs,” he says. “Vintage and classic pocket watches have driven less interest, but they represent a fascinating area in the world of watchmaking – beautiful designs, magnificent dials and some of the most complex mechanisms.”

Panerai’s pocket watch features modern materials such as ceramic.

Vintage and contemporary pocket watches are now becoming sought-after collectables as connoisseurs and collectors grow more knowledgeable about the history of horlogerie.

Vacheron Constantin’s pocket watch Referenece 57260.

“Collectors are awakening to the close ties between pocket watch movements and contemporary wrist mechanisms,” Chan says. “Many collectors started with wristwatches as they were easier to understand and more relevant to their lifestyle, but as they know more about timepieces and look back at the history of horlogerie, they discover the charm of pocket watches. The interest has been there even before the Henry Graves sale.”

Collectors are intrigued by the correlation between archival and contemporary models.

The launch of new models often fuels interest in vintage counterparts.

A. Lange & Söhne’s Grand Complication debut in 2013 – the most complicated wristwatch crafted by the maison – was inspired by a Lange pocket watch from 1902. It was through the restoration of the prominent pocket watch that Lange developed the know-how for its contemporary wristwatch.

Examples of how pocket watch movements inspired the designs of wristwatches basically chronicle the evolution of horlogerie.

Hermès’ In the Pocket was inspired by the “porte-oignon” given to Jacqueline Hermès by her father in 1912.

Philippe Delhotal, artistic director of La Montre Hermès, which developed the In the Pocket watch for this year’s Only Watch auction, agrees. “As long as creativity and innovation are present, these kinds of pieces in limited editions will continue resonating with collectors who wish to express something.”

David Ramsay’s Royal oval astronomical watch, featuring an engraved miniature portrait of King James I, will be available at Sotheby’s London sale on December 15.The origin of In the Pocket was inspired by the “porte-oignon” given to Jacqueline Hermès by her father in 1912 that allowed the avid horsewoman to fasten her pocket watch to her wrist. Sophisticated and savvy collectors have whipped up their appetite for retro and classic time instruments such as pocket watches and table clocks. “Those pieces have a truly intrinsic value that is highly appreciated when economic times are more challenging,” Delhotal says.

“Watches that show more distinctively stated luxury are becoming less interesting for customers. For collectors, it is also a more exclusive timepiece than a wristwatch.”

Looking beyond mere nostalgia, pocket watches also provide an alternate platform for high-end watchmakers to demonstrate their craftsmanship and innovation.

Selmoni says Vacheron Constantin’s Reference 57620 is particularly interesting as it offers the maison the possibility to demonstrate its technical know-how on a much larger scale.

The making of Hermès’ pocket watch at its atelier. Pocket watches comprise countless complications and require exquisite craftsmanship to manufacture.

“A pocket watch has more space for more complications,” Selmoni says. “We have incorporated more than 2,800 components in its movement, which is an incredible number of tiny pieces. We have had 260 years of non-stop operation. That’s why our made-to-order pocket watches perfectly embody our values in watchmaking – balanced design, mastered technique and ultimate craftsmanship.” Delhotal agrees. “Pocket watches offer a bigger surface of expression to showcase special craftsmanship and complications.”

Collectors are interested in high-jewellery pocket watches such as Cartier’s Elephant pocket watch.

While the platform might be centuries old, designers believe innovation sets modern pocket watches apart from their vintage counterparts.

“Pocket watches are a real form of art,” says Grégory Bruttin, movement director of Roger Dubuis. “Our Excalibur pocket time instrument strikes a balance between aesthetics and art. We also rendered the piece in its most modern form with titanium and the Quatuor movement.”

Often delivered in ultralimited editions, pocket watches are becoming coveted collectables.

“There has always been interest and there will still be room for [the development of] pocket watches,” Selmoni says. “They offer an alternative to wristwatches aesthetically and also from the watchmaking point of view.”

The latest developments in contemporary pocket watches are fuelling interest in vintage pocket watches at auctions.

Sotheby’s London auction on December 15 will feature an important private collection of English pocket watches. Titled “The Celebration of the English Watch”, the collection includes museum-quality timepieces such as the David Ramsay royal oval astronomical watch, which features an engraved portrait of King James I.

Chan says collectors should always consult experts and work with a budget before heading to auctions.

“Brands are important, but Patek Philippe isn’t the only go-to brand for pocket watches,” she says. “You can also look at Audemars Piguet and Bovet Fleurier. Be extra careful with white enamelling dials as they are often very delicate and fragile.”

Best States Tax Social Security Retirement Benefits

Build a sizable nest egg? Check. Purchase a new set of golf clubs? Check. Plan for taxes on your retirement income? Chhhh … Wait a minute. Plan for what?

Lots of retirees are surprised by the big bite that taxes can take out of their savings . And depending on where you live, the tax hit can be especially painful. In fact, some states even tax Social Security benefits , the most important source of income for many retirees.

The 13 states that tax Social Security are Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.

But just because a state taxes Social Security doesn’t mean it’s a bad place to retire. Overall, Colorado and West Virginia are actually tax-friendly places to live in retirement despite the tax on Social Security. Weigh a state’s entire tax picture — from income tax to sales tax to property tax — to better understand how your money will be taxed and how you can budget for those costs.

Kiplinger’s tax maps can help. Check out the most tax-friendly states for retirees and the least tax-friendly states for retirees to identify your best place for retirement.


How a Pocket Watch Dial Is Created

The dial is the most identifying and conspicuous component of the pocket watch. Often referred to as the “face,” the dial is the smooth, typically white surface where artists hand paint numerals, markings, and occasionally images.


The process of making the dial begins with granulated enamel, which is placed on a metal plate (disk) equal to the size of the dial with a raised edge and then fired in order to form the glass-like appearance. This process is often repeated on both sides of the disk to improve the strength and rigidity of the dial. Despite this relatively straightforward process, watchmakers are able to create a great deal of variety in their dials by essentially layering different sections of the dial. This process is called sinking, and dials are either single-sunk, double-sunk, or very rarely, triple sunk. In order to single-sink a dial, the watchmaker must fire two dials in the fashion described above, the second being smaller and thinner than the first. The watchmaker then makes a hole the same size of the smaller dial in the larger and solders the former into the latter, creating a layered effect with crisp edges. In order for a watch to be double-sunk, this process must be repeated twice, with a total of three dials of varying size, thus producing three distinct layers. The cheaper – and easier – way to provide this effect is called pressing. Pressing is a simple matter of imprinting the desired layers of the dial (whether one or two) directly into the metal base prior to the introduction of the enamel. This allows the watchmaker to fire all layers of the dial simultaneously and can be distinguished from a genuinely sunk dial by the lack of distinct transitions between layers.

In some cases, pocket watch dials were manufactured wholly without the use of enamel. These watches sported an entirely metal dial which was then painted on directly. Due to the fact that enamel is prone to cracking, these all-metal dials were more durable than their enamel counterparts.


7 Financial Mistakes You Should Avoid in Marriage

Marriage is amazing.

That is, if all goes well. And many times, it doesn’t.

There are many issues married couples must deal with that singles don’t experience — and they aren’t simple issues to solve, either.

Think about it. When you want to buy that new car you’ve been eyeing since the fourth grade, you remember and think to yourself, “Oh yeah, I’m married. I just can’t go out and buy a car!” At least, if you’re an experienced married person, you won’t make the mistake of purchasing something big without talking with your spouse first. And that, can be complicated. Convincing your spouse isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

When you slip that ring onto their finger, it’s no longer all about “me,” it’s all about “we.” Unfortunately, many newlyweds aren’t truly ready for that level of commitment. So they learn as they go.

Whether you’re learning as you go, you’re doing well or you’re preparing for marriage, make sure you avoid these financial blunders in marriage.

1. Not creating and sticking to a budget. If you hear the word “budget” and cringe, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, I hate budgeting. Why do I hate budgeting? It’s usually pretty boring.

Still, if you’re married, it’s absolutely necessary to budget in order to keep fights down to a minimum and to maintain one’s sanity. Seriously.

When your wife buys $500 worth of clothing in one day because you don’t work a budget together, and you get mad at her, how do you think she’s going to feel? After all, if that’s how she has always spent money, why should she do anything different?
Maybe your husband has been eyeing that new truck and decides to give it a test spin. The salesperson is good and your husband buys the truck because you aren’t working a budget with him. Similar scenario, but much more costly. Yikes.

You see, budgets keep both spouses on the same page regarding what should be spent and what should not be spent (and on what money should be spent on). Perhaps, for example, you and your spouse can agree to only spend $200 a month on clothing. Maybe you decide to only spend $600 a month on groceries. It could be that you decide to have some discretionary fun money that can be spent on whatever you each individually want.

As you start to budget together, you’ll find that many times having a budget frees you to spend money freely without hesitation — because it’s in the budget. This is very liberating — which is pretty profound as many people feel budgets restrict people instead of free them.

Learn how to make a budget that works and get to it. You’ll be glad you did.

2. Not communicating regularly about financial goals. Now, budgeting in a marriage lends itself to having a higher degree of communication about money, but it doesn’t necessarily help all the way.

That’s where communicating regularly about financial goals comes into play. In fact, when you’re creating your budget, you should also be budgeting for large purchases you may want to make (including a down payment on a home, saving for retirement or saving for your children’s college education).

If you’re not communicating with your spouse about what you want your lives to look like in 10, 20 or 30 years, what you’re really doing is leaving your future completely up to chance or up to whoever has the strongest will. Instead, talk about the future regularly and dream together about your goals and ambitions. By doing so, you’ll be able to build those goals into your finances and make them much more likely to be accomplished.

3. Maintaining debt because of a lack of contentment. There are a number of circumstances when incurring debt might be a reasonable option. There also might be circumstances when keeping debt around temporarily is reasonable as well. However, if you’re increasing your debt as a couple because of your lack of contentment (when you really should be content with what you have), there’s a problem.

This financial blunder can have devastating effects on a marriage. Why strain your marriage over debt when you don’t have to have debt? Do you really think that getting that fancy new car you can’t afford to gambling with your credit card is going to make you happy over the long-term? Forget about it.

Instead, find contentment. Don’t become materialistic.

4. Keeping separate bank accounts. This financial blunder should be a no-brainer — avoid it.

If you’re going to be working a budget together as you should, why keep your bank accounts separate? There should be no secrets in marriage. If you’re married, you should definitely have joint bank accounts. This will also put more pressure on both of you to work together toward your shared goals.

I realize that some people have separate bank accounts because perhaps one account is for the bills and another account is for one-time purchases. Why can’t both of these accounts be joint accounts?

Really, the way I see it, there’s no reason to have separate bank accounts. In marriage you’re one, and so should be your access to bank accounts.

5. Not having an emergency fund. Emergency funds play a critical role in financial plans. Should something happen to you, your spouse, your children, or your property, your emergency fund should help offset the financial losses.

Why is having an emergency fund particularly important in marriage? Some married people feel pretty comfortable not having much money in the bank. They simply trust that money will somehow always be around or that emergencies won’t happen to them. But here’s the thing: spouses of these people don’t always feel the same way.

Being on the brink of not being able to pay one’s bills sends some people’s stress levels into orbit. They can’t fathom being comfortable with $1,000 or $2,000 in the bank — they want more just in case.

And you know what? They’re right: a couple thousand dollars in an emergency fund isn’t nearly enough over the long-term.

Imagine getting into an accident where you hit a telephone pole and you don’t have collision coverage. Oops. Now you need a new car and you both figure you need to spend more than two grand for reliable transportation.

The big oops? You didn’t save enough money in your emergency fund. If you’re the spouse who felt comfortable with just a couple grand in the bank, imagine the look on your spouse’s face when they discover that there’s not enough money to pay for your accident.

6. Keeping important business decisions private. Your spouse should be involved in all aspects of your life — not just your personal life. If you’re planning on taking out a loan for your business, for example, you should definitely talk with your spouse first.

When I was thinking about signing up for a pricey business coaching program, I first asked my wife. Sure, she didn’t jump for joy and approve right away — but eventually she agreed and it proved beneficial to my business. Now, can you imagine if I would have just dropped over $7,000 on a coaching program without talking with her first? She wouldn’t have been happy, to say the least.

Talk with your spouse about your important business decisions before you make them.

7. Not forgiving financial mistakes. Yes, this, too, is a financial blunder.

When you first get on a budget together, do you really think you’re both going to abide by it with perfection? Hardly. It’s going to take some time to adjust to the new rules.

So when your spouse makes a mistake, don’t make the mistake of not forgiving their error. Don’t hold these things against them. Intentional deviation deserves a serious conversation (still with forgiveness), but unintentional mistakes deserve a try-harder-next-time-and-no-worries sentiment (along with forgiveness).

If you can’t forgive your spouse and you harbor anger, do you really think they are going to willingly work the budget with you or communicate about finances? Probably not. They’ll most likely want to hide. And that can be financially damaging, too.

Avoid these financial blunders in marriage, and you’ll be on a road not many travel — but boy will it be worth the effort.


Shorts Subject

Here are some graphs from to the St. Louis Fed (the talk was trying to convince them to start a blog along the lines of what David Altig did in Cleveland, so the main theme was not the graphs below). The graphs show what happens to GDP after a financial crisis. In some cases the effects seem permanent, in others they appear temporary. What I’d like to do next is figure out if there are any systematic differences between the countries that experience permanent versus temporary effects that can be used to understand why they have such different outcomes. Is it the type of shock? The policy response? Institutional differences? And so on (source of graphs – the vertical blue line marks the start of the crisis):

US after the Great Depression

Hong Kong




South Korea









One more note. If you had looked at this graph (from The Economist, the one on the left), you would likely conclude that the fall in GDP for Sweden is permanent:
Sweden and Korea

That looks a lot like the US right now. But if you extend the graph for a few years, the picture changes dramatically:


Is the US like Sweden? Or not?




California’s drought and the soaring cost of hay have led to a glut of unwanted horses. Animal advocates say many of those horses are being illegally sent to slaughter in other countries. A rescue group south of Hollister is trying to save as many horses as possible and they are asking for your help.

A 4-month-old colt named Tiko is one of 70 lucky horses now living at the Equine Rescue Center and Sanctuary. Tiko was born just a few weeks after his mother was rescued.

“The mom was headed to the slaughter house. She would’ve ended up in a France grocery store in shrink wrap,” Equine Rescue Center founder Monica Hardeman said.

But instead of being sold as horse meat, the mare ended up at the Equine Rescue Center and gave birth to a beautiful colt. This haven for neglected, abused and abandoned horses started five years ago and just moved to a larger home on 400 acres in San Benito County, south of Hollister.

Right now, the center is taking care of one donkey and about 70 horses. Many of the rescued horses are put up for adoption, but others, who are old or have serious health problems, will spend their golden years at the rescue center. The residents include a 37-year-old beauty named Sonny, who just loves having his back scratched.

Jacie Bradley of Hollister is adopting a blue-eyed horse named Rowdy. She said this is a wonderful place to find a horse because Hardeman knows so much about each animal’s needs and temperament. Adoption fees range from $500 to $2000 depending on the horse.

The generous donation needed to buy the new ranch came from Atherton investor Craig Duling.

The horses come from all over. They include Pickets, an abused horse rescued in Modesto and two 4-year-old fillies from Golden Gate Fields in Albany. Hardeman says the horses did not make the cut on the race track, but “would be great horses for showing or jumping or dressage.”

A lot of the horses at the center were rescued from auctions, where many end up being sent to other countries to be killed and eaten. That is illegal in the United States, but there is very little enforcement. So healthy, well-trained horses often get sold for next to nothing, then shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter.

Hardeman said the biggest reason people give up good horses is the cost. The price of hay has doubled in the last couple of years. “Especially in the Central Valley, people need to feed their families or feed their horse,” she said.

Hay is so expensive the rescue center is also struggling. The hay bill is a minimum of $8,000 a month, according to Hardeman. So that does not leave much money to pay the constant veterinary bills.

The center has an urgent need for donations to build shelters to create shade for the horses. There are four wells on the new property. So if the center can raise the money to put in irrigation lines, they can save a lot of cash in the future by growing their own hay.

Hardeman runs the center with help from her boyfriend Gabe Pimentel, along with a string of interns and volunteers. The only pay is a great experience.

“You learn a lot about the horses’ nature, how they act among themselves. I had no idea. I felt like I was waking up because I was blind before,” former intern Annika Seidler said.

Hardeman started the Equine Rescue Center after her sister was murdered. Horses helped her deal with the pain she felt and now she is giving back to them.

The Equine Rescue Center is a non profit and depends entirely on donations. They can only take in as many horses as they can afford to feed. They have a big fundraiser coming up in Woodside on October 4.

For details about contributing, volunteering or adopting a horse, click here.



Risk-Based Pharmaceutical Contracting

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has apparently struck a deal with Amgen for a risk-based contract for Repatha, the new cholesterol-lowering drug. Amgen provides a discount but also assumes financial risk if the HPHC members who take Repatha do not experience the cholesterol-lowering effects touted in the clinical trials. It has been observed that this adds a interesting layer of pay for performance to the roll out of this drug.

HPHC, which moves about 1.2 million lives, is old hat at negotiating discounts on pharmaceutical pricing, known for using the leverage of preferential formulary placement to play competing therapeutically equivalent drugs off of each other. Repatha and other drugs in the category of PCSK9 are targeted toward a sub-population of those with high cholesterol but they are spendy.

The real challenge is the prescribing protocol that HPHC will have to implement, reserving Repatha for only those enrollees who meet strict eligibility requirements, most likely including the requirements that step therapy with older cholesterol reducing drugs having failed and the beneficiary’s willingness to accept an injectable format. As intriguing as risk-based pharmaceutical contracting is, it has not been invented by this contract but, rather, has been in use for some time in the U.K.

Will American-style health care (even tightly managed American-style vertically integrated HMO health care ) be able to constrain use? That’s one risk I am pretty sure Amgen was not willing to bet the farm on, although the contract is reported to contain language accelerating increased rebates to HPHC the larger its enrollee pool using Repatha.


Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin, Swiss manufacture of prestigious luxury watches, has unveiled the Reference 57260 pocket watch. A pocket watch considered to be a breakthrough technical feat and named for its record breaking 57 complications, and its world-renowned maker, Vacheron Constantin’s 260th anniversary. What started as an initial concept conceived by a major American collector, specific function requests never before incorporated into a watch were on the list of must have’s. The Reference 57260 pocket watch became a reality eight years later thanks to the determination of the Vacheron Constantin team of three master watchmakers. Though eight years may seem like a lengthy time to wait, it comes with great rewards. There has been only a handful of occasions in which a watch brand has been able to claim the bragging rights associated with building the most complicated timepiece in the world.


Read More on The Old Pocket Watch




A Story to share

Challenges are never ending as you attempt to achieve goals of nourishing, developing and enhancing passions. My visions to empower children, families and the local communities comes to fruition when observing them surrounded with nature and animals. Especially, the horses taking residence at the Equine Rescue Center (ERC).

Throughout my journeys, I have met and fundraised alongside many charitable organizations. None have showcased second chances or personal dedication the way Monica Hardeman and her rescue ERC organization have. For some time now I have been aiding the ERC to develop a workable business plan as they are struggling to meet the rising costs of their sanctuary. Preserving the property forever as a horse sanctuary is the goal.

Though struggling, they are still able to provide these creatures with exceptional care. The long drought and soaring costs of hay have led to a glut of unwanted and neglected horses and others bound to Mexico for slaughter. The lucky ones end up at the ERC, which is now caring for 85 horses. The property’s current water resources could save the ERC if they can raise the money to put in a portable irrigation system. That would allow the center to grow its own forage and drastically reduce the hay bill.

It’s been over a year since ABC Channel 7 News viewers stepped in to help facilitate the rescue of more than 30 starving and abused horses. The sickest of those horses were taken in by the ERC because other rescue organizations were not up for the challenge. With my own eyes, I have seen the amazing recovery of these beautiful animals and have also had the privilege of being featured in a follow-up story on those same horses’ progress.  The story also touched on the how the ERC struggles to keep its bills paid. A story I want to continue to share.

Pocket watch history

History of pocket watches started in early late 1400s and early 1500s when mechanical engineering reached the state when simple spring devices could be made. By using the invention of mainspring, German inventor Peter Henlein was finally able to create watches that did not require falling weights as the source of their power. This invention gave birth to the first wave of small portable watches, which were in the beginning worn as a pendant on a chain around the neck.

Bu 1524 Peter Henlein produced pocket watches regularly, enabling his innovative designs to spread across Europe during the reminder of 16th century. Early models of mainspring powered watches were round (often egg-shaped) and bulky, but the introduction of screws in 1550s enabled them to gain modern flatten shape that we know today. Another distinctive feature of those early designs was the lack of glass – the only protection from the outside influences was bras lid.
1675 was the year when new fashion style emerged – pocket clocks that were small enough to be wore in pocket and not like a pendant. The originator of this fashion style was Charles II of England who popularized this new way of carrying watches across entire Europe and North America. By then, Glass protection was introduced, and pocket watches truly became the luxurious items that received many attention from fashion designers and innovators. The only downside of the watches that were made before 1750s was their lack of accuracy – they often loose several hours during one day! Introduction of lever escapement changed all that, enabling watches to loose minute or two during one day. This was improvement finally enabled introduction of minute handle which was not present in previous models.

After 1820, levers became standard in manufacturing all clock mechanics (which has not change even until today) and 1857 was the year in which we saw first pocket watch created from standardized parts. Powered with an industrial revolution, such watches soon overflowed the public of Europe and Americas, enabling everyone to buy cheap, durable and accurate watch. By 1865 American Watch Company could manufacture more than 50 thousand reliable watches, and soon after that other companies joined them in the manufacturing effort.

Between 1880 and 1900 saw the first attempts of standardizing time, not only for creation of time zones but also because of ever increasing need of precise time measurements in many scientific experiments and public transportation systems (famous Ohio train wreck of 1891 happened because of train engineer watches were 4 minutes out of sync).

By the time of World War I, pocket watches went out of fashion after highly miniaturized wrist watches became famous.