The origins of our 24 hours a day can be traced back at least 4000 years, to ancient Egypt and Babylon, and perhaps further back in time. The Egyptians and Babylonians divided the parade of stars that appeared in the sky each night into 12 sections, marked by the various stars that rose and set that night.

For example, the star Procyon might rise shortly after sunset one evening, followed about an hour later by Sirius. This defined a kind of heavenly clock, although different groups of 12 stars were used to cope with the slow shift of the night sky during the year. The daylight hours were divided into 12, to match. Two sets of 12 give 24, hence the number of hours in a day.

(The famous astronomical ceiling at Senmut shows a series of circles divided into 24 sections. It’s not clear what these circles signify - the 12 circles are labelled with month names.)

The Romans inherited the 24 hour day from the Egyptians, via the Greeks: 12 hours of daylight, followed by 12 hours of night, with hours of variable length depending on the time of year.

They started counting from sunrise (hour 1 = Prima), so hour 3 (Tertia) was mid-morning, hour 6 (Sexta) was midday, and hour 9 (None) was mid afternoon. Echoes of this system linger today - we call a midday break a siesta, and noon is derived from None (but may have crept forward due to hunger).

Sundials, and many older 24 hour analog clocks/watches used the double-XII system (two sets of 1 to 12, usually in Roman numerals, one for the night/morning, one for the afternoon/evening), rather than numbering the hours from 0 or 1 to 23 or 24.

(An engraving from an 18th century treatise by Ferguson showing how a sundial would look if numbered all the way round the edge)


In 1847, Louis-François Cartier (1819 - 1904) took over the jewellery workshop of his master, Adolphe Picard, at 29 rue Montorgueil in Paris, and marked the birth of Cartier.

Until the end of the 19th century, Cartier was still primarily a retailer of jewelry and objects produced by outside manufacturers. When Cartier's son Alfred took over in 1874, the firm gradually began repairing and improving jewelry, and then designing and manufacturing their own original pieces in the late 1800s.

The first ladies' wristwatch, where the future lies, was mentioned in the Cartier account books in 1888.

(Mysterious Clock, Billiken Model - In 1911, Cartier dreams up what was to become one of its most celebrated creations: the mystery clocks. Their hands appear to float in space, independently of the movement)

Following the success of their London branch since 1902, they expanded into the huge American Market by opening a shop run by Pierre Cartier in New York in 1909.


Watch Parts - Glossary

(Vacheron Constantin has been a member of the Great Triumvirate of Swiss watch brands for most decades of the 20th century, along with Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. As the oldest of the Great Three, VC has a pedigree and heritage second to none, with a renewed 21st century vitality that bodes well for an exciting future.)



Diamond is the hardest natural material known to man and the third-hardest known material after aggregated diamond nanorods and ultrahard fullerite. Its hardness and high dispersion of light make it useful for industrial applications and jewelry.

Roughly 49% of diamonds originate from central and southern Africa, although significant sources of the mineral have been discovered in Canada, India, Russia, Brazil, and Australia.

Diamond - The 4Cs

When purchasing a diamond, you would want to know the "4Cs". The 4Cs include cut, color, clarity, and carat. They are very useful in evaluating the qualify of a diamond.
While nature determines a diamond's color, clarity, and carat, an astonishing craftsmanship will release its fire, sparkle, and beauty luminously.

A well-cut diamond will internally reflect light from one mirror-like facet to another and disperse and reflect it through the top of the stone in a display of brilliance and fire.
A carat is the unit of measurement which the jewelry industry uses to weigh a diamond, a gem, or a pearl. One carat is equal to 0.20 grams. Often diamond weight is declared in points. One carat is equal to 100 points. Thus, a 0.75 carat diamond is equivalent to 75 points.

Clarity grade reflects the number, size, placement and nature of flaws and surface irregularities. These are detected by means of a stereo microscope. However, the actual grade is based only on what is visible under a loupe (a small magnifying instrument).

Most natural diamonds contain small quantities of nitrogen atoms that displacing the carbon atoms within the crystal's lattice structure. These nitrogen impurities are evenly dispersed throughout the stone, absorbing some of the blue spectrum, thereby making the diamond appear yellow. The higher the amount of nitrogen atoms, the yellower the stone will appear.

In determining the color rating of a diamond, the Gemological Institute of America uses a scale of "D" to "Z" in which "D" is totally colorless and "Z" is yellow.

Diamond Color Designations

* D, E, F - colorless (white)
* G, H, I, J - near colorless
* K, L, M - faint yellow or brown
* N, O, P, Q, R - very light yellow or brown
* S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z - light yellow or brown
"Always do better than necessary" was the watchword of Piaget's founder over a century ago, and it remains the credo of the "Manufacture".

(Piaget Polo Tourbillon Relatif, 2006 - Réf. : G0A31123 - Calibre 608P)

Piaget, "Manufacture d'Horlogerie" since 1874, holds a key position in the luxury industry and occupies a specific niche: top of the range watches, entirely hand-crafted in 18-carat gold and platinum, reflecting the unrivalled prestige of a longstanding watch making and jewellery tradition.

(Piaget Polo Tourbillon Relatif features a flying tourbillon, with a minute hand, which has its center of rotation at the center of the watch, performing one complete rotation per hour)

Initially, Piaget was a manufacturer of movements and a valued supplier to numerous watch making firms. It was only towards the middle of this century that Piaget placed its name on the dials of the watches it created, thereby developing its own instantly recognisable and inimitable style and finding its place among the selective ranks of the genuine "Manufactures".

The Piaget legend was born with the technical pursuit of ever-slimmer watch movements. Piaget succeeded in designing and producing a hand-wound mechanical movement of only 1.35 mm, the slimmest in the world and so thin that it can be housed within a ten-dollar gold coin... Subsequently, PIAGET launches its famous "9P" mechanical movement - still used today in the classic mechanical ladies' and men's' collections - along with the first ultra-thin automatic and electronic movements.

All Piaget movements are crafted in the workshops of La Côte-aux-Fées, in accordance with time-honoured savoir-faire, often handed down from one generation to the next. Piaget remains one of the rare Swiss watch making "Manufactures" to have vertically integrated workshops involved in all phases of production, including its own gold foundry.


Legally enforced by the European Union, Cognac is the exclusive name for brandy which is produced and distilled in the Cognac area of France.

Popular brands include

01/ Courvoisier => www.courvoisier.com
02/ Delamain => www.le-cognac.com/delamain/intro.html
03/ Hennessy => http://www.hennessy-cognac.com
04/ Hine => http://www.hinecognac.com
05/ Martell => http://www.martell.com/
06/ Ragnaud-Sabourin => http://www.ragnaud-sabourin.com
07/ Rémy Martin => http://www.remy.com/


(Automatic winding Villeret Ultra-Slim in 18kt white gold @ USD 15,000. White opaline dial has white gold Roman numerals and 100 hour power reserve, with indicator. 40mm case is water resistant to 30 meters. Watch is on a black crocodile strap with an 18kt white gold tang buckle.)

Founded by Jehan-Jaques Blancpain in 1735 in Villeret, Switzerland, Blancpain is the world oldest watch brand. It is famous for being the creator of one of the most complicated mechanical watches ever made, the Blancpain 1735. A true grand complication (Tourbillon, minute repeater, perpetual calendar, split chrono), Blancpain 1735 is limited to one piece per year.

(Blancpain - Fifty Fathoms Concept 2000)

Blancpain is also well-known for its Fifty-Fathoms watch, selected by the United States Navy and worn by Jacques-Yves Cousteau in his award winning film. In 1984, Blancpain launched the world's smallest movement, followed shortly thereafter in 1989 by the launch of the world's thinnest movement.

(Blancpain - Fifty Fathoms Concept 2000)

Blancpain is currently owned by the Swatch Group. Nick Hayek, the son of Swatch Group's founder and chairman, Nicolas Hayek, is running Blancpain. Many watch collectors regard Blancpain timepieces as among the best in the world.

According to their commercial slogans, the company has never produced quartz watches in the past and has stated in its advertisements that it never will, nor have they ever produced watches with digital displays.
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