Thursday, January 7, 2010

What's a PyroLume?

I came across this watch brand quite by accident actually. I was reading a post on what watches have the best lume, and someone posted a pic of PyroLume. And I was hooked. As you can probably tell from the name, PyroLume, the one thing that they do really well is the… lume!

After doing a bit of research thanks to the convenience of Google, I decided to plunge in and get myself a PyroLume. Sure, I like the lume and all that, but what really really sold me was the fact that this was a very inexpensive way to get into an “independent” watchmaker’s watch, made by .New Jersey anesthesiologist Pejman Foroush.

Here you have something that is entirely unique, with generously applied luminescent compound (or “lume”) in a custom made CNC machined dial, fitted to a proven, reliable workhorse movement and a solid watch case.

A close up of the custom made CNC machined dial

For those of you who are movement snobs you can pretty much stop reading here. The movement used is a skeletonised Chinese Seagull manual wind mechanical movement, which is entirely based on the Unitas 6497/98 movements. However, the advantage of this movement is its simplicity and robustness in design and that with some regulation, you could easily have the watch running to well within COSC specifications of -4 seconds to +6 seconds a day.

The Chinese have come a long way and the quality of their movements has improved dramatically over the past 5 or so years. So much so that I’m sure the Swiss are sweating in their little ateliers. I predict that once they start designing their own movements, (and not just with a pencil and some tracing paper) it will be the advent of the next watch-related crisis for the Swiss. (The first being the quartz crisis brought on by the Japanese).
Ok… back to the watch. It came in an extremely well packaged box. So much so that you could literally use the package as a football and kick it all the way from the US to Oz without causing any damage inside! I’m impressed! Here are a series of photos that chronologically depicts the opening of the packaging. As you can tell, two of us became sufficiently infatuated with this watch to get one.....

The watches were extremely well packaged. There was so much packaging that the watches were bound to be safe for the trip.

Not sure if you can tell from this photo, but the boxes were very tightly wedged in between all the bubble wrap.  It took some effort to get them out!

This particular model is called the ‘Turbofan” inspired by… well…it’s pretty obvious. These are produced in extremely limited numbers. It appears that each individual one is also slightly different in terms of lume colour and strap.

The PyroLume Titanium & Carbon Fiber Black Series Turbofan Skeleton comes in at a hefty 45mm, but sits on the wrist easily, despite the large size.

PyroLume's CNC machined dial is 0.25mm thick 2x2 twill weave carbon fiber sheet using small 1/32" cuts. The dial is treat with a matte finished clear coat to bring out the extensive surface details of the weave pattern.

The dial has Super Green V4 PyroLume to the index markers as well as the entire back side of the dial. Some watches have added Super Blue PyroLume to the 3,6,9, and 12 markers for improved contrast and legibility in the dark. This is his own mixture of Swiss luminescent compounds in a proprietary mix of solvents, binders and dyes.

The open caseback shows the up the scrolled bridges, blackened jewel end caps and a power reserve of ~40 hours . This movement is regulated to an accuracy of +/-1 sec / day on the watchmaker's Timegrapher timing machine.

And what's the point of a PyroLUME if we don't include some Lume shots???

The one I (onomatopia) have has blue lume at 12, 3, 6, 9 and the rest in green...

The lume is also applied to the back of the dial, so with the skeletonised movement you can see it glow from the back as well.
Important lesson here though: ALWAYS clean the watch before taking photos of it...

The skeletonised movement also makes for some excellent
arty/ industrial photos.  For those who are interested, this print IS for sale. Email for details! :)

You can see some of PyroLume's videos about their watches here.

[Onomatopia & AP]

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