Why watches look like watches

Watches were viewed as jewelry pieces when they were introduced in Germany and France after 1500. As jewelry pieces, importance was given to decorations rather than functionality, rendering accuracy as slightly relevant to their appeal. However, stuhrling original watch review, social and economic developments made watches more accessible to the ordinary people and they were increasingly viewed as functional pieces. Manufacturer and buyer emphasis on decoration was also diverted, leading to revolutionary change in shapes, sizes and design.

Today’s watches descend from timepieces that are best understood as talismans in the form of mechanical jewels

Most of today’s watches are functional accessories, tools that are worn on the wrist to keep up with a busy schedule. This wasn’t always the case. Earlier in this century and throughout the 19th century, timepieces were carried in the pocket. Earlier still, before there were pockets as we know them, they were worn as pendant jewels, suspended from a chatelaine at the waist or simply held in the hand as an object of wonder.

Not only do early watches look quite different from their modern descendants, but our attitude toward them has changed greatly also. To appreciate early watches, it helps to put aside the modern notion that watches exist mainly to keep time. Initially, clocks and sundials were more tangible representations of time as a concept than devices to measure it.

Watches first appeared in Germany and France shortly after 1500, but they were woefully inaccurate for the first 200 years of their existence. They were so inaccurate that minute hands were superfluous and didn’t appear until nearly 1700. Even if early watches could have kept accurate time, the coiled springs that made them tick would run down in less than a day. These timepieces are best understood as talismans in the form of mechanical jewels.

Watches evolved from small table clocks like the one serving as symbolic decoration in the 16th century portrait shown in Figure 1. The clock of the Renaissance was a metaphor for the sitter’s relatively brief lifetime and insignificant accomplishments as compared with Creation. Because of akribos xxiv watches review, watches also were meant to display wealth, case decoration was usually more important than the mechanism inside. Unadorned, functional cases were the exception until the primary purpose of a watch became timekeeping.

The watch case is a cleverly engineered container designed to protect a delicate piece of machinery so it may be carried around. Unlike other jewels whose form is not determined by function, a watch case must be constructed under narrow constraints that dictate, to a certain extent, the watch’s appearance.

The parts: You don’t have to understand in intimate detail how watches work to appreciate their history. In simplest terms, a watch has four components that must be accommodated within the case. These are the face or dial, a train of gears known as the wheelwork, a coiled mainspring that provides the power to turn the wheels and, finally, a controlling device called the escapement. Each of these components influences watch-case design in its own way.

The first and most obvious component, the dial, has numerals to indicate the time. Initially, the top lid of the case served as a dial, with the hour hand fitted and exposed outside. This was a satisfactory arrangement as long as the watch remained stationary. But it was problematic if carried around or made into jewelry. The hand was too vulnerable and easily lost or snagged on clothing.

These inconveniences may have prompted the first step in the transformation from drum clock to pendant jewel. As soon as watch cases acquired pendant rings that allowed them to be worn around the neck, they also got lids to protect the dial and hands. Watch crystals were not common until the mid-17th century. But once introduced, many early lids were cut away and fitted with crystals to make viewing the dial easier.

The familiar dial with a ring of 12 numerals around its edge appears on the earliest watches. Other highly decorative arrangements were attempted, but few survived for long because most were effectively illegible.

The gears: The second component of a watch, the wheelwork or train of gears, moves the hand to indicate the time. The number of teeth on gears needed to move hands is easy to calculate, but placing the actual gears in a pattern that function as a time machine isn’t straightforward. Consequently, early watches were thick because the wheels needed to make them work properly took a lot of space.

Until the 19th century, most watchmakers made their movements out of two brass plates separated by stout decorative pillars. Think of this as a thick sandwich with the plates as bread and the wheels as filling. A large movement needed a large case, not unlike a bowl. In French, cases of this type are called bassine or basin. Such large, flat surfaces begged for decoration, and casemakers complied.

By the first decade of the 17th century, small clocks became true watches as cases shrank to slightly larger than the size of a jumbo egg. Cases came in diverse shapes: oval, octagonal, fluted or even in the fanciful forms of flowers or animals. Not unlike other pendant jewels of the period, they were made of precious metals, hardstones and sometimes enameled.

By the second quarter of the 17th century, watch cases were constructed pretty much as they would be for the next 200 years. Watches were now small enough to be carried or worn as pendant jewels. But their weight still made them inconvenient and easily damaged when worn. The problem of swinging was solved by a shorter chain or a chatelaine. Pockets would become a good place to carry a watch, but until costume changed to incorporate this convenience, watches remained pendants.

The increased use of tissot watches for men as jewelry in the mid-17th century coincided with the rise of the newly developed technique of colored enamel painting. Some of the finest 17th century polychrome enamels survive as watch cases. The early 20th-century horologist G.H. Baillie aptly called this period “the great age of decoration.”

It’s unlikely that watches, particularly enameled examples, were carried around much because existing ones seldom shows sign of wear. Instead, they often appear to have sustained injuries from a single accident after which they were retired to prevent further damage.

Power source: The third important watch component, the mainspring, is the power source that drives the gears. Mechanical movements are driven by this spring wound into a tight coil with a separate key. The earliest watches had to be taken out of their cases to be wound, a great inconvenience that suggests they probably weren’t used regularly.

Watches work far better if they remain protected within their cases. To keep the movement enclosed, watchmakers began to cut a hole in the case through which to wind the spring. English and Dutch watchmakers preferred to have access from behind, so their holes were cut into the case back. Even with this improvement, holes still let in dirt and moisture. To prevent this, the movement eventually was put into an inner case, pierced with a winding hole and then surrounded by an outer case. The two comprised a “pair case” that divides the protective and decorative functions between a closely fitting inner case and an often extravagantly decorated outer case.

The cases are made of many materials, but silver and gold predominate. Inner cases are absolutely plain, pierced only by a single hole through which the watch can be wound. If the watch was designed to indicate the time by striking a bell (a repeating watch or clock watch), however, the inner case often was elaborately pierced around the circumference so the sound could escape. This piercing often was engraved to imitate a complex latticework, usually inhabited by exotic birds or serpents with grotesque faces among vines and foliage.

Sometimes outer cases are severely plain, relieved only rarely by a monogram or crest, but some feature hardstone and shagreen (granulated, untanned leather). The most interesting outer cases are gold with intricate repousse and chased scenes, often from classical mythology. The art of gold chasing flourished during the mid-18th century, particularly in England.

The movement of a pair cased watch is held within the inner case by a hinge adjacent to the pendant and a small latch and spring under the dial at 6 o’clock. A tightly fitting, hinged bezel holds the crystal and serves as a protective lid.

Winding a pair case watch requires some dexterity. After the outer case is opened, the inner case is removed to expose the winding hole. As one hand inserts the key, the other must hold both cases. To avoid dropping the watch, pair cases are best wound sitting at a table.

In contrast, French and Swiss watches generally are wound through the dial, which eliminates the need for two cases. Just as in a pair case, the crystal, movement and single case are secured by a common hinge. Because the movement is inside the case during winding, an outer case for dustproofing is unnecessary. Though winding through the dial is easier because there’s no extra case to handle, chips in the dial’s enamel are inevitable unless the winder is careful.

In the early 19th century, a new case with two back lids was developed. The inner lid has two holes, one for winding and one for setting. This solved most of the earlier problems, but the best solution to the dirt and damage dilemma was eliminating the key. Keyless winding was an important development of the 19th century. The most successful scheme for this transformed the pendant of the watch into a winder. At last, the watch case no longer had to be opened to be wound.

The sound: The fourth important component of a watch is more often heard than seen. The familiar ticking sound of a watch is produced by the “escapement” as it gradually releases the mainspring at a constant rate. The timekeeping mechanism of the watch, escapements alternately lock and release the gear train. Without an escapement, a watch would unwind in an instant.

Together with the gear train, the escapement influences a watch’s thickness. Until the early years of the 18th century, watches had to be thick because the escapement took up a lot of room. In fact, French watches of the 1690s were so thick they were called oignons (onions). A state-of-the-art watch of 1700 could easily have been an inch thick.

The 18th- and 19th-century quest for precision produced new escapements, most of which took up less vertical space and consequently allowed watches to be thinner. By 1800, for example, a sophisticated watch would have been 1/4″ thick or less. The pursuit of thinness reached its 19th-century peak in the 1820s when Geneva watchmakers produced movements thin enough to be concealed in a coin. The equation of thin with elegant reemerged during the Art Deco era with Cartier’s ultra-thin dress watches.

Decoration: Once the watch ceased to be a metaphoric talisman during the 18th century, its decoration reflected tastes evident in other small gold-work of the time. Snuff boxes, containers with tight-fitting lids for storing snuff (tobacco), greatly influenced watch case design.

The English produced repousse gold snuff boxes made with the same techniques as pair cases. The French used enamel, varicolored gold and precious stones with virtuosity.

But watches and snuff boxes were luxury items. The notion that ordinary people could own watches did not become a reality until the 19th century, when the Industrial Revolution made greater accuracy and mass production possible.

NFL watches kick off new Bulova Sportstime division

Bulova Corp. this month becomes the first major U.S. watch supplier to launch a separate division for sports fashion products. The new division is called Sportstime.

Clothing and other products with sport team logos and colors are fast becoming a major retail industry. Many malls already have stores devoted to such products, “indicating the growing impact of sports and sport teams on fashion products,” says Robert Ryan, Bulova’s vice president of marketing. “Our new Sportstime division shows Bulova’s intent to become a major force in that market.”

Team graphics: Leading the Sportstime lineup are new watches featuring National Football Leagueteam graphics. The metal case strap watches are available in men’s and women’s sizes with graphics for each of the 28 NFL teams. One series ($49.95 retail) features the official team crests on the dials. The other ($34.95) uses colors and helmet art of each team.

The watches are ready for Christmas shipping and will be supported by advertising in sports magazines. Clocks will be introduced next year, adds Ryan.

Sportstime’s wares won’t be limited to NFL watches. Details weren’t available at press time, but Bulova expects to develop league-related products later this year based on reviews on bulova watches. The firm also may develop and market “sport fashion and themed products beyond affiliate merchandise,” he says.

Sportstime products will be available to all vendors of Bulova and Caravelle products, as well as the growing number of sports league product stores. (Bulova also may offer separate but parallel marketing programs for all its sports watches, such as those of Marine Star and the lower-priced Caravelle brand, says Ryan.)

Bulova has made customized, corporate and premium program watches for years. But its first major thrust into sports fashion occurred in 1988 with the production of watches for the winter and summer Olympics. The success of that project, plus the growing sales of sports logo merchandise, led Bulova to create the new division.

New markets: Sportstime is the latest in Bulova Corp.’s expansion into new markets that complement its core watch business. In the past year, it has added the 14k Ultime jewelry line, Buly (leisure-time products such as backbags, pouches and ski jackets with clocks), Classic Moments (watches featuring famous or original artwork), trendy TFX fashion nixon mens watches and its popular clock miniatures.

Consolidation and development of these markets, plus the addition of more new markets, will continue into next year, says Ryan. The changes are part of the overall tendency in retail to cultivate specialized markets, he notes.

And how many pairs of shoes do you have in your closet?

The truth is that many otherwise disciplined men and women suffer from Imelda’s footwear fetish, albeit to a lesser degree. Shoes are a perfectly comprehensible passion, and many of us display cupboards full of the most delicious examples, bearing mute testament to our past footwear follies.

The world is full of shoe fanatics, whose personal Achilles heel (if you’ll forgive the pun) is the apparently unending pursuit of the perfect piece of shoe leather. Many who can cheerfully pass up any number of other temptations, who can dismiss furs, fashions and jewelry with nary a covetous glance, who can bypass caviar, champagne or South Seas vacations, and who are capable of virtuously sticking to their budgets, are totally undone by a great pair of shoes.

Show them a new shape, a different heel or a sexy vamp and that tell- tale gleam of cupidity will soon light up their eyes. Zip goes the will power and out comes the credit card – all for the instant gratification of yet another pair of shoes.

Curiously enough, mere possession is often half the thrill. Frequently, we don’t even wear the shoe swe buy. We just like to look at them. They’re reassuring in some inexplicable way.

Says fashion designer Alfred Sung, a noted connoisseur, “I have all kinds of shoes, all fabrics and all colors. Price is never a factor – they’re just nice to have. Even if they’re not comfortable, if I love them, I’ll buy them and wear them only a few hours, or I’ll just keep them to look at. If I don’t buy a particular pair of shoes, I know I’ll regret it, so I always do.”

Model Enid Rose: “Comfort? It’s a bonus, as far as I’m concerned. If I really love the shoe, I’ll just wear it and suffer.”

Special events co-ordinator Barbara Hershenhorn: “I have over a 100 pairs of shoes. It was much worse, but I cleaned out my closet. I treat my shoes like my best friends – I look after them, polish them and take them in for refurbishing.”

Model agency owner Linda Hill: “I have hundreds and hundreds of pairs of shoes. I’m compulsive – it’s like an addiction. If I see a pair I like, and they’re even slightly different from a pair I already own, I buy them. Sometimes I don’t even try them on. Comfort? I don’t care. I’m surprised my feet haven’t given way – I’ve been suffering for years and there’s no end in sight. Imelda, I understand]”

Fashion director Noreen Berg: “I love shoes. I don’t need any excuse to buy them. No, I won’t tell you how many pairs of shoes I have. Yes, I’ve made shoe mistakes. I have them stashed away in the back of the closet. What can I say? The emotion wore off, I realized they were too tarty or too boring, and just didn’t like them any more.”

Publicist Signy Stephenson: “I have six pairs of evening shoes that I bought because they were so cute. I never wear them, but if I did, they would go with everything.”

We use shoes to shore up our fragile psyches. Says corporate relations director Chris Yankou, “I love shoes. Most women love shoes. They can make you feel happy. If you’re feeling unhappy or pathetic, they’ll always give you a lift. The good thing about best running shoes for bunions is that whether you lose your job, or get too fat or too thin, or your hair is a mess – your shoe size stays the same.”

Shoes also denote a certain social consciousness. Says writer Winston Collins, “Shoes are a barometer of social status. If you go to a fancy restaurant, watch the snooty maitre d’hotel. He’ll invariably check out your shoes and, depending on their condition, will seat you accordingly. Take my advice, if you don’t want to be seated beside the kitchen or men’s room, wear your best shoes.”

Illustrator Donald Robertson agrees. “You can dress like a slob, but if you’re wearing a really good pair of shoes, you’ll get by.”

Chris Yankou: “You want to know how important shoes are? A good friend of mine recently broke up with a man because he came to pick her up for a date and he was wearing toe rubbers. Yes]”

We also have very specific and individual preferences. Alfred Sung says, “Right now, I’m addicted to running shoes. I just keep buying them.”

Signy Stephenson: “I have about 25 pairs of shoes in different colors, although most of them are red. I just love red shoes.”

Multi-media personality Micki Moore agrees. “I’ve branched out into color. I think great colors make you feel happy.”

Most people are adept at justifying their best shoe for plantar fasciitis purchases. Says Donald Robertson, “I hate feet. I think they’re ugly, and toes are even worse. Therefore, shoes are a necessary solution to the foot problem – they cover them up. Anyway, you can rationalize buying new shoes, because feet are very important. Besides, shoes perk you up, they make you feel good. Children always get new shoes on special occasions – Christmas, Easter, back-to-school – so shoes are always associated with holidays and other good times.”

Another confirmed shoe lover, who would rather remain anonymous, reveals, “Shoes are great because they’re so easy to get past customs . . . you just scuff up the bottoms.”

One of Toronto’s most shoe- conscious executive secretaries, who prefers to be known as “Deep Shoe,” says, “I find that if I rotate my shoes, they last a lot longer. Isn’t that a good excuse for buying lots of shoes?”

Having a tough foot to fit is a great excuse. Linda Hill’s size 6 1/2 foot warranted hundreds of purchases during her modelling days, “Because most models have big feet and they never had my size, so I just had to buy them.”

Enid Rose also looks to her foot size for justification. “I’m always buying new shoes. I keep hoping people will concentrate on how lovely the shoes are, and not notice my big feet.”

Modelling itself is a great rationale for collecting shoes. Says model June Round, “Although I do honestly love shoes, remember the business I’m in. Clients often request a selection of shoes for a shoot or a show, and I have to be prepared.”

Seasonal sales are another terrific excuse. Chris Yankou: “I’m addicted to expensive suede shoes in bright colors, but I refuse to spend more than $200. I wait for a sale, and pray nobody else buys them.”

Micki Moore: “I like to buy on sale. You have to remember that a $300 pair of shoes wears out and scuffs just as quickly as a $90 pair and, if you buy really expensive shoes, you’re paying for the high style and it will be out of fashion in no time.”

Enid Rose, who may qualify as the quintessential shoe-seeker, says, “If I’m somewhere like the Eaton Centre, I’ll hit every shoe store. I’m always telling friends about great buys on shoes. Recently, I bought nine pairs of shoes at once, all different. It was a good buy – they were 50 per cent off, so how could I resist? When I came out of the store, clutching my bag of bargains, I found that my car had been towed away] So I spent what I’d saved on shoes to get my car out of the pound. What can I say? I love shoes.”

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I just have to go and buy a pair of shoes.

L’Elegante keeps 45 per cent of the proceeds of sales, not 55 per cent as was reported in last week’s column.

Swiss exports match record – Better time for watches

The Swiss watch industry, in deep decline for 10 years, made a fragile recovery in 1984, which in terms of exports almost matched the record year of 1981.

Based on figures for the first 10 months of 1984, Andre Margot, president of the Watch- making Federation, which represents the approximately 700 companies involved in the industry, said exports of watches and movements probably grew for the year by 8 per cent in volume and 13.5 per cent in value, to almost 3.9 billion francs ($1.5-billion U.S.).

In the face of severe competition, employment in Switzerland’s watch industry has been cut by more than half in the past decade, including a 5 per cent drop in employment in 1984 to 30,000.

In 1983, to counter falling demand, the industry was restructured through the merging of the two largest companies, Allgemeine Schweizerische Uhrenindustrie and Societe Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogere.

Qualifying the success of the merger, Mr. Margot said: “The cash flow from the newly formed group leaves much to be desired. . . . A real pickup in investment has yet to come. There remains still, unfortunately, an excess of unused capacity and those unemployed . . . have yet to be reabsorbed.”

China goes shopping

The Chinese went on a spending spree last year, laying out a record $107-billion for consumer goods, and demand for luxury items is increasing, the Commerce Ministry said Thursday.

Retail sales rose 17 per cent in 1984 and could go up by nearly 20 per cent this year, the ministry told the New China News Agency and the newspaper China Daily.

It said luxury goods, clothing and better food were in demand.

The ministry said sales of food last year increased by 18 per cent, clothing by 16 per cent and household goods by 20 per cent.

This year refrigerators, television sets and high-protein foods are expected to be popular.

Fancy electrical goods have replaced the three status symbols of only a decade ago – bicycles,watches and manual sewing machines.

Western economists said the spending spree, while reflecting the success of an incentive-led economic boom, could also cause inflation. They said the Government would have to tread very carefully with its far- reaching economic reforms.

China has announced that during 1985 it will adjust prices to even out the distorted state- set price system, but workers’ real incomes will be protected where needed by wage increases.

This means more money will be chasing a limited number of consumer goods. Light Industry Minister Yang Bo said recently that supply might sometimes fail to meet demand.

Humans as a “pest” species

In July of 1990, a federal ‘Review Team’ released its preliminary report A Proposal for a Revised Federal Pest Management Regulatory System. The discussion taking place across Canada concerning this proposal, brings out a number of the issues concerning pesticide use in pulpwood forestry. The Proposal, we are told, has been developed “by an independent multi-stakeholder team, assembled by the minister of Agriculture to recommend improvements to the existing federal pesticide regulatory system.” Members of the ‘team’ included, among others, representatives from the Canadian Manufacturers of Chemical Specialties, Crop Protection Institute of Canada, Crop Protection Advisory Committee, and the Forestry Sector. All the members of the team signed the Proposal, except for the Canadian Labour Congress representative.

In its Minority Report, the CLC stated: “Unfortunately, we believe the proposed model will result in more rather than less chemical pesticides.” (The CLC Report does accept some pesticide use and fosters illusions about the ‘high level’ of the Canadian registration process.)

Two members from the Canadian Environmental Network Pesticides Caucus signed the Proposal, showing not only that working for the Review Team meant assimilation, but on this particular issue, mainstream environmentalism is tailing organized labour. (The Canadian Environmental Network, as an NGO organization, is funded by the federal government. In August of 1990, the Network submitted to Environment Canada, a request for $14 million to cover projected expenses from 1991 to 1996.)

Basic assumptions

Anyone concerned about the use of pesticides in forestry — forest spraying, tree nursery pesticide use, wood preservatives, anti-sapstain chemicals, etc. — has to be alarmed about A Proposal for a Revised Federal Pest Management Regulatory System. One of the ‘six fundamental principles’ guiding the Review Team was: “support for the development of policies that assist economic viability/competitiveness of farming/forestry/fisheries.”

Economic viability and competitiveness are codes for the use of pesticides. So the basic assumption is that pesticides should be used. In a similar way, the basic assumption underlying The Green Plan: A Framework For Discussion On The Environment, is support for ‘sustainable development,’ i.e., more economic growth. In my view, once either assumption is conceded, the environmental battle is lost, and only a rear-guard delaying action can be conducted. From the point of view of non-human life forms, the growing chemical contamination of the Earth has shown that humans have become the only real ‘pest’ species. We have denied the right to other species to have clean air, clean water, and clean soil, uncontaminated by pesticides. (The Proposal takes as a given, the ‘right’ to carry out animal tests on birds, mammals, and aquatic organisms, for the registration of pesticides in Canada.) Environmentalists need to articulate the perspective, in opposition to that given in the federal pesticide Proposal, that all pesticides used in farming, forestry and fisheries — and personal use of pesticides — must be banned in Canada. Pesticide use is a criminal activity, no matter what fraudulent ‘science’, is brought forth as justification by pesticide promoters.

Public meetings

In September and October 1990, public meetings were held across the country to ‘discuss’ the Proposal. At the meeting arranged for Halifax, on September 27, a number of environmentalists were graciously offered ten minutes to air any concerns they might have. Prior to the commencement of the meeting, three representatives of the mainstream environmental trend in the province, held a press conference and distributed a press release. The release expressed sentimentsl like we “welcome the positive steps Agriculture Canada’s pesticide review report has taken”, and “This report serves as a wedge which opens the door to changes needed to get Canada off the chemical treadmill,” etc. On the street, about a dozen representatives of the radical environmental trend in the province, expressing total opposition to pesticide use, held a demonstration. A leaflet distributed, Pesticide Pushers Streamline For Increased Use, said that the Proposal was designed for “optimizing do it yourself pest control,” i.e., speeding up pesticide regulatory decisions, while seeming to respond to various criticisms that have been raised of the federal registration process. These responses uphold corporate interests. This is shown, for example, by the Proposal stating that a member of the public must sign a so-called “Confidentiality Undertaking Form,’ with “substantial penalties’, in order to see company pesticide data. This stops public discussion.


We all live downstream. Pesticides don’t ‘disappear.’ Pesticides not only end up in the environment and wildlife, they end up in people. The August 8/90 issue of Rachel’s Hazardous Waste News #193, a weekly American research publication, ‘Providing news and resources to the Movement for Environmental Justice,’ points out:

“If breast milk from American women were bottled and sold commercially, it would be subject to ban by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because it is contaminated with more than 100 industrial chemicals, including pesticides. FDA has set limits on contamination of commercial milk by pesticides, and human milk routinely exceeds those limits by a wide margin.”

It could be argued that one of many ‘Canadian’ contributions to the above situation, is our growing of those ‘natural’ Christmas trees, many of which are exported to the United States. Christmas trees, which are often cultivated on cut-over pulp land, if not organically grown, can have a variety of pesticides used in their cultivation. The Christmas Tree Growers Manual: Atlantic Canada 1987, a government-funded publication, recommends the use of over 40 pesticides — herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. A number of the recommended pesticides are known to be toxic to fish, birds, honey bees and other insect pollinators. Nova Scotia, which has about 30,000 acres of Christmas trees, and about 3,000 growers, exports about 95 per cent of its trees to the States.

A new politics

We are poisoning the Earth and ourselves and no economic goal can be allowed to justify this. People are victims of a system that promotes pesticides, yet all of us have to take responsibility for our own actions. No one is ‘forced’ to use pesticides, as no one is forced to clearcut old-growth forests, mine asbestos, work in a nuclear poer plant, or fish herring just for the roe. Those who do these things are part of the problem.

Green politics cannot accept ‘reforms’ of practices which are Earth-destroying. The new politics means to really put the Earth first in our thinking and actions. For me, this means to adopt a biocentric, not a human-centered world view, which takes the preservation of the ecological integrity of the planet as the primary concern. Potential allies in any coalition-building, need to share this primary concern, otherwise the politics are old style, and essentially defeat the task at hand. Social justice is only possible in a context of ecological justice.

How the Canadian Forces saved four of their own

Capt. Wade Pelly knew his right foot was frostbitten, but just how bad it was, he could not tell. A day and a half earlier, Pelly and three fellow crew members aboard a Canadian Forces Griffon helicopter were summoned to rescue a severely ill fisherman aboard a trawler in the Labrador Sea. But something went terribly wrong during a blinding blizzard and the Griffon crashed into the frigid waters off Killinek Island near the northernmost tip of Labrador. The best drone helicopter rolled, trapping the four men-who wore heavy parkas and mukluks but no survival suits-below the water’s surface. Acting quickly, they clambered out onto the bobbing belly of the disabled Griffon. Soaked to the bone, and with Pelly losing a mukluk during the ordeal, they waited as their craft floated towards the island. Within five metres of shore, they swam for it, through waters so cold that fatal hypothermia could set in within minutes. They then slogged for four kilometres amidst heavy snow and wind chills that dipped to -37* C, eventually taking refuge in an abandoned shack.

Some 36 hours later, still soaking wet and freezing cold, the men were relieved to hear the thudding twin rotors of a canary yellow Labrador rescue helicopter. Now, with help at hand, Pelly wanted to know about his condition. “He looked at me and said, ‘Am I going to lose my foot?’ ” said Sgt. Yves (Ziggy) Carignan, a search-and-rescue specialist who arrived aboard the Lab. “I down and right lied to him and told him, ‘No, no, it doesn’t look that bad. It should be all right.’ ” Whether Pelly’s foot could be saved remained in doubt at week’s end. What was certain, though, was that the 25-year-old first officer and co-pilot from Princeton, B.C.-along with pilot Capt. Karim Krey, 26, of Nelson, B.C., flight engineer Sgt. Scott McCoy, 37, of St. Catharines, Ont., and Master Cpl. Andre Daigle, 35, a search-and-rescue technician from Ste-Foy, Que.-had survived the kind of northern nightmare that can easily end in tragedy. That it did not end that way this time is a testament to the ingenuity and everyday heroism of those who patrol the air and seas in one of the most forbidding corners of the planet.

The drama began at 5:58 a.m. on Nov. 12 when the Danish-registered trawler, the Vesturvon, radioed the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax that Joshua Alookee, an Inuit fisherman from Broughton Island, was vomiting blood and had a history of bleeding ulcers. At the time, the ship and its 34 crew members were about 100 miles east of Resolution Island at the southeastern tip of Baffin Island. The centre radioed Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay from which the ill-fated Griffon was dispatched. A Hercules aircraft based at CFB Greenwood in Nova Scotia was also ordered to help. The Griffon and the Hercules were to rendezvous with the Vesturvon at Resolution Island, where Alookee, a father of five, was to be airlifted out. But it didn’t happen that way.

On route, the crew aboard the Griffon-one of the Canadian military’s newer aircraft, known commercially as the Bell 412 helicopter-had to set down in Labrador “for a problem with one of its engines,” said Master Cpl. Bryan Pierce, who was aboard the Hercules with Master Cpl. Keith Mitchell. A short time later, the Griffon was airborne again, but now it was low on fuel and buffeted by bad weather. By this point, the Hercules had joined the Griffon, and dropped flares to light a landing site. “This was when we had our last conversation with them,” Pierce said. “And they said, ‘We don’t have enough fuel to fool around with the weather any more, so we’re just going to put down.’ “

The Hercules went on to make visual contact with the trawler early Tuesday evening. The waves were up to two metres high, the air temperature -16 C and the water near zero. Pierce and Mitchell had no option but to parachute into the rough seas. Wearing wet suits, the men were sweating so profusely that their sweat ran over their boots and swimming flippers, onto the now-open exit ramp of the Hercules, where it froze. “The ramp turned into a skating rink,” Pierce said.

The plan was to jump from 2,000 feet, land on the leeward side of the ship and take shelter from the heavy winds. “I ended up a little further from the ship than I wanted to be, so I was in the full force of the wind,” Pierce says. “When I hit the water, my parachute stayed inflated and it started pulling me across the top of the waves.” He pulled a red emergency handle to release the parachute. Bobbing in the water, Pierce and Mitchell were picked up by an inflatable zodiac piloted by two of the Vesturvon’s crew. All the while the sea spray froze to everything it struck-zodiac, helmets, men.

Once aboard the trawler, Pierce and Mitchell administered fluid intravenously, stabilizing Alookee, who had abdominal surgery three years ago and was taking medication, which he ran out of 2 1/2 days earlier. He was semi-conscious and dehydrated. Twelve hours later, the ship arrived in Iqaluit where he was taken to hospital. “I’m very happy those two guys parachuted to the boat,” Alookee said. “There were a lot of waves. They were pretty brave.”

No sooner had they dropped Alookee at the hospital than the news arrived that the Griffon was missing. Although both Pierce and Mitchell had had only one hour’s sleep each over the past 36 hours, they immediately boarded a Hercules aircraft and returned to Killinek Island. They were able to establish the Griffon’s last known position, but their air search of the area was without success. Meanwhile, the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax had ordered a Labrador best quadcopter with camera from CFB Gander, as well as an Aurora aircraft, another Labrador and another Hercules from CFB Greenwood, to find the Griffon.

What caused the Griffon to crash will be the subject of a military investigation. It appears, however, that the crew tried to make it to a fuel cache at Port Burwell after advising the original Hercules to fetch Alookee. The subsequent crash left the men soaked and freezing. Their tiny shelter turned out to be a rickety and wind-porous plywood shack without a stove. They survived by building a fire inside, but the wood only smouldered, giving off a choking smoke.

At about 5 a.m. on Thursday, the Aurora spotted the stranded men’s emergency flares. The Hercules from CFB Greenwood circled nearby, but any parachuting would be tricky in the high winds-especially since the shack was perched near a 2,000-foot-high cliff. Still, Sgt. Kevin Elliott and Cpl. Darcy St. Laurent parachuted from their Hercules and made their way towards the downed men. They never got there.

While on the ground making their way to the shack, Elliott and St. Laurent got word that the Labrador from Greenwood had reached the vicinity and would be able to land at the site. The two took shelter in a snow cave. (They were airlifted out three hours later.) It was now up to Carignan and Cpl. Darryl Cattell, who also spotted the flares with his night-vision goggles. In the distance, they could make out a survivor holding two sticks with burning embers-he was striking them together, sending sparks flying to attract help.

The Labrador set down on a rocky outcrop about 25 m from the shack during a brief lull in the blizzard. The men were taken to the chopper and flown to a clinic in Kuujjuaq, Que. Later, Pelly and Krey were sent to the Montreal General Hospital, while McCoy and Daigle, who suffered lesser injuries, returned to Goose Bay, 725 km south of the crash scene. All four men suffered from smoke inhalation, were dehydrated and frostbitten. They also suffered whiplash and lacerations. But the fact that they were alive at all struck many as a miracle. As Carignan, a 11-year veteran of the search-and-rescue business, put it: “The whole ordeal is a tribute to the human ability to survive in almost any condition.”

Mesmerizing aspects to know about Invicta 5511 from Invicta watches review

The Invicta 5511 is recognized to be one among the most renowned model of watches from Invicta flagship models. This model would found with a design from world famous sub aqua noma III type of range and it would not very much hard to learn why. Accordingly to the Invicta review, this model has been sold in the market at a great level than other models of the same range offered by other brands. You can also learn from the review that the features offered with this model would make almost all watch lovers to crave for the purchase of one for them.

Here are some of the mesmerizing features that is provided with Invicta 5511 model as per Invicta watches review

The watch comprises of a large circular case of about 50 mm in diameter. It is made from none other than surgical grade quality steel so that it would offer much better level of performance when used in various conditions as well. There is a unidirectional bezel that can be found on top of the case and this is made up of stainless steel as well. This bezel would also match precisely with the color of the case. The bezel has been brushed with satin and most of the features embossed on it would be in Arabic numerals for each interval of five seconds. If you are really planning to buy this watch then it would be worth the price as the features that you can find in it would be provided on a top quality range of watches from brand like Rolex.

You can find a large sunray dial that is composed with silver indexes which are then coated with trinity of luminescent shades. You can also find indexes to be positioned on each hour expect for 2, 4, 10 and 12. The large and luminescence dial would make sure that the watch can be read at any possible conditions as well. It would work perfectly and can be read very easily even in pitch black darkness. This watch is a Swiss made that can be found on the number 6 of the hour. This means that, the watch has been completely made and assembled in Switzerland including the parts as well. You can find a date window next to hour number 4.

You can find around three different types of sub dials that would rest at hour number 2, 6 and 10. You can make use of these sub dials in conjunction with the crown that can be screwed down to measure the fraction of seconds effectively. As per the invicta 8926c review, The dial window on the watch is made of crystal type flame fusion which is exceptionally resistant to any type of scratches and any kind of sudden shock as well.

Another specialty of this model from Invicta than other models is that, a diver can wear this watch and dive to a depth of about 1650 feet as well. Hence it’s majorly opted by the true professional divers.

Luxury stays bubbly: watches, bags drive LVMH sales up 10.5%

Consumers are still lapping up luxury on a worldwide scale.

Signaling continued momentum for the high-flying sector, LVMH Mot Hennessy Louis Vuitton beat forecasts Tuesday and reported a 10.5 percent rise in second-quarter sales to 3.41 billion euros, or $4.29 billion, headlined by strong demand for logo handbags, champagne and high-end watches.

The world’s largest luxury group reported revenue growth across all business units and geographic regions, bolstering its confidence of achieving “very significant” growth in profits for the full year. LVMH is slated to report first-half earnings Sept. 6.

Analysts predicted a strong showing from other luxury firms, with Herms, Bulgari, PPR and Tod’s all due to report first-half sales this week.

Goldman Sachs analyst Jacques-Franck Dossin, encouraged by LVMH citing rapid development in the U.S., wrote in a research note that the results offered “a reassuring data point for the sector, and [we] continue to believe that concerns over a slowdown in luxury goods are overdone.”

LVMH’s sales in the half rose 12.9 percent to 6.97 billion euros or $8.57 billion. Dollar figures are at the average exchange rate.

“We are very satisfied with our performance in the first half,” said Jean-Jacques Guiony, LVMH’s finance director, during a conference call on Tuesday. “All areas have contributed to this strong growth. Europe and the U.S. have remained very strong and Asia is moving from strength to strength.”

Questioned by analysts about any risk of a U.S. slowdown, Guiony replied dryly: “We are not particularly worried.”

In the first half, total sales in the U.S. leaped 11 percent in dollars, with watches and jewelry rising 21 percent, perfumes and cosmetics 15 percent, selective retailing 14 percent, fashion and leather goods 8 percent and wines and spirits 6 percent. Guiony declined to quantify July sales trends, but said there was no slowdown.

One of the few blemishes on the results was a dip in Vuitton sales in Japan in the second quarter, which LVMH blamed on an April 3 price increase there. Guiony explained that Japanese increases are announced two or three weeks in advance, creating a “bubble” of demand beforehand and a negative impact thereafter. “This is shifting 2 or 3 points of growth from one quarter to another,” he said. “The price increases are absorbed quite rapidly. We don’t see major changes on the Japanese market so far.”

Sales in Asia, meanwhile, roared ahead in the first half, with sales of wines and spirits catapulting 34 percent, perfumes and cosmetics 29 percent, fashion and leather goods 22 percent and watchesand jewelry 21 percent.

Guiony said the boom in Asia applies to all countries and reflects a sharp rise in demand rather than any big increase in store openings there. “We are getting more people in the stores and more people drinking cognac,” he said.

Similarly, Guiony said growth in Europe is “coming from all directions,” with Italy described as “very strong” and Germany as “booming.”

In a report last week, HSBC analysts Antoine Belge and Erwan Rambourg characterized rapid growth in Europe as the “real surprise” of the luxury sector this year, underpinned “by more than just healthy trends in tourism and emergent Eastern Europe: even in so-called ‘mature’ markets such as France, Italy and the U.K., most luxury brands are attracting new clients, particularly an increasingly young clientele.”

In their view, investors “overestimate the possible impact of a potential rise in interest rates on worldwide demand for luxury goods” and that trends should remain above historical averages through 2007.

At LVMH, double-digit organic growth at Vuitton buoyed sales in the fashion and leather goods division, up 12 percent in the half to 2.47 billion euros, or $3 billion. The company cited “extraordinary” success with Vuitton’s suede and perforated monogram handbags and new colors in its permanent denim line.

Fendi was cited for “exceptional” revenue growth and crowned a “rising star” within the group. LVMH also highlighted strength at Loewe, Marc Jacobs and Berluti, and lauded a solid performance for Donna Karan’s collection line.

Questioned about reports of a forthcoming management change at Karan, Guiony declined comment.

Robust demand for Tag Heuer’s expensive Carrera and Aquaracer watches buoyed the watchesand jewelry division, which posted a 23 percent spike in the half to 320 million euros, or $393.6 million. LVMH also cited good progress with Zenith and Dior watches, primarily its Christal model.

Continued growth in Chinese tourism led sales in the selective retailing division up 7 percent in the half, to 1.8 billion euros, or $2.2 billion. At Sephora, LVMH highlighted “excellent” sales and market share gains in Europe and double-digit same-store sales growth in the U.S.

Sales in perfumes and cosmetics leaped 13 percent in the half to 1.17 billion euros, or $1.44 billion, led by “excellent” performance of Dior product lines, especially its Capture skin care line supported by an ad campaign featuring Sharon Stone. The company also trumpeted Guerlain’s Orchide Imperiale skin care and Givenchy’s Very Irresistible line.

Price increases in key markets buoyed revenues in wines and spirits, with sales in the half bubbling up 18 percent to 1.22 billion euros, or $1.5 billion.

LVMH shares rose 1.8 percent Tuesday to close at 76.70 euros, or $96.40 on the Paris Bourse.

Separately on Tuesday, Christian Dior SA, parent of LVMH and the Dior fashion house, posted results largely in line with LVMH’s. Sales at Dior rose 5.8 percent in the second quarter to total 164 million euros, or $206.1 million.

The company noted that its retail network now numbers 202 boutiques.

Caption(s): Suede handbags were hot sellers for Louis Vuitton. / High-end watches, like this Dior Christal model, performed well.

Fossil’s business keeps ticking ahead

Fossil Inc. conquered the fashion watch world during the Eighties and Nineties with moderately priced, stylish timepieces. Now the company known for its all-American aesthetic is rapidly expanding its international presence and entering a variety of new fashion and watch categories.

“Fossil is the Timex of today’s generation,” said Robin Murchison, an analyst with New Orleans-based investment firm Hibernia Southcoast Capital. “And the company is doing so many things, I think it will continue to gain market share.”

The company’s drive manifests itself almost across the board, from licensing to retail rollouts to product launches. Fossil jewelry, for example, is now sold in Europe, with plans to introduce it Stateside, and Fossil apparel — including jeans and tops — is being tested in company stores. Handbags have been updated and expanded to include more directional styles in fabrics such as straw, suede and velvet.

Fossil also dabbles in the designer world, producing timepieces for some of the hottest names in fashion, including DKNY, Emporio Armani and Diesel. This holiday season, the company will add to its designer stable, launching a line of watches for Burberry. In addition, Fossil is launching a new crop of watches that features special technologies that can sync with personal digital assistants and other high-tech gadgets.

On the retail front, Fossil operates 93 stores including 50 outlet units, scattered throughout the U.S., Australia, U.K. and Singapore. This year, the company plans this year to open five outlet stores as well as three accessories doors in Fair Oaks, Va., Las Vegas and Detroit, Mich.

The Richardson, Tex.-based firm is also rapidly expanding its international business by acquiring new licenses as well as some of its distribution partners. The $545 million company last fall went on an international shopping spree, acquiring Swiss watchmakers Montres Antima SA, Meliga Habillement Horloger SA and Synergies Horlogeres. Fossil in the fall also acquired the worldwide rights to the Zodiac brand. The sum paid for all four companies was approximately $7 million.

The acquisition of the three manufacturers provides the company with the design, sourcing and production capabilities necessary to manufacture and market Swiss-made watches. Currently, the bulk of the company’s products are made in East Asia. These acquisitions will allow the company to manufacture pricier watches that could be sold to independent jewelry stores — which typically balk at selling non-Swiss-made watches — where Fossil does not have a significant presence. Zodiac, Fossil’s first Swiss brand, features stylish timepieces that range from $300 to $1,000 at retail.

Fossil in April relaunched Zodiac with price points ranging from $300 to $1,000. The line includes fashion, sport and everyday styles, many in steel, for men and women.

One of the best-known names in the watch world, Fossil burst onto the scene in the mid-Eighties, at a time when fashion watches were just becoming a hot property. The company was founded by Tom and Kosta Kartsotis, two brothers originally from Albuquerque, N.M., who saw a niche for trendy styles that didn’t break the bank.

During the Nineties, Fossil solidified its position as a key department store watch resource and started to introduce other categories, including leather goods in 1992 and sunglasses in 1995. The company grew quickly, eventually going public in 1993, and it remains one of the few watch companies to successfully make the jump to Wall Street. Now sold in more than 8,000 doors, Fossil’s products continue to account for a hefty chunk of the overall fashion watch category — as much as 35 percent, according to one industry executive.

“What the company has been doing is working for them,” said Bill Baldwin, an analyst at Baldwin, Anthony & McIntyre, a Dallas-based investment firm. “They have been successful with their licensing arrangements and they still have a lot of opportunities in Europe.”

Unlike many fashion companies today, however, Fossil has grown from within. While it has a broad product array, the company has eschewed licenses for the Fossil name, choosing instead to produce all Fossil products in-house.

“We continue to develop Fossil, and we feel we have real staying power,” said Richard Gundy, president of Fossil’s watches and stores division. “We have grown organically, and we have done it by growing our existing businesses and leveraging our design and infrastructure.”

On the financial front, Fossil hit a few rough spots during the last few quarters, but it has come back in recent months. During the fourth quarter of 2001, sales grew 10.6 percent to $176.1 million from $159.3 million, while earnings improved to 59 cents a share from 57 cents, excluding charges.

For 2001, net income, excluding charges, fell to $1.49 a share from $1.71, as sales grew 8.2 percent to $545.5 million from $504.3 million. Nonetheless, Hibernia Southcoast Capital’s Murchison said the company ended the year “on a positive note.”

“2001 was a difficult year for most retailers, and Fossil was no exception,” she said. “However the company continued to execute their international initiatives and ended the year in a strong financial position.”

Watches remain the company’s key focus, accounting for about 75 of overall sales, which are expected to grow to more than $600 million this year, due in part to its many new introductions. Two years ago, the company formed a think tank to focus on the high tech watch arena, Gundy said. As part of this initiative, in late April Fossil will introduce timepieces compatible with personal digital assistant features. Data such as calendars, to-do lists and addresses from the user’s pda are downloaded to the watch through an infrared interface. The watches will retail for $145.

Other technologically advanced lines introduced include Big Tic, which has both analog and digital time displays, and Kaleido, a line of watches featuring dials that change color at the push of a button.

The company’s offerings are also getting a major infusion of hipness with a collection of watchesdesigned by Philippe Starck. The line, first introduced last year, has plastic and stainless steel straps and distinct digital modules featuring oversized numbers and is being expanded with a number of new styles for fall.

The company’s core line, carrying an average price of $65, continually gets updated, and styles on tap for fall include oversized looks and plenty of colored dials.

Overall, department stores remain the company’s core distribution channel for watches and other products, accounting for between 60 and 65 percent of sales. But specialty stores, including Watch World, and youth-oriented chains like Gadzooks, Pacific Sunwear of California and The Buckle have become more important, Gundy said. Fossil is also expanding the distribution of its Relic brand, which is priced between $50 and $85 and is sold by mass retailers, including Sears, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney.

Fossil is also continuing to expand its international business, which has been propelled by the recent acquisitions of its distributors in France and Australia. The international business accounted for 35 percent of total sales last year.

Licensing is also emerging as a major driver, due to its deals with established and up-and-coming fashion names such as Paul Frank, which is geared toward younger customers.

‘`Now that they have access to new movements, you will see Fossil go after more and more licensed businesses,” observed Murchison. “It will bring them into new distribution and help drive business.”