The first two weeks of 2020 started with a bang for the watch world. There is a so much happening. Let’s go through the last 7 days:
After the release of the H. Moser Streamliner on the 9th of January (exclusive interview with H Moser CEO on the Scottish Watches podcast), they had a weeks-long lounge setup in Dubai from January 12th to 16th which I was lucky to attend. It was a lovely and relaxed atmosphere in a suite of the Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach – a lovely venue and with plenty of time to talk watches and look at the H. Moser collection. The Streamliner is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. In the metal. It fit my wrist like a glove with the band perfectly sized for me – I guess that could be a hint. Now I just need to find CHF 39k somewhere.
I also had the chance to explore the Vantablack dial–ed watch from H. Moser and sort of managed to shoot a video of the pre-cased Vanta black dial.. It’s hard to describe – it’s really like looking into a black hole. There is no reflection – just dark nothingness. Gladly when used in a watch there are some reflections of the sapphire crystal to prevent you from being sucked into the said black hole. And also prevents you from touching it. Since it’s actually a material consisting of tiny nanotubes that Nicholas (International Sales Director, H. Moser) described as being like trees in a forest seen top-down from 3km away. Moser has one person experienced enough to work on this dial as it’s terribly delicate and the lightest touch of a finger can cause the tubes to break. Hence servicing is definitively something you should only do with Moser themselves as they know how to handle the dial. A great and relaxed way to experience Moser watches with the lovely people from Moser, thanks to Claire and Nicholas for the great time I had!
Black dial vs vanta black dial
LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy):
On a whole different scale was the LVMH Watch Week that also happened in Dubai – The whole Bvlgari Resort (part of LVMH of course) in Dubai was converted into a (literally in-house – pun intended) showcase for the LVMH watch brands. I assume this is what brands want – undivided attention unlike on a watch fair like SIHH or Baselworld – where they can plan and showcase their releases for the year and get the press coverage all for themselves. And boy did they put on a show. The CEOs from Bulgari, Zenith, Hublot and TAG Heuer (also heading all of LVMHs watch division) were there to present their latest releases. Why did they choose Dubai? Weather and accessibility – it’s an easy to get to location from across the world and sunny in the winter. So what was the most noteworthy?
Let’s start with Bvlgari (A-Z):
We saw a new Serpenti Seduttori – with a special movement that follows the case design, so it’s in the shape of a snake head (or an egg). So – the movement itself is not round and somehow they even managed to put a tourbillion into this, the smallest in the market, held by a sapphire bridge. Women of the world with a big-budget – take note, this is serious Haute Horlogerie for you!! But Bulgari didn’t stop there they also created a ladies Minute Repeater (!!!) called Diva’s Dream. The way they put a small tassel on the side that you pull to get the chime – innovative and cool. I love green watches – so if you want to give your wife a quarter of a million dollars present – you know where to find it.
For the male readers – Bulgari had something else in store – a new Octo Finissimo Satin Polished Steel– now available in steel – so slim – you hardly notice you are wearing it. The movement is only 2.23mm thick (BVL 138) that is absolutely crazy for an AUTOMATIC movement.
Big Bang event and of course here is the new Hublot Big Bang Unico Integral – integrated bracelet made for Rikki – all black, all-ceramic, even the screws are black plated titanium – this amazing skeletonized watch will set you back $23k
Noteworthy as well was the Classic Fusion Gold
Crystal watch – again amazing metallurgy and craftsmanship directly from their own R&D lab. What Hublot did was literally boiling gold so that it is in gas form, blast it towards a cold surface where it crystallizes and then apply lacquer onto it to preserve theunique pattern it formed. Not just with one layer of lacquer – but 20 so that all the three dimensional effect is preserved. Another watch you need to see to believe. Price $21k.
Oh and if that is not flashy enough – how about a new RED ceramic Big Bang. Yes you read that right, red ceramic, apparently equally hard to create and with some amazing watchmaking inside – 14 days of power reserve. Incredible. And what’s so spectacular about this watch is the countdown wheel display thingy that shows you how many days are left in Arabic digits.
Hublot also released a couple of other models – check them out here: https://www.hublot.com/en/collection/novelties
It’s the year of the RAT in Chinese zodiac signs so what better way to offer a new burgundy / red fumed dialed Autavia in bronze with the Chinese word for Rat on the 1 o’clock position and a special case back engraving. Since I am born in the year of the rat – I am actually pretty inclined to get one of these. Price is $4k.
TAG Heuer is turning 160 this year – Happy Birthday from everyone at Scottish Watches!! Tag is celebrating with us and gives us the Silver Limited Edition of the Carrera – a 1,860 pieces limited edition – the number is the year when TAG was founded. IT will hit store shelves by June 2020. It’s design is “inspired by the design of the 1964 Chronograph”. It’s a monochromatic watch meaning there are only shades of one colour used in the design. How much this watch is “paying tribute to speed demons” – and how that manifests itself is a bit questionable. A very welcome new feature is the new 39mm case (the 1964 original was in a 36mm case) and will be powered by a Heuer 02 movement with an 80-hour power reserve. Finally a TAG in a more approachable size. Others I should mention for completeness sake are: vertical clutch, column wheel, consisting of a total 168 parts, specially engraved rotor and a sapphire case back.
The movement Heuer 02 (also called Calibre CH80 and was called 1969 before) is based on the Heuer 01 – which in turn is based on the Heuer 1887 which was a derived movement TAG licensed from Seiko – confused yet? TAG did change a lot in this movement so it can be called in-house and is indeed produced by TAG.
Oh and did I mention how much I specifically like the domed crystal on this watch – what a chunk of sapphire creating lovely distortions on when looked at an angle.
Watch Pro offices in London raided:
We are sorry to hear what happened to the offices of the British watch magazine Watch Pro – their offices got broken into and equipment was stolen. No humans and watches were harmed in the process. We hope that the police will catch the culprits and that watch pro can recover from this shock quickly.
With all the buzz coming from LVMH the Swatch group was dying for some attention too and released a new Constellation collection. And by all means this is not a small feat. 26 variations in yellow and Omega’s proprietary Senda gold, in steel and in two-tone again with yellow or Sedna gold. The design follows roughly what was released in 2018 for the Ladies watches. According to Omega the new watches all come in 39mm and 36mm case size, the Roman numerals that are engraved in the bezel have gotten a makeover, the bracelet is integrated, the surfaces are brushed and polished and dare I say: finally attractive. I wasn’t a fan of the constellation and neither was my wife for the ladies range.
However, at least for me – this could change at least on photos these watches look well designed and for the first time, I could imagine myself wearing one. Noteworthy here is also the bracelet that is slim and slender but manages to have a 2mm release adjustment. I am really a fan of this bracelet. Dials have been redesigned and feature interesting texture – something out of Grand Seiko‘s playbook, but standing on its own with a different take on it. Above the 6 o’clock date window is the signature applied star.
As far as I can identify the markers on the dial are not lumed but the hands get a bit of lume so you should be able to tell the time in the dark. The movement is a Master Chronometer (METAS) certified 8800/8801 Co-Axial Calibre, in line with the highest standards of the other Omega lines. Offering 15,000 gauss magnetic resistance and extremely high accuracy, a 55 hours power reserve, 3.5 Hz beat rate (25,200bph) and a sapphire crystal case back. Launching the whole collection with 26 different models in one go is quite an achievement and the different metal, dial, size and strap/bracelet combinations make it easy to find the one right for you. One oddity of this now collection is the reduced water resistance to only 50m – a bit low for a sports watch.
As of writing prices in my country are not yet available but in Europe the prices will start at EUR 5,500 for steel on leather and go up to EUR 29,800 for the full gold bracelet versions.
What a start into 2020 so far!!
Ralf aka koolpep lives and works in Dubai, UAE.
If he is not travelling for work or on Safari in Africa, or on a race track, he loves to talk and collect watches and deep dives into the audiophile headphone abyss.