Watches and Wonders
Watches and Wonders Geneva (formerly SIHH) has been canceled. Given the increasing number of Coronavirus cases in Europe and the associated restrictions on international travel it seems like a sensible decision by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie. The logistics and planning that are involved in an event of this scale, both for the organisers and attendees, should not be underestimated. So the decision to cancel it two months in advance will be a welcome relief for some. Now that there is certainty the task of planning alternative product launches, promotion and networking can begin. It will be interesting to see if there is a long term impact in terms of digital marketing and strategies. The cancellation does raise a number of questions. Will BaselWorld be cancelled? Will the Redbar global meet up still happen? Will I be able to holiday in the South of France in April?
Yes, one day after the Watches and Wonders announcement Baselworld was also cancelled. No wait, postponed, until January 2021! While it is not good news for the local hospitality industry that relies on the business generated by large conferences and trade shows, it is the right call in terms of preventing the spread of Coronavirus. It will be fascinating to see how the traditional Swiss watch juggernauts react to this news. Maybe the one hit, headline-grabbing, release days will be eschewed in favour of a more staggered approach. Maybe it will be an opportunity for some of the smaller brands to shine rather than being overshadowed by the big players. Whatever happens I doubt that that many marketing teams will want to delay releases for eight months.
RJ Watches (Romain Jerome) filed for bankruptcy after its financial backer, Alliance Investment Group SA, decided to stop supporting the independent Swiss watchmaker. According to Watch Pro –
“Marco Tedeschi, CEO and the entire RJ team deeply regret this decision, which cuts 33 jobs and ends a great journey,” the company said in a statement today.
While the brand has had some interesting concepts and collaborations this hasn’t necessarily translated into sales. At the time of writing several of their watches were available with a 40% discount.
Time will tell if other independents find themselves in the same position, especially if there is a general downturn in the luxury market as a result of the spread of Coronavirus, compounded by the availability of parts and restrictions on travel impacting on the tourist market.
Camioak, Khakioak and, erm, Vertioak?
G-Shock introduced some new utilitarian colour ways in the GA-2100 range. If Audemars Piguet can have a range of camo Royal Oak Offshores then Casio can match them step for step with an expanding range of Casioaks. These are sure to be a hit in Nashville, perfect for timing how quickly you can get your bug-out-bag from your trailer to your truck. Joking aside they look like a good addition to the range and are likely to sell well. Personally I’m looking forward to the all-black version becoming available again in the U.K.
Zenith Revolution “Cover Girl”
Zenith and Revolution released the easy, breezy, beautiful “Cover Girl”. Sure to be a next top model when it comes to limited-edition collaborations, it is an El Primero based on the A3818, which was originally released in 1971. A vintage, sporty, 37mm chronograph, it is limited to 100 pieces. It comes on a steel “ladder” bracelet and has some key updates compared with the original such as the exhibition case back and generous application of Super-LumiNova®.
In many ways the watch is similar to the Bamford Watch Department, Mr Porter and Zenith limited edition released last year the “BWD X MR PORTER X ZENITH EL PRIMERO REVIVAL A384 ‘EDGE OF SPACE’ LIMITED EDITION”. Which is also 70s inspired, limited to 50 pieces and features a (distinctly Bamford) titanium micro blasted case with an exhibition caseback.
The Revolution Zenith is a more faithful recreation of the vintage El Primero, sure to bring a fierce smile to the the face of anyone who gets one, but I am convinced that both models will be popular with collectors in the long term. No doubt we will see more limited-edition collaborations in the same guise in the future.
Girard-Perregaux Limited-Edition Quasar Light Tourbillon
Girard-Perregaux released a limited edition of 18, time only, tourbillons. This is an evolution of a watch that was released last year. In addition to a sapphire crystal case this version of the watch also features sapphire crystal movement bridges. It is both technically impressive and aesthetically beautiful, providing spectacular views of the movement. It is a watch that I would like to see in the flesh, metal, sapphire!
Hautix Episode I
Much like theoretical physics or conceptual art the real world benefits of Hautix are currently unknown. We can only imagine what future generations will make of Hautix and its impact on society. The Hautix gang of Scottish Watches, Tenn and Two, and Bark and Jack finally managed to synchronise their watches across time zones and have a mass petty and misinformed discussion. It’s a perfect podcast for when you’re walking the dog and only half listening to the chatter. Five stars.
There wasn’t an obvious link on Adrian’s website, probably nothing to worry about…
Full time engineer and part time watch writer, Chris’s passion for watches started from a young age with his first Casio, ordered from the Argos catalogue. His interest in how things worked soon led him to mechanical watches, resulting in him wearing a 17 jewel Citizen watch throughout his teens when most of his friends were wearing digital watches. His fascination with watches waned during his time at university, but never fully went away. As a significant birthday approached Chris decided to get a proper Swiss watch, the one watch that he would have for the rest of his life. Little did he know that this would reignite his passion for watches, a passion that has expanded to include photography and writing.