7 Things You Should Know – This Week In Watches – 21st February 2022

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While the week has seemed relatively slower, that is only because the past few weeks have been absolutely frantic in terms of watch releases. This week, we have IWC extending a winning partnership, WatchBox kicking off its retail expansion, Watches of Switzerland setting the standard for Rolex boutiques, Hublot going crypto, and cool releases from Zelos and H. Cie Moser as well as Oris classiest watch yet. These are the top 7 things in the world of watches this week; let’s get into it.

IWC extends partnership with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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Photo Credit: WatchPro

The saying goes, don’t fix what is not broken. Well, IWC’s partnership with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team is the epitome of a well-oiled machine that doesn’t require fixing. In the 9 years of partnership, lead driver Lewis Hamilton has won the championship a remarkable 6 times. This week, IWC has announced a new expanded partnership for an additional 3 years which includes being a sponsor of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team in the upcoming F1 Esports Pro Series.. Interestingly, the partnership is not just for IWC to be a sponsor of the Formula One team, but an Official Engineering Partner attributed by Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO of the Mercedes- AMG Petronas Formula One Team to “The many parallels between motorsport and watchmaking”.

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WatchBox sets up new “lounge” in Zurich

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Photo Credit: WatchPro

WatchBox planned 2022 physical retail concepts are well underway, with the launch of its watch “lounge” in Zurich. This is also the second physical space that the company has opened in Switzerland, with the first opening in Neuchâtel four years ago. Spanning a 180 square metres, Patrik Hoffmann, WatchBox EVP for Europe said that the new lounge in Zurich “will allow tourists, business travelers, and watch connoisseurs to connect and be part of our dynamic – and growing – watch community”. This lounge in Zurich is the first of 8 retail spaces to be opened this year with the others planned for New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, and Dallas, Riyadh, and Tokyo. Last year, the company announced in October that it was set to make more than US$300 billion in revenue. It would be interesting to see how its expansions around affects its financial growth this year.

Watches of Switzerland revamps Rolex boutique in Wynn Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

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Photo Credit: WatchPro

In the aftermath of the tremendous spike in demand for its watches, has come the sorry sight of many an empty display case in Rolex boutiques around the world. However, Watches of Switzerland has now set the path of what could be the future of Rolex boutiques with its revamped boutique in the Las Vegas Wynn Resort & Casino. The recently remodelled showroom is now the largest single brand showroom in USA and come with a mix of digital presentations along with exhibition pieces. The store features Dynamix Pro LED panels in its window displays to complement physical products. This is a far better image for the brand which at the least make their stores something beyond glorified post offices for their in-demand watches.

Hublot x Ledger Nano X Big Bang Unico

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NFTs and cryptocurrencies are all the craze these days and Hublot has decided to go along with the flow. The brand has just launched a Big Bag Unico in partnership with Ledger, a cryptocurrency with more than 4 million customers worldwide. The watch comes in the Big Bang Unico’s usual 42mm case profile and is a ceramic blacked out skeletonised chronograph with a black rubber strap. Ironically, the watch, features a gold coloured bezel that is made by the same material as some of the world’s oldest coins, electrum i.e. a gold and silver alloy. “Vires in Numeris” i.e. strength in numbers, is stamped six times around its outer edge of the bezel in a nod to the Bitcoin Latin motto. The watch will come with a Ledger Nano X which is Ledger’s digital asset wallet that would allow users to manage their cryptocurrency from. With cryptocurrency seemingly here to stay, it would be interesting if this move from Hublot is but the start of many other watch brands also attempting to capitalise of this ever growing market. The Hublot Nano X is limited to only 50 pieces.   

Zelos Spearfish 40mm

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Zelos, remarkable Singaporean brand (I’m clearly not biased being Singaporean myself), has made its name in releasing extremely well built affordable watches that are often under even S$500. Its latest offering may be a step up in terms of cost, but it also offers a lot more quality than the price would suggest. The biggest upgrade can be found in the movement, which swaps the brand’s favoured NH35 movements for a La-Joux Perret movement. The movement carries a 68-hour power reserve which immediately tops most of the competition from ETA and Selitta. The watch features a downsized 40mm (from 42mm) x 47mm x 11.7mm case that is far more resigned from its standard Swordfish, featuring a mix of polished and brushed surfaces and even includes bevelling on the edges. This refinement in finishing extends on to the bracelet that features chamfers and also includes a fliplock clasp that comes with toolless quick adjustment. There are 6 options offered; 3 with ceramic 12-hour bezels that carry your choice of a copper, frosty silver or grey meteorite dial, and 3 with ceramic 60-minute bezels with a choice of smoked orange, smoked green of forge carbon dial. For those interested, prices are currently at US$649 for the smoked orange, copper, smoked green or frost silver dial, US$699 for the forged carbon and US$749 for the grey meteorite dial. Prices are set to increase from 15 May 2022. At the time of writing, only the frost silver, smoked green and forged carbon dial are still available.

H. Cie Moser’s foolproof Endeavour Perpetual Calendar

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H. Cie Moser (Moser) has never shied away from releasing playful, fun timepieces every so often, the Swiss Alp comes to mind, but its recent release takes the cake. Based on its beautiful Endeavour Perpetual Calendar, this new timepiece also includes enough dial text to make that on the regular Pelagos seem downright minimalist. The brand has included text that looks very much like what you might find on a accompanying manual, with arrows to point on the various complications on the watch and how to read them. Examples include “[7 days] power reserve via double barrel” for the power reserve at 9 o’clock, “[foolproof] ate can be set” up “or” down “at any time with no risk to movt” with an arrow pointing to the date and crown”. Of course, its best that you just look at the accompanying images to get sense. In fact, the dial text is so idiotproof, that it kind of negates any further description of the dial or its complications. The watch comes in 42mm x 11mm, is only limited to 20 pieces and is priced at CHF 59,000. While this watch will not be for everyone, and I personally cannot afford CHF 59,000, I absolutely love the playfulness of the watch. I am particularly amazed at how clean the watch still looks despite all the text on the dial, which makes the text “[clean dial]” certainly appropriate.  

Oris x Chronos Divers Sixty-Five

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Oris has just released a collaborative piece with Chronos that blurs the lines between its Aquis and Divers Sixty-Five line. The brand’s Divers Sixty-Five line has always carried a distinct vintage aesthetic while the Aquis was its more contemporary design piece. This latest 200 piece limited edition is certainly a far more modern looking Divers Sixty-Five. While it still carries the same hands and markers the smoked iced blue dial adds a fresh coldness to the dial that negates the warm of any vintage design. Couple that with the stainless steel bezel with raised 60-minute markers reminiscent of Rolex’s Yachtmaster and you have not just a modern looking watch, but also Oris’ most elegant looking dive watch. The watch comes in a 38mm case which I love, and is powered by the brand’s in-house Calibre 400 that has a 5-day power reserve and a 10-year warranty which is tremendous for a S$5,400 watch. If that was not enough, it also comes with an additional leather strap. Personally, I find this an extremely good value proposition and have been tempted for two days now to pull the trigger. This hasn’t been helped by the fact that despite its relative small run of pieces, it is still currently available from the brand’s website where you are even able to choose your own number. What more could you ask for? 

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So that is it for this week. As always, get in on all the action on the Scottish Watches website, YouTube Channels (Scottish Watches, Scottish Watches Live as well as Watches Unboxed) and of course, the podcasts on your podcaster of choice. Till next time, take care everyone.

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