This Week (in Watches) Today, 31 May 2022: 7 things you should know

This week has been a busy one, with plenty of watch releases, amidst some watch news. We  first look at the spillover demand for watches from the three hottest brands today, Audemars Piguet’s latest AP House. We then hear from Mark, Ralf and Misael on three new watch releases from Farer, Louis Erard and Seiko this week before rounding up with another two releases from TAG Heuer and Fears. These are the top 7 things in the world of watches; let’s get into it.

Watch shortages carry over to more luxury brands

Photo Credit: WatchPro

The frantic demand for brands like Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe unsurprisingly resulted in the brands’ inability to keep up in production. However, that has now also spilt over to other luxury brands. Chief among them are Tudor, Cartier and Zenith, at least according to Brian Duffy, CEO of Watches of Switzerland. Considering that the hottest models from the earlier three brands are their steel sports models, the shortage of certain watches from Tudor, Cartier and Zenit come as no surprise. Mirroring the demand for the Daytona, Tudor’s greatest shortage comes in the form of its chronographs, and the same goes for Zenith’s new Chronomaster Sports models that share a resemblance to the Daytona. As for Cartier, the increased demand is primarily for the brand’s Santos collection, which could very well be its own steel sports integrated line. On the bright side, Cartier is working to ramp up production to meet this increased demand, at least as announced by CEO Cyrille Vigneron. Understandably some of this shortages were caused by a shutting down of factories during the peak of the pandemic about 2 years ago now. It will be interesting to see if this continues in the coming year.

 Audemars Piguet AP House expansion continues

Photo Credit: WatchPro

Audemars Piguet has opened another AP House, this time in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. As part of its move to capitalize on the exponentially increasing demand for its watches, Audemars Piguet started the concept for its boutiques three years ago. The idea was for its boutiques not just to be a point of sales for its watches, but to offer potential clients a whole luxury experience that would make them feel like they were in a luxury suite instead of sales shop. The design and atmosphere for each AP House was to be different to fit in seamlessly with the location that it was at. The latest AP House is the 13th that the brand has started, and the first in USA, with the rest in other major cities around the world including London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Zurich. Given that Audemars Piguet does not exactly need to really push sales, it is praise worthy in my opinion that the brand has made moves like this to enhance to the overall client experience. As an appointment only concept, one has to hope that this this move does not limit the kind of client that can purchase from the brand.

Farer Universal Aquamatic new colours

Farer Universal is literally the most colorful British watch brand. They are experts in adding color and fun to watches. They might just have outdone themselves with the new Aquamatic range.

Martins of Glasgow Watch Servicing and Repair

The Aquamatic collection consists of four watches using the same 38.5mm watch case with a height of just 11.9mm. They are powered by a Selitta SW220-1 which means they have a power reserve of 41 hours and day/date complications. To make sure that these are go-anywhere summer watches they also have a water resistance of 200m.

It’s the color palette that makes these special. I’m going to have to let the pictures do the talking but the oversized indices, simple hands and neatly integrated day/date window mean these are a design hit. I’m torn between the white dial/blue bezel or the white dial green bezel with its splash of orange. These are great value at $995 especially as they come with a bracelet and two straps. So, which of these Farer watches will be your summer smash? – Mark Wheeler

Louis Erard & Massena Collaboration  

Louis Erard makes brilliant watches at approachable prices. And they also collaborate with the likes of Vianny Halter, Alain Silberstein, Atelier Oi, and this time MASSENA Lab. One of my favorite watches is the Regulateur Guilloche Main and Main II – their value for money is off the charts. Beautiful pieces with dials that should sell for double the price.

But now there is a new contender – a collab with Massena Labs founded by the eclectic collector and watch expert William Massena (watch his lecture at the Horological Society of NY on youtube from 3 years ago….worth the time). They created their take on the Regulateur and the dial in rhodium or gold is fresh, beautiful, and classy all in one. For under $4k it’s a serious watch you should consider. Negative points could be the size of 42mm and the rather simple looking crown without any signature – it’s designed by Massena lab but the crown, well it does look too basic for me. Naturally, in this price range, the movement isn’t handmade/in-house or decorated (except a custom rotor) in any way.

But there is nothing to worry about in regards to the robustness or longevity of the piece – the movement is a reliable Selitta SW266-1. It’s limited to 178 pieces in each of the two variations. If you are in the market for a Regulator watch (where the hands have separate dials each) – this is one to seriously consider. – Ralf, a.k.a @KoolPep

Seiko Presage Cocktails

Seiko’s Presage ‘Cocktail Time’ collection is a way for enthusiasts to get a taste of what the Seiko family of brands can do with its dials and is often a great choice to start a collection. The new Modern Style SRPJ13J1(EUR 450), J15J1(EUR 520), and J17J1(EUR 450) cast a wide net of style appeal so which is the one for you?

The SRPJ13J1 has a classical sports watch feal with its brushed H-Link steel bracelet, alternating brushed and polished case surfaces, and fine guilloché-like pattern radiating from the center on a gradient blue dial. Add a black coating to this and you get a very stealthy modern watch, the J15J1. The charcoal finish lets the date window frame, baton, and faceted applied polished hour markers stand out. The J17J1 sits on the opposite side of the coin with a warm vintage complexion, given off by the chocolate brown dial that darkens as it gets furder from the center with rose gold gilded markers and hands, and a brown leather strap. The sword hands better fit this watch’s aesthetic, don’t you think?

All have 39mm cases which should sit nicely on the wrist, box-shaped hardlex crystal, and open case back showcasing the workhorse in house Calibre 4R35. – Misael Alves

TAG Heuer Monaco Dark Lord Special Edition

TAG Heuer’s tribute series across its collections has been a favorite of mine from the brand given its more vintage aesthetic and proportions as well as its use of the Heuer 02 chronograph which is a nicely finished in-house column-wheel chronograph. The latest in this series is a call back to one of the harder vintage Monacos to find, the Dark Lord. This was a watch that was launched in 1977 for the Monaco Grand Prix and was black-coated. The latest Monaco Dark Lord Special Edition takes much of that original aesthetic but updates it for modern times.

At the top of the upgrades is the 39mm x 15.2mm case that is now forged in titanium and treated with a black PVD coating which would make scratching it far harder. The dial is also visually more interesting as it uses contrasting textures to great effect in its circle in a square layout. The circular dial features a radial brushed finish which is framed nicely by pebbled quarters at the corners of the square frame. Collectively, the dial provides the ideal canvas for the rose gold plated indices, hour, minute & small seconds hands, as well as the red chronograph and sub-register hands to shine.

All these various design cues come together beautifully to present a modern, stealth look with a hint of luster and class. I dig the look, especially on a watch that would wear larger because of its proportions.

Fears new Brunswicks to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Finally, we have two new brilliant Brunswicks from Fears. While only the Jubilee Edition was dedicated to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, both come with a lot of royal flair particularly because of their dials.

The Platinum Jubilee comes with a beautifully lacquered Royal Purple dial that has a sunburst pattern. Personally, Fears seems to have the colour spot on here to evoke a royal lustre in the watch. My favourite of the pair though, is the champagne dial. The dial is created by first coating layers of 18kt yellow gold on the surface, then frosting it using glass beads. The result (again going purely by press photos) is a dial that conveys a sense of quiet confident grandeur, and not in a gaudy or tacky way.

Cased in the Brunswick collection’s 38mm x 38mm x 11.8mm cushion case, the two watches would naturally be standouts in the Brunswick collection. The Jubilee Edition is priced at £3,450 and limited to production in 2022 only, while the Champagne version is £3,350 and part of the permanent collection. When you consider the overall quality and finishing (especially on the Edwin numerals), these make a tremendous value proposition. Check out the full article here.

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So that is it for this week. As always, get in on all the action on the Scottish Watches website, and of course, the podcast on your podcaster of choice. Till next time, take care everyone.