Tag Archives: Swiss watchmaker

TAG Heuer: Bella Hadid Link Special Edition

TAG Heuer: Bella Hadid Link Special Edition

Bella Hadid may just be 20 years of age but she has already made a name for herself as an icon of the fashion world. The Californian beauty has walked the runway for several luxury fashion brands and, of course, has been voted Model of the Year since her first break into the modelling industry in 2014.

Both it Girl and supermodel, Bella Hadid has garnered the fastest growing fan-base, totalling to 17 million followers on social media networks in 2016. Given the high demands in the world of modelling, it seems like she is handling herself quite well – her extraordinary lifestyle and stratospheric fame with poise and maturity. That’s probably she knows exactly what she wants, what she likes, and what she wants to achieve.

Many popular models who made their breakthroughs had gone on to become actresses and ambassadors for luxury labels and represented other trendy fashion brands, started boutiques, created their fashion labels and handbags, and even perfumes. For divine Bella Hadid, her significant contributions doesn’t just stop there.

TAG Heuer unveils special edition watch designed for the star to celebrate an important partnership

Forging a close partnership with TAG Heuer, Bella Hadid lends her fresh, toned and youthful image to Swiss avant-garde watchmaking. The special edition Link watch created by TAG Heur for the star emphasises the glamorous and vivacious side of the divine Bella. And being the most feminine watch in the entire watch collection, the limited edition Bella Hadid combines matt black with the magnificent mother-of-pearl dial, studded with 12 diamonds, made entirely from ceramic. The bracelet has the famous Link design that is polished to perfection with a luxe touch and is flexible to wear on the wrist.

The grace and elegance clearly reflected her emotions, which are at times light-hearted, profound and mysterious, but always with a clear artistic sense which is deeply personal, that Millennials can relate to, with whom the Swiss watch brand is currently reconnecting.

The 48 diamonds are the most prominent embellishment on the bezel set, while the back case has the star’s signature engraved. Thanks to the sublime detail, the limited edition of Bella Hadid watch encapsulated the elegance, glamour and full of character – just like Bella herself.

Limited to 500 pieces, this special edition is sure to delight any woman!

Celebrating 25 years of excellence with Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore

After 25 years of excellence in horology-making, Audemars Piguet is pleased again to reveal another three new Royal Oak Offshore watch editions ahead of its anniversary celebration in 2018.

The Royal Oak Offshore watch first launched in 1993 was one of the most successful model ever introduced at Baselworld. Tracing back history to the famous 1972 octagonal Royal Oak, it was made of stainless steel and that has set the trend for the future innovations of Royal Oak’s watch production.

Fast forward to today, Audemars Piguet have already produced more than 120 references of this 42 mm model launched in various materials such as stainless steel, titanium, gold and platinum. Next year will bring back new special series available in either stainless steel or 18-carat pink gold, limited to 50 pieces per version.

The re-edition of the original Royal Oak Offshore features a Self-winding Chronograph and a brand new Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph with a contemporary dial design available in two versions. These three models will also make appearance at the upcoming SIHH 2018.

These two models (26388PO & 26288OR) took cue from the previous Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph and redesigned entirely with a movement developed exclusively to honour the 25th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore models.

Reference: 26237ST.OO.1000ST.01 is one of the latest releases, featuring a new combination of both materials on the crown and pushpieces that are now crafted in ceramic instead of metal and rubber.

The new Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph is presented in a stainless-steel case strapped with a stainless-steel bracelet to the AP folding clasp. The hours, date, minutes and small seconds make up a big part of the blue dial with a “Petite Tapisserie” pattern. The fine aesthetic of the dial is further outlined by the blue counters, white gold hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating and blue inner bezel. With glare-proof sapphire crystal, engraved with the “Royal Oak Offshore” logo in the centre of the case back, the side feature a blue rubber-clad push pieces and screw-locked crown and is water-resistant to 100 m.

MOVEMENT

Self-winding                                                Calibre 3126/3840
Total diameter                                            29.92 mm (13 ¼ lignes)
Total thickness                                           7.16 mm
Number of jewels                                      59
Number of parts                                        365
Minimal guaranteed power reserve       50h
Frequency of balance wheel (Hz)            3 Hz (=21,600 vibrations /h)

REFERENCE: 26421OR.OO.A002CA.01

This 18-carat pink gold case is fitted with a glare-proof sapphire crystal and caseback, featuring  an elegant pink gold bezel juxtapose against the black ceramic screw-locked crown and pushpieces and sandblasted pink gold pushpiece guards. On the black dial is the hour indicator in pink-gold with luminescent coating. Perhaps what’s outstanding on the bracelet is the 18-carat pink gold pin buckle and the Tourbillon chronograph has 30-minute counter, seconds counter, hours and minutes plus water-resistant to 100m.

MOVEMENT

Hand-wound                                              Calibre 2947
Total diameter                                           39.78 mm (17 ½ lignes)
Total thickness                                           11.60 mm
Number of jewels                                      30
Number of parts                                        353
Minimal guaranteed power reserve       173h
Frequency of balance wheel (Hz)            3 Hz (=21,600 vibrations /h)

REFERENCE: 26421ST.OO.A002CA.01

This model of the Tourbillon chronograph comes in stainless steel case and the glare-proof sapphire crystal and caseback. The Black dial has white gold hour-markers with luminescent coating contrasting with the stainless-steel bezel and 30-minute counter, seconds counter, hours and minutes functions. On the side of the case features the black ceramic screw-locked crown and pushpieces, sandblasted titanium pushpiece guards. The complete dial is attached to a black rubber strap with stainless steel pin buckle and is water-resistant to 100m

MOVEMENT

Hand-wound                                               Calibre 2947
Total diameter                                            39.78 mm (17 ½ lignes)
Total thickness                                           11.60 mm
Number of jewels                                       30
Number of parts                                         353
Minimal guaranteed power reserve          173h
Frequency of balance wheel (Hz)            3 Hz (=21,600 vibrations /h)

Since 1875, Audemars Piguet has been creating numerous Haute Horlogerie even in limited series that embody a remarkable degree of horological perfection. With some of the world firsts such as the daring sporty models, classic and traditional timepieces, splendid ladies’ jewellery-watches, as well as one-of-a-kind creations, the brand still is one of oldest fine watchmaking manufacturers at the helm of its founding families (Audemars and Piguet).

 

For more information about the new Royal Oak Offshore collection, please visit www.audemarspiguet.com.

 

The limited edition Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter retraces some of its iconic nuances from the 1930s

The limited edition Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter is inspired by the original Minerva calibre 17.29 in the 1930s

The limited edition Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter is the latest to enter vintage watch segment. Available only in 100 pieces, the outstanding Chronograph timepiece with tasteful aesthetic is designed exclusively in mind for watch collectors who have a fondness for vintage style.

The Limited Edition Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter recalls 1930s nuances

This top-version of the vintage Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter has the honour of being selected as the watch model to pay tribute to its manufacture’s heritage and celebrate the success of the Minerva chronographs descendants that were constructed from the 1930s.

To understand Mont Blanc’s vigorous enthusiasm, strong regard of esprit de corp and devotion shown throughout the whole of its watchmaking history to how the marque has evolved with its generations of owners from 1906 till today, speaks testament of the iconic Montblanc Emblem, which has become the ultimate seal of performance, innovation, quality and expression of style.

Guided by the same pioneering spirit, the current generation master artisans still painstakingly ply the craft and portray the same spirit of their predecessors. And what reveals is another showcase of one-of-its-kind timepiece, encapsulating the pinnacle of luxury in its groundbreaking design with latest technology and the consistent use of genuine material to complete the masterpiece to charm even the world’s most discerning watch wearers.

Red gold-plated (4N) German silver with circular graining on both sides

Drawing eyes to the limited edition Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter, it is designed in a large “pocket watch” style, inspired by the original Minerva calibre 17.29, seen in pocket watches and wristwatches back in the 1930s.

This exotic marvel features a case made from bronze alloy that frames the salmon-coloured dial, complementing the hand-made Côtes de Genève stripes, circular graining and 18K red gold-plated luminescent hour-hand and minute-hand, and blued chronograph and second hands.

Adding to the sleek and realistic appeal is the beige Arabic numerals and historical Montblanc emblem at 12 o’clock, including the tachymetre scale on the external part of the dial. Completing the flawless look is the vintage cognac-aged alligator strap, which is handmade at the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence and fitted with a satin-finish bronze plated buckle.

The vintage Montblanc 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter is perhaps another range of impressive watches marrying the two styles of Mont Blanc’s Swiss artisanal watchmaking and brand heritage that truly reflect Mont Blanc’s ingenuity.

A Hallmark of Luxury: Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Skeleton Titanium

Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Skeleton Titanium

Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Skeleton Titanium is designed to tell time in the most subtle and innovative way possible, at times during production, which means even selecting scarce materials to pair with the Swiss highly innovative technique in watchmaking, to complete the haute creations for optimum performance.

With over 130 years of history, Bulgari is dedicated to crafting smart watches and see some of its iconic timepiece collection top the chart of Best Men’s watch brands. Some of its tastefully designed Bulgari watches have appealed to tastemakers in the fashion world, watch wearers and also widely worn by Hollywood stars as a functional statement piece to complement their fashion sense on the red carpet.

Bulgari’s BVL 128SK mechanical movement, with manual winding Finissimo caliber

This year, joining the newest line-up of the world’s haute horologes is the Octo Finissimo Skeleton Titanium that takes on a more dynamic and groundbreaking design, outlined by the bold intersection of circle and square forming an octagon, mapping out time in perfect geometry.

Every gentleman’s watch collection should include an Octo Finissimo Skeleton Titanium that truly reflects the pinnacles of Bulgari’s expertise in both high-level artisanship and horological art rooted in the brand’s tradition. Manufactured in Switzerland, the new Octo Finissimo Skeleton Bulgari watch is designed to accentuate the meticulousness and precision of Swiss savoir-faire and express Italian creativity at its best.

Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo features the ultra-thin titanium case, with transparent case back

The anatomy of an Octo Finissimo Skeleton features an openworked and blackened mainplate and bridges decorated with circular brushing and chamfering finishing. The case size is 40mm and houses Bulgari’s BVL 128SK mechanical movement, with manual winding Finissimo caliber.  The ultra-thin titanium case (5.37mm thick) comes with transparent case back.

The steel crown set with ceramic adds a dash of subtle, sophistication for the watch wearer. The Octo Finissimo model also boasts a specially designed skeleton caliber with small seconds (2.35mm thick), and a skeletonised titanium dial.

Featuring an alligator leather strap, which seamlessly connects to the titanium ardillon buckle, the timepiece incorporates an hour-minute, and small second function. The Octo Finissimo also has a guaranteed power reserve of up to 65 hours and is water-resistance of up to 30 metres.

Detailed dial view of the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horograph

Bell & Ross watches: BR 03-92 Horograph novelty timepiece from BaselWorld 2017

Detailed dial view of the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horograph

Detailed dial view of the Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horograph

Legibility is a big deal these days, what with more and more watchmakers updating classic looks for the 21st century. BaselWorld 2017 will no doubt reveal more such examples, where the watches are effectively instruments of time rather than playful accoutrements. Well, to be fair, brands such as Bell & Ross remind us that the tool-watch look is very cool indeed and that there is no need to sacrifice looks for elaborate design moves.

Bell & Ross have taken to calling its timepieces “watch-instruments” and that is indeed how they are presented. Take for example the new BR 03-92 Horograph, which is new for 2017 yet fits in seamlessly with the peerless aesthetics of the brand. The original design brief for the Swiss watchmaking firm appears to have been to create wristwatches that resemble cockpit dashboard clocks and that is what it has done. These days, the brand touts its Bauhaus credentials but, given its success with the “circle within a square” model, it might as well tout its Bell & Ross credentials!

For the BR 03-92 Horograph, Bell & Ross doubles down on the aviation theme, shooting to remind collectors of clocks in airport terminals. The team at WOW feels sure we have seen actual Bell & Ross airport clocks, so this might be a truly “meta”-moment. The press release itself tells us that the watches are meant to deliver the ultimate in intuitive legibility, and thus the watchmakers have stripped things down on the dial. The clear distinctions here make the date window between four and five o’clock seem entirely fitting, blending into the three lines of text at six o’clock. We imagine that the Super-LumiNova covered baton hands and indices will make this quite a standout in the dark too.

The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horograph

The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Horograph

As one might have anticipated, the 42-millimetre case is in bead-blasted steel and is water resistant to 100 metres. This basic degree of toughness is only to be expected of a good instrument.

Specifications

Movement Self-winding BR-CAL302
Power Reserve 38-hour
Case 42 millimetres x 42 millimetres in steel
Water Resistance Up to 100 metres
Strap Rubber or ultra-resistant synthetic fabric
Price Unavailable

This article was written by Ashok Soman and originally published in WOW.

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 with aged leather strap

Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 with adjusted self-winding Calibre 2824

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 with aged leather strap

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 with aged leather strap

At BaselWorld 2016, Tudor wowed with the Heritage Black Bay Bronze, which I personally gushed about online, and so did plenty of others. For the record, we selected it as a standout at the fair last year. Lost in all that fussing and gushing was the Heritage Black Bay 36, a watch that is literally hidden in the shadow of its 43-millimetre bronze sibling. To be clear, it isn’t that the Black Bay 36 is the lesser watch, just that it is smaller. At 36 millimetres, one might think this is a ladies’ timepiece, but that is not the case. It could really work for anyone, except people with very large wrists who might find it dainty.

According to Tudor (in its press notes, no less) the hope is that this model will help the brand reach out to a wider audience. Of course, size alone can’t achieve this, and Tudor clearly understands that. This watch gained its own traction and following throughout 2016, though of course, official sales figures per model are not available. Although the watch has been scaled down and the unidirectional bezel dropped, Tudor has not abandoned the general lines and characteristics of the Black Bay here. Just take a look the so-called “snowflake” hands dominating the dial, alongside the words “Rotor Self-Winding”. Speaking of that though, this might be the only Heritage Black Bay to sport curved text like this, as the others (including its bronze brethren) all feature text in the normal straight lines.

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 with additional camouflage fabric strap

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 with additional camouflage fabric strap

Something different here that must be noted is the movement, which is listed as the Tudor Calibre 2824. This likely means that it is derived from the self-winding ETA 2824, especially given that ETA 2824 calibres have a power reserve rating of 38 to 40 hours, which is what we find here. Also, Tudor in-house calibres typically bear the designation “MT” (no prizes for guessing what MT stands for). This is not an uncommon choice in the industry and, whatever its origins, the movement has likely been regulated and adjusted to the best accuracy possible by the brand.

Specifications

Movement Self-winding Calibre 2824
Power Reserve 38-hour
Case 36-millimetre steel
Water Resistance Up to 150 metres
Strap Steel bracelet or aged leather strap with folding clasp; both with additional camouflage fabric strap
Price SGD 3,888 (bracelet); SGD 3,456 (leather)

This article was originally published in WOW.

Art events in Asia: Cheng Ran’s ‘Circadian Rhythm’ presented by Audemars Piguet at Art Basel Hong Kong 2017

Cheng Ran, Film Still from ‘Circadian Rhythm’, 2017, video installation. Image courtesy of Audemars Piguet

Cheng Ran, Film Still from ‘Circadian Rhythm’, 2017, video installation. Image courtesy of Audemars Piguet

‘Circadian Rhythm’ by Cheng Ran, will be presented by Audemars Piguet at the Collectors Lounge at Art Basel Hong Kong. Since 2013, Audemars Piguet has invited artists to conceptualise original works based on the brand’s story to present at all three Art Basel shows in Hong Kong, Basel and Miami. The list includes British photographer Dan Holdsworth, French art duo Kolkoz, Austrian videographer Kurt Hentschläger and Geneva-based artist Alexandre Joly, and Chinese artist Cheng Ran joining the ranks with the latest commission.

Cheng, born in 1981 in Inner Mongolia, is known for his video artworks that are informed by both Chinese and Western culture. As an artist who frequently explores time and space in his artistic practice, he was a natural choice for the project with Audemars Piguet. Cheng’s recent solo exhibitions include ‘In Course of the Miraculous’ at the K11 Art Foundation in Hong Kong in 2016, and his first solo museum exhibition in the United States, ‘Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman’ at the New Museum, co-presented with K11 Art Foundation, following a three-month residency.

Cheng Ran, Film Still from ‘Circadian Rhythm’, 2017, video installation. Image courtesy of Audemars Piguet

Cheng Ran, Film Still from ‘Circadian Rhythm’, 2017, video installation. Image courtesy of Audemars Piguet

For the latest Audemars Piguet commission, Cheng has taken inspiration from the beautiful landscape of Vallée du Joux, home to Audemars Piguet, where its precision timepieces are crafted. In an immersive video installation, the artist shows off the area’s verdant forest and gentle streams, set against an intricate soundscape of the peaceful Swiss Jura Mountains blending harmoniously with the precise mechanical ticks from the complicated mechanisms of Audemars Piguet watches.

Cheng Ran. Image courtesy of Audemars Piguet

Cheng Ran. Image courtesy of Audemars Piguet

Speaking about his concept, Cheng says, “I was inspired by the artistry and attention to detail Audemars Piguet dedicates to creating one single timepiece”. He adds, “I hope viewers will enjoy the immersive excursion I have created through landscapes and soundscapes, transporting them through experimental types of media. I am thankful to have been given the chance to continue my journey with Audemars Piguet since the piece was presented in Shanghai at the end of last year.” The work was first presented at Yuz Museum at the end of 2016 in the Audemars Piguet watch history exhibition, ‘To Break the Rules, You Must First Master Them’.

The pairing of Audemars Piguet watches with Cheng Ran’s work will be a visual and auditory treat for VIP guests at the art fair. “Audemars Piguet has pushed watchmaking boundaries ever since it was founded in 1875, a characteristic that is also fundamental to the production of great art,” says Olivier Audemars, Vice President of the Board of Directors of Audemars Piguet. “Through his video Cheng Ran reflects on the very heart of our craft and our connection to nature while managing to take the viewer on an unexpected journey. ‘Circadian Rhythm’ combines both art and watchmaking into a single pulse, like two hearts beating in unison”.

Art Republik looks forward to the Audemars Piguet presentation of Cheng’s work at Art Basel Hong Kong.

This article was originally published in Art Republik 14.

Limited edition watches: DeLaCour Reflect Tourbillon features sapphire crystal case

The DeLaCour Reflect Tourbillon shines with its own light, thanks to its liberal use of sapphire crystal elements

The DeLaCour Reflect Tourbillon shines with its own light, thanks to its liberal use of sapphire crystal elements

The name of this tourbillon conveys part of its charm. The DeLaCour Reflect Tourbillon shines from within, thanks to a wealth of apertures on the case and selective surfaces in the movement. Obviously, the Geneva-based watchmaking firm is working within a narrow band of appeal, but it actually shares characteristics in terms of look and feel with contemporary Lamborghinis. The Reflect Tourbillon’s relationship with light, for example, mirrors the way sunlight bounces off the angular surfaces of an Aventador. And then there’s that fantastic case…

The shape of the titanium case plays a very important role in distinguishing the DeLaCour brand overall and the Reflect Tourbillon in particular. It is basically rectangular with rounded sides and lots of depth (it is 12.5 millimetres thick), which is important here because the case middle features a sapphire crystal window. The elongated elliptical shape is instantly recognisable as DeLaCour, which is something the brand is well aware about and is, of course, completely intentional.

To be clear, DeLaCour isn’t interested in everyone knowing about the brand or clamouring after the watches. The brand will be happy with just a select few connoisseurs. The Reflect Tourbillon, for example, is limited to just nine pieces.

Turning back to the interior of that timepiece, Calibre DC 296 was developed by a dedicated team of specialists who clearly relished the prospect of revealing their handiwork. A series of four corundum (sapphire crystal) tubes function here as bridges, while also obviously being aesthetic elements, framing the gear train. Needless to say, the bridges also frame the extra-large tourbillon at six o’clock. A second bit of aesthetic mechanics are the extra glossy lacquered plates, which reflect light and go a long way towards providing the watch with its internal glow.

This is not to say that the calibre is delicate in any way. It has a power reserve of 95 hours, and those sapphire crystal bridges are reportedly exceedingly strong, thanks to the rigidity of the material.

The case itself is as sturdy as it looks, being water resistant to 50 metres. The watch as a whole is also quite light, thanks to being cased in titanium, despite its hefty dimensions.

Specifications

Movement Manual-winding Calibre DC 296 with tourbillon; 95-hour power reserve
Case 48 millimetres x 52 millimetres x 12.5 millimetres in titanium; water resistant to 50 metres
Strap Black hand-stitched crocodile leather
Price Unavailable

This article was originally published in WOW.

Novelty watches for him: IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition ‘Sharks’ released with book by photographer Michael Muller

The grey dial of IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Sharks” references the colour of the species it was named after

The grey dial of IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Sharks” references the colour of the species it was named after

New watches are often called novelties and the origin of this is from the French word “nouveauté” [this is disputed but not disproved – Editor] but translated as “novelty” due to the linguistic quirks peculiar to the watchmaking trade. Sometimes, new watches fit the novelty bill to a tee, as in the case of the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Sharks”. Surely, offering a watch as part of a package with a book, all presented in a bite-proof metal shark cage, must count as novel!

Called Sharks, the book in question is by American photographer Michael Muller and it is one of those heavy-duty Taschen affairs. This limited-edition collector’s item comes with the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Sharks”, and is a boutique exclusive for IWC. So don’t go looking for it in Kinokuniya, folks.

Obviously, the Chronograph Edition “Sharks” is the same Aquatimer we looked at a couple of years ago, with some tweaks. The watch is limited to 500 pieces and features a hammerhead shark engraving on the solid case back. We’ll revisit some of the other details in a bit. First, more about the photographer, his project, and why IWC was interested.

If the name Michael Muller sounds familiar, but you aren’t a devoted follower of the National Geographic Channel (NGC), don’t fret. Actually, his work was featured on the Travel Channel, not NGC. Banter aside, Muller photographs celebrities and works on advertising campaigns. You’ve probably seen his work and not even guessed it. Happily, he’s not just Insta-famous…

Anyway, sharks are Muller’s particular passion and he travelled the world documenting shark species for this book. IWC describes his work here as having “an unprecedented degree of technical perfection”, which probably explains why the Schaffhausen-based watchmaker was drawn to him.

Hammerhead sharks are featured on the back case of the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Sharks”

Hammerhead sharks are featured on the back case of the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Sharks”

Muller’s work in “Sharks” illustrates the plight of the fish species, of which an estimated 100 million are caught and killed every year. This unbelievably large-scale slaughter drew IWC to the project. Raising awareness is the name of the game here, so we’re happy to play our part too.

Protecting endangered species is one of the key themes in IWC’s commitment to environmental issues. That is why, since 2009, we have also been working intensively with the Charles Darwin Foundation as it campaigns for various causes such as the preservation of the shark populations in the Galapagos Marine Reserve,” explains Georges Kern, CEO of IWC.

So, what is different about the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Sharks” then? Aside from the engraving on the case back, the grey dial is meant to evoke the distinctive colouring of many shark species. In terms of hands, hour markers, numerals, functions, and movement, this edition is the same as the standard Aquatimer Chronograph.

It is also worth noting that the edition of Muller’s “Sharks”, which comes with the Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Sharks”, is signed by the photographer.

Specifications

Movement Self-winding Calibre 89365 with flyback chronograph
Power Reserve 68-hours
Case 44 millimetres in stainless steel
Water Resistance Up to 300 metres
Strap Black rubber with stainless steel pin buckle
Price S$17,400

This article was originally published in WOW.

Citizen Acquires Frédérique Constant

Citizen Watch Co., Ltd has acquired in whole the Frédérique Constant Group, including its namesake brand and its subsidiary watch brands, including the sporty Alpina and the high-end Ateliers DeMonaco.

This comes on the heels of the Japanese firm’s acquisition of Swiss movement maker La Joux-Perret and its subsidiary brand Arnold & Son, giving it a more solid footing in the traditional Swiss watchmaking world. With Frédérique Constant and Alpina, Citizen hopes to “augment its portfolio of brands and occupy the  space in the markets where some of our competitors operate and further expand the presence of the Citizen brand in the market.”

Frédérique Constant, founded by Peter and Aletta Stas in 1988, and has been heavily investing in the development and manufacturing of its own in-house movements, making the firm highly valuable to Citizen. Citizen’s large distribution network will arguably result in a mutually beneficial exchange of technologies and know-how, resulting in a much stronger international presence and more diversified product range.

The Swiss watchmaking company is one of the last wholly family-owned Swiss watch manufacturers, and it was reported that no one in the family was interested in taking over the management. Its present management personnel and staff will reportedly continue to hold their positions following this acquisition.

Interview: Nicola Andreatta for Tiffany & Co.

As the vice president and general manager of Swiss watches for Tiffany & Co., Nicola Andreatta is determined to give the brand’s watchmaking arm its second wind. Through approaching the brand’s deep history and understanding the demographic for the timepieces, Andreatta is keen on returning a Tiffany & Co. watch to its elegant and simple form.

You can check out the full interview over at Men’s Folio.

SIHH 2016

Nine Independent Watchmakers to Join SIHH 2016 in Geneva

SIHH 2016

Nine independent brands have joined the upcoming edition of the SIHH while one brand is leaving the fold of standing exhibitors.

The 2016 edition of the SIHH sees Christophe Claret, De Bethune, H. Moser & Cie, Hautlence, HYT, Kari Voutilainen, Laurent Ferrier, MB&F, and Urwerk exhibiting at the first big watch show of the year.

The booths of the nine new exhibitors will be in a “salon within the salon” boasting approximately 1,500 square meters of exhibition space. This space was previously used by Ralph Lauren, who is leaving the SIHH to concentrate its resources on the U.S. market.

These independent brands will join the roster of 15 Richemont and invited brands which already includes A.Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Greubel Forsey, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, Parmigiani, Piaget, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Van Cleef & Arpels and Vacheron Constantin.

The 26th edition of Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) will be held from January 18th until 22nd 2016.

 

Longines Hangzhou StoreLongines Hangzhou Store

Swiss watchmakers clock record exports in 2014

Tag Heuer Luxury Watch

Swiss watch exports swelled to a record high in 2014, customs data showed Tuesday, but the data doesn’t augur well for the future as they slowed in December, in particular in the key Chinese market.

Swiss watch exports last year ticked in at a historic 22.2 billion Swiss francs ($23.9 billion), the Customs Administration said.

The 1.9 percent increase from 2013 matched the growth rate that year.

After a sharp slowdown in 2009, Swiss watch exports have hit new heights year after year, with the sector long seeming immune to the economic and financial crises rocking the globe thanks to Chinese consumers’ appetite for luxury goods.

But after three years of double-digit growth, exports to China took a hit amid efforts to crack down on corruption in that country by banning extravagant gifts like prestigious watches to public officials.

The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry noted that despite reaching a new record last year, 2014 closed on a negative note for watch exporters,

“In December their monthly value was 1.8 billion francs, down 2.5 percent on the previous year despite one extra working day,” the federation said.

Exports to Hong Kong, a key market for Swiss watchmakers, fell 10.3 percent as the city continued to feel the impact of widespread pro-democracy demonstrations in the preceding months. And exports to the vital Chinese market meanwhile fell 27.2 percent in December.

Longines Hangzhou Store

“Following over a year of destocking, there have been no major signs of improvement in Swiss watch exports, in particular into Greater China,” Citigroup analyst Thomas Chauvet said in a note.

The comparative weakness in December is at least partially linked to the Chinese calendar, since watch shops in the country were stocking up at the end of 2013 for the Chinese New Year, which fell on January 31 last year, he said.

This year, the holiday will be celebrated later, on February 19, so the demand was lower at the end of 2014.

The analyst meanwhile noted with concern that the FHS had not yet provided any outlook for exports in 2015.

This year got off to a tough start for the watch industry, after the Swiss central bank suddenly decided to allow the Swiss franc to float, sending it skyrocketing nearly 30 percent against the euro in a matter of minutes.

As exports account for most sales, this could hit Swiss watchmakers hard. They must now sell far more many watches or raise prices in euros and dollars to cover their costs at home.

employee of Swiss watchmaker Piaget

Swiss watchmakers to raise prices after franc increase

employee of Swiss watchmaker Piaget

Switzerland’s luxury watchmakers are considering raising prices on their timepieces in the eurozone by up to seven percent due to the ballooning franc, but they are in no rush, industry insiders hinted Tuesday.

Watchmakers gathered at a luxury watch show in Geneva this week were eager in public to put on a strong face after the Swiss central bank’s shock decision on Thursday to let the franc float.

“We will find a way to adapt,” said Swiss luxury group Richemont, which counts Cartier and Piaget among its 16 luxury watch brands.

The industry, which exports nearly 95 percent of its pricey products to areas where they are paid for in euros or dollars, is especially exposed to the impact of the swelling franc.

The Swiss central bank stunned the world Thursday by abandoning its bid to hold down the value of the Swiss franc, scrapping the minimum rate of 1.20 francs against the euro. On Tuesday the franc was trading around parity with the European common currency.

If watchmakers adjust their prices to the new reality, the price tag on their goods in countries using the euro would leap 15-20 percent overnight.

Executives from the big brands were reluctant to talk about the issue or to discuss what measures they might be forced to take.

Behind the cover of anonymity, some however acknowledged estimates that prices in the neighbouring eurozone should be raised 5.0-7.0 percent.

But all insisted it was too early to act, and that they would wait and see how the exchange rate evolved.

Raymond Weil

Swiss watchmaker Raymond Weil dies at 87

Raymond Weil, one of the great innovators of the Swiss watch industry and founder of the watch brand of the same name, has died at 87.

Raymond Weil

He made his name by putting the luxury watch within reach of the pockets of people with style without fortunes.

Weil, who retired from the company’s board only last September and who remained honorary president, died “peacefully” on Sunday, the company said in a statement, without providing further details.

The company remains a family business, with Weil’s son-in-law Olivier Bernheim and two of his grandsons, Elie and Pierre Bernheim, at the helm.

Born in Geneva in 1926, Weil first made his foray into the watch industry at Camy Watch, of which he soon took the reins.

Raymond Weil Ad Campaign 2013

In 1976, in the midst of an industry-wide crisis, he created his own company focused on putting into practice his vision that timepieces should be high-quality and with superior design, but at affordable prices.

Raymond Weil has become one of the jewels of the Swiss watchmaking industry, counting 200 employees and 4 branches outside of Switzerland.

The brand’s watches, which generally cost between 800 and 4,000 Swiss francs ($900-4,500), are sold in about 3,500 outlets across 95 countries.

swiss watches

Apple smartwatch will be waited by Swiss watchmakers

swiss watches

Swiss watchmakers are warily eyeing Apple’s reported progress towards creating a “smartwatch”, but say they are not too worried about the tech goliath’s likely incursion into their traditional turf.

The California-based company has so far been tight-lipped about its suspected plans to wrap some of its popular iPhone and iPad capabilities into a wearable device that can be viewed at the flip of a wrist.

Industry observers have warned that the entry by Apple and other technology giants into the traditionally narrow watch-making field could revolutionise the market.

“I think this will lead to a changing of the guard,” said Jerome Bloch, who heads the men’s fashion unit at Parisian style agency Nelly Rodi.

Smartwatches are expected to entice the so-called Generation Y, born into an increasingly tech-savvy world between 1980 and 2000.

And luxury goods lovers of all ages, who tend to be big tech consumers, will also likely be seduced, Rodi told AFP, insisting: “This will happen very fast.”

Apple has already proven its ability to steamroll new markets, having first redefined music buying before upending the mobile telephony market.

But in the confines of the Swiss Alps, Apple’s suspected ambitions have so far caused no panic.

“It would be pretentious to think that this kind of watch would fail to compete with Swiss watches,” said Jean-Claude Biver, the head of the luxury Swiss brand Hublot that belongs to French LVMH.

“But they will in any case clearly not be competing with the high-end Swiss watches, which account for most of the exports,” he told AFP.

According to Vontobel analyst Rene Weber, a full 87 percent of Swiss watch exports carry price tags of more than 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,050).

The real threat could be to the lower end of the scale, such as entry-level brands owned by the Swatch Group, the world leader in the field, analysts said.

According to Kepler analyst Jon Cox, brands in the US and Asia would suffer most once the wristbands hit the market.

“I suspect that the possible market impact on Swatch Group would be below 5.0 percent of its operational profit,” he told AFP.

In an interview with the Hebdo magazine earlier this year, Swiss Group chief Nick Hayek said he was “serene” in the face of Apple’s likely entry into the market.

He said he had even allowed Apple engineers to visit his company.

While Swatch’s low-end plastic watches are perhaps its most recognisable, the Swiss company operates in every price range, from the Flik Flak kid’s watches to prestigious timepieces under the Breguet or Omega brands which can cost more than one million Swiss francs a piece.

In the 1970s, Swiss watchmakers suffered a serious crisis when they missed the boat on the quartz revolution, but they have since bounced back with a vengeance thanks to Swatch and especially the high-end segment.

“Swiss watches are among the very rare luxury accessories for men and differentiate themselves clearly from low-end watches made in China,” Citigroup analyst Thomas Chauvet said.

While smartwatches could cause a bump or two, the industry is not expecting to stall again.

“This is not going to be an innovation breakthrough the same way the rise of quartz was in the 1970s,” Chauvet said of the pending smartwatch invasion.

And Swiss watchmakers have no intention of passively waiting for the Apple onslaught.

Tag Heuer, also owned by LVMH, has already made headway into the emerging smartwatch segment by partnering with US tech group Oracle.

The Swiss brand, which sponsors Oracle’s America’s Cup yachting contender, has developed a watch capable of providing each sailor with a wide range of data, including wind direction and the tilt of the boat.

Thomas Houlon, head of Tag Heuer diversification, said close cooperation with Oracle engineers had paid off.

“We worked on this for a year, which in terms of developing a watch is very fast,” he told AFP.

Longines Partners with Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot Longines

The royal meeting at Ascot Racecourse, one of the most prestigious and traditional events on the British racing calendar, has signed its first ever official sponsor in Swiss watchmaker Longines.

Royal Ascot, a five-day meeting which takes place each year in early- to mid-June, has never previously allowed such clear-sut sponsorship.

Longines has provided timing services at the course for six years, but the new deal, under the official designation of ‘official partner of Royal Ascot’, is likely to be worth a seven-figure sum annually.

There will be a branded chronometer close to the winning post and an elegant clock in the Parade Ring throughout the year, including at Royal Ascot and on QIPCO British Champions Day.

This year’s Royal Ascot will run from Tuesday 18th to Saturday 22nd June and is expected to attract some 300,000 spectators.

Source: sportspromedia

Longines at Royal Ascot

Harrods Celebrates 180 Years of Jaeger-LeCoultre

Harrods Jaeger LeCoultre

To celebrate the 180th anniversary of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Harrods is hosting a series of masterclasses with the watchmakers from the Swiss manufacture.

The celebration of the watchmaker will enable fans of the brand to step into the shoes of a watchmaker and understand the manufacturing and working of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s watches.

Jaeger LeCoultre Masterclasses

The manufacture will have experts on hand to demonstrate Jaeger-LeCoultre’s horological know-how, demonstrating the incredible work that goes into everything from the pinions and to the dial.

Three different techniques mastered by Jaeger-LeCoultre will be featured; engraving (May 13-19, enameling (May 20-25) and gem setting (May 26-31).

Jaeger LeCoultre Harrods masterclass

Alongside the live workshops, Jaeger-LeCoultre is also showcasing a recreation of founder Antoine LeCoultre’s original studio from 1833, plus several of its iconic watches and clocks for the May duration promotion.

Antoine LeCoultre workshop

Find a wall dedicated to the 1242 calibres in its Manufacture arm archive and an exhibition of nine Atmos clocks, a key piece from the brand’s heritage collection.

Harrods Jaeger LeCoultre Atmos Clocks

There’s a hidden ‘high complication room’ for inquisitive visitors who can discover the eight leading pieces of the Hybris Mechanica, creations of the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre and the latest tribute to Antoine LeCoultre Jubilee watch styles.

Jaeger LeCoultre Hibris Mechanica collection

Watch connoisseurs are invited to contact Jaeger-LeCoultre at Harrods on +44(0) 207 730 1234 to reserve a place in the Master classes. Participation is complementary but a donation to the Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts  is requested.

Antoine LeCoultre original workshop

corum watch

Swiss watchmaker Corum sold to China Haidian

CORUM

The Swiss watchmaker Corum said Wednesday it had been acquired by China Haidian in the first purchase of a luxury Swiss watch company by a Chinese rival.

China Haidian said it had acquired 100 percent of Corum for 86 million Swiss francs ($90.9 million, 71.6 million euros).

The companies said the sale would anchor China Haidian’s position in the Swiss luxury watch sector while opening new prospects for development and positioning of the Corum brand worldwide.

“This strategic agreement fulfils the long term vision of both partners for the continued development and growth of the Corum brand,” they said in statement.

“I am very pleased with this acquisition and I firmly believe in the potential development of Corum,” China Haidian chief executive Hon Kwok Lung said in a statement.

Founded in 1955 and based in the town La Chaux-de-Fonds in the canton of Neuchatel, Corum is known for its gold and jewelled encrusted watches that start from 4,000 francs.

The Hong Kong-listed China Haidian Holdings Limited manufactures its own watches and also distributes selected Swiss luxury watch brands in China and throughout Asia.

China Haidian, which owns two of the top four domestic Chinese watch brands, EBOHR and ROSSINI, also owns the Swiss brand Eterna which has a license to manufacture and distribute globally “Porsche Design” watches. It also distributes Japanese brands Casio and Citizen in China.

cartier panther ad campaign

Luxury watch superstore to target Chinese in Paris

cartier panther ad campaign

Luxury Swiss retail giant Richemont, owner of such brands as Cartier, Piaget and Jaeger-LeCoultre, is to open the world’s largest shop for luxury watches in Paris.

Business Montres quoted an internal memo saying a three-storey 2,200 square metre (24,000 square foot) shop would open early 2013.

The shop would take over the premises of the landmark Old England shop near the Place Vendome, famous for its luxury watch shops and hugely popular with Middle Eastern and Asian tourists, in particular Chinese.
Continue reading