Latest news in the watch sector, from SIHH and Baselworld 2009 Featured

Important watch brands triumph once again despite the economy.
by 07 October 2009

The economy is going up and down. Both the Salon International de Haute Horlogerie in Geneva and Basel Fair have taken place in January and April respectively. When the people are gone and the venues have emptied, feeling a void is inevitable. Well, I think in the end different watch brands and companies will find ways to cope with the economy, so their attitude is not pessimistic at all.

This is not the first time the watch-making industry has faced an economic crisis: there was the 1930s during the Depression in the U.S. and then in the 1970s when quartz watches emerged. Historical brands have overcome one challenge after another. In fact, watch-making activities have been more fervent than ever in the past 10 years. Many watch brands have even increased production. At a critical time like this, the strong get even stronger. Some brands even relaunch their classic models. In other cases, some leading brands such as Patek Philippe turn their focus to customer service by establishing the Patek Philippe seal, to represent its high quality level, and issuing post-sales service certificates.

Breguet will start a three-month exhibition this June at the Louvre Museum, showing off its antique works of art. With this auspicious exhibition, the brand is really continuing an important legacy. All these brands are geared up for the economic challenge tackling a pessimistic situation with an optimistic approach.

Complication Watches
Having weathered the rise of quartz watches in the 70s, mechanical watches have always had a stronghold in the watch-making industry. Nowadays, these mechanical, complication watches even have a unique value to collectors and are much loved by watch enthusiasts. At this year’s salons, the models presented by many important brands are particularly interesting, and are must-haves for collectors.

Breguet Classique 7337
The inspiration of this Classique 7337 model came from Breguet’s nostalgic 3833 pocket watch. The watch with a famous off-centered design has moon phase, week and month display. The case diameter measures 39 mm, featuring in-house Calibre 502.3QSE1 movement upgraded to 3 Hz. The escapement has Breguet’s own balance, which increases the watch’s accuracy and stability. Available in 18-carat gold and yellow gold.

Bvlgari Quantième Annual
To celebrate its 125th anniversary, the brand has launched this Calibre BVL360 manufacture winding movement model. It offers annual calendar function with 225-degree retrograde date, with a clear date and month display. 55-hour power reserve and the 42 mm - diameter case makes this a collector’s item. The 250-piece limited edition is available in rose gold, and 125-piece edition in white gold.

IWC Perpetual Calendar Digital Date/Month
Most perpetual calendar watches are difficult to read, but this model features big date display that clearly shows the date and month. It becomes more user-friendly. With the 44mm X 52.8 keg-shaped case and manufacture Calibre 8089, you only need to adjust this watch once every century. This is a worthy successor to the Schaffhausen "time machine" that brought the complicated mechanical watch back into favour in 1985. Available in 18-carat rose gold. There is also a 500-piece limited edition available in platinum.

Ladies’ Jewellery Watches
Jewellery watches are a woman’s favourite. Many important brands go out of their way to develop ladies’ jewellery watches, ranging from a simple quartz movement to a mechanical, complication one. Jewellery watches have quickly become women’s collectable treasures.

Cartier Baignoire S diamond watch
The Cartier classic is relaunched this year with a brand new look, combining the design of the antique “Crush” and “Baignoire” models. Set with 4.13 carats of diamonds, the watch contains the in-house 97710MC manual-winding movement. The 18-carat white gold case takes you back to the intoxicating 30s, while the innovative design remains ever so glamorous. This new Baignoire carries on Cartier’s great jewellery tradition.

Tiffany & Co. Cocktail Oval diamond watch
This year Tiffany & Co. has collaborated with Swatch Group for the first time to launch a watch collection worldwide. Headed by Nayla Hayek, the Swatch Group has brought in all the experts to create this oval, diamond-crusted watch. The classic ladies’ model embodies the Tiffany’s brand beauty and elegance, housing a quartz movement. The entire 18-carat white gold watch case is set with 98 diamonds totalling 1.01 carats. Even the watch buckle has 23 diamonds of 0.162 carats. This intricate craftsmanship fully reflects Tiffany & Co. jewellery’s regal style.

Boucheron Frog Ronde “Seconde Folle”
Animal jewellery design is Boucheron’s specialty. This 18-carat white gold watch is encrusted with 350 beautiful precious stones that amount to 2.7 carats. Housing the GP4000 self-winding manufacture mechanical movement, the watch has a 42mm-diameter case. The second indication at the 7 o’clock position is in constant movement amusingly as the frog’s eye. The colour strap is made of pink stingray leather – a Boucheron’s touch of elegance and romance.

Sports Watches
Sports watches have become a hot trend in recent years. In fact, every year important brands come out with different models of sports watches that offer new metals and diving functions as the selling point. Also, oversized watches are part of the trend too so these sporty models become an important focus in the watch market.

Panerai
Luminor Chrono Daylight 44 mm
Made in lightweight titanium, this sports watch features the C.O.S.C. - certified Calibre OP XII self-winding movement and Glucydur single metal balance. A great model for diving, this Panerai watch is water resistant to 100 atm. With a 44 mm - diameter case, it has a rugged style, yet absolutely comfortable to wear.

Audemars Piguet
Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
The Royal Oak collection has been the symbol of Audemars Piguet’s sports watches ever since 1972. Loved by watch enthusiasts, the Royal Oak series has been called the very pioneer of luxury sports watch. Housing the exclusive, automatic 3126/3840 movement, it is water resistant to 100 atm. The 42 mm - diameter, titanium case and rubber crown make a stylish touch.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Alarm Navy SEALs
Inspired by the original Memovox Deep Sea – the very first model with alarm function launched in 1959 – this watch contains the in-house mechanical automatic Calibre 956 movement. The 44mm-diameter case is made of Grade 5 titanium, while the cambered sapphire crystal has a n° 9 hardness. Worthy of diving enthusiasts and SEALs alike, the watch is water resistant up to 300 atm. This is a brilliant model that combines the best of technology and modern design.