From 25 to 28 September, thirteen fine maisons will be exhibiting at Watches & Wonders 2013, organized by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, with a focus not only on prestigious timepieces, but also on their own unique histories and values. Get a taste of Asia's first fine watchmaking event with our coverage to learn about what makes each brand so special and what to look out for.
Most watch collectors value complicated movements as collectable items. These years, many major brands have come up with complicated watches to show both the industry and the customers their technical prowess. Mass production is not feasible due to lengthy manufacturing processes, so complication watches have been attaining appreciable prices at recent auctions. This is the sort of information that enables you to assess which of the latest complication watches are truly worthwhile.
The Millenary collection has always stood out with its unconventional dial which showcases the movement. This complicated Millenary Minute Repeater houses an exclusive AP escapement with double balance spring, providing a steady supply of energy, and thus, high accuracy. With striking mechanism and a hand-wound 7-day power reserve, this minute repeater is a pioneer in its category and consolidates Audemars Piguet's position as a luxury watch brand. A very collectable piece, the new Millenary Minute Repeater in 18-carat pink gold was specially created for this exhibition.
A. Lange & Söhne
Founded in Saxony, Germany in 1845, A. Lange & Söhne's unique watchmaking tradition is deeply rooted in its pocket watches. Every pocket watch movement is painstakingly assembled to create a unique style. Today, with its production headquarters still in Saxony, A. Lange & Söhne's movements boast the industry's highest standards of traditional polishing and finissage. Over the past 20 years, the manufacturer has also researched and developed over 40 movements, with many patented inventions. A. Lange & Söhne focuses on quality, rather than quantity in its yearly production, consolidating its reputation as a luxury mechanical watch brand.
Limited to six pieces, the Grand Complication presented at Watches & Wonders is the brand's most complicated watch ever created. Its functions include grand and small strike, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph with minute counter and flying seconds as well as a perpetual calendar with moon phase display. With 30 hours of power reserve, the complicated movement is equipped with Glashütte Original's lever escapement in which the lever and escape wheel are manufactured in hardened 18-carat gold, increasing accuracy when the movement is manually wound. The 18-carat pink gold case features a very legible white enamel dial. In the past, Lange's complicated watches sold out before they were even delivered to stores. This new launch will be no exception.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Who would have thought 'complications' could be so romantic? Van Cleef & Arpels pays tribute to love with its Pont des Amoureux watch powered by a retrograde movement, which brings a pair of lovers to meet on Paris' famous Pont des Arts at noon and midnight for a memorable kiss. The lady figurine on the left of the dial indicates the hour from zero to 12 in a half-arch, while the gentleman's minute half-arch displays zero to 60. After the encounter, the lovers return to their respective positions to show the current time. This is a great movement that perfectly expresses the romance of 'Poetic Complications.'
As a prestigious movement manufacturer since 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre's complicated chronographs in recent years have joined the ranks of haute horlogerie. The Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 Jubilee is the tenth addition to the outstanding Hybris Mechanica collection. The skeletonized Calibre 176 has a patented flying spherical tourbillon, with a monopusher, day/night display and double-digit minute display from 00 to 59. Its top dial commemorates the brand's birth year, 1833. This platinum automatic winding watch offers 48 hours of power reserve and is limited to 75 units worldwide.
Cartier's watch production has been ongoing since the end of the 19th century. Ever since Cartier created the first pilot's watch for the famous aviator Albert Santos-Dumont in 1904, it has had a strong footing in the watch industry. In the early years of the 20th century, Cartier came up with many original designs that the industry widely regards as modern classics today. One of them was the Tank which debuted in 1917 as the world's first rectangular watch. A classic among classics, the Tank is still one of the most beloved watch designs. For years, Cartier has been investing in its watch manufacturing facilities in Switzerland, fully committed to haute horlogerie. Today, Cartier has become a maison that can truly research, develop and manufacture its own movements and luxury watches.
Different from most time zone watches which display all the cities on the dial, Cartier's Tortue Multifuseaux, new multiple time zone watch offers an innovative way of displaying two time zones at a time. The user can easily see time zones with the respective day/night indications. The watch shows the time with a 24-hour mode in cities corresponding to the 24 most commonly-used time zones. The secret behind this ingenious design is a button located at the case's two o'clock position, which lets you change cities and even adjust to summer time. Powered by the in-house self-winding mechanical movement, Calibre 9914MC, the Tortue Multifuseaux watch has up to 48 hours of power reserve. Its classic turtle-shaped case is available in pink or white gold.
The oldest haute horlogerie manufacturer in continuous production since 1755 has turned to its rich history for inspiration, showcasing some of its best minute repeater pocket watches. Come see a 1812 red gold quarter-repeater pocket watch with a guilloché case, and a quarter repeater from 1827 with jumping hours and small seconds. We fast-forward in time to 1955, when Vacheron Constantin debuted a minute repeater with an unprecedented 3.28-millimetre-thick calibre, which opened the way for ultra-thin watches. Many more fine timepieces demonstrate the Geneva watchmaker's expertise.
The origins of jewellery watches can be traced to Geneva in the late 16th century when jewellery-making was under the church's control. However, when jewellers figured they could get away with setting gemstones on timepieces, they changed the industry forever. In recent years, jewellery mechanical watches have not only inherited the success established by complicated watches, they are also in great demand in emerging markets.
Jeweller-watchmaker Piaget spotlights tapered lugs set with progressively sized brilliant-cut diamonds in the new Limelight Gala design. The collection's signature 18-carat white gold watch with a 32-millimetre case is set with 62 brilliant-cut diamonds, featuring a silvered dial with black Roman numerals and an elegant black satin strap.
The high jewellery watch – also in 18-carat white gold – has a case set with 62 brilliants. The dial is paved with 228 diamonds, and there are 451 more on the bracelet and integrated clasp. Four additional references, two more in 32 millimetres and two in 38, complete the collection, all powered by the Piaget 690P quartz movement.
The RM 26-01 Panda Tourbillon watch combines jewellery design and haute horlogerie. Using 18-carat yellow and white gold, diamonds and black sapphires, the dial depicts a panda playing with bamboos against the background of a complicated tourbillon movement. The beautiful craftsmanship alone makes this a true piece of art. The manually-wound tourbillon watch features an 18-carat white gold case, with an innovative 48-hour power reserve display at 10 and 11 o'clock. This 30-piece limited edition is a real treasure.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels pioneers the Poetry of Time by applying its jewellery savoir-faire to time measurement, where its eternal symbols tell the story of love and enduring values through precious gemstones and expert craftsmanship.
The maison depicts its iconic ballerina in the new Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée watch, featuring a very graceful 'Poetic Complication.' Poised on a guilloché dial with a radiating motif, the ballerina figurine is the very expression of beauty, with openwork gold wings veiling a champlevé enamel tutu. Round brilliant diamonds set on the dial, bezel, hour and minute indices, the crown and the ballerina, impart magic to the watch. This timepiece reveals an innovative way of telling the time. The on-demand double retrograde movement displays time on an arc on each side of the dial. Press the button at the 8 o'clock position, and the ballerina's tutu will indicate the time and return to the initial position with superb fluidity. The Lady Arpels Ballerine Enchantée watch is a beautiful example of how jewellery tells time.
The new Lady Arpels Papillon Extraordinaire watch showcases the brand's Extraordinary Dials. A diamond-set bezel frames the butterfly – the maison's enduring symbol – sculpted in gold, with plique-à-jour enamel wings in subtle gradations of blue and purple. Hard stone marquetry of lapis lazuli forms the petals that merge seamlessly with the butterfly's design. All this is set on a mother-of-pearl dial which gives the timepiece a sophisticated glow.
ELEGANCE ON THE GO
When functionality and innovative materials meet daring designs. the result is instantly recognizable - and easily beloved - timepieces that appeal to modern taste. Time zones, chronographs, or a look that simply stands out... Elegance in timepieces finds a broader, more contemporary definition in today's sophisticated sporty watches.
Baume & Mercier
Founded in 1830, Baume & Mercier's approach to watchmaking is all about an elegant, contemporary lifestyle. The new 44-millimetre Capeland Worldtimer, available with an 18-carat red gold or polished satin-brushed steel case, is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement and features 24 cities representing the main time zones on a perfectly legible dial. The iconic women's collection Linea now offers 27-millimetre automatic watches with steel or 2-tone bracelets, and stylish looks can be created with user-friendly interchangeable straps and bracelets.
Roger Dubuis, known for its equal mix of audacity and 'horlogerie genevois,' has created Excalibur Quatuor for those who dare to stand out. Its pink gold case features a fluted bezel, crowned guard and triple horn strap attachment for an extra touch of toughness. The Excalibur collection symbolizes the world of warriors and its ticking heart is the RD 101 movement with a patent-pending power reserve mechanism based on twin crescents.
Tank MC Squelette is a chronograph made using palladium, a rare metal prized for its ability to maintain its shiny silver colour far longer than 18-carat white gold. The skeletonized design beautifully displays the indivially numbered movement, Calibre 9611 MC. Just 9.3 millimetres thick, the Tank MC Squelette offers a cool new look and 72 hours of power reserve.
IWC Schaffhausen continues to reach for the skies, expanding its Big Pilot's Watch TOP GUN collection with three new colourful Boutique Edition models: Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar (red), Big Pilot's Watch (green) and a Pilot's Watch Chronograph (blue). The Big Pilot's Watch offers an impressive power reserve of seven days with its automatically wound mechanical movement, Calibre 51111. Its edgy green displays stand out against a black ceramic case, black dial and black strap. Great for all professional pilots, this watch – limited to 500 units – is secure against sudden air pressure changes and is water-resistant up to six bar.
Montblanc has firmly established itself as an haute horlogerie maker, and the newly launched collection provides ample proof. The Montblanc Star Special Edition Carpe Diem Quantième Complet is powered by the MB 4810/912 mechanical movement. The dial is neatly organized with the hour and minutes in a Roman numeral inner ring, the seconds in the middle ring, and the date on the outer ring. The month and day of the week are at the 12 o'clock position, while the moon phase display is at six. This watch successfully combines an automatic winding movement with contemporary materials. What better exemplifies sporty elegance than the combination of a stainless steel case and black leather strap?
With its origins as the Italian Navy's official watch manufacturer, Panerai combines state-of-the-art materials with user-friendly functions. Its new hand-wound movement P.5000 – completely researched and developed in-house – pays tribute to one of the brand's most impressive functions dated between the 1940s and 1950s: an 8-day power reserve. The movement powers the new Luminor Marina 8 Days and Luminor Marina 8 Days Oro Rosso, available in AISI 316L stainless steel and 5Npt red gold, both featuring Panerai's trademarked locking lever that protects the winding crown.