Last year the Swatch Group generated a major stir in the international watch circles by ending its decades long relationship with Baselworld, the world’s largest horology fair, saying that it will instead organize its own invitees only show every year. Appropriately named `Time To Move’, the debut show this year lived up to its expectations. It was split into two parts, a trade version which was held in Zurich in March, and the show for the international press which was organized over three days last week in `Suisse Romande’, the local name for the French speaking region around Geneva, where much of the country’s watch industry is located.
MW was one of the few Indian publications invited for the show, where instead of one all encompassing exhibition, we were taken on extensive tours of the facilities of six Swatch group luxury brands, Blancpain, Breguet, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, Jaquet Droz and Omega, where each of the manufacturer displayed and spoke about their new collection. Here we feature some of the most striking watches we saw.
Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395
The slim, entirely skeletonised watch is as much technical as it is artistic with emphasis on craftsmanship with an unobstructed view of the magnificent hand decoration on the self-winding tourbillon. Just 3 mm thick, it is one of the thinnest movement of its kind ever created. The gold plate and bridges have been hollowed out making it extremely lightweight, while still providing 80 hours of reserve power. It sits in a fluted 41mm case, topped with a domed glass-box revealing the movement with applied hour markers in blued gold. The design is rounded off with traditional blued moon-tipped hands and soldered horns in the distinct Breguet style. Water-resistant to 30 meters, the watch is available with a gray movement in a rose gold case, or with a rose movement in a platinum case. Comes with an alligator leather strap with gold folding buckle.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda
The 500-piece 2019 edition of the original diving watch from the 1960s embodies a perfect combination of vintage design and advanced technicality. Its black dial is punctuated with large red and white hour-markers. The likewise luminescent pencil-shaped hands are white-lacquered, while the date – a key element of the original model – returns to its favourite position in a prominent window. It has a unidirectional bezel featuring a scratch-resistant domed sapphire insert and a satin-brushed steel case. Water-resistant to 300 metres, it has a diameter of 40 mm which is a size reserved for Fifty Fathoms timepieces in limited series. It is powered by a self-winding movement and is paired with a tropical rubber strap identical to that of the historical models.
Jaquet Droz Magic Lotus Automaton
In this stunning watch inspired by the famous automatons from centuries ago, the eternal cycle of life is presented through an animated naturalist fresco centred around the lotus flower. Four versions of the louts at various stages of its life on the dial, represent the four seasons or the the stages of life. A mother-of-pearl button at 3 o’clock symbolizes the unopened lotus bud located in relief upon a corolla of gold petals , evoking the spring season. To its left is another lotus flower in full bloom that represents summer. Its petals are carved from mother-of-pearl, and finished with a thin coat of translucent paint that accentuates the relief. At its heart a yellow sapphire with gold prongs represents the pistil and stamens, poised to fly away and give life to new flowers. By its side, another lotus flower fallen onto the water represents the third season, fall, carried away by the current. Finally, winter is marked at 6 o’clock by the seed pod of the aquatic plant. In this season the pod sinks to the bottom of the water to be naturally buried, thus protecting the precious seeds that will foster new lotus flowers the following spring. The pod is set with seven diamonds that represent the seeds –visible symbols of the life glittering within.
The dial, the most sophisticated made by the brand, comprises three sections: the first is immobile, the onyx mini watch dial with gold hour and minute hands. It is surrounded by a crescent-shaped fixed disk that attaches the lotus life cycle to the piece. This composition of four seasons is suspended above the third peripheral disc, which rotates fully. The mobile disc houses two exceptional animations – Koi, a fish famed for its longevity and a symbol of courage and perseverance, and the floating lotus animation. The animation lasts more than four minutes with eight full rotations of 30 seconds each. The power reserve (68 hours) indicator in the form of a hand-painted and hand-carved dragonfly in red gold located between 8 and 9 o’clock monitors the progress of this lengthy animation. It moves downward with the power reserve of the animation, which can be fully wound by the crown. When the power reserve is empty, the dragonfly rests on a lotus leaf. The 43 mm watch comes in two limited edition versions, in red gold or white gold, 28 pieces each.
Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11, 50th Anniversary Limited Edition
The new limited edition Speedmaster pays tribute to the first Apollo lunar landing in 1969, where the original version of this watch made history. The dial is made up of two distinct zones, a varnished central grey zone and an outer black minute track. Omega’s newly developed proprietary 18K gold alloy called Moonshine gold which is a hue paler than traditional yellow gold but is highly resistant to fading over time is used for the bevelled indexes, the vintage Omega logo and all the hands except the central chronograph seconds hand. The latter is PVD coated in Moonshine gold, while the 11 o’clock hour index has been distinctly marked as a tribute to Apollo 11. The sub-dial at 9 o’clock sub-dial features a 18K Moonshine gold plate with a laser-engraved image of Buzz Aldrin, the second Apollo astronaut on the moon but was but the first one to wear the Speedmaster and walk on the lunar surface (Neil Armstrong had left his Speedmaster inside the lunar capsule after its electronic timer malfunctioned).
The watch is powered by a new version of the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer movement which was in development for more than four years. It comes in a 42 mm case in stainless steel and a polished bezel made from Moonshine gold. The bezel ring in polished black ceramic features a radiant Omega Ceragold tachymeter scale. The caseback bears the image of an astronaut’s footprint laser-engraved on a black-coated plate with a moon-surface texture, with Armstrong’s famous line `THAT’S ONE SMALL STEP FOR A MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND’ in gold-plated lettering”. The limited edition consists of 6969 numbered pieces
Harry Winston Histoire De Tourbillon 10
This watch marks the 10th anniversary of the Harry Winston collection dedicated to the tourbillion. After its experience using tourbillons with single, double or triple axes, combined (or not) with single or double tourbillons or a carousel, the brand’s latest creation, for the first time, is equipped with four tourbillons. The tourbillions are arranged in a perfectly symmetrical order, the four independent, adjacent cores rotate in 36 seconds, their high-precision steps unified by a series of three differentials.
The four tourbillons of the HW4702 caliber with a power reserve of 55 hours pack in as many as 673 components because of which it is housed in a massive rectangular case 53.3 mm wide and 39.1 mm tall. The open worked movement can be can be seen in the four corners of the case, housed in a glass box supported by two transverse bridges. The dial is a single component sapphire piece, while its central part a hollow circle hosts the 12 hour markers for the chapter ring. It extends upwards and downwards through a rectangular extension that carries the two large numbers 6 and 12. The bezel is chamfered and beveled, and features greater elevation at 6 and 12 o’clock, marked by two notches, which, together with the variation in height, trace the three Harry Winston arches, a tribute to the architecture of the entrance to the brand’s iconic Fifth Avenue Showroom.
The 18K gold watch comes in three limited edition versions white gold and rose gold (10 pieces each) and a special edition Winstonium model, limited to just one unique piece.
Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Tourbillon Limited Edition
For the first time, this certified chronometer combines a flying tourbillon with a second-stop mechanism, zero reset and minute detent. The tourbillon’s rotating cage stops the moment the crown is pulled, and since the second hand is mounted on the cage, it also stops immediately. This ensures that the minute and second hands are synchronised, allowing for the time to be set with great precision. The manual winding caliber has a power reserve of 70 hours when fully wound, indicated by the display at 9 o’clock.
The 42 mm case in platinum features the galvanic blue dial which along with the flying tourbillion rises like little towers over the upper and lower halves of the movement, resulting in a remarkable three-dimensional effect. The open design and a partially transparent sapphire crystal ring bearing the seconds scale draw the viewer’s gaze into the depths of the watch. Various hand engravings and the classic Glashütte stripe finish round off the decoration. The mirrored upper ring displays at 12 o’clock the inscription `Chronometer Tourbillon’ engraved back-to-front on the dial fastener. Comes with a dark blue Louisiana alligator leather strap with a fold fastener in platinum.