Monaco Historique Road Trip

Ferrari F12

The 2016 Monaco Historique weekend lived up to expectations with some stunning cars racing wheel to wheel on the legendary street circuit. Off the track the champagne flowed and cars were bought and sold at the various auctions around Monte-Carlo.

Borro headed down to experience the hype first hand, we travelled down with Classic Grand Touring choosing to fly direct to Nice then drive back over a few days after the weekend.

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There are a couple of mandatory things you should do while in town. Firstly, go and have a drink at Café de Paris in Casino Square and sit and watch the cars and people, it’s fascinating. Be warned though, it’s not cheap!

Lancia Delta Evoluzione HF

Secondly, you should walk the track, direction isn’t important, but appreciating the tight corners, zero room for error, the iconic tunnel and the steep climb from the first corner is well worth it and a great work out.

Sitting at the foot of the Alps, Monaco is very hilly so make sure you have some comfy buy stylish shoes packed in your luggage.

Porsche 924 Carrera GTR

Saturday morning saw the champagne brunch at Espace Fontvieille, for the COYS auction, a great opportunity to network and get up close to some of the cars. Notable entries included a stunning Porsche 924 Carrera GTR with just 109 kilometres and an ex works Lancia Delta Evoluzione HF that was an official test car. At the time of writing COYS are still due to publish the official result from the auction.

port of Fontvielle

With a long lunch in the port of Fontvielle it was time to hop on a boat – the best way to travel quickly during a race weekend – over to the RM Auction preview at Le Sporting. RM Sotheby’s had transformed an underground car park into a fantastic display of fine automobiles.

On the night six lots achieved prices in excess of €1,000,000. The top sale of the night was the 1951 Ferrari 340 America Touring Barchetta, chassis no. 0116/A, known as one of the first ‘big engine’ competition Ferraris. Boasting an exceptional competition pedigree, it was raced in the 1951 and 1952 Le Mans 24 Hours and entered in nine Mille Miglia road rallies from 1984 to 2006. The hammer dropped at an impressive €7.280.000.

The second highest price on the night was for the incredible 1997 Porsche 911 GT1 Evolution, chassis no. GT1 993-117, the only known road-registered example, and one of just 14 GT1 race cars in private hands. The GT1 passed onto its third owner for a record-breaking €2.772.000. Rounding out the top three sales was a beautiful and incredibly original 1966 Ferrari 275 GTS, chassis no. 07805, a very desirable car which realised €1.792.000.

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It’s easy to forget that there is racing going on and the Sunday was a chance to enjoy everything from pre-war Bugattis to 1970 formula one cars tacking the circuit at speed. Thomas at Classic Grand Touring had laid on a lunch in a fine restaurant next to the track at Tabac corner.

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Monaco once again delivered a fantastic weekend but our trip was not over yet. On the Monday we drove up to the Rhone region for an overnight in a lovely hotel overlooking the river. The route was planned so that we could enjoy the fantastic Route Napoleon up to Grasse, one of the finest driving roads in the world.

Drive up to Chablis

Tuesday was our final day with a pleasant drive up to Chablis for a wine tasting and a five star finale meal at Hostellerie Des Clos in Chablis.

Hostellerie Des Clos in Chablis

Another great trip to see some of the finest automobiles auctioned mixed with great people, great roads and fantastic food, does life get much better than this?

About the Author

Tim Hutton has been involved in the automotive industry for 17 years, creating ideas and content for premium brands. When not writing about cars, you will find him driving them all around the world. Having learned to drive at seven in a racing car, petrol is very much in his veins.

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Inside Watchmaking: Selecting a Summer Watch

It’s that time of year again. The sun is coming out after months of hibernation. And even though this article is far more suited to the States than it is the British Isles I call home, I’ll play ball just for the sake of it.

So how does the spike in temperature affect the selection of which watch to wear? Summer fashions are obviously far more casual than your winter wardrobe, and so the choice will almost certainly reflect that, but there a few more practical things that I would suggest you look for.

Omega
Image supplied, courtesy of Omega

Water Resistance

This one is obvious, so I won’t spend too long discussing it. Despite the summer months being the driest of the year, you are never more likely to be suddenly doused by a bucket of water, or pushed into a swimming pool. Nor is it common for people to dive into the med in mid-November. It makes sense that you’d choose a watch with at least 100m water resistance. Anything less is really not worth looking at. Remember, if a watch is going to leak, it is more likely to leak in the first few inches of submersion, when the external pressure is not great enough to compact the case components (which closes the tiny gaps between the gaskets and the metal). Additionally, watches leak more in hot weather due to material expansion (again, those gaps between the metal and the gaskets increase), so pick something with some deep sea credibility if you want to be on time when autumn rolls around.

Bell & Ross Watch
Image supplied, courtesy of Bell & Ross

Case Material

This is one that I imagine will raise a few eyebrows, but bear with me here. In the summer months you are likely to wear shorter sleeves and less jewellery. This places the emphasis on the case material, or, more pertinently, case colour coordinating with your skin tone, rather than your cuff links, shirt studs, belt buckle, or tie pin. If you are a proficient tanner, you might want to stay away from warmer case colours like rose gold or bronze. Steel looks great against bronzed skin, and is a far sportier choice, but it has one significant drawback – it is very heavy. For that reason, you might find a brushed titanium case being the best choice for these more active months. Failing that, you might even invest in a plastic or polymer housing if you’re too scared to wear a luxury piece on the beach or by the pool. And that leads me to my next point.

Richard MIlle Watch
Image supplied, courtesy of Richard Mille

Colour!

That exclamation point is there for a reason: Summer is when we’re all allowed to go a little crazy (blame it on the heatstroke). While plastic is not exactly a luxury option, it does know how to make use of wild and wacky colours. But vibrant greens, shocking yellows, and eye-blitzing blues need not be the reserve of low-end watches. Just look at Richard Mille or Hublot for examples of how a luxury watchmaking company can exploit colour to its advantage! Hublot is the butt of many a joke, but I find it hard to deny the presence and pop of a Big Bang Unico, dangling on the wrist of some tight t-shirt wearing Adonis as he strolls about the deck of his yacht. When you consider the price tag, it suddenly makes sense why Hublot make their watches so big (it’s so you can see them from the shore as you lust over that yacht).

Perlon Watch
Image supplied courtesy of Perlon

Strap Material and Style

Steel bracelets are way too weighty for the summer months; the lifespan of leather is greatly reduced when forced to contend with a perennially perspiring wrist. I’m a huge fan of rubber straps at the best of times, but my actual pick for the summer is a thin, nylon NATO. These straps are affordable, colourful, absorbent, and prevent any metal from coming into contact with the skin. You have loads of vogue options for temporary summer straps (such as Perlon), and it’s never been more acceptable to wear your Rolex Explorer (a great summer watch when chosen with the white dial to balance that tan) with a stripy NATO. Nylon dries pretty quickly too, and straps like the Perlon can be incrementally adjusted to fit any wrist thanks to their ‘punch-it-through’ buckle. Perfect for this time of year when heat expansion must be considered.

About the Author

Rob Nudds is a WOSTEP qualified watchmaker, working as a consultant in the UK market. You can read more of his work on aBlogtoWatch.com.

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Borro Featured Asset – Asprey Windsor Jewelry Collection

Asprey Windsor Jewelry Collection

Asprey Windsor Jewelry Collection

Founded in 1781 in Mitcham, Surrey, as a silk printing business by William Asprey, Asprey soon supplied goods to royal families and as of 2013 held a Royal Warrant of appointment from the Prince of Wales.

Asprey moved into their current location on New Bond Street in 1847. The company won its own royal warrant on the basis of its prize winning work at London’s International Exhibition, but lost out to its rivals, H.J. Cave & Sons in 1867.

Asprey creates luxury goods varying from jewelry to leather goods, silver and trophies. Diamond cutter Gabi Tolkowsky created the Asprey cut, incorporating the Asprey “A” inscription around the edges of the stone. The diamonds then have 61 facets and maximize light refraction within the stone.

In 1998 Asprey merged with Garrard but this partnership ended in 2002. In March 2006, Sciens Capital Management, the US private equity firm, bought Asprey.

“This is a historic luxury brand, and that is part of our reason for acquiring it,” said chairman John Rigas.

With its Royal patronage, Asprey has gained international recognition and is known across the world for creating bespoke luxury items, from a pearl necklace for Queen Mary to five trunks commissioned by Maharajah of Patiala. Asprey, who designed the Heart of the Ocean in the film Titanic, is also featured in films such as Sherlock Homes, Match Point, My Week with Marilyn and many more.

Their master jewelers use only the finest and rarest precious stones. The Windsor collection features a distinct pattern in 18ct white gold and includes pavé diamonds and precious stones.

Estimated Value: Up to $30,000

Borro offers secure and flexible financing solutions for jewelry.

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Explaining Borro’s Asset Information Form

borro art and antiques asset information form

The Asset Information Form is the cornerstone of the application process for fine art and antiques. Vice President of Valuations, Mark Bench and Retail & Appraisals Manager, Elliot Roberts explain what makes this form so important and how clients can go about completing it.

How does a completed form assist the Valuations team?

Elliot: It organizes the details of the asset. It prepares us for a conversation about the piece. It is also a helpful tool for cataloging artwork that comes in which in turn helps our inventory management system.

What should Borro partners tell their clients about completing this form?

Mark: This is the first step of the research needed to perfect a loan.

Elliot: The more information the client provides, the quicker we can respond and potentially provide financing.

Here are the types of information requested on form:

  • Artist’s name
  • Title of the piece and year it was created
  • Dimensions and medium of the piece
  • Details of the markings or signatures on the piece
  • The object’s condition and provenance
  • Auction and exhibition history for the object

Where is a client/partner likely to find most of the information requested?

Elliot: A receipt, especially one from a gallery is likely to have the most information. It will list the basics of the piece (e.g., artist name, title and year of the piece) but also the provenance and it serves as proof of ownership. The receipt should always be kept when purchasing artwork.

Mark: A past appraisal is also helpful. The back of a painting is incredibly important as it is a various pieces of information that can provide provenance and auction history.

For clients who are unsure about things like the medium/material or markings/signatures, what is the best way for them to get these answers?

Mark: There are some easy items to that can help with the identification of the medium. For example, if the piece has an edition number, it is most likely a print and not a canvas. Oil paintings and water colors are also simpler to identify. High resolution photos are imperative as they can help us determine the factors that the client may be having difficulty with.

Elliot: If a condition report has already been prepared by a reputable conservator, it would also hold information on the medium, material, markings and signature.

If an asset doesn’t have a condition report, what’s the best way to go about describing the object’s condition?

Mark: A client should be as detailed as possible on the form and note anything that stands out or seems unusual. We aren’t expecting professional level knowledge of the piece so they should use their best judgement.

Elliot: Clients shouldn’t be hesitant to be honest on the form if they spot a tear or inconsistency in the color of a piece. Those things will not necessarily invalidate their application. It is instead the start of a conversation about the piece. Being upfront about issues can save time in the long run.

Mark: Similar to applying for a mortgage, anything that is omitted could affect the value of the piece and end up being a point of contention.

Does a piece need a formal appraisal in order to be considered for a loan?  

Elliot: Past appraisals provide valuable information but are not required. We do not value asset based on a previous appraisal since it was completed for a different purpose. We instead use it as source material and to see the method that the past appraiser used. Completing an appraisal is a part of our due diligence process.

Let’s get into specific questions and their relevance. Why does the form ask if the item has been exhibited or appeared in any publication?

Mark: The fact that a piece has been critically assessed helps us to gain a level of comfort with the piece. It also provides provenance. If a piece has appeared in a publication, it means it was written about by someone knowledgeable about the art and well-known. It invariably provides validation for the piece.

Elliot: Pieces that have been featured in exhibitions and publications are viewed favorably in the marketplace may enhance the demand in the marketplace. This doesn’t mean that we can’t work with pieces that do not have this distinction, however.

Why is it necessary to ask about the recent sale history of a piece?

Elliot: It helps us to understand the intentions of the client. If they have put it up for sale or are planning to, we would recommend our Sale Advance Loans where as if they are not interested in selling, the Bridge Loan is probably best.

Mark: Previous and recent offerings for sale can have an impact upon value.

Why does a client need to confirm that they have the clear and sole title for a piece?

Mark: We can’t lend against something that is not solely owned by the client. We need to have it on record that they hold a clear title. It saves time to get confirmation upfront.

Elliot: This is the initial acknowledgement of ownership but we will complete further checks to confirm it.

Any final advice/tips for completing the form?

Elliot: Be as detailed as possible. All information is helpful.

Mark: We are here to help clients get the financing that they need. Our goal is to qualify the asset.

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Gumball 3000 – The ultimate road rally

Gumball 3000

Gumball 3000 is the ultimate car rally, run every May by its founder Maximillion Cooper. Since 1999 Maximillion has brought together celebrities, royalty, sports stars and racing drivers to take part in the real life ‘Whacky Races’. Except, there is no racing, there is no prize for coming first. But, there is the grand prize of ‘Spirit of the Gumball’ awarded to the team who have entered most into the true spirit of the event.

There have been many imitations since its inception, but today Gumball 3000 is the only rally you should consider doing. Yes it is expensive, £35,000 this year unless you have been a previous entrant, then it’s £30,000. But the Gumball experience is unrivalled and last weekend I headed over to Dublin to be a part of it.

Team Galalg's Batman Tumbler - Gumball 3000

The Cars

Think of a car and it will have been on the rally at some point. The competition has gotten so fierce between the regulars that they build bespoke cars for the event. Team Galalg – the crowd favourites – entered a custom built Batman Tumbler based on a Lamborghini Gallardo and a recreation of an AMG GT3 called the TG3! Team Wolfpack leader Josh Cartu had been building a unique Ferrari for the rally but sadly it wasn’t ready in time so he brought along his Ferrari TDF – one of two on the event.

Classic Mercedes powered by a modern C63 AMG engine

DJ Afrojack arrived with a Bentley Bentayga and a Lamborghini Aventador and our personal favourite on the grid was a classic Mercedes powered by a modern C63 AMG engine! Maximillion arrived in a style in a new Aston Martin Vanquish which he shared with his wife Eve.

Jaguar Project 7

Other notable cars included two Porsche 918s, a Ruf CTR3, Jaguar Project 7 and two Yugos imported from Slovakia just for a laugh!

Porsche Ruf CTR3

The Stars

David Hasselhoff is now a Gumball regular and the crowds absolutely love him. Afrojack was also drawing huge cheers and played sets to the crowds at some of the parties along the route. Maximillion’s wife Eve is a true hip hop star and Grammy award winner. At the London party at Tape we were treated to a live performance. Rap legend Bun B is another regular and has really embraced Gumball life as a true ambassador of the event. F1 star David Coulthard, Le Mans star Oliver Webb and YouTube sensations Shmee 150 and Cal Freezy also starred.

Gumball 3000 Dublin

The Crowds

One thing you aren’t prepared for are the crowds. The Dublin crowd was huge, lining several streets beyond the start line, all along the motorway and all the bridges on the road to Belfast. In London the crowds were even bigger, Regent Street was closed off and the crowds went wild as their favourite cars rolled though the finish line.

This was nothing though, as the rally rolled into Eastern Europe the Gumballers were overwhelmed by the huge crowds and high spirited fans desperate to catch a glimpse of the cars. At the finish line in Bucharest hundreds of thousands of fans came out to see the cars parked outside the beautiful Palace of the Parliament.

Awards

Along the way Team Galag threw t-shirts into the crowd, stopped to meet fans and let them sit in the Batman Tumbler, most people expected them to win the prized ‘Spirit of the Gumball’ award for the second time but in the end it went to Afrojack. ‘Best Team’ went to Team Wolfpack, their light up jackets were very cool to be fair. Team Galag member Tomas Cabrerizo won most ‘Rock and Roll’ Gumballer and of course ‘Best Car’ went to the Batman Tumbler.

Gumball 3000 Road Rally

Charity

Established in 2013 the Gumball Foundation was launched to benefit disadvantaged youth. So far beneficiaries have included The Tony Hawk Foundation, When You Wish Upon A Star, The Sir Simon Milton Foundation, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund UK and The Westway Trust and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Money is raised by entrants bidding for their grid position. Pole position went for a remarkable $47,499 and over $270,000 was raised.

Next year

At the final dinner the 2017 route was announced, next year they travel from Riga to Mykonos. The crowds will again be huge, see you there?

About the Author

Tim Hutton has been involved in the automotive industry for 17 years, creating ideas and content for premium brands. When not writing about cars, you will find him driving them all around the world. Having learned to drive at seven in a racing car, petrol is very much in his veins.

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The Importance of Keeping the Box and Papers for a Watch

Patek Philippe

When valuing a watch, I always make it a point to ask the client if they have the box and paperwork for it, which begs the question, “Does having the box and paperwork increase the value of the watch?” The general answer is yes.

Proof of Authenticity and Ownership

When a watch is purchased directly from an authorized dealer it will usually come in a presentation box with the original supporting paperwork, which could include a warranty card, a Certificate of Authenticity showing the reference and unique serial number attributed to it, and an instruction booklet. Although these items are not necessary for valuation, they do add value to the watch and help to prove authenticity and ownership.

As with any asset, the more documentation that comes with a watch, the better. At Borro, the main focal point for watch provenance is documentation that helps support the validity of the asset.  For us, asking for documentation is part of the required due diligence that not only establishes authenticity and ownership, but also ensures the best possible resale price, as watches with full documentation and certification command the highest value. Even without this documentation, however, watches are still fully liquid and can be sold through all available channels, just at a price that is reflective of that.

The Impact of Online Trading

In this day in age, with online watch trading being a booming business, the importance of including box and paperwork with watches has grown.  Having the box and paperwork for a watch not only helps distinguish between buying a real watch and a replica, but it also shows that the watch was well-cared for, which provides the buyer with a greater sense of comfort before purchasing.

Further to this, many international watch collectors today are looking to purchase watches that are not only in excellent condition, but that come with all of the ‘bells and whistles’ that accompanied the watch at the initial time of purchase.  A pre-owned watch that is part of a full set can be rare, and so it is more likely to achieve a premium at the time of sale.

Here is a list of accessories that will help increase a watch’s value, for loan purposes or otherwise:

  • Complete box
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Original purchase receipt
  • Warranty Card
  • Tags
  • Extra links
  • Service Records
  • Instruction Booklet

In short, though a watch retains value even without the box and paperwork, and while these items are not necessary to sell pre-owned watch, they do actually add value, especially in the minds of collectors and watch enthusiasts who are not just looking to purchase a watch to wear on their wrist, but as an investment for the future.

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How Do Investments in Guitars Compare to Investments in Classic Cars?

Building on a recent post on vintage guitars, I thought it would be fun to compare two similar markets: classic cars and guitars. The two go hand in hand, both markets are often driven by the Baby Boomer generation that has found itself with significant disposable income. Despite this similarity, the growth of the two markets is staggeringly different. Based on the 42 Guitar Index, the last 10 years have been relatively stagnant in terms of growth. This compares with 400% growth for Haggerty’s Blue Chip group of cars over the same period.

Growth of Hagerty Blue Chip cars against 42 Guitar Index

 

The biggest difference between the two markets is sheer size. Classic cars regularly sell for over $1m and Bonham’s estimated in 2015, that there were over 5,000 cars for a combined $1.2bn. The market for vintage guitars is much more difficult to estimate, as many trade hands not at auction houses like Bonham’s, but through private channels, and websites like eBay and Craigslist. The more public nature of car sales can only increase interest in the market.

There will be over 30 auctions of classic cars across Europe and the US in 2016, including sales by Bonham’s, RM Sotheby’s, and Gooding & Co. These sales will make headlines – in 2015, 225 cars sold for over $1m. By contrast, the number of guitars that have sold for over $1m can be counted on one hand, and this number includes private sales! Overall, there will likely only be a handful of guitar auctions in 2016, including sales by Heritage Auctions, and a major sale already held in February by Guernsey’s.

One of the biggest reasons for this is simply the available supply of guitars vs classic cars. Most guitar auctions will only feature a handful of guitars that could be said to be ‘blue chip.’ There are simply more classic cars to sell than there are vintage guitars. Vintage guitars were often produced in the hundreds or low thousands  a year – though records are dubious –  whereas twenty thousand C2 Corvettes were produced in 1963, a number that stayed relatively constant through the 1960’s.

Not only are there more cars than guitars, there are also more drivers than guitarists! Although you don’t have to be a world class guitarist to enjoy a 1954 Stratocaster, it definitely helps. Furthermore, restoring guitars back to pristine condition can be detrimental to their value, so there is a limit to the aesthetic value of vintage guitars. Keith Richards uses his 3,000+ guitars, even though a 1953 Telecaster can command up to $25,000. A classic car however, will be enjoyed, not used. Guitars simply aren’t collected in the same way that cars are. There were only two notable non-playing guitar collectors. Scott Chinery, who envisioned his guitars kept in a museum, but still played by masters, and Akira Tsurama, who sold many of his instruments while in financial distress. Cars are very different, kept in offsite dedicated storage facilities, and maintained in pristine condition for concours d’elegance.

Although both vintage guitars, and classic cars can commend exorbitant prices, the market for classic cars is significantly larger. The size and public nature of the classic car market makes it more enticing for enthusiasts who aren’t experts. Demand in the guitar market is dominated by a subset of musicians who have become collectors, coupled with a limited supply of ‘blue chip’ guitars, naturally limits the market’s growth. However, the common thread in both markets is a core of collectors who are truly passionate about their collections.

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Shapes Within Shapes – A New Watchmaking Trend

There’s something happening with the watch industry about which you’re bound to find something you like. Why? Because thanks to trend evolution cycling its way through pretty much every imaginable (and one or two previously-thought unimaginable) case shapes, the latest fancy of designers on high seems to be to use them all at once.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that concept is hard to visualise at first, but it’s really very simple. I first became aware of this trend when I was reviewing last year’s Harmony Collection from esteemed watchmakers Vacheron Constantin.

Vacheron Constantin Watch

Vacheron Constantin is well known as the longest continuously operational watch company in the world. Whenever they do something new, it’s worth taking note. Quite obviously, their melding of classic forms into something quite traditionally and yet simultaneously very modern, has struck a chord with a few of their horological contemporaries.

Radomir Panerai GMT Watch

There is no prescribed need for a watch crystal to be round, but recent trends have seen a predominance of this shape flood the market. Because of this, cases tend to be round also, but that is not essential, even when sticking with a circular sapphire. As we can see in Panerai’s classic cushion-shaped case, the fusion of shapes can be very rewarding when done correctly. But it takes guts to mess with the blueprint. Those kind of risks can set a brand apart, imbue an otherwise muted dial with strength and character. It’s shooting for the moon, but a shot worth taking.

Louis Vuitton LV55 Watch

Vacheron Constantin are heading the trend seen recently in efforts by Le Rhone and Louis Vuitton LV55, of utilising multiple shapes and contrasting silhouettes in the same piece. Far from a mollycoddling tactic designed to pacify all-comers, this is a bold re-imagining of forms, a step into the sculptural realm, a chance for haute horlogerie to unbridle itself from years of reserved rhomboids, stuffy squares, and conservative circles.

And the thing I really like about these pieces is this: They will age well. They are, in my opinion, about as safe a bold design can get. Why? Because they don’t mess with conventions; they marry them. There is classic beauty and a youthful disrespect about the Harmony range. That’s a pretty much impossible balance to strike, but if any brand was capable of pulling it out of the bag it had to be Vacheron Constantin.

Le Rhone Watch

It’s quite possible we’ll see a lot more watches that utilise shapes within shapes to frame their mechanical marvels. It’s a simple, geometrically comfortable way of adding visual interest to an oftentimes neglected aspect of a watch’s personality. If you’re looking to invest in something a little different, but dedicatedly classical, check out this trend. You’re bound to like at least one of the shapes on show!

About the Author: Rob Nudds is a watchmaker and freelance writer based in the UK.

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