Examining the Three Luxury Consumer Profiles

When examining luxury consumer profiles, it’s important to first define luxury. Where does the concept of luxury come from? There’s nothing innate about it; no magic formula you can execute without verve, passion, or insight; no well-trodden path with a single destination awaiting you at its end. Luxury occurs when an object is created in a moment, by the moments that surround it, for the moments we will remember.

Luxury Consumer - Rolex

In these trying times, manufacturers are tying themselves in knots to accommodate an evermore-demanding client base. A noticeable spike in special and limited edition watches can be attributed to the clamorous call for exclusivity. How this notion of exclusivity manifests, however, is a question in itself, and one any designer/marketer/manufacturer must bear in mind when tailoring their output to customer demand.

The Connoisseur

Luxury Consumer - Omega

Broadly speaking, there are three types of luxury consumers. Knowing each one is imperative for companies when they hit the drawing board, because it’s imperative to pitch your product effectively.

The first of these characters, and undoubtedly the easiest to satisfy, is the connoisseur. A connoisseur of quality seeks that and that alone. These buyers are likely to buy a commonly regarded stalwart like a Rolex Submariner, or an Omega Speedmaster etcetera. These watch lovers require less of a story (and a lot less massaging) to make a purchase. Their decisions are generally based on rationale and value propositions. But owning something universally regarded as ‘solid’ is not enough for many luxury consumers, much less the ones with the real money muscle…

The Clubman

Luxury Consumer - MB and F

The Clubman seeks out limited editions as a way to access an exclusive enclave of the industry. Sure, a Speedy is cool, but a limited Speedy? That automatically elevates you above all those thousands upon thousands of connoisseurs who recognise your choice as one of quality, and identify your superior wealth or access by your watch’s limited nature.

This stratum of customer is always growing. Certain brands that run their watches at extremely low numbers appeal to this group. High concept brands like HYT and MB&F focus on this demographic intensely. With almost every model created in restricted numbers, you’re guaranteed a level of exceptionality brands boasting ‘core’ pieces simply cannot match.

Check out the HYT H3 and the MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual for prime examples.

The Trailblazer

Luxury Consumer - Romain Jerome

Trailblazers don’t want to be like anyone else. These luxury consumers want to stand out from the crowd by sporting one-off pieces created for the super rich, or more standard models sporting high quality after-market modifications (as often performed by Bamford Watch Department and Made Worn).

The bread and butter pieces chased by the trailblazer are often obscenely expensive, but remarkable for their uniqueness and execution. For truly trailblazing watchmaking, look to the independents producing true one offs – Voutilainen, Romain Jerome, or Richard Mille offer excellent examples of off-the-wall creations that will mark you as a man or woman of discernment.

 

About the Author

Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.

Related Blogs

Things Every Watch Lover Should Know

What a Luxury Watch can say about You

Collecting Watches as an Investment

2018 Tucson Gem Shows Recap

Tucson Gem Shows - Multi-colored stone

Source: Author’s Own

The jewelry and gem industry descended on Tucson, Arizona this year as it does the first week of February every year since 1981. There were 47 separate shows in 2018 as a part of the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. Nearly 50,000 people visit the Tucson Gem Shows over the two weeks.

Why Jewelers Attend the Tucson Gem Shows

Jewelers can find everything from rare diamonds to boxes made of petrified wood. Dealers specialize in loose stones, jewelry, African art, beads, polished stones, minerals, fossils, and gifts. The shows also provide a great way for the trade to meet and network.

Tucson Gem Shows - uncut diamond

Source: Author’s Own

New jewels are always being discovered and they are often first offered at the Tucson Gem Shows. This year, Borro Blog’s representative discovered new stones and designers from around the world. While Borro doesn’t lend on these stones until they are cut and polished, it is important for jewelry specialists to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the industry.

Gem Market Trends

Prices are strong in the top level of the gem market, but bargains could be had at the middle and lower end of the market. Emeralds from Ethiopia were the hot item. They are very clean and saturated with the strong emerald color associated with the finest Colombian emerald but 20-30% less expensive. Ruby stock was plentiful, and prices were strong. Blue sapphire was also abundant, but picking the right color is key. Jewelers are looking for medium blue as the darker materials don’t look as good in jewelry.

Jewelry Trends

There’s a surge in nontraditional colored stones as jewelers and their customers look for ways to differentiate products and choices. Gone are the days of everyone wanting to wear the same thing. Today’s consumer wants their jewelry to be unique and the jeweler better know the story behind it. Sources of stones are being judged by how they are mined. Metals should have a clear history of recycled or fair trade and safe mining techniques.

Small jewelry like tiny stacking rings and tiny charms, bracelets and necklaces are also a current trend. Meanwhile, jewelers are noticing that women are self-purchasing.

Borro is keeping an eye on the trends that have emerged from the Tucson Gem Shows and is excited to see how they impact the secondary market and therefore, the jewelry Borro lends on.

 

Related Blogs

How to Build an Antique Jewelry Collection

How is High-End Jewelry Defined?

Best Websites forJewelry News

Spotting Fake Patek Philippe Watches

My task today is to equip you with a few tips when it comes to spotting fake Patek Philippe watches. On the one hand, telling the difference between a real and a counterfeit watch is an easy task if you’re relatively well acquainted with the brand and what it stands for (the level of investment required to buy in to Patek’s entry level is so significant that one would assume such a potential purchaser would be pretty well-versed in the nuances of watchmaking as it is).

On the other hand, there are some pretty good fake Patek Philippe’s out there these days (which have pushed the global market for counterfeit pieces up to around a billion dollars per year). But let’s start with the obvious – the things you’re more likely to see if someone new to watchmaking turns up at work one day flashing a Calatrava they’ve picked-up on the beach in Benidorm and wants your expert take. Be gentle with them: Even fakes can command some pretty serious cash these days…

Patek Philippe

Image Courtesy of Patek Philippe

The Basics: Quality, Quality, Quality

As much as it pains me to point out some glaringly obvious signs you’re handling a fake, it would be remiss of me not to run through the patent giveaways just in case you’re unsure.

Patek Philippe is a world-leading company. Their wares are right at the top of the tree when it comes to the execution of time-honoured techniques. Instantly, when you pick up a real Patek, you should feel like you’re holding something valuable. Spotting fake Patek Philippes starts here. The case should have a real depth of lustre to it, and the finishing should be crisp and exact. Forget buttery edges, a blurring between polished and brushed surfaces, or any kind of roughness. It should look like it’s been hewn by the hands of God.

The movement itself should be perfectly finished, and bear the typical finishing patterns of a Patek Philippe – most notably Geneva stripes. Depending on its age, it should either bear the Geneva Seal (the Poinçon de Genève) or the Patek Philippe Seal.

Tilt the movement in the light – any wobbles or ‘dead spots’ in the metal could be a tell tale sign of poor quality materials used, or a substandard plating process having been applied to the movement.

I’ve seen a lot of Grade-A fake Patek Philippe watches that look good on the wrist. From a glance, they are indistinguishable from the genuine article in daylight. That said, if you’re dealing with a model such as the Aquanaut, you can instantly tell the difference by switching the lights off and studying the lume. Strength of glow and, most crucially, lume consistency and precise application are areas a lot of fakes neglect. The Aquanaut family doesn’t make-up a massive percentage of the Patek range, but it is a super popular fake, partly because it’s in vogue, and partly because a sports watch in steel is a damn sight easier to forge than a classically styled piece in precious metal.

And look out for blued screws – many fakers add this traditional feature to make the watch appear more luxurious, but Patek do not.

So in very basic terms when spotting fake Patek Philippe watches, look for flaws, not for logos, case shapes, or dial design. These things can be lifted from any retailer website and replicated exactly. What they can’t fake so easily, though, are centuries of experience when it comes to producing the components the brand is known for.

On Your Backs

Patek Philippe

Image Courtesy of Patek Philippe

As soon as you flip a fake watch, however, the truth reveals itself to you: Stock movements (often modified ETA 2824 clones) are a dead giveaway. A quick catalogue search would reveal such an obvious ploy, but what about watches that appear to feature the correct movement? What then? Does a genuine Patek Philippe movement mean you’re holding a genuine Patek Philippe watch? Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case (pun intended).

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Frankenstein watches (or Frankenwatches) are a thorn in the side of every discerning collector – especially those trawling the pre-loved market for a steal. Hot fakes – those just off the production line – are almost always deficient in quality in a depressingly obvious way, but ‘new’ watches that have been cobbled together from parts of genuine watches, or been rebuilt from a genuine core are harder to spot. Luckily, though, forgers often let themselves down by trying to be too clever.

Patek Philippe

Image Courtesy of Patek Philippe

If you have a watch powered by what you’re confident is a genuine Patek Philippe movement, check the case back for serial numbers. Patek never engrave the serial on the outside of the case. On closed case back models, the serial is engraved in the centre of the case back on the inside; on display backs, the serial is still tucked away out of view, around the interior edges.

Some forgers will try and link the case to the movement number by engraving it on the outside. That’s a dead giveaway. Despite this, the serial number itself could be genuine – it’s easy enough for a forger to hijack an existing serial and stamp their watch with it. For a fee, Patek will delve into their extensive library and confirm whether or not a quoted reference is correct. If, however, it doesn’t match the model of the watch in question, that’s your cue to run a mile.

Being sure of the veracity of your purchase is essential. Never make snap decisions. If you feel you might be missing out on the bargain of a lifetime unless you act rashly, leave it. Bargains and Patek Philippe are not well associated for a reason. Keep a cool head and the ear of an expert to hand at all times – that’s the only way to guarantee you’re making a sound decision.

 

About the Author

Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.

Related Blogs

Are Patek Philippe Watches a Good Investment?

Patek Philippe – Highlights of Watch-Making Excellence

Authenticating an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

February’s Car of the Month – The Maserati Levante

For February’s car of the month, Borro Blog has chosen a market that is becoming increasingly popular amongst luxury car manufacturers. It seems more and more brands are expanding their range into SUV production. Just look at the Lamborghini URUS, due to be released this year that has car enthusiasts buzzing.

Maserati Levante

Last spring marked the turn of luxury Italian manufacturer, Maserati, to unveil their first SUV, making their move into the increasingly lucrative SUV sector.

The Week has referred to the Levante as the ‘most important car the Italian marque has made in its entire 102-year history’.

Maserati has opted for a similar approach to its rival Jaguar F-Pace, in adopting a design that is synonymous with Maserati and closely resembles the Ghibli saloon. The broad front grill and the trademark triple side vents sit behind and above both front wheels, a trait that is used on all Maserati vehicles.

Maserati is known for its elegance and luxury, and that hasn’t changed on this model. The interior is fitted with sound deadening and adjustable suspension setups, a touchscreen and eight-speaker stereo system, dual-zone climate control and keyless entry. The interior also comes with 28 trim colour options.

The Levante has a respectable engine performance, with a turbocharged 3.0 litre V6 unit and has a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds, with a top speed of 142mph.

The Maserati Levante GranSport made its retail debut in Spring last year and has a retail price starting at $85,000.

 

Related Blogs

 1954 Jaguar D-Type Works – Car of the Month January 2018

What to Expect from the 2018 Classic Car Market

A Guide to Buying a Car at Auction

How to Build an Antique Jewelry Collection

Antique jewelry, like art, property, or automobiles can also serve as an investment. The items that you amass over the course of building your collection will come to define you. Whether you’ve been collecting jewelry for years, or are just starting to get your collection together, there is a lot to consider. From the type of jewelry you are after, to the different occasions it can be worn on, what your budget is, and who and where you are purchasing from, these are all major things to keep in mind.

Remember to be patient, pick pieces that make you feel great about yourself, and to buy from reputable dealers. Whatever stage you are at in jewelry collecting, this guide will help you narrow down some of the best shows nationwide to find the antique jewelry you are after.

Winter Antiques Show

Now in its 17th year of operation, the Winter Antiques Show is one of the most highly regarded fairs in America. Held in New York City’s historic Park Avenue Armory, it features over 70 experts in a wide range of fields. From antique jewelry, fine art, furniture and more, this is the show to attend when searching for the must have items. This year’s fair also featured a mini exhibition from the Virginia Museum of Fine Art entitled “Collecting for the Commonwealth/Preserving for the Nation: Celebrating a Century of Art Patronage, 1919-2018.”

Antique Jewelry a la Vieille

Source: Winter Antiques Show

Some of the most sought-after jewelry this year could be found at the A la Vieille Russe, Inc booth which specializes in American and European antique jewelry, Russian decorative and fine arts and more. The Winter Antiques Show took place from January 19-28, 2018.

Original Miami Antiques Show

This is the largest indoor antique show in the US with over 600 vendors spanning the globe from 28 countries. Whether you are looking for key pieces to add to your collection, or to meet the movers and shakers of the antique world, this is one of the premiere events to attend.

Antique Jewelry - Jacobs Estate Jewelry

Source: Jacob’s Diamond & Estate Jewelry

The show features a wide range of objects ranging from the Renaissance to the Art Deco periods. With a focus on vintage engagement rings, 19th and 20th century, Victorian and Edwardian jewelry, Jacob’s Diamond & Estate Jewelry will be offering up some of the best pieces at this year’s fair. Over the course of the four-day show, over 18,000 people will attend. This year the fair will be open from February 9-12, 2018.

Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antiques Show

Now in its 15th year, this show has become a standard within the antiques world. This year’s show will have over 170 vendors from around the world, as well as an exciting lecture series. There will be a wide range of objects to feast your eyes on, as well as pieces from some of the most elite jewelers.

 

Antique Jewelry - J.S. Fearnley

Source: J.S. Fearnely

One stand-out vendor this year is J.S. Fearnely. With a wide range of jewelry to choose from ranging from the 19th century, to modern there is a mix of beautiful, unique pieces to suit everyone’s taste. This year’s fair will be held from February 14-20, 2018.

Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show

This is the largest show in the US to cater to just antique jewelry and watches! If you are looking for that unique item to complete your collection and haven’t been able to find it yet, then look no further. With close to 400 vendors who will be part of this event, there will be many jewelry options to choose from. Be on the lookout for pieces by Cartier, Tiffany’s, David Webb, Harry Winston, Patek Philippe, Van Cleef & Arpels and more. From the various stunning collections on view, you will be able to find unique pieces from the Renaissance through Modern era.

Antique Jewelry - Aaron Faber

Source: Aaron Faber Gallery

Be sure to check out the Aaron Faber Gallery which is based in NYC. From contemporary studio jewelry pieces, classic new and old works, and collectable vintage timepieces, this seller has you covered for whatever you may be seeking. The show will happen May 31- June 23, 2018.

The New York Antique Jewelry & Watch Show

Rounding out the list is the New York Antique Jewelry. Similar to the show in Las Vegas with a focus on just two kinds of items, the New York leg offers a more intimate experience with a little more than 100 of the world’s more seasoned jewelry and watch experts. Despite its size, this show has an array of items from many eras. Keep your eyes peeled for one of kind pieces by Cartier, Tiffany & Co., David Webb, Harry Winston, and many more. The show is also shorter than the others and will occur July 27-29, 2018.

Whether you are after nostalgic, delicate rings and necklaces from the Art Deco Era, chunky, modern pieces from the 1970s through today, or a mix of both, you will be sure to find something for all taste levels at each of these shows. When you are browsing, remember to do your homework beforehand on the vendors and the pieces you are interested in. This can help save you time in the long run and can help you better organize what you are after, keeping you within your budget.

 

About the Author
Anni Irish has been a contributing writer to several online publications including Boston based publication, The Dig, New York Arts Magazine, and ArteFuse among others. She holds a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University, an MA in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons College, and an MA in Performance Studies from New York University.

 

Related Blogs

Highlights from the 2018 Winter Antiques Show 

How to Find Antiques to Collect 

How is High-End Jewelry Defined?

White Hot Luxury: Best Watches for Snow Sports

There are a lot of things to think about when planning a holiday, especially a skiing or snowboarding break. With so much to pack, allow me to step in and offer five of the best watches for snow sports that range from the frivolously fun to the fearsomely functional.

Omega White Side of the Moon

Coordination is key. Stepping out on the slopes bedecked in the latest garb is all well and good, but if your watch doesn’t match your outfit then you’ll fall flat on your face (possibly in more ways than one).

Watches for Snow Sports

Image Courtesy of Omega

To guarantee you’ll match at least your surroundings, go for an Omega Speedmaster White Side of the Moon. A Speedy is always a solid choice, thanks to the rabid group of collectors propelling this stalwart’s popularity to new heights, and the abundance of aficionado inspired information available on the web to make collecting one of Omega’s most enduring classics a joy.

Breitling Emergency

This is the most (arguably only) serious entry on this list of best watches for snow sports. If you’re a fan of off piste adventures, the Breitling Emergency is the choice for you.

Watches for Snow Sports

Image Courtesy of Breitling

A truly enormous watch, the emergency more than justifies it’s gargantuan housing by packing in bucket-loads of potentially lifesaving tech. Unscrewing the antenna located by the seven o’clock lug when you’re not in mortal peril will result in two things: Firstly, a rescue helicopter will turn up to save your life; secondly your bank balance will shrink by a five digit sum. Cool party trick; massive hangover. Basically, don’t use it until you can see the Reaper sharpening his scythe…

Chanel Madamoiselle J12

I’m personally a big fan of Chanel’s watchmaking division. Partly because I’ve always cared more about the end product than the nature of its creation, but mostly because the aesthetics of their output are simply very sleek indeed…

Watches for Snow Sports

Image Courtesy of Chanel

Like it or loathe it, the J12 is a bit of a classic. It’s kind of the grown-up version of the Ice Watch, which although a horological abomination did have a certain je ne said quoi. This particular model references the old Mickey Mouse Rolex with aplomb. The animated cartoon of Coco Chanel is a delight. It is bold, and unapologetically whimsical. And most importantly, looks right at home in the bar after a hard day carving powder. With quite a bit of change from $10,000, this is a neat way to buy into the Chanel story while simultaneously gaining a bit of cult cool – this model is limited to just 555 pieces, after all.

Hublot Big Bang Unico White Ceramic

For those of you who prefer to descend the mountain on one plank rather than two, the Hublot Big Bang Unico White Ceramic might accentuate your rebel spirit a little better than the other models on this list of watches for snow sports.

This member of the frankly enormous Big Bang family is a bloated ceramic masterpiece. A 45mm case houses an in-house Unico movement that is beautifully revealed through Hublot’s characteristically industrial skeletonised dials. At around $20,000 this is an exciting addition to what is fast becoming a classic line of watches.

Audemars Piguet GMT Concept Watch

As the only watch on this list commanding more than six figures (retailing for around $215,000 if you were wondering), the Audemars Piguet GMT Concept Watch is a serious piece of kit.

The original design debuted way back in 2002, at which point it was most definitely one of the craziest watches from the future the world had ever seen. Even now, the best part of two decades later it stands out. And so it should. This white ceramic super watch looks at home in action or relaxing by the fire, and it’s appealing on so many levels it might just justify its mountainous price tag in time.

 

Related Blogs

Are Hublot Watches a Good Investment?

Investigating the Investment Value of Omega Watches

Are Breitling Watches a Good Investment?

Frantic February 2018 Auction Calendar

The 2018 auction calendar is now well underway, with an exciting January as Ferrari dominated the Arizona car week sales, along with an extraordinarily high-priced Jaguar thrown into the mix. The auction buzz continues with the standout auction coming from Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale. Check out the other features from the February 2018 auction calendar.

Bonham’s Jewellery Sale – 7th February

London, Knightsbridge

February 2018 Auction Dates

Image Source: Bonhams

In no uncertain terms, this is an auction for collectors to snap up some elegant, bespoke pieces of jewellery for affordable prices, with the majority of lots coming in at under £5,000 ($7,085). However, for the high rollers amongst you, the top lot comes from prestigious jewellery maker Cartier, with an estimate of £18,000-£22,000 ($25,500-$31,000) for a ‘Gem set Panthére Tassel Sautoir’. It features a panther’s head with a per shaped tsavorite garnet eyes on a fancy link chain.

 

Artcurial’s Retromobile Sale – 9th February

Paris, Porte de Versailles

February 2018 Auction Dates

Image Source: Articural’s

With two and a half days of viewing available before bidding commences on the afternoon of 9th February, this is set to be a big date for collectors, and a further indication into the classic car market as 2018 proceeds. The Italian luxury cars continue to demand soaring prices at auction, with the pristine condition 1954 Maserati A6 GCS/ 53 Spyder, steeped with illustrious racing history coming in at top of the lot with a higher estimate of €3,600,000 ($4,484,000).

Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale – 28th February

London, Bond Street

February 2018 Auction Dates

Image Source: Sotheby’s

To conclude February’s 2018 auction calendar, Sotheby’s came up with the big blockbuster, featuring a selection of works by the ‘greatest artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.’ With the leading lot coming from Picasso’s portrait of his celebrated muse Marie-Therese Walter, painted in 1937. Sotheby’s have chosen not to include an estimate for the piece, with an estimate only available upon request. However, BlouinArtinfo have estimated the piece to be worth around $50 million.

See the full February 2018 auction calendar below:

AuctionAuction HouseCategoryStart DateEnd DateLocationURL
Fine Old Master & 19th Century European ArtSotheby'sFine Art and AntiquesFebruary 1, 2018New Yorkhttps://goo.gl/dZgri6
Master Paintings Evening SaleSotheby'sFine Art and AntiquesFebruary 1, 2018New Yorkhttps://goo.gl/aGRdjF
Master Paintings and Sculpture Day SaleSotheby'sFine Art and AntiquesFebruary 1, 2018New Yorkhttps://goo.gl/JJG6qS
Erotic Art OnlineSotheby'sFine Art and AntiquesFebruary 2, 2018February 16, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/qxP5SP
Jewels OnlineChristie'sJewellery & WatchesFebruary 6, 2018February 14, 2018Online
RM Sotheby's: ParisRM Sotheby'sLuxury CarsFebruary 7, 2018Parishttps://goo.gl/dvuRpt
Fine Books and ManuscriptsBonham'sBooksFebruary 11, 2018Pasadena, CAhttps://goo.gl/jhiBR5
JF Chen CollectionChristie'sFine Art and AntiquesFebruary 13, 2018February 13, 2018New Yorkhttps://goo.gl/Y4JRPt
Erotic: Passion & DesireSotheby'sFine Art and AntiquesFebruary 15, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/YWQp7G
Los Angeles 2018MecumLuxury carsFebruary 16, 2018February 17, 2018Las Vegashttps://goo.gl/MRQcHV
Contemporary Art OnlineSotheby'sFine Art and AntiquesFebruary 21, 2018March 6, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/FYCxKu
US CoinsHeritageCoinsFebruary 21, 2018February 26, 2018Long Beachhttps://goo.gl/EZao4R
ComicsHeritageComicsFebruary 22, 2018February 24, 2018Dallashttps://goo.gl/CfFmZp
Americana & PoliticalHeritageMemorabilliaFebruary 24, 2018Dallashttps://goo.gl/dXjexQ
SportsHeritageMemorabilliaFebruary 24, 2018February 25, 2018Dallashttps://goo.gl/9dn11t
Finest & Rarest WinesSotheby'sFine WineFebruary 24, 2018New York
Fine ArtHeritageFine Art and AntiquesFebruary 27, 2018Dallashttps://goo.gl/Mb65xD
New NowPhillipsFine Art and AntiquesFebruary 28, 2018New Yorkhttps://goo.gl/g87vUp
Fine ArtHeritageFine Art and AntiquesFebruary 28, 2018Dallashttps://goo.gl/Fqzhmf
NOW!Sotheby'sFine Art and AntiquesFebruary 28, 2018Parishttps://goo.gl/P9mAaR
Impressionist & Modern Art Evening SaleSotheby'sFine Art and AntiquesFebruary 28, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/giFbWm

Related Blogs

Articural Tops Retromobile for Second Year in a Row

What to Expect from the 2018 Classic Car Market

The Art Business Today – Fine Art Collector Trends

What Borro Watched in January – SIHH 2018 Edition

There’s been a pervading sense of dread lingering in the air for quite some time, but following SIHH 2018 the fog of uncertainty seems to be lifting. After a year that saw the industry recover slightly, hopes are that the industry’s clientele are done hibernating and ready to kick off 2018 with the ringing of cash registers the world over.

SIHH 2018 - Opening

Image Courtesy of SIHH

Brands are doing their bit to facilitate the current upswing, by continuing to aggressively expand their entry-level collections. In addition to wider array of options for first-time or budget buyers, brands seem to be more willing to acknowledge their own failed endeavours.

A noticeable reduction in novelties, as well as a brutal – and long-overdue – cull of bloated chapters in their brand catalogues, has left the major players in the most competitive segments streamlined and better able to focus their efforts on giving the people what they want. Not, in contrast to previous years, what they want them to want…

On that buoyant note, let’s take a look at my favourite pieces from SIHH 2018 – one for the collector who’s ready to take the leap from entry- to mid-level pieces, and one for the seasoned aficionado who has dollar tree in their orchard.

Value Beyond Hype

Cartier is a brand I find myself talking about more frequently than it occupies my own mind or wish list. But as one of Richemont’s flagship models it has benefitted from the group’s recent change of direction.

SIHH 2018 - Cartier

Image Courtesy of Cartier

The new rash of Santos models released at SIHH 2018 has been well received, and for good reason. An overall slimming down of the case and bracelet is in line with the current trend of more versatile watches. Its heftier diameters (39.8mm – pretty big for a square watch) remain as an option for the broader wristed among us, but the real advancement here can be found in new bracelet technology that enables swift switching between styles thanks to a reliable and secure button release. Additionally, certain links have a quick release function, which enables ad hoc resizing for those warmer days. The pick of the bunch for me is the steel and gold model in the larger size, priced at a tempting $10,400. Not bad for a classic piece from a stalwart brand, now using their own in-house, anti-magnetic movements to power the show.

One for the Technophiles

For those of us who love seeing the new and creative way in which modern technology can be integrated into ‘traditional’ watches, the runaway winner from SIHH 2018 has to be the Ressence Type 2 e-Crown.

SIHH 2018 - Ressence

Image Courtesy of Ressence

I’ve long been a fan of this quirky little Belgian brand, and their continued existence and trailblazing development suggests I’m not alone. My favourite model from them prior to this release was the Ressence Type 5 – a bold reimagining of a dive watch that managed to be innovative, and weirdly classical (in a functional, if not aesthetic sense) all at once.

The newly unveiled Type 2 makes a powerful statement about the brand’s vision of the future. No Ressence watch features a traditional crown, due to the physical impossibility of teaming a hermetically sealed oil chamber (the unique Ressence Orbital Convex System, or ROCS) with a centrally located stem that would, in effect, ‘pierce’ the sealed chamber or throw the whole thing out of whack stylistically. To get around this, Ressence developed a mind-bogglingly complex case back setting mechanism, which has now been joined by a Bluetooth connected crown. This means your ‘traditional’ automatic watch will now keep perfect time thanks to an ever-active connection to your smartphone. This is a great, practically peerless example of how modern tech can positively influence traditional watchmaking.

Innovative is the word. Too often is it used in this industry, but Ressence deserve the title wholeheartedly. With no official pricing available at this time, the Ressence Type 2 e-Crown is expected to retail in the region of $50,000. Mad as it sounds, it’s a snip at that price.

 

About the Author

Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.

Related Blogs

SIHH in Review

What Borro Watched – February Edition

Are New Watch Materials Getting Old?