Jewelry and Watches

Breaking 3 World Records in One Watch – The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic

2018 has been a breakthrough year for the highest luxury timepiece brands. We’ve seen the world’s first Triple Split Chronograph from A. Lange & Sohne, as well as a dive into unfamiliar territory for Patek Philippe, as they attempt to penetrate the increasingly luxurious young buyers’ market. Now it’s Bulgari’s turn to attract the attention, which they are doing with the unveiling of the newest watch to enter their esteemed collection; the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic
Three World Records in One

This is a watch that can be credited with simultaneously breaking three world records at the same time: the world’s thinnest automatic watch, thinnest automatic tourbillon and thinnest tourbillon.

The Bulgari takes over from Audemars Piguet’s Reference 2643, which held the record of thinnest tourbillon for an incredible run of 32 years from 1986 until now.

The Finimisso Tourbillon measures in at 3.95mm thick, which is nothing short of extraordinary considering this is a watch that is built for everyday purpose, not just to sit on a shelf for show.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic

‘A Distinct Metallic and Mechanical Feel’

The case is constructed using sandblasted titanium, complemented by an ultra-thin, ultra-light titanium bracelet with a triple folding clasp.

The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic uses a skeletonized open dial, showcasing all the cogs and movements for the world to see. This, combined with the sandblasted titanium finish give this watch a distinct metallic and mechanical feel.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic

Key Features and Price

Probably the most praised aspect of the watch is the BVL 288 caliber, which at first glance is a beautiful sight to behold. It allows for the smoothest of movement on the automatic winding system.

The power reserve comes in at 55 hours, which is standard for the luxury watch industry. It also features a water resistance of 30 meters, catering for the highly popular diving market.

The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic doesn’t come cheap. It currently retails at $118,000, and although the availability is still unknown, expect a limited supply at that kind of price mark.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic

A Baselworld Spectacle

Perhaps it was the striking, mechanical aesthetics, or the slenderness of the world record breaking Tourbillon that caused a stir at this year’s Baselworld.

However, since it was debuted in the Swiss city for the biggest watch show of the year, there has been an ever-growing buzz surrounding this watch, and for good reason.

This is a watch that has been stripped down to its very core. The painstakingly handcrafted mechanics unconcealed, brandished to the world and packed into the thinnest automatic watch to ever grace the planet; and ultimately, it is this minimalistic design that showcases its true beauty.

2018 has been a breakthrough year for the highest luxury timepiece brands. We’ve seen the world’s first Triple Split Chronograph from A. Lange & Sohne, as well as a dive into unfamiliar territory for Patek Philippe, as they attempt to penetrate the increasingly luxurious young buyers’ market. Now it’s Bulgari’s turn to attract the attention, after the unveiling of the newest watch to enter their esteemed collection; the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic.

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The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph Reference 5968A

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph Reference 5698A was debuted among an array of contemporary design features, in a battle to stand out to the masses at Baselworld.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph

Due to its almost holy name in the horological world, Patek Philippe never fails to stand out. However, it was the aesthetics that gained this piece so much coverage and attention.

Patek Philippe appear to have made a big leap forward in the ever-growing market for young luxury buyers. The Aquanaut Chronograph is without doubt one of the most casual watches ever offered by Patek Philippe.

Key Takeaways

The most distinctive feature of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph Reference 5698A is surely the rubber orange strap. The steel folding buckle and orange themed dial beautifully complement it, utilizing carroty accents and second hands.

The watch is also available with a black rubber strap to suit the wearer’s preference and features a stainless-steel case on both models.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph

The dial comes in dark grey, which contrasts emphatically with the icy white markers featured on the watch face. The dial has an engraved pattern which emulates the style of the rubber strap, with a slightly rounded cubism style to it.

In terms of the movement, the Aquanaut features a CH 28-250 C caliber movement – the same used in the highly collectible 5980 Nautilus. It features a self-winding chronograph, with automatic winding and includes a power reserve of between 45 and 55 hours.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph Reference 5698A has four key features; hours, minutes, date and a 30-minute chronograph; nothing too spectacular for a watch of this caliber.

Patek chose to produce the Aquanaut with a diameter of 42.2 mm (1.66 inches), giving the watch a more subtle, elegant feel. Thus, allowing the orange strap and dial to do the talking.

Price

Considering this is a rubber strap watch, $43,770 may seem like a hefty price tag. And although availability has not yet been specified, the simple, elegant aesthetics and color scheme of the watch dial will likely prove to be a big hit with the younger market.

This, combined with Patek’s prestigious reputation for watchmaking excellence may just make this a collectible for the future.

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Richard Mille Versus Franck Muller

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Richard Mille Versus Franck Muller

Watchmaking is a constant celebration of craftsmanship, of artisanal skills, and of superior design. To that end, the latest installment in our ‘versus series’ is celebratory match-up between two big – and polarizing – guns. Let’s take a deeper look at the investment value of Richard Mille as well as Franck Muller and see how we can compare the two.

The Investment Value of Richard Mille

Image Courtesy of Richard Mille 

Two Legendary Brands

Both Richard Mille and Franck Muller watches are capable of inspiring a passionate response. Depending on which end of the love/hate spectrum that response falls is really down to your comfort with extravagance, and whether or not you adore or despise the use of revolutionary materials.

 

And to be honest, both of these brands are capable of producing horological heroes and horrors in equal measure. Picking through the morass of options, mad case contours, and crazy colors to find models that might actually appreciate in time is tricky, but I think it’s safe to say that the best chance of long term value retention comes with the pieces that could be considered icons of the brand.

 

It’s pretty rare that the most valuable piece of a brand’s collection finds itself to be a stylistic outlier. Far more common is a subtle variation on a tried and tested stalwart – a strange, or limited dial that adds a soupçon of distinction to the whole affair. Think of the Paul Newman Daytona as a perfect example of a classic subtly re-imagined at the perfect moment in time to capture the public’s imagination.

 

The Investment Value of Richard Mille

Image Courtesy Franck Muller

 

Fortunately for the Richard Mille and Franck Muller collector, this means the best pieces to invest in are actually the most affordable. You could argue that the diamond-encrusted pieces will fare better on the resale market due to the inherent value of the precious stones used to adorn their cases, but their retail prices are so stratospherically high that seems unlikely. The investment value of Richard Mille models should be looked at on a case by case basis. In the case of the Richard Mille RM 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur, well, this pieces requires enough diamonds to keep a small mine in business. Do all those tiny diamonds amount to a price tag of $1,090,000? I don’t think so.

 

For those readers not familiar with one or either brand, to understand their archetypal look, check out the Richard Mille RM-010 (top picture), which retails for around $85,000, and the Franck Muller Crazy Hours (second picture), which comes in at six grand.

The Investment Value of Richard Mille vs. Franck Muller, In Sum

Despite the wildly different entry price points, there are pieces from Muller that would require the access codes to a subterranean-alpine vault to purchase. The point here is this: Both brands boast an identifiable case silhouette, which is a powerful tool in the world of watchmaking. But the question of which is more unique comes down to components. For that reason I would, with limitless funds, go for a Richard Mille over a Franck Muller. However, if I were looking for a watch to wear with my tuxedo, the Crazy Hours would take the prize every time.

About the Author

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

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The A. Lange & Sohne Triple Split – Raising the Bar

The Double Split has been a favorite among the watch collecting community for over 14 years now. However, recently announced is the A. Lange & Sohne Triple Split, which is set to reach new heights for the German horological firm. The piece looks set to be an innovative, logical progression of the modern classic Double Split.

A. Lange & Sohne Triple Split

The A. Lange & Sohne Triple Split – The First of its Kind

This watch is an impressive step forward for the watch world, and is the very first of its kind to exist. Simply put, the Triple Split is an extension of the Double Split’s capabilities, and is expected to receive the same amount of buzz and plaudits that the Double Split received when it was first unveiled.

How it Works

A. Lange & Sohne Triple Split

Essentially, the Triple Split is an extension of the Rattrapante chronograph featured in the Double Split. Before, the Double Split was capable of measuring and comparing the time of two concurrent events, of up to twelve hours’ duration., whereas this updated version can be split three times.

This feature is particularly useful in recording multiple lap times, as it allows the user to “split” hours and minutes, as well as seconds with the press of a button.

Watches rarely have much to compete on besides functionality and aesthetics. So, a world first of this type of horological technology will certainly be noticed in the luxury watch world and can be regarded as a huge leap forward for A. Lange & Sohne.

A. Lange & Sohne Triple Split

Details

A. Lange & Sohne chose to use white gold as the exclusive material choice for the Triple Split, offering no other alternatives.

The A. Lange & Sohne Triple Split is on the bigger side, measuring in at 43.2mm x 15.6 mm. This, combined with the fact that they chose to only manufacture 100 limited edition versions of this model further reinforces A. Lange & Sohne’s choice to position this watch as a major statement by whoever chooses to own it.

A. Lange & Sohne Triple Split

An Expected Price Tag from the World’s First Triple Rattrapante

A $147,000 price tag was to be expected from the world’s first triple Rattrapante that was painstakingly designed and handcrafted by one of the most prestigious watch brands on the planet. A price this high deems the watch to be exclusive to only the very highest earning demographic of society; rendering the rest of us to be dreamers, merely admiring the beauty from afar.

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Here’s Your Complete July 2018 Auction Calendar

Sotheby’s is set to dominate the headline art auctions throughout the July 2018 Auction Calendar. Both the Old Masters Evening sale and Pre-Raphaelite British Impressionist art sale are in the highly anticipated schedule.

The world’s biggest classic motor racing festival is also set to return. With it comes Silverstone’s classic sale, which should ignite the classic car world and give indication on how the market will pan out into the latter half of the year.

Sotheby’s Old Masters Evening Sale – July 4th

London, United Kingdom

July 2018 Auction Calendar

London Art Week always results in a busy and exciting time for the London art market at the start of July. Arguably the most important and influential auction of the week will take place at Sotheby’s Bond Street auction house, the Old Masters Evening Sale.

Leading the way will be Joseph Mallord William Turner’s stunning portrait, depicting Walton Bridges in one of his highly important series of views of the River Thames. The portrait is expected to fetch up to $5 million when it goes under the hammer on July 4th.

Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art – July 12th

London, United Kingdom

July 2018 Auction Calendar

An exciting array of paintings, drawings and watercolours are up for grabs at this vastly important midsummer art auction. The sale will offer examples of not only the pre-Raphaelites but also Classical Revival and British Impressionist pieces.

The sale will be led by lot 12 – John William Waterhouse’s enchanting masterpiece, ‘The Siren’. Find out all of the enthralling history and provenance behind this piece here.

Silverstone Classic Sale 2018 – July 21st

Warwickshire, England

July 2018 Auction Calendar

The Silverstone Classic Sale is upon us again and it has some absolute gems up for auction. With plenty of rare, provenant Ferraris, Porsches and Jaguars in the mix, it is hard to pick a real standout contender for the featured lot.

The 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster leads the way in terms of price by a considerable margin, with an estimated hammer price of between $700,000 and $800,000. The car comes with fully documented restoration by a ‘Who’s Who’ of the UK’s leading 300SL specialists and is sure to cause some serious excitement among the classic car enthusiasts at Silverstone.

 

See below for the full July 2018 Auction Calendar:

AuctionAuction HouseCategoryStart DateEnd DateLocationURL
Watches OnlineSothebysJewellery & WatchesJuly 2, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/SL5Zkt
Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental and Russian BooksSothebysFine Art and AntiquesJuly 3, 2018London
Old Master Sculpture & Works of ArtSothebysFine Art and AntiquesJuly 3, 2018London
Royal Orders and Medals from the collection of George, Duke of Cambridge SothebysMedalsJuly 3, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/kBsXiU
Ancient Sculpture and Works of ArtSothebysFine Art and AntiquesJuly 3, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/j2Z97m
AntiquitiesChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 3, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/HRJf36
Old Master & British Drawings & WatercoloursChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 3, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/XSp8mB
Quentin Blake: A Retrospective Alternative Versions from the artist's personal collectionChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 3, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/zZbrmb
Old Master & British Works on PaperSothebysFine Art and AntiquesJuly 4, 2018London
TreasuresSothebysJewellery & WatchesJuly 4, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/HFbdX7
Old Masters Evening SaleSothebysFine Art and AntiquesJuly 4, 2018London
Treasured Portraits from the Collection of Ernst HolzscheiterChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 4, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/n7QDUs
Gold BoxesChristiesGoldJuly 4, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/MmBmgP
Old Masters Day SaleSothebysFine Art and AntiquesJuly 5, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/8pkbyZ
Collection Quidam de RevelSothebysFine Art and AntiquesJuly 5, 2018Parishttps://goo.gl/8XywWc
Thomas Chippendale: 300 YearsChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 5, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/Nb7VYE
The Exceptional Sale 2018ChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 5, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/xivPFc
Old Masters Evening SaleChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 5, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/6Poa2i
From Artist to Woodblock: Japanese Prints OnlineChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 5, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/q7UAi2
Jewels OnlineSothebysJewellery & WatchesJuly 6, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/f2e9xV
Contemporary Prints and Multiples OnlineSothebysFine Art and AntiquesJuly 6, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/bVddzw
Old Masters Day SaleChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 6, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/wauxNT
English Literature, History, Science, Children's Books and IllustrationsSothebysBooksJuly 9, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/cF8co7
First Open Online: Post-War and Contemporary ArtChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 9, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/jA3i
Contemporary EditionChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 9, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/SCnzdy
MoMA: Tracing Photography's HistoryChristiesPhotographyJuly 9, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/xa1c5S
The Library of an English Bibliophile Part VIIISothebysBooksJuly 10, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/QgQWCV
Science and Natural HistoryChristiesScienceJuly 10, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/4mTiXy
Finest and Rarest WinesSothebysFine WineJuly 11, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/orVMbt
19th & 20th Century SculptureSothebysFine Art and AntiquesJuly 11, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/4DPcqA
Valuable Books and ManuscriptsChristiesBooksJuly 11, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/4p3U37
Victorian Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist ArtChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 11, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/k3P18b
The Art of China: New York, Summer EditionChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 11, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/8WvRXf
The Art of China: London, Summer EditionChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 11, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/jA3i
Phillips x Artsy: Summer SchoolPhillipsFine Art and AntiquesJuly 11, 2018New Yorkhttps://goo.gl/huxC3b
Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist ArtSotheby'sFine Art and AntiquesJuly 12, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/mSMPMx
US CoinsHeritageCoinsJuly 12, 2018July 16, 2018Orlando
Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist ArtSothebysFine Art and AntiquesJuly 12, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/LgqJT5
19th Century European & Orientalist ArtChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 12, 2018Londonhttps://goo.gl/2zTp8K
Contemporary Art OnlineSothebysFine Art and AntiquesJuly 13, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/KMSNnB
Christie's Wine OnlineChristiesFine WineJuly 17, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/HPvJaV
SportsHeritageMemorabilliaJuly 19, 2018July 20, 2018Dallas
Contemporary Art OnlineSothebysFine Art and AntiquesJuly 24, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/hhY37V
Close to Home: Christie's Staff Art ShowChristiesFine Art and AntiquesJuly 25, 2018Onlinehttps://goo.gl/zjV9Nv
Movie PostersHeritageMemorabilliaJuly 28, 2018July 29, 2018Dallas
20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening SalePhillipsFine Art and AntiquesJuly 25, 2018Hong Kong
Jewels and JaeditePhillipsJewellery & WatchesJuly 28, 2018Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Watch Auctions: SIXPhillipsJewellery & WatchesJuly 28, 2018Hong Kong

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Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time

Vacheron Constantin is as prestigious as a watch brand can be. It sources precious metals and hand crafts bespoke, high class, elegant timepieces. Vacheron models date back to 1755 making it the oldest watch manufacturing brand in existence. The company values and quality remain ever present, as seen from the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time

‘A Certain Nod Towards Enthusiasts of this Reference’

The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time is one of the most popular and renowned models in the Swiss watchmakers’ arsenal. The latest model is a certain nod towards enthusiasts of this reference.

The Dual Time is offered in both steel finish and 18 carats rose gold, although steel looks to be the most prominent option among buyers.

The dials are also available in two colors: deep blue or silver tone, with the former offering a more classic Overseas look. This is a trend that is proving increasingly popular in the watch collecting world.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time

Simplistic Practicalities

The most unique feature is the simplistic practicalities that the timepiece offers. In addition to the standard hour/minute/second timers, the watch is also fitted with a central hand with a red arrow on it that acts as a home time indicator. It also features an AM/PM time indicator for the seasoned traveler.

The breath taking in-house mechanics can be observed through the custom made sapphire case back. A caliber 5110 DT powers the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time, which is a dual time variant of the caliber 5100. It has an impressive 60-hour reserve and contains 234 components, 37 of which are jewels.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time

An Adaptable Proprietary Strap

The Overseas is adaptable to the wearer’s needs, offering a proprietary strap changing system. This allows for a straightforward process in taking the strap on and off without any tools and change to either a blue or black alligator leather strap or a blue or black rubber strap to suit the owner’s preference.

The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time was showcased at this year’s Baselworld. The first available order came in February 2018, when it was announced that the Steel model would set you back $24,700, whilst the gold model retails at $39,500.

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Rolex Unicorn – The $5.9 Million Watch

The Power of Rolex

The highly prominent Rolex Unicorn, where to start?

Rolex is undeniably the most recognized and prestigious watch brand on the planet. The Swiss timekeeper is estimated to be valued at over $5.9 million, making Rolex the 5th most valuable luxury brand in the world.

Rolex Unicorn

With all this considered; when a rare, alluring Rolex with unrivaled provenance comes along, it is sure to fetch a vast price at auction. However, it must meet specific criteria for rarity and desirability before it falls into these kind of price territories.

This was shown by Paul Newman’s Daytona, which sold for $17.8 million back in October 2017.

The Birth of the Rolex ‘Unicorn’

During the 1960’s, Rolex only produced Daytona’s in stainless steel or yellow gold, however this one-off time piece was to be the exception. Rolex was asked by a vastly influential client to manufacture a one off white gold Daytona, of which the original price has never been revealed.

This Daytona Ref 6265 was christened the Rolex Unicorn, based on its white gold design. Horological experts estimate the production year of the watch would have been in 1970, before it was delivered to a German retailer for resale in 1971.

The dial remains in mint condition, with very little of the signs of ageing. Since its inception, the Rolex Unicorn has remained an elusive, desirable mystery among the watch collecting community.

Rolex Unicorn

$3 Million Price Estimate Shattered

Phillips initially placed a $3 million price tag as the higher estimate for bidders. The Rolex Unicorn headlined Phillips’ ‘Daytona Ultimatum’ sale on May 12th and eventually went under the hammer for a staggering $5.9 million, $2.9 million over the asking price.

The proceeds of the watch went to a chosen children’s charity, which will have paid a contributing factor in the enormously inflated price.

However, the price is also a nod to the seemingly infinite demand for one-of-a-kind, historically rare timepieces in the current watch market.

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Fashion and Function in Luxury Watches

How you interpret something is down not just to angles, materials, or color, but how those things combine in the context of your own life to result in a deeply personal reaction to an object that can not really be predicted. The manufacturer may start the process, but in the end, the fashion and function in luxury watches is entirely decided by you, the wearer.

A Proven Way to Determine Fashion and Function in Luxury Watches

The intangible niches of design cannot be expressed in words. It takes a good deal of touch and experience to strike the balance between a trend and a classic. Fortunately for watchmakers the world over, there exists a school of thought that makes realizing this tricky harmony a little easier.

function in luxury watches

The Deutscher Werkbund was a group of artists, designers, and even scientists, who believed that the design of an object’s form should always follow its function. These days the philosophies of the Werkbund are better known by the name of the Bauhaus School, founded by the group in 1919 in an attempt to refine their principles even further.

‘Bauhaus’ design simply looks right, it doesn’t include anything wild, it just focuses on the function in luxury watches. Because all objects have their form dictated by their utility, there is an organic symmetry to everything, even though the items themselves can appear block-ish and industrial.

While many watches could be said to be following these principles by virtue of having a function at all, true restraint is rare, and perhaps has something to do with the enduring popularity of the Patek Philippe Calatrava. The pictured model retails for $21,500 and is an excellent example of form following function in a pure and minimalist fashion.

Can a Watch’s Design Appease all Eras?

When it comes to fashion, the idea of timelessness is sometimes hard to pin down: Due to the industry’s transient nature, an aesthetic relevant in multiple if not all eras should be impossible, but I don’t believe that to be the case.

function in luxury watches

The root of this belief comes from an appreciation of tried and tested forms seen in watchmaking. The pieces that have endured over the years are adhering to a utility-led design principle, even if that’s not immediately obvious. Take a look at the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso, for example. Hailed as an Art Deco masterpiece, one would not immediately link it to Bauhaus philosophies, but it absolutely does. For around $25,000 the price of owning the pictured icon (the Reverso Tribute Duoface) in the worlds of watchmaking and fashion is not as high as you might think.

function in luxury watches

Creativity with the absence of garishness can be devilishly difficult to get right, but IWC have succeed with their Da Vinci model, made more comfortable thanks to its articulated lugs – another example of form following function in an unexpected and atypical way. The pictured model retails for $6,400

So when it comes to longevity in fashion, it is core design principles that dictate success, rather than a simple stylistic shortcut.

When you remove the superfluous, you are left with the bare bones of operation. With no embellishments to hide the execution of the craft, there is nowhere to hide. These stark, honest, consciously assembled designs are the ones that can sidestep trends, and avoid obsolescence through their inherent excellence

About the Author

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

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