Everything You Need to Know About the Watches & Wonders fair in Hong Kong (Part 2)
Earlier this month, we introduced the highlights of six of the watch and jewellery labels that presented their latest products at the Watches and Wonders Fair in Hong Kong. We take a look at the other six labels that offered some new and engaging objects for admiration.
1. Cartier combined the two favourite things we love about the brand.
One of the biggest maisons presenting at Watches and Wonders, Cartier presented numerous pieces at the fair, along with a more recent exhibition of its jewellery and haute jewellery objects in Singapore. One of the most notable combines the highlights of the maison in its timekeeping expertise.
Mystery clocks were a highlight of Cartier in the '30s, and continued to be impressive creations for the house, often set in precious or semi-precious stones as table and mantlepiece objects. In 2013, the brand revived its practice of mystery clocks, but with a wrist watch instead. The Les Heures Mystérieuses de Cartier came in two editions, a three-hand wristwatch and a double mystery tourbillon.
Earlier this year at the SIHH fair in Geneva, the brand unveiled a new case design in the Clé de Cartier. These two were combined at Watches and Wonders with the Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hours. The watch, available in pink gold and palladium, comes in a 41mm case.
2. Baume & Mercier made a gorgeous repeater timepiece.
Baume & Mercier had a star in the actress Charlene Choi, who's a friend of the brand and joined them with a diamond-covered Classima timepiece. The brand further presented Choi with a personalised Classima moonphase watch.
The real star, however, was the Clifton 1830 Five Minute Repeater Pocket Watch, an elegant piece with a two-hand display and the traditional complication managed by a slider at the 4 o'clock position.
The red gold timepiece was timed to commemorate the brand's 185th anniversary, along with a ladies' timepiece in the Promesse collection unveiled last year. The Promesse Jade has a jade bezel with 60 diamonds accentuating the watch design.
3. Jaeger-LeCoultre made a deadbeat seconds timepiece I thoroughly covet.
I tend to write articles using the royal 'we', but every once in a while I do find something so personally desirable that I find it hard to separate my own opinion from the professional analysis. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic True Second is exactly that. The sub-40mm watch is a beautiful example of the brand's ability to take a simple three-hand watch and perfect it.
The Geophysic has always been a timepiece dedicated to precision, durability and once again the brand delivers on this with an automatic calibre with a newly developed gyrolab escapement. Add to that a deadbeat seconds complication, one of our favourites, and you have the perfect three-hand timepiece for the work day. Although the Geophysic Universal Time is more sophisticated with a world time complication behind it, all controlled by a single crown operation, the True Second is far more sexy.
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4. Piaget's made a new bunch of watches I really want to own.
There are few companies who craft incredibly artistic timepieces and Piaget is right up there, finding new rare crafts and bringing them into the watch and jewellery fold. The second series of Mythical Journeys, taking the varied series of timepieces closer to the European end of the Silk Road, visits Venice and Samarkand.
There are a few new crafts in play, such as the eggshell marquetry, but scrimshaw engraving of an eagle on the Altiplano, and the guilloché dial watch are incredible versions of an Altiplano timepiece. But the watch that's high on our list is the Emperador Coussin XL Lune Astronomique.
For one, we've always loved the cushion-shaped case and watch, and the creatively styled extra-large moon with a heated gold dial now comes with a gold champleve enamel decorated dial featuring a vintage map of the Silk Road. The enamelling, by the famed Anita Porchet, is of course impressive. At the fair, appreciating Piaget's timepieces as well as actress Carina Lau, sporting the new Limelight Stella moonphase timepiece.
5. We were surprised by Richard Mille's rather sedate timepiece.
When we first heard about the RM069 Erotic Tourbillon, we expected it to be somewhat closer to the traditional erotic timepieces we'd seen before in brands such as Andersen of Geneve, Lurgin, Blancpain... Not what we expected.
The watch, featuring three rolls of roller displays, offers a multitude of erotic messages that one can share with another, rather like erotic dice. A pusher at 7 o'clock changes the message and lets you come up with something sexy to say to your other half, when whispered words just aren't sufficient.
The watch comes in a grade 5 titanium case, and the manually wound tourbillon movement offers a power reserve of 69 hours. The power reserve display, styled like a fuel gauge, is driven by a planetary differential adjacent to the tourbillon cage. It's a lovely timpiece that's unusual in its function, but certainly entertaining.
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6. Van Cleef & Arpels demonstrates its responsibility in feather art.
In a partnership with feather artist Nelly Saunier, Van Cleef & Arpels introduced the Cadrans Extraordinaires Oiseaux Enchantés, for three editions of miniature birds on the dial carefully selected and painted by Saunier for colour and beauty.
The maison is quick to point out that the birds they use for plumage are bred and the feathers that are used have come from molt, and some private donations. i.e. No birds died in the making of these watch dials. While the watches are styled as feminine watches, we kinda wish they made a men's range.
That concludes our Watches and Wonders 2015 coverage, but in a few months, SIHH is up once more, this time with 9 more brands. We'll have plenty more news for you soon.