Blancpain, Breguet, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, Jaquet Droz and Omega debuted their 2019 novelties to the world this week.
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From left: Glashutte Original’s Sixties Annual Edition 2019; Jaquet Droz’s Tropical Bird Repeater; and Blancpain’s 2019 edition of the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda.
The inaugural edition of the Swatch Group’s Time To Move concluded yesterday. Three intense days of discovering the brands’ 2019 novelties amid travelling to and from manufactures and presentations certainly took its toll on a select group of international media but no one could dispute the result following the group’s ballsy move of exiting from megafair Baselworld (hence the tongue-in-cheek — and cheeky — headliner) was nothing short of a roaring success. Held from May 14 to 16, this was a special experience for journalists (the trade edition was held in March), and certainly the crème de la crème of the horological media.
The event revolved exclusively around six brands — Blancpain, Breguet, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, Jaquet Droz and Omega — and each had half a day with the media. Rado, Longines, Tissot and Certina did not feature.
We’ll publish longer features on the entire programme in upcoming issues of Options as well as our annual watch magazine, Retrograde, but, very quickly, here’s what the world has been waiting to see. We present six novelties that caught our eye.
Vintage good looks meet technological advancement in Blancpain’s revisitation of one of its most iconic diving watches from the late 1960s. The 2019 edition of the Fifty Fathoms Barakuda contains most of the features of the original version but is jazzed up with all the technological innovations as a result of the brand’s longstanding (and outstanding) experience in the field of scuba diving. The new Barakuda is quite a beauty, with a smart black dial punctuated by red and white hour markers (coated with Super-LumiNova, naturally). It is water-resistant to 300m and boasts a tropical rubber strap. Its heart beats with the 1151 self-winding movement. For those who love collecting, act fast; this model is limited to just 500 pieces.
When it comes to a brand so rich in history and heritage, it’s hard to know quite where to begin, really. Any of Breguet’s emblematic lines — the Tradition, Marine and Reine de Naples — is a natural winner but, if we had to choose one this year, it’d be the new Marine timepiece for women. The completely new blue lacquer dial says it all. Inspired by the tides, the sea and the waves, the work of art will make aesthetes fall hard for the mother-of-pearl oscillating weight. As each piece is completely handmade, naturally, each dial will carry slight variations, rendering it a one-of-a-kind treasure.
Those following fashion trends would notice how burnt orange is all the rage this season. Coincidence or not, the Saxon house of Glashütte Original seems to have gotten its palette completely on point. The Sixties Annual Edition 2019 in burnt orange is a fiery, retro-looking stunner. The eye-catching dégradé effect of the dial is the result of it being galvanised before red and black lacquers are blended and applied. The final individual colour grading depends on the angle of the spraying before a final baking to achieve its hue.
If the name Project Z13 sounds like the stuff of high-tech secrets, you certainly got that right. And although the house of Harry Winston is better known for gemstones and high luxury, this radical new timepiece might just broaden your impressions of the house. The Z in the architecturally strong watch comes from Zalium, a trademarked alloy that is bio-compatible, light and heat-resistant. At 12 o’clock, the traditional openworked dial, with its excentered hours and minutes, stands out as a bold design element while the metal structuring (inspired by the Manhattan Bridge) is an ode to its New York heritage. Limited to 300 pieces.
Spend the spare RM3.239 million you have from savvy investments or larger-than-expected bonuses on Jaquet Droz’s Tropical Bird Repeater. Inspired by the rainforest, this masterpiece features a hand-engraved and hand-painted mother-of-pearl dial, showcasing seven different animations from creatures like the dragonfly, peacock and hummingbird. It also offers a more than respectable 50 hours of power reserve. Truly a spectacular show from a brand that has always paid homage to nature, symbolism and the art of telling stories through time.
Perhaps it’s our obsession with nature and colour but, amid Omega’s hefty new collection, it’s hard to ignore the Seamaster 300 Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8913 certified by Metas. Take your pick from the stunning lapis lazuli or malachite dials, sourced from Afghanistan and South Africa, and complemented by blue and green leather straps respectively. We’re cheating a little here but we also couldn’t take our eyes off the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer, which features a stunning, laser-ablated world map on its 43mm dial. For those who know the location of Omega’s headquarters in Switzerland, take a gander to 5.25pm on the dial, where the town of Biel/Bienne sits most nicely in between the Azores and Moscow. A neat nod to its roots? Most definitely.