Haute Time attended a recent, exclusive watch event, but not in Switzerland. This time, we traveled to Hong Kong for the third annual edition of Watches & Wonders. From Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 2015, the affair returned to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Run by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), the same foundation that organizes the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), Watches & Wonders brought together 12 of the finest watchmaking brands and their chief executive officers, as well as expert technicians and treasured timepieces.
“The spirit behind fine watchmaking is one of continued innovation,” explained Fabienne Lupo, chairwoman and managing director of the Fondation de Haute Horlogerie. “And this event is a good reflection of that spirit, because the concept is new, and it’s designed to meet the needs of an ever-changing world. That’s why we think it really can be the fine watchmaking rendezvous in Asia that no one will want to miss.”
Launched in 2013 as a bridge to tap into South East Asia’s lucrative market, Watches & Wonders has since evolved into an international launch pad for novelties.
While the watches that premiered in Geneva at SIHH continue to attract huge crowds—last year’s event drew in more than 40,000 visitors, despite the Umbrella Movement causing unrest in the city that week—their role is changing, as they become a supporting act for more novelties. Indeed, brands are now reserving some of their novelties for the latter of the two watch fairs, meaning Watches & Wonders now acts as an international showcase for new models.
A. LANGE & SÖHNE 1815 ANNIVERSARY OF F.A. LANGE IN HONEY GOLD
Celebrating the 200-year history of the Saxon brand, the 1815 Anniversary of F.A. Lange, a platinum wristwatch
made in honor of the brand’s founder, Ferdinand Adolph Lange, was launched in the East of Germany, in February 2015. This time, the manufacture unveiled a more accessible version, in honey gold—a material exclusive to A. Lange & Söhne—with a wonderfully textured silver dial. The new, limited edition is lighter on the wrist and less expensive than its predecessor, but otherwise shares much with the timepiece debuted in Dresden by the founder’s grandson, Walter Lange, 90, as well as its current CEO, Wilhelm Schmid. Once more, it is presented in a 40-millimeter case, and features hours, minutes and subsidiary seconds at 6 o’clock. It is not the most complicated watch made by A. Lange & Söhne, but “flawlessness and simplicity” follow the values set by its founder 200 years ago. Inside, the caliber L051.1 pays tribute to the German watchmaker’s pioneering designs, including Glashütte’s signature three-quarter plate in untreated German silver. Boasting a power reserve of 55 hours, the in-house movement can be admired through a sapphire caseback, where the serial number of the watch can also be found.It’s second-time lucky for watch collectors who missed out on the first 1815 Anniversary Of F.A. Lange. Honey gold watches are a specialty of A. Lange & Söhne, and they are rarely as important as this release. The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Anniversary Of F.A. Lange in Honey Gold is a limited edition of 200 watches.
CARTIER CLÉ DE CARTIER MYSTERIOUS HOUR
Some mysteries are so beautiful, solving them becomes a passion. The newest Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hour timepiece represents two icons of Cartier watchmaking: the Clé de Cartier watch and the mysterious mechanical movement complication. Combine the two, and voila! The Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hour is born with a silvered, openwork sunray-effect dial. The 41-millimeter diameter watch is bewitching. Around the dial, its two hands gravitate without any attachments. This is a complication created by the skillful Cartier watchmakers through sheer, meticulous work. The openwork dial features blue Roman numerals that match the blue sapphire of the winding key, (Clé in French means ‘key’). On the wrist, the Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hour watch looks
powerful. Its bold Roman numerals, “rail-track” minute circle and sword-shaped hands display the iconic DNA of Cartier’s Fine Watchmaking collections. An elegant and slender case provides both style and comfort. Its contours, neatly fitting any wrist, provide the wearer with a sense of ease.The in-house caliber 9981 MC, made of 158 parts, powers the unique watch, and is encased in 950/1000 palladium set with a sapphire crown. With a water resistance of approximately 30 meters, the Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hour watch comes with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours. Complementing the distinct look, the Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hour watch is paired with a black alligator-skin strap and a double adjustable folding buckle in 18-karat white gold.
MONTBLANC HERITAGE CHRONOMÉTRIE DUAL TIME VASCO DA GAMA LIMITED EDITION 238
“This year we are launching a great collection, especially the limited edition of the Vasco Da Gama,” Jérôme Lambert, Montblanc’s chief executive revealed at Watches & Wonders. The Heritage Chronométrie Dual Time Vasco da Gama Limited Edition 238 is driven by the MB 29.19 automatic caliber with a dual-time complication, featuring 21 components. An in-house developed, highly functional complication is housed in this new timepiece, allowing for a second time zone (local time) together with the home time display. The home time counter is located at 12 o’clock and its center is decorated with an image of the sky in the southern hemisphere at night, which guided Vasco da Gama during his voyage. A second counter at 6 o’clock with small seconds’ indicator features a miniature three-dimensional world map. “I think this timepiece has an amazing fusion between watch-making mastery of Montblanc when it comes to movement, and the classical elegance, which is the signature of the brand,” continued Jérôme Lambert. Actor Hugh Jackman wears the 41-millimeter case-sized watch elegantly, and with great panache. The 9.9-millimeter slim case is built into three parts, a middle and a caseback in stainless steel with an 18-karat red gold bezel. Lambert commented, “It looks so nice on the wrist of Hugh Jackman. More than anything, he is a friend of the Maison.” An incredible 500 hours of testing has resulted in the Heritage Chronométrie collection being of the highest quality standards, and approved by the
The Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Dual Time Vasco da Gama Limited Edition 238 was worn by brand ambassador Hugh Jackman at Montblanc’s grand booth opening, where regional Media and Asian clients met with the world- renowned actor, best known for his long-running role as Wolverine in the X-Men film series. His first time at Watches & Wonders, he commented, “I am thrilled to be here, it’s a great honor.” Jackman also spoke about his new watch. “It’s a wonderful new addition to the collection, as I can now always know what time it is for my kids when I travel, which is very frequent.”
RICHARD MILLE EROTIC RM 69 TOURBILLON
The in-house Oracle complication is a mechanism that sets off the rotation of three grade-5, titanium-engraved rollers displaying a random erotic phrase each time the button located at 10 o’clock is pressed, such as “I Need to Devour Your Nipples” and “I Long to Kiss You Madly,” totaling 216 sensual expressions! Not a ‘shy’ watch, when the mechanism is activated on the RM 69, a push piece at 8’ o’clock makes the hands disappear for greater legibility. Playful and highly interactive—not to leave out arousing—only 30 pieces of the Erotic RM 69 Tourbillon are available globally.
RICHARD MILLE EVIL EYE RM 26-02 TOURBILLON
The Evil Eye RM 26-02 Tourbillon timepiece is designed by the famed Geneva-based artist craftsman, Olivier Vaucher. He brings to life the evil eye using several layers of oxides on the gold dial. It is the latest masterful example and modern application of the traditional grand feu enamel technique, during which the motif on the dial is fired several times between 800 degrees Celsius and 900 degrees Celsius, until the evil eye’s colors appear in full detail. The in-house caliber RM26-02 features a manual winding tourbillon movement with hours, minutes and a power reserve of approximately 48 hours.
Take a look at the new Richard Mille Evil Eye RM 26-02 Tourbillon! It was the hottest watch launch of Watches & Wonders. Little wonder then, that Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh (best known for her role in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon martial arts film), who is brand partner of Richard Mille, made a grand appearance at Watches & Wonders wearing the Evil Eye RM 26-02 Tourbillon in great style. The timepiece well suited her wrist and personality. The watch comes in a limited edition of 25 pieces, and will only be available for purchase at Richard Mille boutiques worldwide.
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