I love watch fairs – why? Because it’s a great opportunity to get your hands on some of the most awesome novelties of the upcoming year, some of which you might not ever see again as they will sell out during those fairs! This year we visited Watches & Wonders in Hong Kong, a fair unlike any other in terms of the ‘Wow Effect’ – it might not be as big of a venue as some Swiss expos but it was definitely a big show. However even if we forget about that element and only concentrate on the watches themselves Watches & Wonders delivered and exceeded some of our expectations with quite many Real novelties being presented by various brands.
Watches & Wonders 2014 – Audemars Piguet
Expo after expo Audemars Piguet shows us more ‘novelties’, but to me most of them are re-imaginations of existing models, with material changes or dial switches. Here, however, we actually have a real (and seriously awesome) new watch! The new AP Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph, a completely different dial, movement and material use to the other tourbillon chrono models that the brand carries. We have a full carbon case, holding an in-house new movement, and what’s interesting about it is that the mechanism from the back is totally see through, even though it’s an automatic watch that is supposed to have a rotor! The reason why is because AP put an peripheral oscillating weight on the side of the movement, and you can only see it from the dial side of the watch. It’s made of Platinum and works just as well as a rotor would. If we go to exploring the dial you will see the tourbillon at 6 o’clcock and small subdials for the running seconds and chronograph minutes.
Watches & Wonders 2014 – Richard Mille
This year RM decides to revisit a couple of its very successful models (RM011 and RM052)
creating new versions of them in brown-chocolate-like colour.
However that was not the headliner for Richard Mille’s expo at W&W… They also presented the new RM056-02! Many of you guys know about RM056 – first ever watch to be made with a full sapphire glass casing. A year later Richard Mille made RM56-01, the second one of its kind with a different movement, adding transparent sapphire bridges and baseblate. This year – we get the newest (and possibly last) addition to the family of sapphire watches. Again – new movement, featuring a tourbillon, more sapphire bridges but a titanium baseblate that holds this movement in the middle of the glass creating an illusion of a lone island in the ocean. It is held by a patented system that uses many pulleys around the baseplate and inner side of the case, as well as a cable to allow the watch minor movements inside of the case not to affect its accuracy. We’ve seen this implemented in the famous ‘Nadal watch’ by RM in the past, and if you’re an active guy who wants a 2 million $ watch on your wrist (yep, that’s how much the new RM56-02 will go for) then this system is definitely for you.
Watches & Wonders 2014 – A. Lange & Sohne
Lange proves, as usual, that no one (at least in my book) does ‘traditional’ better – the new white gold/black dial version of the Langematik Perpetual Calendar follows every single rule of the brand’s guidebook of awesomeness. First of all, that is one great dial layout for a perpetual calendar complication – it involves day of the week, month, leap year as well as moonphase and day/night indicators, AND is the only watch in the world to combine all that with a large date window! The diameter of the watch is also pretty small (only 38 mm.) yet it looks great on the wrist and time is easily readable. Finally, last but not least is the fact that Lange has integrated their ‘Zero Reset’ function into the watch, meaning that as soon as you pull the crown out to set the time the seconds hand automatically goes back to the ‘60’ mark and then resets when you close the crown.
Watches & Wonders 2014 – Jaeger-LeCoultre
Not all of the models we saw were novelties, but that doesn’t make them less awesome – the JLC Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication is definitely one of those examples. We can get extremely technical with this watch as it is the only one to combine a minute repeater, a flying tourbillon and sidereal time, while making the tourbillon indicate it! However both my and your brains will probably explode if we do, so let’s just cover the basics. The flying tourbillon revolts around the dial, telling us the side real time. It hovers above the sky chart which itself is mounted on a ball-bearing mechanism. The tourbillon is made of 73 parts and is over 12 mm in diameter. The dial is made of 3 layers, and if you know how to read side real time this one’s definitely your dream watch This particular model is also the most expensive one as it features a full diamond bezel with baguette diamond bracelet.
Watches & Wonders 2014 – Piaget
Last one of our favourites here at Watches & Wonders – we have a Piaget Altiplano Skeleton with black enamel bridges. It is cool enough that this is THE thinnest skeleton automatic movement today, but it is ever nicer to see those enamel bridges on the dial. In case you are wondering it is exactly 5.34 mm thick (or thin!), and the movement itself is only 2.4 mm; it took 3 years of research and development for Piaget to come up with this movement. For a skeleton watch lover I am this is probably N.1 dress watch of the fair, and I don’t think one can get enough of looking at that dial when wearing it.
So that was my summary of this year’s Watches & Wonders fair in Hong-Kong. Hope you’ve enjoyed it, and let me know which one’s your favourite piece from the event!
Credits © Photos by James N. Cole for WatchAnish.com