FASCINATIONS GALLORE

Splendid and wonderful… these are some of the words that come to mind if one were to visit this year’s edition of the world’s most prestigious watch exhibition, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. There were so many wonderful pieces that it seemed overwhelming at times.

Surging past the excitement, here are 16 watches that stood out, and hold great promise as collectibles. These are special for many reasons; some boasted of a new development in an iconic collection, others of a brilliant complication or a new combination of complications, or an altogether new invention.

Here are some of my favourites.

The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Daymatic came across as a truly iconic piece, with its off-centre dial arrangement and the patented outsize date display.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Equation of Time reinterpreted the equation of time complication, adding another historical chapter in the Royal Oak series.

Baume & Mercier presented the Classima Executives XL Dual Time Chronograph—an elegant display of time and watchmaking brilliance.

Cartier’s Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon incorporated a tourbillon that rotates around the two-level dial, a revolutionary movement, developed entirely in-house.

Girard-Perregaux’s Laureato GP Quartz 40th Anniversary was not only a spectacular presentation, but also a grand tribute to the company’s quartz heritage.

Debutant Greubel Forsey showed its Double Tourbillon Technique, which offered a spellbinding view of the antigravitational complication.

IWC unveiled a new version of the Portuguese, called the Tourbillon Mystère Retrograde. For the first time, a date indicator with a flyback function at the end of the month has been integrated into this exceptional watch.

Jaeger-LeCoultre highlighted a true achievement with its Reverso Squadra Chronograph GMT Palermo Open.

The Montblanc TimeWriter 1 Metamorphosis presented a real breakthrough—a watch with two dials and two functions. By moving a slide down or up, this timepiece changes from a wristwatch with an hour, minute, second display to a chronograph and vice versa.

Panerai’s Luminor 1950 Equation of Time Tourbillon Titanio – 50 MM L’Astronomo is a tribute to Galileo Galilei. It features a tourbillon with equation of time, sunrise and sunset timings for the city of your choice and a depiction of the night sky of the same city on the back.

Parmigiani revealed the Bugatti Atalante Flyback Chronograph, another creation inspired by the world of automobile design.

Piaget presented the Altiplano 43 mm ‘anniversary edition’ – Calibre 1200P, which set a new record for slimness, and combined it with superior reliability.

Another debutant Richard Mille displayed its watch-making virtuosity with the RM 017 Tourbillon, by developing one of the thinnest tourbillon constructions.

Roger Dubuis made a shining presentation, with its EasyDiver for women. A sumptuous feast of colour and materials, it is evocative of the brand’s flair for aesthetics.

Vacheron Constantin presented the limited edition Patrimony Traditionnelle ‘Calibre 2253’, with a tourbillon escapement, along with a perpetual calendar, the equation of time, and the timings of sunrise and sunset.

Van Cleef & Arpels stunned visitors with its Butterfly Symphony timepiece. Powered by a retrograde movement, two butterflies indicate the passing of minutes and hours.

Evidently, the trend was that of prestige complications. The design and aesthetics on display reconfirm the new paradigm of luxury, which is an increase in consumer demand for classic pieces that can be worn for any occasion. While all these tourbillons were enough to steal one’s heart, there was one more innovation in the watch industry. It was the introduction of the Tablet watch. The PC-Tablet is the newest tool to improve the skills of any sales force, without them having to travel to the Swiss Alps or out of their shops. Fondation de la

Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) has introduced this sales tool for the benefit of the entire watch industry. So that retailers and watch aficionados can have all the information they desire at their fingertips. To know more, log onto hautehorlogerie.org. Besides attending the 20th edition of the SIHH, our visit to Geneva also witnessed an exclusive Time ’n Style photo shoot with Chopard. It was one of the most memorable experiences we’ve ever had. Our Photo Feature, the product of the shoot, is a preview of the Animal Collection, which Chopard will unveil in Basel to commemorate its 150th anniversary. The entire team did a fabulous job and this is clearly visible through the results.

We are now headed to another important and the largest global event in watch-making—BASELWORLD. This is the place where trends are set, new products, creations and innovations are unveiled. Hublot has already caught the world’s attention with a sneak peek of their Big Bang watch in red, an expression of undying love.

After a year of negative Swiss watch exports (in 2009, it reached CHF 13.2 billion, down by 22.3 per cent from 2008), encouraging signs of recovery were registered at the end of registered at the end of 2009; November and December recording a single digit drop. It’s exciting for all of us to look forward to Basel and bring home the latest news for all you readers out there.

ANITA KHATRI

Published in Time N Style

Mar-Apr 2010

TIME : A PRECIOUS HEALER

The other day, I read about yesteryear model and actress Anu Agarwal, who shot to fame with her debut film Aashiqui, and her absence from showbiz for the last 15 years. She wasn’t spoken of until newspapers reported that she had suffered a paralytic attack. Even more shocking was her recuperation that took doctors by surprise, as they never expected her to make a full recovery. Similarly, model and actress Lisa Ray took the world by surprise, when she revealed that she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer. She has since made a stunning recovery.

Each of us has faced setbacks in our lives. But sooner or later, we all recover, like Anu and Lisa. That’s because, however grave the setback, time heals. Sometimes it takes longer. But, it never fails to heal. That’s what makes time priceless. And, it’s this preciousness of time, which in turn, makes timepieces so valuable.

Indeed, there’s something enchanting about clocks and watches and it goes beyond the style quotient or the price tag. It’s the whole making of a timepiece, and I am speaking from first-hand experience, all thanks to A. Lange & Söhne, who invited me to an exclusive watch-making programme. What I realised, as a participant, is that observing a watchmaker may be fantastic, but nothing compares to the thrill of making a watch with your own hands. The intricacy of the process cannot be overemphasised; no wonder it’s known as craftsmanship!

My programme was part of a unique initiative that aims at training not only watchmakers, but also retailers. There are three stages in the programme—Ambassador, Coach and Expert. In the Ambassador stage, you are trained on the fundamentals of the brand and sales. In the Coach stage, you receive consolidated knowledge. In the Expert stage, you receive in-depth knowledge of the brand. So far, the academy has created 281 Graduates, 237 Ambassadors and 44 Experts all over the world.

I must mention, the one thing that impressed me the most were the quality control measures set in place by the company. They have something called the torture chamber, where every prototype goes through several tough endurance tests before the commencement of its production. Speaking of quality, many of us have wondered about the precision of a wristwatch. On an average, for every 24 hours, there is an eightsecond inaccuracy. But that also depends on wearing habits and surrounding conditions. In general, if a watch has an error of five seconds per day, then the accuracy is 99.9 per cent. So much about watchmaking and precision…

That brings me to listing down the new watches from BASELWORLD earlier this year, which we couldn’t accommodate in the previous issue. And for a complete overview of the fair, look out for our special report on BASELWORLD 2010, with The Economic Times. Do write in to us with your feedback. I leave you with the hope that you’ll find quality time to spend with this issue.

ANITA KHATRI

Published in Time N Style

Jul-Aug 2010

HERALDING THE NEW YEAR

Rolex, as a brand, has always intrigued me.

When it comes to watches, globally, Rolex is one brand that is aspired by both, watch connoisseurs and novices alike. When I first visited Rolex, I wasn’t able to fully understand the allure of these watches that make them universally appealing. After all, the same complications were offered by many other brands. However, today, I have come to understand what makes Rolex what it is. The brand not only has a well-defined foundation in watch-making, but also nurtures a socially responsible attitude. It is perhaps this composition that attracts consumers globally. It is a brand that is more than a watch. It is a symbol of love.

This realisation came about when we experienced Rolex from close counters. One of the experiences was an exhibition, ‘Into the Realm of Rolex’, held at the Beijing Financial Street Conference Centre. Engineered by Rolex, the show offered an insight into the history of the brand, now over 100 years old. This event eloquently expressed the sophistication and the understated luxury synonymous with the brand—the kind of qualities that cannot be described in words, but have to be experienced.

These feelings were further reinforced when we recently attended The Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative in London. This initiative embodies the values that Rolex stands for. It helps ensure that artistic heritage is passed on to the next generation. Started in 2002-03, it is a unique concept, where a mentor spends time with their protégé and imparts their knowledge/skills to the amateur in the same field. This concept is very similar to that of the guru (teacher) and shishya (disciple) in India. You can read more about this initiative in our March-April ’10 issue.

As we embrace the New Year, we must introduce Armin Strom, a recent entrant in the world of watches. Although he first showcased at BASELWORLD in 1984, the brand has grown in visibility only since 2006.

Armin Strom is a Swiss watchmaker who still skeletonises watch movements by hand. It all began with skeletonising a pocket watch, and then came the skeletonised wristwatches. Armin (a manual-winding calibre, with an eightday power reserve and a distinctive design) by Armin Strom is something one can look forward to, as they will soon enter India. Before that happens, you can read all about it in the March-April ’10 issue.

The New Year also brings with it a renewed sense of hope. We at Time ’n Style hope to present our readers with watches that represent excellent craftsmanship and technology. So watch out for our coverage of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (Geneva).

 

ANITA KHATRI

Published in Time N Style

Jan-Feb 2010

THE LEGACY LIVES

On the morning of June 28, 2010, time stood still for me when I heard the sad news of Nicolas G. Hayek passing away at the age of 82. In the last 14 years, I met him six times, and each time, I was mesmerised by this gentleman, who was a visionary, a man full of zest, life and energy. It was an inspiring experience each time to meet the owner of Swatch Group, a man solely responsible for shaping the Swiss watch industry and turning it around to give it the status it enjoys globally today, and conducting himself with such great humility. When I heard about Mr. Hayek’s demise, time stood still, simply because I knew deep within, that there can be no replacement for him in the entire industry (even from within Swatch Group). I

I deeply appreciate how Swatch Group handled the communication of this sad news to the media and the world, and I salute them for that. My first impressions about the man are very vivid. When I first met him, I was intrigued by the fact that he wore two watches. Later, I got used to seeing him wearing four to six watches at a time. Regarded as one of the richest people in the world, his reasoning was that the watches were his products and it gave him tremendous joy and happiness to show off as many of his creations as he could.

Heralding a new role and responsibility in this world of watches comes in the form of my appointment as a Mission Delegate for India by Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), Geneva. To know more about FHH, its plans and objectives in India, read our article ‘Watchmaking for Everyone’, on page 44. In keeping with this new role, we conducted the first-ever training programme for sales executives on retail selling techniques in the fine watchmaking segment. The programme that was held in New Delhi and Mumbai, with interesting and interactive sessions, provided an insight into how, for Indian consumers, getting a good deal is the most powerful factor, which boosts their ego and establishes their status symbol. While offering a discount seems to be the best tool to attract customers, FHH trainer Marc Burkart, felt that the primary step is to build a strong customer relationship. We at Time ’n Style are very happy and proud to launch the first module of this training programme. I was quite surprised to see how the New Delhi and Mumbai teams reacted and absorbed this training session, based on their strikingly different behavioural and cultural attitudes. As the training session progressed, the teams expressed greater interest and enthusiasm indicating that the session had achieved what it had set out to do. Evidently, the alliance between Time ’n Style and FHH issure to gain more ground in the watch industry in India.

Lastly, to add sparkle to this special issue was the grand launch of the new Omega Constellation series, featuring the latest co-axial movement that is known to deliver precise time. Our experience at the launch was wonderful, thanks to the presence of actor Abhishek Bachchan, the brand ambassador of Omega. Our interaction with him led us to appreciate his knowledge about not only the brand, but also the world of watches. So with the launch of this new Omega Constellation series, we are sure it will become one of the most popular gifts to woo your near and dear ones with, this season. So may the light of happiness and good times usher you in.

ANITA KHATRI

Published in Time N Style

Sept-Oct 2010