And to round up our 2022 tête-à-tête with Santa Claus, we feature our Chief Editor, Peter Chong’s Christmas Wishlist for 2022.
Peter Chong makes his Christmas Wishlist for 2022 and the rationale behind this exercise
We do this Dear Santa Wishlist assignment every year, and it has become a tradition for Deployant. But this is not an exercise in frivolity or revisiting lost childhood, but one that have a serious undertone. We ask our writers, and the Chief Editor, to pick what they would like to see as Christmas presents. This will allow you, our dear readers to have a peek and gain an understanding on what drives and excites of us. With this insight, we hope that you may be able to have a feel of our biases. Let’s face it, everybody is biased. And we no more than the next reviewer. But let it be known that at Deployant, our biases are not commercially driven. We do not sell any watches or accessories, new or pre-owned. We do not make collaborations with brands. We are here to provide you with our view of the watches that pass through our hands and our insider commentary on the industry. And with these Dear Santa essays, we hope to arm you with the markers to allow you to more accurately decipher our enthusiasms and criticisms. As we once again reinforce our mantra of “For collectors, by collectors”.
So here is Peter’s list.
We start this off with a hand made watch by a newcomer to the high end watchmaking space. Until this year, the name probably did not ring a bell. But I wrote about him, rather enthusiastically in 2019, when he introduced his first watch – the Monopoussoir Chronograph with our release notes almost immediately after viewing and handling the watch in Baselworld 2019. And a comprehensive hands on review here. But this year may change Sylvian’s fate. He won the GPHG award with his latest release – the Origine.
This is a remarkable watch. Not only for the highly technical aesthetics, but also the finesse of the finishing and attention to detail. The immediate impression is that this looked like a watch from the atelier of none other than industry behemoth Greubel Forsey. Even with close examination, the exquisite finishing and minute details stand up to scrutiny.
A completely new watch, conceived and designed by Sylvian from ground up. Our Insider Commentary goes to considerable detail on the design principles.
Next, another watchmaker whom I have personally known since 2011, when we shared an atelier at Parmigiani Fleurier. Raúl was the restoration watchmaker, and I had my photography studio in the same space as his. I had the opportunity to observe him work. And appreciate his calm and considered approach he takes in design and mechanical perfection. And also his quiet, humble demeanour and dry sense of humour discovered over numerous lunches together. The RP1 is also Raúl’s second watch. He made his independent debut with a bejewelled mechanical tortoise. And his first wristwatch was the Soberly Onyx.
And when he released his latest masterpiece – the Régulateur à détente RP1, it is indeed a reinforcement of the sentiments I felt watching him work at the great masterpieces like the Breguet Symphatie clock and Rochat pistols. Under the calm regulator dial of the RP1, lies a complicated à détente escapement. Read our Insider Commentary for a full appreciation on the problem, how Raúl approached it and solved the questions to make this remarkable watch.
And finally, a watch from an old master. Bernhard Lederer has been around for decades. My first meeting with him was in Singapore, when he attended the launch of the Goldpfeil watch releases. Here was a fashion products company – Goldpfiel, seeking to collaborate and sponsor young independents to create works of horological art. This concept pre-dates Max Büsser’s brilliantly conceived and executed Harry Winston Opus project. Not long after, Bernhard’s works are seen his brand Blu. He recently returned to center stage with a new collection entitled ‘Tribute to the Masters of Escapements,’ a limited series of precision chronometers designed and developed to honour those who set true milestones in the advancement of an horological invention that remains as crucial and fascinating as ever. As I expressed in my first commentary on the Central Impulse Chronometer, I was extremely excited to see a new piece from him.
The watch took its final form in 2021, and I managed to handle and photograph the final prototypes. My hands-on comprehensive review has the full details on the design, the dial, and movement, and explanation on the escapement. Do head over to the article if you have not read it. The view of the case back is to die for! Not only for the impressive layout and finishing, but also to understand the concept of the double remontoire system on the two separate trains which drive a single large balance wheel with an echappment natural escapement. Brilliant!
So here is my list. Would I lust after other watches? Yes! I am still over the moon over the Ferdinand Berthoud FB3, and indeed so did our writer Frank Chuo who wrote the detailed review and it is featured in his Christmas Wishlist. I am also quite taken by the Patek Philippe Chronograph Ref. 5470P. And truth be told, a camera is also in the list…watch out for a sneak preview this TGIFriday!
There is a distinct slant in the choices that I have made. All are small, almost one man operations. All by watchmakers who I have met and known personally, which is part of the magic and allure of buying from independents. Decades ago, I had the pleasure to meet and commission my Simplicity from Philippe Dufour. And this is my return to roots. Independents are where all the fun is at. All my choices are new(ish…yes Lederer has been around for decades under his brand BLU, but he recently resurfaced), and are not generally well known. At least not by the brand conscious public who only focus on the big brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille and the like. But I hope my message is clear. Support the independents if you appreciate their work and want them to continue to push the envelope of what can be done. Rolex et al will survive without your patronage. These little guys may not.
But of course, your ultimate guide is to use your own biases to tamper your selection. Only you can decide which watch or accessory, gear to buy. I have always advised that you should go see, handle, touch, feel a watch you are keen on. But on the first visit, don’t buy it. Go home. Muse, think about it. And if the watch speaks to you, and it will if its the watch you really want, go back and buy it. I know, I know, this is not possible with many brands these days…but perhaps its time to look at other brands where this may be possible.
In conclusion, as we said in the opening paragraph, we hope this series has helped you understand each of the writer’s biases and world view. So you can be better informed to make your own. Have a Blessed Christmas and a Wonderful 2023.