The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted almost every aspect of life. The watch industry, which is globalised in nature, is not excluded as well. Events have been few and far between; COVID-19-related and travel restrictions also mean that watch events have to be organised differently from the past. But that does not stop a few brands from bringing Geneva Watch Days to fruition.
The Geneva Watch Days was first launched in 2020. The 2021 edition, which concluded this week, was a follow up following the success of the previous edition. The event was slightly different from the usual events that we were accustomed to, with its hybrid format (i.e. “phygital”) and the virtue of it being decentralised and self-managed.
This year’s event saw the participation of 20 brands. It includes the pool of “Founding Benefactor” brands, which include some of the largest independent watchmakers within the trade. We are also happy to see the participation of the other “Associated” brands, and we hope that some of the lesser known brands had the opportunity to present their works to the public.
Being a watch event, novelties are certainly the main highlights of the show. As with most events, there are certainly some watches that we like more than the others. In today’s article, we will be rounding up some of our favourites – amongst a list of rather incredible watches that were showcased during the period.
What have we selected? Let us find out!
Geneva Watch Days 2021: Round-up Of Six Of Our Favourite Watches
Louis Erard Excellence Régulateur Aventurine, Lapis-Lazuli and Malachite
Louis Erard is a brand that we have taken interest in during the recent years. Their offerings have been pretty amazing and refreshing, with a price point that is pretty much hard to beat.
For the Geneva Watch Days 2021, Louis Erard has launched a series of watches with fine stone and artisanal glass dials. It is based on the Excellence Régulateur, and it is available in three different variations: Aventurine, Lapis-Lazuli, and Malachite. We reckon these artisanal dials works very well with the Excellence Régulateur, considering the vast amount of negative spaces on the dial itself. The textures on the dial really adds a nice touch to the watches – giving it a rather premium feel that punches above its price point.
The 42mm watches are powered by the Sellita SW266-1 movement. It is a simple and time-tested movement, with an autonomy of 38 hours. Finishing-wise, with the exception of the Louis Erard winding-rotor, is pretty much standard.
Finally, the retail price of the Excellence Régulateur is CHF 2,900 (approximately S$4,260) each. Each variation is limited to a production of 99 pieces, and we do applaud Louis Erard for its impressive creation once again. Mark our words: Louis Erard is definitely a brand to look out for, and we do expect its popularity to rise if they continue to produce such compelling pieces at an attractive price point.
Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection
Cars and watches seem to have an interesting relationship – after all, these are some of the most notable interests of a gentleman. It is henceforth not a surprise that Breitling has incorporated the automotive theme into its Top Time line.
Inspired by the likes of American classic cars (namely the Shelby Cobra, Ford Mustang, and Chevrolet Corvette), the new series of watches plays on the modern-retro theme with bold colours and vintage touches. Each of the three watches are tagged to the abovementioned cars, and the colours (blue, green, and red) correspond to the signature colours of the cars.
Interestingly, the variations do not just end at the colours. The Shelby model (in blue) is cased at 40mm with a bi-compax dial layout, while the other two features a larger case (at 42mm) with a tri-compax dial layout. The watches are fitted with the Caliber 25 and 41 respectively, which are notably based on the ETA 2892-A2 movement.
The new Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection is priced at S$7,350 each, and it is only available at Breitling’s boutiques. We do like Breitling’s approach, and we do think that these three watches are rather handsome indeed. For any fans of classic American muscle cars, these watches are surely a nice addition to their watch collection.
H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Perpetual Calendar
H. Moser & Cie. is a brand that has constantly amazed many with its special approach to designing watches. Minimalism is certainly one of the strongest suits of the brand, and the new Streamliner Perpetual Calendar is no exception to that.
The 42.3mm Streamliner Perpetual Calendar is a highly interesting piece, where it combines its signature perpetual calendar complication with the brand’s take on luxury sports watches. The end result is a unique and intriguing timepiece that is unmistakable as a H. Moser & Cie. piece.
What we really like is the simple approach to this piece. The perpetual calendar displays are as clean as you can get, and the organic curvy shape on the case does not need much superfluous touches to make a point. But beyond that, all the details are well-executed – including the in-house manufactured Caliber HMC 812. The watch literally speaks for itself with its finesse.
Priced at S$82,200, the Streamliner Perpetual Calendar is rather extravagant for a stainless steel piece. However, we reckon it is one of the best perpetual calendars and luxury sports watches around, and it will surely make a conversational piece especially when everyone is still fixated at the likes of sports watches from the “Holy Trinity”.
Gérald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney
When it comes to iconic pieces, the Gérald Genta Mickey Mouse watch is probably one that ranks rather high on the list. Featuring a well-known Disney character and the brand’s retrograde complication, the watch is almost instantly recognisable to many watch enthusiasts.
Fast-forward to 2021, Bulgari – who owns the Gérald Genta name – announced that Gérald Genta will be a standalone brand on its own. In tandem, they also launched a new 41mm piece with the signature smiling Mickey Mouse – in a stainless steel case. The watch shares the original retrograde complication, coupled with a jumping hour mechanism. Similar to the past iterations, one of Mickey Mouse’s hands is used as the minute hand indicator.
The new watch is priced at €16,500 (approximately S$26,300), and it will be limited to a production run of 150 pieces. This is a very special piece, and one that will surely attract many collectors alike. We will surely be keeping our eyes peeled following Bulgari’s announcement – and we are definitely excited to see what the Gérald Genta brand will offer to collectors after a long hiatus.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Petite Tapisserie
The Royal Oak Offshore (“ROO”) collection of Audemars Piguet is probably as iconic as the brand’s original sports watch (i.e. the 1972 Royal Oak). Launched in 1993, the ROO changed the scene forever with its bold and massive cases.
Now, in 2021, Audemars Piguet brought back its original iteration of the ROO – now with an in-house movement. The 42mm remains faithful to its original version, with the “Petite Tapisserie” dial and the 12/6/9 sub-dial layout. Also included are the rubber chronograph actuators and gasket, although we would have preferred it to be finished in another material (e.g. carbon) to ensure durability.
The highlight of the piece perhaps lies in the movement. They are now equipped with the brand’s Caliber 4404, which features the column wheel and flyback function. Other touches include a special 22-carat pink gold winding rotor with AP’s logo, as well as refined finishing to improve the aesthetics of the watch.
The new ROO is available in either titanium, stainless steel, or pink gold. Prices of the non-gold model is S$58,600, while the pink gold variant retails at S$119,800. The AP ROO has always been an interesting, albeit polarising piece. We do have a soft-spot for it, and the new models are definitely a win-win for all – classic design, with a modern and much-improved movement.
Greubel Forsey GMT Earth Final Edition
Rounding up the article, we have the GMT Earth Final Edition from the highly-acclaimed Greubel Forsey.
Since its introduction a decade ago, the Greubel Forsey GMT Earth has been a watch that often fascinates us. Aside from its impressive list of complications (such as the inclined tourbillon, GMT indicator, summer and winter time display, and power reserve indicator), what made us fall in love with Greubel Forsey’s timepieces are its finishing and attention to details. The watch is definitely stunning, and the finishing techniques certainly have a huge part to play in contributing to the stunning aesthetics of this watch.
The Final Edition is the swansong to the GMT Earth, and it features a titanium case with an intense black finish. Limited to a run of 11 watches, the GMT Earth Final Version is perhaps the pinnacle of independent watchmaking – with perhaps one of the best finishes that we have ever seen.
This year’s Geneva Watch Days has seen some incredible watches, and there are certainly things to be excited about with regards to the future of the horological scene. The likes of Louis Erard and Gérald Genta, for instance, are brands that are highly promising, and we are definitely keeping our eyes peeled on their future novelties.
In spite of the current COVID-19 situation, we also do have to applaud the brands and the organising committee for the novelties and the entire Geneva Watch Days show. It is not easy to run an event, much less during a pandemic. The novelties are also great, and we are glad that brands have continued to produce pieces despite the less than ideal working environment with the various restrictions in place.
Lastly, we hope that you have enjoyed this week’s article. Let us know what are your thoughts on our selections, as well as some of the watches that you reckon deserves a spot on the list. Till the next article, ciao!