Tuesday, September 22

Geneva Watch Days and other novelties – The Week That Was: our picks of the best watches

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What a week that was. The Geneva Watch Days was held in various locations around Geneva on the week of August 26 to 29. In addition, some others also took the opportunity to make novelty announcements during the same time. Here are our top picks.

The Geneva Watch Days were mostly attended by European press, or those who have correspondents in Switzerland or the Europe. We were not able to participate and had to contend with the Press Releases for many, though we were able to get our hands on others and managed to handle and photograph the watches. We published full hands-on reviews to those we handled, and for the Press Releases we presented our own insights, and commentary.

We received the invitations from almost all the exhibiting brands, bue had to decline as the travel restrictions meant that we would be quarantined for 2 weeks on our return to Singapore.

H. Moser Streamliner Centre Seconds

A second bullet in the arsenal of Moser’s quest in the luxury sports watch catagory. The first was a rather spectacular Agenhor based bullhead chronograph in the Streamliner Flyback Chronograph released in January 2020. And as soon as August, the small manufacture released the second – the Centre Seconds Automatic. No doubt, Moser have had both watches ready by late 2019, and Edouard Meylan and his team decided to announce their arrival at the luxury sports league with a bang – the Flyback Chronograph did sweep many off their feet. We did a full hands-on review based on spending a full afternoon with the watch on our wrist and photographing it during Dubai Watch Week in November 2019.

If the Chronograph was anything to go by, the Center Seconds should be a superb watch. We expect the feel to be very similar, and from the high resolution photographs we have seen and shared, the aesthetics are superb.

We are awaiting our review sample of the Moser Centre Seconds Automatic, and will be giving you our usual unbiased detailed review with photographs when we get our hands on it.

Breitling Endurance Pro

We had the opportunity to handle and photograph the Breitling Endurance Pro before the embargo lift date and were able to provide our hands on review once it was announced.

This is a serious sporty watch, but it has a very playful element in it. Perhaps due, in no small part, to the bright, fun colours it comes in. A total of 5 different, all very brilliant, colours are announced. The watch feels very light, very comfortable on the wrist. All par for the course. And is rather modestly priced.

F. Berthoud FB 2RE

Also not part of the Geneva Watch Days, but announced just the week before, we were absolutely taken by the new release from Ferdinand Berthoud. We managed to handle and photograph this in late March, before Singapore went into semi-lockdown, and presented our full hands-on, detailed review.

The specifications are spectacular enough, just on paper. But being able to handle the watch, and to examine the minute detail work that has gone into it is another level. The design is deliberate, and well thought out. The execution hors catégorie. Hors catégorie is a French term used in stage bicycle races like the Tour de France to designate a climb that is “beyond categorization”. The term was originally used for those mountain roads where cars were not expected to be able to pass. We use this word to denote that the FB2 in a class of its own, that it is in a class where almost all other watches are not able to pass. Enough of this capsule review. Read the full review for the details, and why this is a significant horological acheivement.

Bernhard Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer

A technological tour de force! Yes, we have two on this list, and the Bernhard Lederer is the other (not second). The Central Impulse Chronometer uses an ingenious natural escapement in a dual train, dual remontoire mechanism in a sleek watch with a movement of exceptional complexity.

This marks the return of Bernhard Lederer, a master watchmaker who is a founding member of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI) member since its inception in 1985.

From the high resolution photographs we received, the complexity of the movement is spectacular, and coupled with the beautiful symmetry of the architecture is a feast for the eyes. The movement finishing looks top grade, as we would expect from the old master. We look forward to handling the actual watch, and the next chapters in the “Tribute to the Masters of Escapements” collection in person and take our own photographs to report back to you for a hands-on detailed review.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual

Though not strictly part of the Geneva Watch Days, Rolex released a set of novelties for 2020, having first announced when they exited Baselworld 2020 that they will not be showing any new products this year. From the the new Submariners (date and no-date) to the new Sky-Dweller in a Oysterflex strap, but our pick is the rather more fun Oyster Perpetual in 41mm, now available in multiple fun dial colours in lacquer.

Though Rolex did not call it a tribute of homage to the “Stella” lacquer dials of the Day-Date models of the 1970s, but the new Oyster Perpetual’s brightly coloured dials are a good reminder. A bit more playful than your usual sober Rolex Oyster, now available in a full complement of sizes from 41mm, 36mm, 31mm and 28mm. The 41 and 36mm versions being 2020 novelties and equipped with new C. 3230 movements.

We did get to handle the watches and to do our photoshoot.

Coming soon: Full hands-on, detailed review!

Casio G-SHOCK GA-900

Another announcement which is not part of the Geneva Watch Days, Casio decided to join the bandwagon with the new Casio G-SHOCK Project 900, a series of watches that are engineered and inspired by the tough look of industrial tools. This new line-up of heavy-duty models that are great for wear in both tough environments and as a street fashion wrist accessory.

The series is impressive not only for the toughness that G-SHOCK is known for, but also the design and the very affordable pricing it is announced at. This rounds up the budget end of the list.

Concluding thoughts

A rather interesting motley crew, we must note. With two brands with watches sporting bright coloured dials viz Breitling and Rolex, two ultra complicated watches through the auspices of F. Berthoud and Bernhard Lederer, combined with the simple time only, sweep seconds hand H. Moser automatic and rounding up the budget end with a Casio. What would you have picked from the recent novelty announcements as your top 6?

As we write this, the following week is the Watches & Wonders in Shanghai, and we are expecting some further releases from the Richemont family. We have already received some of the embargoed press releases. Here is one hint: look out for an morning release from A. Lange & Söhne on September 9.

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