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Throwback Sunday: Six watches revealed in Dubai Watch Week

by Peter Chong on December 1, 2019
Watches

Dubai Watch Week concluded last Sunday at the Dubai International Financial Centre. Throughout the week, many brands exhibited and presented novelties. Here are our top six picks.

This Throwback Sunday is presented with a difference. Not all the six watches selected have been reviewed, as some will have full hands-on review forthcoming soon. But these six represented the crème de la crème of the novelties at Dubai Watch Week.

Dubai skyline, from the Dubai International Financial Centre, where the Dubai Watch Week exhibition and forum is held. Photographed November 2019.

We begin with the two which we have already done hands-on detailed reviews on.

Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1

We begin with the CHF 1Million Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1. The million Swiss Franc opening line is a huge sticker shock to the uninitiated, but for those in the know, it may even be argued that is is appropriately priced. The work of some 6000 hours of skilled artisans, it is perhaps one of the watches which feature the highest value addition by hand. Stephen Forsey claims 95% of the watch is made by hand. What is hand made, we hear you ask…the definition, as given by Greubel Forsey is in our detailed review here.

Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1.

The aesthetics is a love it or hate it kind of affair…for the record, we LOVED it. But the finishing is undisputedly and absolutely one of the best we have ever seen. A total of 11 pieces are planned, and as we heard from Sylvian van Muylders, Greubel Forsey’s Clientèle International Director that all have been spoken for.

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force

Next up, another favourite brand of ours. From Armin Strom’s new entry level collection, called the System 78, the first watch to be released is the Gravity Equal Force.

Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force.

The aesthetics are vastly improved over the earlier generation of entry level Armin Stroms, and the watch features two exciting technical innovations. Details in our full review of the Armin Strom here.

Then continue to the next four which we will be reviewing soon:

Ressence Type 1DBX

We caught up with the Ressence’s intrepid Benoît Mintiens, who swiftly handed me the latest and greatest from the little Belgian company. Created for the UAE market for Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, the watch is a limited edition of the Type 1 Squared which we reviewed here.

The Ressence Type 1DBX

Called the Type 1DBX, the watch is limited to 19 pieces and Benoît told us that all 19 have been offered and taken up by the top Seddiqi clients.

No wonder too, as we found the watch to be a beauty! The design is subtle, but is with easily identifiable regional roots. The geometric patterns are Arabic in origin as is the sand coloured PVD dial which is a further indication to the arid, sandy desert where most of the UAE is comprised of. More photographs and a Watchscape episode on this new release soon.

Genus GNS 1.2

We also encountered and marvelled at the Genus GNS 1.2 which presented at Dubai Watch Week. The watch recently won the prize for Mechanical Exception at the2019 GPHG, but in a different case material.

The time display can be confusing and intuitive at the same time. For those who are not used to how to read the Genus dial, it is a hard time figuring out what time it is. For those (genius?) who have, it is very easy. Full review with hands-on and high resolution photographs coming soon. For now, marvel at the very unique and attractive aesthetics on the wrist.

Genus GNS 1.2 on my wrist.

Patents are pending for the two display complications – one for the hours display complication, and the other for the circulating tens-of-minutes display.

Charles Frodsham Double Impulse Chronometer Wristwatch

Utterly traditional and conventional (with a twist) is the Charles Frodsham. We have been intrigued by this watch for years…we recently found an email from to Richard Stenning, one of the principals of the brand, dating back to March of 2018, requesting a meeting to discuss the watch.

Charles Frodsham Double Impulse Chronometer in hard rolled 22K yellow-gold case.

The intrigue mainly springs from the fact that the Double Impulse Chronometer Wristwatch is, as far as we (and Richard knows), the only working example of the direct impulse chronometer escapement designed by George Daniels which is in regular production. George himself never made the escapement in a wristwatch, only demonstrating its working principles in a pocket watch. And his “apprentice” Roger Smith has not attempted the escapement in his own wristwatch either. And in addition, one of my most respected watchmakers and a good old friend is the late Derek Platt, was also involved in the saga of making this escapement a reality.

For more details, our full hands-on review with technical discussion will be published soon.

H. Moser “New Watch”

We really, really want to share this new watch from H. Moser with you, but been sworn to secrecy by Edouard and Bertrand Meylan till early January when the embargo is released. We do note that the two brothers were seen in Dubai with the watch under their sleeves, discretely allowing a peek to some collectors and media. Except for the afternoon when I relieved Edouard of his, and had the pleasure to wear it for the rest of the day. It is an amazing watch. And that is all I can say…for now. Till the embargo lifts.

As a “replacement” for No 6 (just a serial number, not a rank), is this:

Fernando Ronzon Jumping Hour “Ghost”

Taken straight from the wrist of horologist Aldis Hodge, who also happens to be a famous actor (Aldis told me his first love was watches, even before acting).

Aldis Hodge, on his left wrist is the F. Ronzon, and on his right the Daniel Roth 8 Days Tourbillon. Photographed in Dubai, November 2019.

The watch on his wrist is the F. Ronzon Jumping Hour watch by Canadian Independent watchmaker and watch designer Fernando Ronzon.

F. Ronzon Jumping Hour.

The watch is designed by Fernando. The case is 40mm in stainless steel. The front crystal is Hesalite and the back is sapphire glass. The movement is a vintage (circa 1970s, and often used in jumping hour watches of that era, like the CamyAutomatic vintage Swiss watch Cal. TD 1393.) and rebuilt by Fernsndo.

As Aldis told us, each watch is unique and hand built by Fernando in Canada.

Concluding Thoughts

The Dubai Watch Week has been an interesting one. In addition to the Ressence, Armin Strom we covered above, several other watches were also unveiled, including UAE editions for Vacheron Constantin Patrimony in platinum with a Salmon dial, a Girard Perregaux Laureato in a sapphire crystal case, and a new Bell & Ross BR03-92 with a gorgeous green dial. The market’s vibrancy is such that we understood all the special editions announced during DWW have been sold. Most by special pre-order from Seddiqi’s list of top clients.

But of the six which made our list, it is rather varied. From the million CHF behemoth from Greubel Forsey, to the geometric signature and Arabic-DNA encrusted Ressence Type 1DBX, to the strong entry level showing by Armin Strom. From the “cannot be revealed yet” watch by H. Moser, to the technically innovative pieces from Charles Frodsham and Genus, these novelties impressed us. Watch the coming weeks for those watches in the list which we have not yet reviewed, and prepare to be impressed too. We hope.

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