What Happens In Vegas…
COUTURE

What Happens In Vegas…

When the high desert meets haute horology.

By Josh Shanks
Editor-in-Chief

What do you get when you mix four of our favorite watch brands, some fabulous high jewelry, and fashion by Stella McCartney? A great night out in Las Vegas!

Watchonista Does Vegas

Recently, during COUTURE 2021, Watchonista rented out an entire suite at the Wynn’s Fairway Villas. Typically, an extravagance such as staying at a luxury villa for a watch convention is not de rigueur for Watchonista. But this wasn’t any ordinary industry show. No, we were about to launch Volume 01 of our print magazine, a.k.a. “The Watch Magazine You Can’t Buy.” So, we needed a location befitting of such a momentous occasion for our inaugural print issue for our launch party.
 

Having a villa as a home base for the only luxury watch tradeshow in the U.S. certainly has its benefits. For starters, instead of running around the show to various appointments, we could host brands, retailers, and friends of Watchonista at our own private villa. Plus, the lush surroundings of the Wynn helped on more than one occasion for content creation.

A Very Special Photoshoot

Since a vast majority of the world’s watch and jewelry brands were convening in Las Vegas for COUTURE, we thought, what better place to do a high-end luxury lifestyle fashion shoot? And thanks to our friends at Stella McCartney, Grand Seiko, Oris, Accutron, G-SHOCK, Moksh Jewellery, M.Fitaihi, and Buddha Mama, we did just that!
 

So, on a sunny day at the end of summer, we gathered two models and Watchonista’s amazing content creation team for what turned out to be one of our moodiest shoots of the year.

What Happens In Vegas...

In the words of the inimitable Hunter S. Thompson, “Buy the ticket, take the ride,” and that is because Las Vegas can only be experienced headfirst. Yet, at the same time, Sin City has undergone a rapid transformation in the past decades. Gone are the gritty and grimy saloons we read about in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In their place: luxury high rises, Michelin star restaurants, and a heady dose of entertainment.
 

One such property redefining the Las Vegas skyline is the Wynn Las Vegas. Occupying 215 acres of prime real estate and with a footprint of nearly 1,000,000 square feet, the Wynn is one of the most dominating forces in Las Vegas today.

In my five-plus years in the industry, I’ve been to various trade shows and collector gatherings in Las Vegas, and every time, I look forward to returning to the Wynn. The vibe and atmosphere are off the charts.
 

And while our experience in Las Vegas was a far more sober affair than Mr. Thompson experienced in the Seventies (and let’s be honest, few could roll with Hunter S. Thompson), it was no less a blast.

The Watches

Enough musing about Las Vegas. Let’s get down to brass tacks. The real reason we came to the glittering Las Vegas strip was to see some of our favorite brands for the first time in-person since the pandemic began. We selected four watches to accompany our male and female model.
 

First off, Grand Seiko brought craftsmanship and the Nature of Time to Las Vegas. The Japanese brand showcased its entire range in an expansive villa. To accompany our glitzy locale, we selected a piece from the Grand Seiko Masterpiece collection. Specifically, the ref. SBGD202 with its stunning 18K rose gold case and shimmering black dial made to imitate the night sky over Grand Seiko’s Micro Artist Studio.
 

If you play your cards right or hit your number on roulette, you might be able to afford the $42,000 price tag of the SBGD202. A price that’s understandably deserved considering the hand craftsmanship and attention to detail for which Grand Seiko has become known. Learn more on the brand’s website.

Las Vegas might be the last place you think of for conservation. Still, Wynn does take its social responsibility seriously with its partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Initiative. As of writing, they’re the only Las Vegas casino running on renewable energy. As such, Oris’s new Aquis Date Upcycle was the perfect accompaniment to Wynn’s Zero Carbon, Zero Waste initiative.
 

With its dial made from recycled ocean plastics, the Oris Aquis Date Upcycle comes in two sizes, 36.5mm and 41.5mm. Powered by an Oris 733 movement with a 38-hour power reserve, the “Upcycle” or “Trash Dial,” as this author has affectionately named it, is a formidable force for good. And with price tags of $2,100 for the 36.5mm version and $2,300 for the 41.5mm option, the watch is also accessibly priced for most collectors. Learn more on Oris’ website.

Next up, G-SHOCK brought Tokyo to Las Vegas with the purple and grey Higurashi GMW-B5000PB-6 “Tokyo Twilight.” The stunning multi-colored Full Metal model was a surefire hit at COUTURE, and its sub-$1k price point is accessible and alluring to collectors. G-SHOCK always manages to bring out the kid in everyone, and the GMW-B5000PB-6 was no exception. Learn more on G-SHOCK’s website.
 

Finally, Accutron brought the retro flair with pieces from their Legacy collection. This unisex line of timepieces from the iconic brand was the perfect dressy accompaniment to our models. We chose the simple three-hand models, which start at $1,390. As you may have read on Watchonista, Accutron is back and in a big way! Learn more about the Legacy Collection on Accutron’s website.
 

The Fashion

A watch is only as good as its wearer, and speaking from experience, modern collectors value a good timepiece just as much as they appreciate pairing it with a great piece of clothing. As such, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the amazing Stella McCartney for outfitting our female model with the brand’s Emmeline dress. Perfect for a night on the town, this all-black ensemble is daring yet subdued, perfect for an elegant dinner at Sinatra’s at the Wynn.
 

At COUTURE, high jewelry brands outnumber watch brands almost 3:1. And while we had our pick of the show, we chose entertaining pieces from three stand-out brands: the family-owned and funky Buddha Mama, the exquisite and unconventional Moksh Jewellery, and the masters of minimalist elegance M.Fitaihi. These stylish accessories pair perfectly with the over-the-top nature of Las Vegas, and better still, they bring a smile with their fun and whimsical designs.
 

See You Next Year?

As we close the book on COUTURE 2021, we look forward to next year’s edition, which promises to be larger, bolder, and even more fun as we (hopefully) see an even closer return to normality. To learn more about the show, visit the COUTURE website.
 

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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