Portofino Day Date  W516203 WW0215

Watches & Wonders 2015: The choice of balance

At the second day of Watches & Wonders, the heat was turned up under the program, which, thanks to private meetings and a round table with Georges Kern of IWC, allowed us to get an idea of the broad trends in the market.

By Vincent Daveau

It was the interview with Georges Kern that started the day off. The idea was to get a snapshot of the market at H-hour and to inquire about the major trends in the said market.Asked what he thought of the prospects for the markets in general in the coming months, this CEO, who is known for his candid statements, said that Asia was in a transitional phase and so it was difficult to pinpoint the directions this market would be heading in.He feels that the decline felt in recent months was heading towards stabilization. Nevertheless, Georges Kern did acknowledge that the Asian market is very young still and that its lurches were difficult to analyze. All one can say is that a slow-down in buying following a period of strong growth can be explained by a normalization in consumption.Worth noting in passing is the fact that IWC, with almost eighty boutiques of its own world-wide, including seven in Hong Kong, admits to having found the fulcrum in its distribution system. It knows how to occupy territory itself wherever necessary (USA in particular), while at the same time giving itself the means to reach out to the consumers by launching products which, like the Portofinos – highly appreciated in Europe – are susceptible to responding to the requirements of urbanites in the West seeking timeless design that can be worn easily with a suit.

IWC Portofino Monopusher Chronograph IW516203 IWC Portofino Monopusher Chronograph IW516203

One model from the IWC collection presented during the Watches & Wonders 2015 stuck out, the Portofino Monopusher Chronograph with manual winding. With its perfectly balanced case and chronograph pusher embedded in the winding crown, this sizable device falls in the category "reasonable vintage." In other words, this timekeeper in anthracite color aims to conceal its functionalities in order to attract the eye to its overall design. The equilibrium is stupendous, with two totalizers at 6 and 12 o'clock respectively, and the power reserve indicator. Through the transparent case back, one can see the in-house hand-wound mechanical movement, finished with great care, and boasting a large and impressive column wheel. This chronograph, with its refined look and ideal proportions, boasts a truly timeless design. It will satisfy the city dweller in a quest for a sober timekeeper with powerful charisma.

Panerai PAM00629 Panerai PAM00629

A visit to Panerai was also in the wings, because the company had announced the presentation of some extremely attractive products, like the new Radiomir 1940 Three Days in a 42-millimeter steel or rose gold case equipped with the latest Panerai caliber with manual winding, the P. 1000. It comes with colorful bracelets and is perfect for women who feel an urge to leave the beaten paths or for aficionados of vintage timepieces with a strong character. Equally remarkable is the Radiomir 1940 Three Days Automatic in a 42-millimeter steel case. With this second offering, the collection, which is already much-prized, attained its point of equilibrium. The automatic caliber, wound with a micro-rotor, has a number of advantages, including ensuring the watch's handsome lines, which are the source of its charm. These two very attractive timepieces, the Radiomir and the IWC chronograph mentioned above, respond to a target group including aficionados seeking a new watch experience.And they will be satisfied , because nothing was left to chance, except perhaps the finishings on the caliber P.1000, which left us a little doubtful.

Panerai PAM00620 Panerai PAM00620

The day at Watches & Wonders would not have been rounded off without the discovery of a genuine horological nugget, namely at Jaeger-LeCoultre:the Geophysic. From the heart of this line that has already spawned a wealth of products comes the Geophysic True Second, a watch inspired by a reference launched in 1958, the International Geophysical Year.With its case in steel or rose gold, and its automatic caliber JLC770,  this highly accurate chronometer – never certified by a dedicated organization – will be the pride and joy of purists, because it features some rare assets.One in particular is the Gyrolab®, a precision balance wheel that vibrates at 28,800 vph. It was originally developed in 2007 for the Master Compressor Extreme Lab 1. The designers also used a deadbeat second, which was given the name "True Second®" for this watch.The 39.6-millimeter case is perfectly balanced. This is a watch that will definitely appeal to the expert with a taste for contemporary classical products that have synthesized the best of past and present watchmaking and, as such, always go further in their quest for essential values.

Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic True Second Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic True Second

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Watches & Wonders 2015: in the heart of the Middle Empire

By Vincent DaveauContributor
At the opening ceremony of this year's edition of Watches & Wonders, the brands present gave a very optimistic account of their situation. And all...