My selection of the watches around the 2021 edition of the Geneva Watch Days
One of the main successes of this Geneva "back-to-school week" was to gather a number of meetings and presentations around the Geneva Watch Days. The line-up was therefore much broader than that of the brands officially participating in the event, which enabled visitors to have a representative view of the year's new products. There were three types of alternative presentations: those made in the Baselworld pop-up, those made in the boutiques (like Purnell's showroom or the Salon des Horlogers for independent watchmakers) and those made autonomously (such as Bovet which had rented the Villa du Lac located in the Hotel de la Reserve area). Finally, I would add the more informal meetings with small structures that took advantage of this event to unveil their latest creations in order to take advantage of the presence of the media and collectors. I offer you my selection of watches seen in these circumstances, from brands that were not officially participating in the Geneva Watch Days.
It is a real winner and one of my favourite watches, by far, of this Geneva week. The Krayon Anywhere is complex, capable of displaying sunrise and sunset times in any location of the owner's choosing. And yet, everything seems simple, perfectly integrated. It symbolises that traditional watchmaking whose vocation is to develop innovative complications in reasonable dimensions. The Krayon Anywhere is in fact very beautiful and elegant thanks to its 39mm case and its impeccable finishing. The astronomical complication also brings a lot of poetry.
Purnell Escape II 18K Black Gold
Purnell took advantage of the Geneva Watch Days to celebrate the opening of its showroom located at the 80 rue du Rhône. All the latest models were on display, including the very spectacular Escape II 18K Black Gold which, in addition to the double spherion, offers very beautiful contrasts between the black finishes and the gold elements. It was also an opportunity to discover a variation of the single-spherion model that makes an equally impressive impact thanks to the impressive speed of the three-axis tourbillon.
Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer
The Central Impulse Chronometer was not strictly speaking a novelty, as it was unveiled exactly one year earlier under the same circumstances. However, it was important for Bernhard Lederer to present it again for two reasons. The first was to reveal the (certainly welcome) aesthetic evolution of the dial. The second was to re-explain the technical interest of the movement, as the technical content needed precise clarification on his part. It is obvious that the watch is difficult to approach and that it is addressed to seasoned collectors able to apprehend its contribution in chronometric matters. I will come back to it in details.
Baselworld: Claude Meylan Tortue Lady
This watch is very important for Claude Meylan. It reaffirms the brand's ambition in the female customer segment. Even if a recent trend favours a mixed offer, there is still room for watches for women provided they are imaginative and inspired. Developed under the dual impetus of Pia de Chefdebien and Philippe Belais, the Tortue Lady is a delicate piece, resolutely feminine without being girly, with an interesting watchmaking content, taking advantage of a beautiful skeletonisation architecture of the micro-rotor movement. A real success.
Baselworld: Bomberg BB-01 Cure the Bulldog
We are never disappointed with Bomberg, at least in its capacity to surprise us. The BB-01 Cure the Bulldog is the first watch to contain non-psychoactive hemp (CBD) without any THC (which is psychoactive and illegal at least in my country). When you see the watch, you immediately get the impression that it can be used as a first aid kit... if necessary, please break the glass! The sub-dial contains Indica leaves while the strap mixes leather and hemp. The 43mm diameter allows to better enjoy the intriguing decoration of the dial.
Baselworld: Riskers Chapter 1
The particularity of Riskers is to associate each model with an ambassador and a cause. Riskers thus dedicates a portion of its turnover to supporting the associations with which the brand is involved. The watches are characterised by a rather original and curved case, offering a nice integration of the crown guard. The diameter is important (43mm) and I would have preferred that there was no date window. But these models, and particularly those animated with an automatic calibre like the Chapter 1, are worn with pleasure thanks to their refined but not without interest aesthetics.
Baselworld: Furlan Marri Mr Grey
But who doesn't know Furlan Marri? The brand has made a real hit on Kickstarter, managing to seduce both confirmed collectors and amateurs looking for a chronograph with a neo-retro look inspired by the past pieces of great houses. The watches are in any case very attractive thanks to a very nice quality of the casing (surprising for the selling price) around the mega-quartz movement. The challenge for Furlan Marri will be to maintain this momentum. The second watch is always a difficult exercise! The brand is moreover expected with a more ambitious movement. In any case, the Mr Grey is the existing model that appeals to me the most.
Baselworld: Ikepod Seapod
Designed by Fabrice Gonet, the Seapod is an excellent surprise. I find the whole spirit of Ikepod but this time with a brand new model. The Seapod is an impactful watch, which manages to renew the codes of the diving watch thanks to a rotating bezel that is easy to handle and with precision while it is perfectly smooth. The Seapod offers an accomplished design, all in roundness, and a very beautiful quality of execution. So there's no need to sell watches at six-figure prices to offer a product that's offbeat and appealing.
Salon des Horlogers: Andersen Genève Worldtime Celestial Voyager Eurasia
The world time display is one of Andersen Genève's favourite complications. The Worldtime Celestial Voyager has several versions of the cloisonné enamel central dial that decorates the watch with great refinement and elegance. The diameter of the case may seem small (38mm) and yet the size is ideal thanks to the beautiful proportions. The great asset of the piece lies in the way it plays with the light, the reflections highlighting the precise and delicate finishing of the dial. A charming and perfectly executed travel watch.
Salon des Horlogers: Vianney Halter Deep Space Résonance Tourbillon
The Deep Space Résonance is more than a watch, it is a real show. By relegating the time display to the periphery, Vianney Halter makes the mechanism the centre of interest in the literal sense of the term. The three-dimensional approach takes on its full meaning here, since the side view allows one to appreciate the behaviour of the two balances that share the same bridge. The principle of resonance in a wristwatch may seem theoretical, or even purely conceptual. No matter: not only do we spend hours observing the three-axis tourbillon given the beauty of the mechanism, but we also scrutinise the relative behaviour of the two balances. The Deep Space Resonance is without doubt a watch that makes you forget the passing of time!
Salon des Horlogers: Ludovic Ballouard Upside Down Blue Dial
The Upside Down is a fascinating watch that turns the time right side up. The principle is well known: the current time is displayed by the only disc that is in the right direction, the inactive hours being turned upside down. The instantaneous rotation of the disc causes a small dot to appear, allowing the eye to quickly detect the "correct time". I particularly like the mirror effect between the dial and the architecture of the movement. The Upside Down is an ingenious watch that hides its complexity behind an apparent simplicity. The Upside Down is also very adaptable, with variations in dial colours and even numerals working very well in its clean and efficient design.
Salon des Horlogers: Romain Gauthier Insight Micro-Rotor Skeleton Carbonium
With the Insight Micro-Rotor Skeleton Carbonium, Romain Gauthier finds a balance between the quality of traditional finishes and a more contemporary aesthetic approach. The Insight lends itself wonderfully to the exercise thanks to its particular architecture, its balance and its oscillating weight visible on the dial side. It is an exciting watch to observe thanks to its multiple volume effects.
Harbor: the latest version of the Type 3
It was totally by chance that I met Jonathan Jaquet. The most fortuitous meetings being often the most interesting, it allowed me to discover the latest version of the Type 3 from Harbor. This cap-type watch (montre casquette) is distinguished by its time display on the front of the case, with the balance and winding mass being the most visible elements. The balance wheel has been redesigned, replacing a generic part previously used. This variation of the Type 3 is sportier, more contemporary and easier to wear. On the other hand, it loses the offbeat and uchronistic side (a watch of the future designed in the 70's...) of the gold version.
Was it due to the proximity of the meeting place to the lake? In any case, the colour of the year for Bovet is turquoise blue declined in superb guilloche dials. Several watches take advantage of it but I have a soft spot for the simplest one, the 19-Thirty, unjustly forgotten in the selections of entry-level watches of the high-end watchmaking brands. And yet, it doesn't lack style and its case with hanger (belière in French) gives it an old-fashioned charm. A piece that I really like and that deserves to be in the spotlight more. This colour also works very well with the Virtuoso VII, which is used to bright colours.
I will have the opportunity to come back in detail on some of the pieces of this eclectic selection, which covers a very wide range of prices. This was in fact the whole point of these presentations around of the Geneva Watch Days: they offered an excellent panorama of the diversity of the watchmaking offer.