PLAY THE FIELD
The Reverso was developed by JaegerLecoultre as a uniquely robust watch that could be worn by polo players while playing the game. 85 years on, it has proved to be way more than a one-trick pony and sales for the watch are stronger than ever. See how the collection is changing on p.76. Switzerland is the world’s leading exporter of watches in terms of value and with good reason – they’re damned good at it. The industry goes back over 300 years and, especially over the last century, it has led the way in terms of innovations like calendars, stop-watch functions, waterproof casings and automatic movements. But recently, the pace has been slower. Case in point, at this year’s SIHH and Baselworld fairs, nearly every brand presented a smaller lineup of new models and concentrated on updates to core-collections rather than forging ahead with a slew of new products. The reason for this conservatism is of course the general macroeconomic environment. Last year for example, was the first with negative growth since the global financial crisis of 2009. Overvaluation of the Swiss Franc, the sudden tanking of Hong Kong, the slowdown in China, tensions in the Middle East, falling oil prices, the low level of the Russian Rouble and global terrorism all played a part in the malaise. But as the saying goes, time stops for no one and there are still a number of interesting trends to take stock of. Titanium and carbon seem to be making their way down to more affordable timepieces while daring colourways are gaining in popularity. Nylon Nato-style straps are now abundantly mainstream and smartwatches are more important than ever. In fact, for the first time, smartwatch sales in 2015 surpassed those of traditional Swiss watches. Where Montblanc and Breitling lead the way with smart offerings last year, TAG Heuer and De Grisogno have now followed suit. Presumably, many more will be jumping on the bandwagon. As a final observation, we saw a number of jewellery brands (like Chanel, Graff and Tiffany) get serious about mechanical men’s watches. It’s probably safe to say that ‘The Times They Are a Changin’.