Gen­er­a­tions

WatchTime - - Editor’s Letter - Roger Rueg­ger Edi­tor-in-chief

Alit­tle bit more than 20 years ago, Patek Philippe launched a bold ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign with the mes­sage, “You never ac­tu­ally own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next gen­er­a­tion.” This cam­paign, prob­a­bly one of the most iconic in the watch in­dus­try next to Omega’s “Choice” tes­ti­mo­nial ads, was cre­ated by a Lon­don-based ad­ver­tis­ing agency called Lea­gas De­laney. Its founder, Tim De­laney, who has been de­scribed as one of the world’s best copy­writ­ers, has worked on brands in­clud­ing Har­rods, Tim­ber­land, Hyundai and Adi­das and at some time even acted as an ad­vi­sor to Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Jim Cal­laghan. Tim De­laney be­lieves that “ev­ery­thing has a story to tell” and has made it his mis­sion to write it.

I was for­tu­nate to work for Lea­gas De­laney in Lon­don in 1995, which was not only my first pro­fes­sional in­ter­ac­tion with the watch in­dus­try, but most im­por­tantly a unique op­por­tu­nity to learn first­hand what it meant to be work­ing for some­one “un­nat­u­rally cu­ri­ous.”

But the Patek Philippe cam­paign not only shows how im­por­tant the right story can be, it also shows that great ideas need time and con­ti­nu­ity. If Patek Philippe had not been this coura­geous or didn’t use the same mes­sage con­sis­tently for so long, the im­pact would prob­a­bly have been very dif­fer­ent.

The same goes for watches. There is a rea­son why mod­els like the Speed­mas­ter, Sub­mariner, Rev­erso or Royal Oak are so suc­cess­ful: they not only have a great story to tell, they also have been around for quite some time (which, of course, is the main rea­son there are so many sto­ries linked to them).

The 27th edi­tion of SIHH, which also hap­pened to be the first watch show in 2017, demon­strated that many of the larger brands are re­turn­ing to their core val­ues and their icons. Cartier, for ex­am­ple, re­duced the num­ber of nov­el­ties by half and fo­cused on one if its all-time clas­sics, the Pan­thère. Gi­rard­per­re­gaux brought back the Lau­re­ato, IWC the Davinci, and Aude­mars Piguet fo­cused on the Royal Oak.

The next gen­er­a­tion of watch­mak­ers, the smaller and more in­de­pen­dent brands, how­ever, most of whom were lo­cated in the “Carré des Hor­logers,” seem to con­tinue be­ing “un­nat­u­rally cu­ri­ous” in or­der to ap­peal to a dif­fer­ent tar­get group. But thanks to Patek Philippe and Lea­gas De­laney, ev­ery watch buyer prob­a­bly in­stinc­tively thinks about the next gen­er­a­tion when buy­ing an in­stru­ment that tells so much more than just time.

A watch that is guar­an­teed to look very dif­fer­ent to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions is Tudor’s Black Bay with a case made of bronze. Mark Bernardo and Martina Richter both ex­ten­sively tested the lat­est ver­sion of Tudor’s pop­u­lar dive-watch model for this is­sue. We also had the chance to test the Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph from Omega, the brand’s first chronograph to earn cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as a Master Chronome­ter. And we com­pare pi­lots’ watches from IWC and Breitling as well as chrono­graphs from Alpina, Bell & Ross and Union Glashütte.

Speak­ing of fly­ing: in this is­sue, we also take you to Seiko’s main pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties for Grand Seikos in Ja­pan, where we found out what Shinji Hat­tori’s, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Seiko and the great grand­son of Seiko’s founder, fa­vorite watch is.

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