Now into its third year, the annual Watches & Wonders fair in Hong Kong did not disappoint with its new horological offerings, writes Lydianne Yap
Horological highlights from the third Watches & Wonders exhibition in Hong Kong
First launched in 2013 as Asia’s answer to the annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) that has taken place in Geneva since 1991, Watches & Wonders returned to Hong Kong for its third edition in September 2015. Organised by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), the four-day exposition saw guests from across the region flocking to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) for the much-anticipated showcase of watchmaking savoir-faire.
As per previous years, the exhibition offered watchmaking workshops that gave visitors first- hand experience in assembling watch movements; in-depth lectures about industry trends; and a cultural exhibition. This is, of course, on top of the fair’s main highlight: The debut of new timepiece creations by the 12 participating fine watchmaking Maisons. From pocket watch minute repeaters and erotic complications, to highly artistic (and not to mention realistic) decorated dials, this instalment of Watches & Wonders definitely yielded some impressive pieces. And after last year’s less than smooth-sailing edition (in light of Hong Kong’s unfortunate state of political unrest during the show period), it appears that third time’s truly a charm.
A. LANGE & SÖHNE 1815 “200th Anniversary F A Lange”
To celebrate the 200th birthday of its founder Ferdinand Adolph Lange, A. Lange & Söhne released a limited edition version of its 1815 timepiece earlier this year in platinum (previously only produced in pink, yellow and white gold), with a black dial. Now, the Saxon manufacture is offering yet another variant for this 200-units-only commemorative watch, with a honey gold case and solid silver argenté-grainé dial. Like previous pieces within the 1815 collection, it runs on the L051.1 calibre (left), which provides a power reserve of about 55 hours and a small seconds display at six o’clock.
Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hour
Cartier gives one of its most wellknown symbols — the mysterious movement complication — a new lease of life and combines it with the manufacture’s new Clé de Cartier case shape. In this enchanting palladium piece, the watch’s hour and minute hands seem to be suspended in thin air within its off-centred sub-dial, completely detached from the calibre 9981 MC movement powering it, while the main open worked dial showcases blue Roman numerals. The watch is also available in 18k pink gold.
BAUME & MERCIER
Clifton 1830 Pocket Watch
Created to commemorate Baume & Mercier’s 185th anniversary, this timekeeper draws its inspiration from the brand’s own archive of historical pieces dating back to the 19th century. As such, the ticker’s skeletonised mechanical movement is housed within an 18k red gold pocket watch case. It is equipped with a five-minute repeater mechanism that chimes a low tone on the hour, and a pair of high and low notes for each five-minute period elapsed since the hour. It is available in 30 numbered pieces.
Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher
Showing that less is indeed more, IWC Schaffhausen unveiled its first-ever model fitted with a single push-button chronograph, instead of the typical two pushers. Here, the push button is integrated into the crown and is used to start, stop and reset the chronograph. Besides being more convenient, the singlebutton concept further enhances the clean and understated aesthetic that the Portofino pieces are recognised for. Driven by the in-house 59360 calibre, the watch presents an impressive power reserve of about eight days and also has a date window located at the three o’clock position. It comes available in either 18k red gold with silver-plated dial or white gold paired with a slate-coloured face.
Geophysic True Second
Displaying its watchmaking knowhow, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced a dead-beat seconds complication to its Geophysic timepiece. Equipped with the calibre 770, the second hand of this horologe performs a rhythmic jump every second, instead of gliding along smoothly like in most mechanical watches. Borrowing its elegant aesthetic from the first Geophysic chronometer the manufacture created for scientists on expeditions back in 1958, the watch spans a mere 39.6mm and features a delicate, finely grained dial. It comes in either steel or pink gold.
Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Dual Time Vasco da Gama Limited Edition 238
Building on its existing Heritage Chronométrie Dual Time piece, Montblanc revealed a special model of the watch bearing the Vasco da Gama theme that has appeared across most of its limited releases in 2015. In this version, design elements recalling the voyages of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama are used. While the home time counter at 12 o’clock depicts the night sky of the southern hemisphere (against which the Southern Cross constellation is presented), the seconds counter located at six o’clock features a miniature map of the world. It has a case made of stainless steel paired with an 18k red gold bezel and is available in 238 pieces only, in reference to the height of the “Cape Point Peak” lighthouse (at the Cape of Good Hope), which the voyager sailed around in 1497.
Radiomir 1940 3 Days
Initially intended as transitional model of sorts between the first Radiomir (1936) and the Luminor 1950, the Radiomir 1940 was first created by the Florentine watchmaker to satisfy the demanding requirements of the Royal Italian Navy’s specialist underwater forces. Today, the historic piece has been revived and given a contemporary spin with the Radiomir 1940 3 Days. Fitted with the new hand-wound P.1000 movement, which has two spring barrels connected in series, the 42-mm watch has an impressive power reserve of three days. It is available in stainless steel (PAM 00574) and 5NPT red gold (PAM 00575).
As Piaget’s first dedicated ladies’ complicated timepiece that is manufactured entirely inhouse, the Limelight Stella was designed and developed within both its manufactures at La Côte-aux-Fées and Geneva. Fitted with the 584P self-winding movement, the feminine horologe presents a moon phase complication that is set against a white dial. Adding to the watch’s noblesse are 126 brilliant-cut diamonds that weigh approximately 0.65ct on its 18k pink gold case.
RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon
Developed in collaboration with Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi, Richard Mille’s RM 69 is unlike most erotic timepieces that have been presented throughout watchmaking history. Instead of the more typical (and graphic) automatons, the watch offers a tasteful and original take on erotica in the form of words and phrases. It displays three Grade 5 titanium rollers, which resemble Tibetan prayer wheels on the upper half of the dial, each engraved with different words or phrases. When the pusher located at the 10 o’clock position is depressed, all three rollers will rotate and stop at random to form a suggestive sentence. Forged also in Grade 5 titanium, the horologe has a reserve time of about 69 hours and is available in a limited quantity of 30 pieces only.
Excalibur Spider Pocket Time Instrument
First presented in 2013’s Excalibur Quatuor, the remarkable RD101 calibre makes an appearance once again — this time, in the Excalibur Spider Pocket Time Instrument. Built with four separate balance wheels that are connected through a series of differential gears, the balances work in pairs to provide immediate compensation for the rate variations caused due to movement or gravity. The result is a highly efficient and precise timepiece that operates at a frequency of 16Hz and provides exceptional timekeeping accuracy. As its name suggests, the 60-mm titanium pocket watch is completely skeletonised to mimic the appearance of a spider’s web and comes with a matching titanium chain and desk stand. It is limited to 28 pieces only.
Heures Créatives Heure Discrète
As part of the new Heures Créatives collection that is dedicated to women and inspired by iconic artistic periods, the Heure Discrète borrows its aesthetic from the art deco era and is characterised by symmetry and clean lines. The timepiece also revisits the tradition of secret watches and is fitted with a carved white gold fan (a highly prized accessory back in the Roaring Twenties) that slides aside to reveal a concealed white mother-of-pearl dial. The fan is delicately forged to resemble guipure lace and is completely paved in 286 diamonds. It comes paired with either a black stain strap or a white gold bracelet set with additional diamonds totalling approximately 11ct.
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
Lady Arpels Cardinal Carmin
The French Maison adds a series of three new timepieces to its Extraordinary Dials collection, limited to 22 units per piece. The result of a collaboration with feather artist Nelly Saunier, each dial presents a bird created using actual feathers soaring over a landscape composed of hard stone marquetry. The Lady Arpels Cardinal Carmin in particular showcases a cardinal bird fashioned out of crimson plumage flying over mountains and valleys made from jade, variscite and blood jasper. The light blue sky is achieved with the use of larimar while the winding rivers are depicted using diamonds.