aBlogtoWatch currently gets about 1-5 emails a week from people excited about their new watch campaigns on crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. We can't cover them all, and in fact, we don't cover most of them. Not fair, you say? There are some awesome watches on Kickstarter, you say? Maybe, but we prefer to write about mostly watches that we know for sure will be made or are currently available. A lot of the stuff on Kickstarter is there because it hasn't been made yet - and sometimes it never gets made, because either the campaign doesn't get fully funded or because technically the projects proved too challenging.
The smart watch and wearables segment is evolving quickly and has us extremely curious to know how the luxury industry will find a space within an area they historically have very little experience - digital technology. New brand Christophe & Co. began with a very simple premise - to create an ultra high-end wearable that incorporated elements of high tech while focusing on exclusivity as a jewelry product for men. The Christophe & Co. Armill is not a watch - which leaves timepiece lovers free to wear their timepieces along side their often one-of-a-kind Christophe & Co. smart bracelet. The debut Christophe & Co. Armill models will be the "entry-level" Virtus, then Orion, and topped off with the ultra ritzy Apollo.
Love luxury watches but can't afford them? Feeling slighted that all the cool timepieces you seem to be interested in are out of your budget? Frustrated when people with more money and less taste than you get to enjoy the finer watches in life? You aren't alone. One of the most difficult parts of being a watch guy (or woman) for many people is reconciling with the fact that a lot of the products you want to buy are more expensive than you can afford. This is tough to deal with, and we can't pretend that we can teach you secret ways to own your favorite high-end watches without having to pay for them.
ABTW: When did your fascination with watches start?
When I first read about the new Ball Engineer Master II Slide Chronograph, I for some reason had the refrain of "Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping... into the future" pop into my head. Is this new Ball the future of chronographs? Well, time will tell. For now, though, it definitely is an intriguing iteration.
Think about the major Cartier watch collections such as the Santos, Pasha, Roadster, Tank, and Calibre. Of course there are exceptions but these timepieces are at least inspired or themed on things like flying, driving, diving, etc... Yes Cartier has extended these creations into some very high-end spheres of horology, but at their heart they are all basically sport watches in some form or another.
More loosely organized brands sometimes even go to lengths in order to facilitate sales. Ignoring the complex importation laws designed to tax and tariff goods coming into most countries, watch company representatives who want to sell timepieces at SIAR sometimes do so in ways that might not make customs officers particularly happy. While Mexico doesn't have egregiously high taxes on luxury goods, South Americans in places such as Brazil and even Argentina have become skilled at attempting to maneuver around draconian luxury taxes designed to protect local companies. Not that there are high-end luxury brands I know of in Brazil or other regional countries who need such protection. But that is another story. The point is that in places such as Mexico, completely in contrast to places such as Switzerland, there is a marked cultural sense of "just getting things done however they can be done."
It isn't news to most major watch brands that the traditional display advertising tactics they have used to market their watches aren't as highly effective as they would like. One of the major reasons behind that is how marketing campaigns are produced in addition to the existence of "new media." Some message campaigns are designed in-house, while others are the product of relationships with outside marketing and creative agencies – who, understandably, aren't as knowledgeable about brands as the brands themselves. Timepieces are incredibly difficult to fully appreciate, and mastery can take many years.
Jordi notes that the design of the Chronograph Red Horizon is inspired by not only Swiss culture, but also nature. The "Red Horizon" name is meant to allude to the sunsets in the Swiss alps, while the dial is said to be inspired by a traditional local Swiss paper-cutting art form. This inspiration begins with the hands themselves that are intended to resemble scissors. At first glance, I never would have considered the hands to be like scissor blades, but after understanding this connection I can see a similarity.
In addition to the strength of a reinforced stainless steel case, the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX watch collection has specially produced dials and hands which are designed to withstand forms of shock and vibration that would permanently destroy less durable timepieces. The company positions the Victorinox Swiss Army INOX watches as leader in timepiece durability, as an extension of the brand's core values of producing products that are "Made To Last" including its other timepieces as well as its cutlery, pocket knives, and luggage.
Another issue with making high-end watches for women is knowing just what most women want. Let's forget for a moment that, even though there are many beautiful ladies' jewelry timepieces out there, the watch industry is a mostly male-dominated field when it comes to management. The traditional notion was that women didn't even want mechanical movements, but rather simple quartz movements inside of attractive cases decorated with precious materials. While, to a large degree, that is still true, there is a growing sentiment in the watch industry that many women want mechanical watches produced exclusively for them.
aBlogToWatch: So you made a pilgrimage to this tiny, isolated little town of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, in the middle of nowhere, where IWC is based and learned about these amazing things from them. But what did you teach them about your world – about music, about Hollywood?
Ultimately, if you are sitting on the fence and having trouble deciding between the Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 116710BLNR and Ref. 116710LN, I’m going to give you a very cliche but effective advice: go and try both of them on. I keep going back to this, but it is a very important aspect of the Ref. 116710BLNR, and the way the bezel plays with light needs to be experienced first-hand. Finally, to sum both watches up in a sentence, I would say that the Ref. 116710LN is classic and practical, and the Ref. 116710BLNR is a little bit more fun and special. The Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR has a list price of $8950. rolex.com
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, smartwatches were unsurprisingly a dominating area of new products from both establishes companies and ones new to the game. Garmin looks to be leading the pack with an unprecedented array of new smartwatches ranging from the top-of-the-line Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire and Epix, to the various "Vivo" products (vivofit 2, vivosmart, vivoactive) that are wearable activity tracking and notification bracelets. More on those in a bit.
Apple actually made clever use of the Apple Watch's relationship with the iPhone. Apple Watch users will install an Apple Watch app on their iPhone, which will be used to download apps onto the watch as well as likely manage Apple Watch settings. A user's iPhone is also used to help with computational demands. Apple cleverly pushes a lot of processor needs to the phone in order to preserve Apple Watch battery life. Thus, the Apple Watch is snappier, with longer battery life because a lot of tasks can be off-loaded to the host phone. Having said that, aside from installing apps, most things can be done from the watch itself (such as adjust settings, customize the interface, select watch dials, switch apps, etc...).
The Salon Internacional Alta Relojeria is the brainchild of a group of passionate watch people and journalists in Mexico City that by day run the Spanish language watch magazine Tiempo de Relojes. Captain of the SIAR ship is Mr. Carlos Alonso, a worthy shepherd of the watch industry in Mexico as a gateway to the larger Central and South American markets. He has grown the show and maintained European interest in it since its debut event in 2007. A distinguishing factor that makes SIAR a little bit different is that, in addition to attracting local journalists and retailers, it also allows collectors to attend and purchase watches on the spot.