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PRIMETIME – January 2018 – Best of SIHH – Part II

PRIMETIME – January 2018 – Best of SIHH – Part II

Hello and welcome back on PRIMETIME and welcome
to episode 2 of this January issue mainly dedicated to the SIHH and to all the newsworthy
stuff not covered by our various individual video reports and there is plenty! If you haven’t seen episode one, link in
the description box! So in terms of trends witnessed at the SIHH
2018 and this is mainly relevant for the big power names of the industry belonging to the
Richemont Group, well many of these brands came with more affordable watches, more entry
level models and I’m not saying that they are cheap by any means, but let’s say a
bit more in line with some kind of economical reality asked by the customers. We’re still talking serious money regardless,
because a few thousand dollars for an object we don’t really need is always a considerable
amount of money. So when Vacheron Constantin presents their
new 56 collection starting around 12’000$ it’s still a lot of money, but at the same
time it’s definitely a big statement that the brand wants to reconnect to a new segment
of the market or let’s say a segment that turned its interest probably on other brands
or even other things or other leisures. Will this work for them? Sincerely I don’t know. The same can be said for Jaeger-LeCoultre
with their new Polaris models or Panerai or Cartier, they all pretty nice looking products
at more “affordable” prices, but I’m utterly convinced that a few years ago for
exactly the same watches, all these brands would have positioned them much higher in
terms of prices. Well it proves at least that these brands
are listening to you the consumers and instead of imposing too expensive models that no one
really wanted, they have adapted their strategy and I hope it will last without compromising
quality. There is naturally still room for exceptional
timepieces and these actually faced less difficulties finding new owners than the ones in this kind
of “no man’s land” for watches that were simply too highly priced in a context
where the educated purchase prevails nowadays much more. And even if the economy is doing pretty good
and even of there is a bit of spare cash here and there, consumers are not spending anymore
like in the mid 2’000’s when the situation was a bit crazy and served as the reference
for normality for some of the watchmaking industry management, well the rules of the
game have changed and evolution is a natural process and to be a little bit brutal, the
name of the game is adapt or die. Something we saw for instance in the car making
industry when the reference for quality car started to come from Japan and this at lower
prices than what historical european and american brands had to offer. These last two had to adapt, some did and
are striving, some didn’t and are gone. And resizing can be part of this adaptation,
but of course conflicts interest of shareholders when you’re a publicly listed company. So this is different for boutique brands,
mainly the independents, but they also have to adapt to this new tougher environment. But let’s come back to watches and Jaeger-LeCoultre
which illustrates a bit what I just mentioned and you guys know that I’m still a bit annoyed
with their ingratitude regarding our gyrotourbillon video which has by the way reached almost
a whacking 1.4 million views, yep that’s pretty crazy, but let’s nevertheless talk
about this new Polaris collection inspired by the 1968 Memovox Polaris divers alarm watch,
a watch dear to the collector’s scene. So only one of the new models has this alarm
function, that’s the model precisely celebrating the 50th anniversary of this watch and simply
called the Polaris Memovox and limited to 1’000 pieces, but then the brand came with
a full range of automatic watches in this Polaris collection including a chrono, a worldtime
chrono, a simple 3-hands and a date version which looks very decent I think and prices
are more “reasonable” and start at 6’600 $. I’m pretty sure Jaeger have pretty big
expectations with this new sportier assortment and time will tell, but pretty nice in general. Let’s now talk about Panerai and in the
Luminor Due collection, a few new models were introduced, a 45mm version with for the first
time a date indicator, 2 42mm models with small seconds at 9 o’clock, a new 3-day
GMT, but most importantly they came with some 38mm models, something that was long awaited
and the price of this model starts at around 6’000$. Historically the smallest Panerai were 40mm,
so this is really something new for them and should appeal to a pretty wide audience/customers,
both men and women. But in their innovation line, they introduced
another first for them with a moonphase indication on the Astronomo tribute to Gallileo Gallilei,
this a tourbillon regulator with equation of time indication, plus a clever system for
the indication of sunrise and sunset time found around the 7 and 4 o’clock mark and
regarding the moonphase, well this is no ordinary moonphase and is seen on the movement side
of the watch. You actually have a 24-hour rotating disk
that displays day and night indications and additional to this, the moon will show you
the phase in which it finds itself, quite something. So a real mechanical beast, great achievement,
but personally am not sure if it’s that necessary for such a brand. Ok, I know some people will totally disagree
with me and I guess there are a few collectors out there willing or capable of purchasing
this watch, no idea of the price tag, but we can guess it’s way way up there, but
anyhow will this help sell more of these 38mm steel watches at 6k, not really sure about
this too, but please feel free to share your opinion about this, commenting section is
all yours. Ok, next brand: Roger Dubuis on their side
insisted much more and almost exclusively about their new collaboration with italian
supercar manufacturer Lamborghini. They told us that there was some strong interactions
between both R&D teams and the first iteration demonstrating this came with the introduction
of the 45mm Excalibur Aventador S with its distinct double 45° inclined balance wheels. But let’s quickly listen to Gregory Bruttin,
head of product development of the brand about this. The specificities is that we have two balance wheels connected to the differential to the barrel. It’s exactly the same construction than with a car: 2 wheels, 1 differential, 1 engine. And because of that it’s a very good link with the partnership with Lamborghini. I just wanted to add that their partnership
also includes the sponsoring of the various Lamborghini endurance series of races and
this spot was previously done in collaboration with Blancpain and one the problem I see with
this is that when you type Blancpain on YouTube, the first tens of videos proposed to you concerns
these races and never the watches! So last year a tire manufacturer partnership
with Pirelli, how exciting was that, this year a car manufacturer, so I just hope we
won’t see next year a partnership with a petrol company, AGIP for instance. Ok joke aside and finally regarding Roger
Dubuis and as a very small moment of pause in this PRIMETIME and since quite of few of
you were wondering who was this rather spectacular opera singer we used in our SIHH video jingle,
well she was there to mark the opening of the SIHH for Roger Dubuis, because they always
do some kind of booth christening ceremony as they are one of the only brands to change
the decor of their booth every year. Actually this year quite a few brands had
new booths, I guess they wanted to mark a before and after moment as we saw this with
Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre, even a bit Cartier and of course IWC. Ok, let the music play, but not long I promise. Ok after this little moment of culture let’s
move on and talk about Van Cleef & Arpels which presented incredibly beautiful jewelry
timepieces in their Le Jardin collection, an amazing demonstration of their savoir-faire
and above all their creativity, all one-ofs and all very poetic. But the highlight for me was their new Planetarium
timepiece, simply beautiful and an evolution of the model introduced already a few years
ago with the Midnight Planetarium, both these timepieces done in collaboration with Dutch
brand Christiaan Van Der Klauww and Daniel Reintjes, the man specialised today in such
astronomical complications. The main noticeable difference between the
two resides in the fact the this new timepiece is much smaller at 38mm, the original one
was 44mm, something that makes complete sense since this watch appeals more to a feminine
market. So by making it smaller, this had an impact
on its mechanics, you have a bit less space available and now you “only” have three
planets orbiting in realtime around the sun, the earth being represented with this blue
turquoise sphere. But the really really cool part is that around
the earth, you have a moon which orbits precisely like moon cycles around it in 29.5 days and
acts in a certain as a moonphase indicator depending on its position and the central
sun. The intricacy of this mechanic is just fantastic
without even mentioning how nice it looks with this aventurine dial. Ok the price is pretty hefty, starting at
245’000$, but we’re here in dreamy territory. Ok, let’s now talk about IWC who are celebrating
their 150th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion, they came with no less than
28 limited editions in practically all their collections, albeit the Aquatimer, judged
too sporty for this. Let’s quickly listen to Christian Knopp,
Creative Director of the brand about this. We presented two new movement here. One is a high-end one with perpetual calendar tourbillon Something very unseen for IWC combining our perpetual calendar with the tourbillon on the dial side. And we presented new generation of high-end automatic movements The so called Caliber 82 presented on the Da Vinci automatic in a very new in line with the aesthetics of the Jubilee collection But the star of the show for them was the
Pallweber paying tribute to an historically significant timepiece introduced in 1885,
the first pocket watch that displayed time digitally with numerals and not with trailing
hands. Something interesting to mention is that this
mechanism had indeed been invented by Mr Pallweber who licensed the manufacturing of this to
IWC at the time and they produced quite an important number of such timepieces. This licensing practice is not unusual in
the watchmaking industry and one of the most famous one concerns the Reverso which had
been invented by French designer René-Alfred Chauvot for the sake of Jaeger, but there
has been for instance 8 models that fully bear the Patek Phlippe name. So this “new” Pallweber is no longer a
pocket watch, but come in an elegant 45mm wide case with a very nice white lacquered
dial, so yes quite big but thin nevertheless at 12mm, and comes in 3 limited case versions;
25 platinum, 250 in red gold and 500 in steel, but for the occasion they will also produce
50 pocket versions. Compared to the historical model, this one
features a small second indicator at 6 o’clock and I have to admit that it’s pretty cool
to look at and wait for the passage of the minute, since you will then witness this instant
jump of the various disks. Actually it makes this little “chack”
sound on this passage, pretty cool. I didn’t have the opportunity of wearing
on a long period of time and don’t know if this sound can become annoying, but for
me was seriously a nice surprise to see in the flesh. In terms of innovation, just wanted to congratulate
Baume & Mercier who’ve introduced a new line called the Clifton Baumatic and the main
reason I say so is that I wasn’t too impressed last year with the introduction of their entry
level collection, the Clifton Club, even if it wasn’t “too” expensive, I really
thought they had taken shortcuts with this one, but now with the Clifton Baumatic I think
they did a pretty good job. The watches are simple, but rather well balanced,
and the main significant features comes with its totally new movement, quite an investment
by the brand, a movement which holds 5 days of power reserve and a-magnetic features with
the use of silicon for its regulating organ. And the price seems quite right, starting
at 2’800$. Ok, another brand I had shown a bit of discontent
last year was Montblanc and this mainly because I just didn’t understand the brand; too
many lines, a much too wide spectrum of products, pricing starting very low to stratospheric
heights, but it in all honesty it didn’t prevent me of really liking their beautiful
bronze case and champagne dial 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter monopusher watch with its Minerva
movement, just really nice. Ok so the good news for them is that they
are seriously reducing their offering, narrowing down the number of collections and I think
that this is a really wise idea for the brand as Davide Cerrato, Managing Director of Watch division of the brand, will quickly explain us. We are very proud of celebrating the 150th anniversary of Minerva, we took great inspiration from the military watches of the 20s and 30s to create a very strong new vintage inspired line the 1858 and we associate this with the concept and spirit of mountain exploration This reinforces our sport professional offer after the launch of the Time Walker last year and at the same time we refresh our classical iconic line which is Star with a new strong design with the Star Legacy. And lastly, also wanted to put forward a new
movement and watch presented by H. Moser with the Unusual Endeavor Flying Hour with its
satelite hour display, a pretty cool watch and I was happy to see the brand come with
something really new in its offering. Legibility is a little bit complicated, but
in short you have a central minute disk and three peripheral hour disks and it’s the
combination of the two that will tell you the time. The brand also introduced a new flying tourbillon
movement, quite nice and classy I must say. Ok, I could probably go on and on, there was
some other interesting things to be seen, for instance the evolution of Ulysse Nardin’s
Freak watch among others, but I will stop here concerning specific timepieces and I
just wanted to talk about one of the trends seen with the fact that many brands proposed
systems that lets you now change straps and bracelet yourselves, something we had seen
a couple of years ago with the revamped Overseas collection of Vacheron Constantin. This goes in the way of more usability for
the owner, but sincerely this is definitely not the reason why I would buy a Vacheron
if you see my thinking. But nevertheless a pretty good evolution as
long as it’s not too much of a gadgety thing and as one of you pointed out pretty rightly
in the comments, it shouldn’t be seen as a way to lock you with only straps provided
by these brands and this at a premium price. We don’t want brands to replicate the Gillette
model where to buy the razor comes cheap, but then you pay a lot for the blades. Ok, I say this but sincerely I don’t know
the price of these extra bracelets, will have to do a bit of homework on this. So overall, brands seemed pretty happy about
this edition, business seems to be picking up for more or less everyone, this is of course
nice, Baselworld will clearly be another important moment to see if we can really call it a trend
and I was also pretty happy to witness that on the last day of the SIHH, that’s the
day when it’s opened to the public, ok entry tickets are pretty expensive, but there were
quite a lot of people that came to enjoy all the timepieces put on display. But now my biggest highlight by far is to
be able to wear this very beautiful piece of fashion. I had to go the SIHH a couple of days before
it opened and actually everyone had to wear this as security in general got a bit more
strict during the event. Apart from this a few other things evolved
for this edition, they tried to make it a bit more open, tried, for instance with conferences
held in a pretty nice auditorium, conferences that were broadcasted live, but when I see
the “spectacular” number of views of a few hundreds views generated by this and when
I think of the costs of this infrastructure, because we’re talking more or less the Late
Show production means and of course this is something that the brands have to pay for,
meaning ultimately you the consumers, well am not too sure it goes in the direction of
modesty this industry needs to address, but I get that they want to make it more appealing
and sexy, simply not sure if they managed to do that, but at least they are trying and
all in all this is really a wonderfully well organized event. It was nice that more brands attended it,
probably won’t stop there, wouldn’t be surprised by a few additional brands joining
in and I guess there is a bit of pressure on the Baselworld organizers to prevent this
happening. We’ll be there to witness this and I really
can’t wait to have the opportunity of doing our little share with our coverage which will
this year be a bit different as we will be directly inside the event with our team. And now for some serious business news and
I think we’ll hear much more about this in the months to come, because as mentioned
in our Who’s Who of Watchmaking episode dedicated to the Richemont Group, I had mentioned
that the Group had a 50% stake in the luxury web portal Net-a-porter. Well just a couple of days after the closing
of the SIHH was announced that Richemont had bought the remaining shares and now controls
100% of the luxury e-commerce platform. With a turnover in 2017 of 2.6 billions USD,
Richemont bought the remaining shares for 3.4 US billion and this represents a clear
sign when it comes to the commercial strategy of the Group. I am seriously not too surprised this was
unveiled post SIHH as it would have triggered some much more dubious reactions by the many
retailers attending the event. Remember that originally this event is primarily
organised for them, for them to pass on orders of assortments for their store, but when you
look at the big picture of how the business works, well you have brands, distributors
and ultimately retailers, the last ones facing the end customer, meaning you and me. So we all know that one of the ways for these
groups to augment their profitability is to internalise the margins made by distributors
and retailers and naturally e-commerce offers this great opportunity for them; they’ve
already moved on controlling distribution through their own structures, developing more
and more monobrand stores controlled by them. But another thing to remember is that historically
commercial success or brand awareness has often been the result of these retailers doing
what it needed to be done on their various markets and points of sale, again they were
the ones with the contacts with potential end customers and I’m talking at a time
when marketing didn’t really exist as the super effective science we know it today. Success at the time came from the terrain
and no global marketing campaign really existed. Anyhow, this is probably a worrying sign for
some of these retailers as they now face a pretty more powerful direct competitor, but
I’m clearly not saying that this will completely diminish the role of the retailer because
watches are not a simple commodity that you buy online. We’ve been saying it for a long time, but
it’s an emotional product and some watches fit you nicely on the wrist on some others
don’t and this you do have to test. So I clearly believe that consumers will make
their homework online, pick what they think attracts them, know as much as possible through
digital, including us here at, but then I think that most of the actual purchase
process will remain at the store, that’s where you’ll deal your watch, give me that
5% discount etc. something that will not be possible through a web interface. Just like the radio didn’t kill the newspaper,
just like television didn’t kill radio and Internet the television, well we’re seeing
a bit of the same here. The fact that e-commerce will continue to
develop, even for luxury products, the fact that people will indeed buy more and more
through the web is simply a reality and a logical evolution of our consumer habits,
but the playground has indeed changed and everyone has to adapt and of course there
is a bit of cynicism behind this announcement made just a few days after the SIHH, but this
is unfortunately just part of a much bigger plan if I can summarise it like this. It’s evolution, but will for sure not make
the lives of these retailers any simpler. Ok, now I will finally shut up and I guess
you see why we had to make two episodes of this PRIMETIME, but just wanted to say that
with all the nice footage we got during this Geneva Watch Week we will produce another
of our watchporn videos, so no talking, just a moment of watchmaking bliss and this will
come real soon for you guys. Thanks for watching, thanks to our bosses
the patrons, don’t hesitate if you want to share your opinions with us. All the very best to all and see you real
soon. Thanks for your time

Reader Comments

  1. I'd like to see some in-depth footage of the Baume et Mercier.
    I also hope they make a sportier watch with that movement.
    Thanks again for the great SIHH coverage!

  2. OMG Marc-Andre….. have a lie down, almost too much information to digest!  So happy you are doing this, I love it…. great channel!

  3. Thanks for your excellent SIHH overview. I especially enjoyed the part on the soprano at Roger Dubuis who you so brillianty put in the intro of your SIHH-reports. Thanks again!

  4. A better price is good, but i really hope they don't take short cuts or sacrifice on quality or innovation. Im happy they are producing smaller quantities.

  5. It is interesting what you said about retail. I made two watch purchases in the last year–one was a Fortis and the other was an Oris. In the USA the only Fortis authorized dealer is an online dealer, watchbuys. Before I bought the watch they answered my questions etc. and I ordered the watch unseen; they gave excellent service and they were knowledgeable. I bought the Oris from a local AD. I liked both experiences–but I think having a way to see the watches in person is an advantage. When I bought the Oris I had one model in mind but bought another after seeing the pieces in person. (Watches almost always look better in person than in a picture…) If the industry is going to move away from brick-and-moarter ADs and towards online purchases they may be risking some of the emotional appeal of buying a watch–e.g. chatting up the salesperson about watches. If it works, fine. (I did it after all) but watches are not tires. On the other hand, Fortis has very competitive prices in the USA because they are basically a 100% online sales. I guess we can watch and see.

  6. But the Panerai 38mm is 3atm? I thought they were dive watches. With 3atm i cant even wash my hands with the watch on! So, we see a Panerai no dive, a VC Swatch looking and a JLC that look like a Longines Heritage. Mah…!

  7. Preach to the Choir Marc! you're right , I hope the industry or at least the swatch and LVMH are in the same lane and hear the customers, releasing more ''affordable" products with top quality.

  8. 5:03 Panerai. The disk that covers the moon is supposed to be the earth's shadow falling on to the moon. Funny seeing the stars in there.

  9. ur so handsome i want to be like u when im older,
    im 21 lel
    BUT wat do u think would make the watches more appealing to a brodaer audience? to a younger audience(20s and even maybe teenagers) more specificaly? very broad question but i really like to know more thru ur experienced eyes

  10. Sorry Marc to disagree but I don’t think all these greedy brands were listening to consumers as such when they finally decided to launch so called more affordable watches. They may have been spurred more by the reality of shrinking sales and who knows, possibly rising overheads as well, that’s eating into their bottom lines. And these harsh realities forced them to moderate their greed as a matter of survival.

  11. Hi André, another topic, im hearing rumors that rolex has or is going to discontinued submariner green(hulk) and gmt black and blue (batman). Is this true? Your thoughts on it if you can. Cheers

  12. Great great video and very nice presentation. The new Polaris with the black dial is very eye catching, but the iwc is my absolute favourite.

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